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Out With The Old: Top Chef Chile, Episode 5

By Doris Bravo

TVN predicted it would be an unexpected episode, and boy was it.  Get the dirt, the details, and one hell of an opinion from our resident expert on the topic of Top Chef, Doris Bravo.

[TVN]

[TVN]

No more Mr. Nice Guy. José Luis Calfucura (aka “Mapuchef”) entered last night’s “última oportunidad” round with steely resolve, summoning his inner “weichafe” (the Mapuche word for “warrior”). He spent the challenge sulking and snubbing any chitchat from the other contestants. To my knowledge I saw no warrior spirit fire emanate from his hands but then again José Luis is a subtle type of person. Since Top Chef Chile began Mapuchef has distinguished himself as the most downer cast member. The barely audible mumble of his voice, his frozen face, his slow movements. By his own estimates he got angry last night. I didn’t see it, but there definitely was a considerable amount of vitriol launched his way at the close of the final round. Before we get to those juicy bits, here is some background.

Recap: 120 Minutes Of Top Chef Chile, Episode 4

By Doris Bravo

“Last night clocked in at nearly 120 minutes, way past my bedtime and entertainment threshold.”  She may love some pop culture, but even our resident expert on the topic, Doris Bravo, has her limits.  Last night’s episode was nearly two hours of very small dishes, focused almost entirely on the sea.  Even if you didn’t catch it, get the gist, and the point, below. 

[TVN]

[TVN]

In order to discuss last night’s episode of Top Chef Chile it’s better to start at the end. Three contestants once again competed in the “última oportunidad” round: Carolina Erazo, Sergio Medel, and César Parada. For no apparent reason other than to give Judge Ciro Watanabe some camera time, the challenge was to prepare a Chilean-Japanese fusion dish in 40 minutes. After Judge Ciro’s demo, where he breezily prepared a Chilean Nikkei version of gyozas, the three contestants set off to prepare their dishes. There was much running around and trash talk (notably between Sergio and César) which the prudish Judge Carlo von Mühlenbrock didn’t appreciate. Clutch the pearls, the Top Chef Chile kitchen is not the nunnery where Judge Carlo apparently cooks.

Recap: Top Chef Chile Season 1, Episode 3 or, Gigi Is Coming Back Next Week(!!!)

By Doris Bravo
Last night’s Top Chef Chile featured a challenge of international proportions.  With distinguished guests from a variety of embassies on hand, as well as a bunch of cooks that weren’t exactly sure what to do with the cuisine of a country they’d never been to (really, you can’t make ceviche?!), it was another shit show of bungled dishes and upset egos.  Back this week with a spot-on look at this week’s episode, it’s our own resident pop-culture expert Doris Bravo, unapologetic and, frankly, a little upset with a Latin lack of Latin knowledge.  Damn. 

[Top Chef TVN]

[Top Chef TVN]

There were no hijinks on last night’s episode of Top Chef Chile. Just a world cultures test gone wrong. I should’ve guessed there was something odd to come when Judge Pamela Fidalgo explained the “prueba de fuego” in the first round. The contestants needed to apply the brunoise technique to onions since this vegetable, though not originating in the Americas, is a staple of the Latin American kitchen. Okay, that’s kind of a roundabout way of setting up this skills test, but whatever. I love a good skills test since I can barely hold a knife and admire anyone who can dice an onion into small, uniform cubes. The judges evaluated quality and quantity. Three contestants (Carolina Erazo, Quersen Vásquez, and José Luis Calfucura, the “Mapuchef”) made it to the next mini-round, where they made pebre from their onions. Pebre returns and so it seemed we were venturing again into the familiar terrain of Chilean cuisine.

Recap: Top Chef Chile Season 1, Episode 1 or Farewell David Lee Roth

[Top Chef TVN]

[Top Chef TVN]

Today, and every Friday after a new episode of the first-ever Top Chef Chile appears, we’ll be bringing you an in-depth, opinionated recap from the mind of our resident culinary competition lover and pop culture expert, Doris Bravo.  If the premiere episode and the buzz surrounding it is any indicator, the show is going to be a wild success, and will definitely heat up the already hot debate surrounding Chilean cuisine.  Have something to add to the conversation?  Let us know in the comments. 

