Washington’s cheftestants continue to dominate the spotlight on Season 13 of Top Chef. We’re only four episodes in, and already two DC cheftestants have taken home the win—while another flamed out dramatically.
In the season premiere, Barrel chef Garret Fleming trash-talked Mike Isabella on the way out the door. Fellow Washingtonian Kwame Onwuachi, by contrast, continues to play nice and came out on top—especially in last night’s episode. The elimination challenge was designed to create friction, with pairs of cheftestants competing against each other in a “surf versus turf” battle of seafood and meat. As tensions rose among the other duos, Onwuachi and his opponent Chad White kept it friendly. “This is very much a gentleman’s duel,” Onwuachi said. “We’re friends. We don’t want to see each other go home.” At one point he even stepped away from his own cooking to help White roast lamb. The two competitors laughed and hugged before submitting their dishes to the judges. Onwuachi was also on hand to comfort Wesley True after the Georgia chef’s ribeye received a harsh critique. “You’re cooking with 18 of the best chefs in the country. This is not easy,” Onwuachi said, giving True a hug.
The 25-year-old founder of the forthcoming The Shaw Bijou has stayed modest throughout the competition. “I know I’m young,” he said. “I have an ounce of experience compared to the other chefs. But I have the passion to work hard.” His prize: a big win that included a barrel of wine from Sanford Winery, which the judges joked he was barely old enough to drink.
Ripple‘s Marjorie Meek-Bradley was unable to keep up her momentum from the previous week, when she was declared winner. Judges preferred competitor Karen Akunowicz’s cod to Meek-Bradley’s pork loin, even though Akunowicz lost a piece of fish in the process, serving host Padma Lakshmi a dish without its primary ingredient. Nevertheless, Meek-Bradley was spared from the bottom three, and Frances Tariga-Weshnak, the lone sous chef in the group, was eliminated.