Top Chef Recap: Soigné

This week’s episode of Top Chef had the Cheftestants channel their inner teenager to see who could get the most likes on Instagram.

“Today’s Quickfire is all about the food porn.”

For the challenge, the chefs would do no cooking at all, but rather focus on the look of their dish. Padma introduced the chefs to Jacques La Merde, an anonymous Instagram foodie who makes deconstructed dishes out of junk food. In order to remain anonymous, Padma introduced the chef virtually.

What’s up, bros?,” says voice-altered La Merde from behind a screen. “I’m feeling pretty Soigné today.”

For those of you out of the loop (don’t worry, I had no idea) soigné is chefs code for perfection. Most chefs don’t use it though.

For the challenge, the chefs had to create a “visually stunning dish” made out of junk food. Oh, and small details, the judges would not pick the winner for this challenge. The Instagram community would pick the winner based off the most likes from their picture.

Philip seemed pretty pumped about this challenge because they didn’t have to cook.

This is not a cooking challenge, this is a plating challenge. Plating is so important! You eat with your eyes before you eat with your mouth!” – Phillip 

However, Isaac was not sold.

“People who say they eat with their eyes first should be stabbed with a pork-chop bone.”


Dale Berman/Bravo

The chefs searched their way through all the junk food and presented the “perfect plate.” Included in the pantry were Doritos, Bugles, and spray cheese.

Since Top Chef couldn’t be the better place, Jacques La Merde actually came out to reveal herself as the Instagram creator. The nine chefs came forward to present their plates to Jacques La Merde and Padma and one by one took the chance to post the perfect Instagram.
The winner of the challenge would be revealed after the elimination challenge, therefore leaving the chefs in suspense the whole time, but not giving anyone the easy ride out.

The elimination challenge could not be more opposite compared to the picture perfect Instagram challenge. The Elimination: Beefsteak. What is Beefsteak?

“Over 100 years ago,” Padma explains, “men gathered in their finest black-tie attire to drink, be merry, and to eat meat.”

Basically, Beefsteak was a political fundraiser where politicians could get drunk with gangsters. The food is gluttonous and very, very messy.


Dale Berman/Bravo

The chefs had to create a feast for 200 people, consisting of a meat, a seafood, and two side. The only rules to the beefsteak were: There are zero utensils, no plates, and no napkins. The bloodier, the better basically.

Padma assigned the team based on who the chefs were standing next to. Phillip, Amar, and Jeremy are the Green Team, Majorie, Isaac, and Chad are the Blue Team, and Kwame, Karen and Carl are the Red Team.
As the teams planned their menus, they were all faced with a similar question: Does beef actually have to be served at the beefsteak? Isaac pointed out that they just said “meat” but still it seemed like beef would be the obvious choice. In the end, only the Red Team went with cooking beef.

After some menu planning, the chefs ventured to Whole Food to get the supplies for the beefsteak. After Phillip was told do whatever he wanted, he did not doubt his plan to cook lamb. Amar and Chad seemed to have the same idea. Amar bought a 25-pound halibut embracing the challenge, however Chad didn’t come out as lucky with his purchases in the store. Chad had planned to cook some black cod, yet Whole Foods wasn’t on the same page. Going with the flow, Chad bought 25-pounds of tuna, unsure how he would cook it.

Hopefully, when we get into the kitchen and we start cooking, I’ll figure it out,” – Chad

Chad decided to take a medieval route with the tuna, cooking it in ash. Isaac went ham on his sausage, trying to prove that chicken could be decadent. Marjorie was hard at work, taking a risk baking some bread as the perfect side dish for the beefsteak. Before the chefs knew it, it was time for service.


Dale Berman/Bravo

Green Team: Phillip’s rack of lamb with prune jam seemed to be a hit right off the back. Jeremy served up some brussle sports without any complaint. However, the judges didn’t fair so well with Amar’s halibut bites. Despite the complaint about the size of the halibut, the meal was pretty successful.

Blue Team: Isaac’s heaping plate of sausage looked very appealing to the judges eyes, however the taste did not live up. The sausage was still better than Chad’s take on tuna with micro greens. Marjorie baked up some solid bread, leaving her basically safe.

What … the … hell, is a microgreen doing here?” – Padma

Red Team: Chad was the only one to actually serve beef at the beefsteak, however it still did not live up to the judges expectations. They were also pretty confused about Kwame’s shrimp dish.

At judges table it was announced that Karen had won the Quickfire Challenge, giving her immunity for the challenge. Karen was very thankful that she had immunity because basically it was fair game for who could go home. None of the chefs really got the handle when it came to beefsteak. Chad attempted to make a quick save by blaming their limited pantry of ingredients, but basically a big long shot at saving himself.

The Green Team walked away as the winner, surprisingly giving Phillip the win for his rack of lamb. The Blue Team landed on the bottom. Marjorie knew she was basically safe, so it came down to Chad’s dainty tuna or Isaac’s bland sausage. Unfortunately, Chad’s misunderstanding of the challenge outdid the flavorless sausage, sending him to pack his knives.

 “I feel like Top Chef has given me something maybe I didn’t have before,”






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