By Doris Bravo

When Ricardo David (aka “Gigi”) was unceremoniously axed last night from the premiere of Top Chef Chile he did not perform a high-kick befitting his David Lee Roth attire. Instead he took off his apron, tossed it on the ground, said some mean things to the judges, and walked away. Judge Pamela Fidalgo was unsurprisingly offended and felt he was, indeed, the right participant to be nixed given his bad attitude. This moment in reality competitions always makes me wince: a contestant, dismissed and left standing vulnerable, dares to verbally retaliate to the judges panel, a group of people who, drunk on power, take their position way too seriously. But this is precisely the brew that makes for terrific television programming and Top Chef Chile is off to a promising start.

Top Chef Chile Starts Tomorrow. Watch This And Get Excited. (ES)

By Patrick Hieger

[TVN]

[TVN]

If you can’t tell yet, we’re pretty excited about Top Chef Chile.  It starts tomorrow, and it’s going to be incredible.  The haircuts, the glasses, the bitching, the challenges.  It’s all there, and it’s just a day away from taking over our lives.  Are you as excited as we are?  If not, you should be.  If you’re in need of a little motivation to get your ass on the couch tomorrow night at 22:05, watch the video below and get ready.  Chilean cuisine may never be the same.  Stay tuned Friday for our recap of Episode 1.  Your time starts now!

Top Chef Chile’s First Contestants Have Been Revealed (ES)

By Patrick Hieger

[TVN]

[TVN]

By now, at least in the United States, if a new season of Top Chef were coming, there would a great deal of anticipation surrounding the new crop of participants and where they come from.  For now, though, the buzz in Chile hasn’t quite caught on just yet.  Either way, we’re excited because it’s the first version of Top Chef to hit South America, and it could be a big game changer for the role of gastronomy, particularly in a country like Chile, whose cuisine is rarely given much attention.

A few videos have been released about the panel of judges and what they’ll be expecting from the participants, but as of yesterday, we know who the first four contestants will be.  In a quick, one-minute video, we get to see Juan Morales of the newly-inaugurated D.O., José Luis Calfucura, otherwise known as Mapuche Chef, Víctor León of Harina Gourmet, and Alicia Rodriguez of Pastichef, giving us their game faces, their mantras, and a look at their knives. As season one prepares to roll out with some of the leading names in Chilean cuisine, the show looks like it could be a huge success.

The music is there.  The sound effects are there.  And now we have chefs.  Top Chef Chile is about to start, and we couldn’t be happier.  Follow them on Twitter at @topcheftvn.

Here’s (Yet Another) Video Promo For Chile’s Top Chef (ES)

By Patrick Hieger

[TVN]

[TVN]

The producers over at TVN do certainly know how to bait an anxiously-awaiting audience.  Although reports indicate that the Chilean version of Top Chef isn’t set to air until some time in late October or November, TVN has been busy creating video promos to get everyone ready.  In this latest clip, the head judges give us their stern faces and toss knives while talking about their own individual likes and dislikes.  For you fellas out there thinking that Pamela Fidalgo might make one hell of a catch, she makes it very clear that not even her husband was enough to keep her from the kitchen.  And don’t serve soup to Ciro Watanabe–he won’t eat it.  The moment we have information on the lineup of chefs, we’ll let you know.

Watch the promo here. 

Is Chile Getting A Version Of ‘Top Chef’? (ES)

By Patrick Hieger

TOPCHEFCHILEWell, it appears that might be the case.  Cooperativa wrote this morning that television giant TVN has purchased rights to the show, and is in the process of casting.  According to José Miranda, an exec at TVN in charge of foreign programming, they realized it could “be a show for mass entertainment, even though I thought it was more of a niche product.”  According to Cooperativa, casting began this Monday, with filming possibly starting in August.  HOLY SHIT!  CHILE IS GOING TO HAVE TOP CHEF!!! We’ll be following this closely.  [via Cooperativa]