‘Top Chef’ Kentucky: Down to the last cut, who will make it in Macau?

It’s the final Quickfire and chefs Michelle Minori, Kelsey Barnard Clark, Sara Bradley and Eric Adjepong look ambivalent.
It’s the final Quickfire and chefs Michelle Minori, Kelsey Barnard Clark, Sara Bradley and Eric Adjepong look ambivalent. Carmo Correia/Bravo

Then there were four: “Top Chef” Kentucky, now in Macau, is down to four chefs and they all want to make the finale. Only three will, so you know it’s about to get “Game of Thrones” cut-throat.

OK, maybe not quite that brutal. In fact, the chefs seem more likely to hug it out than to throw shade even. That’s what makes this so hard! They all clearly like each other, and fans like them, so there is no clear favorite and no villain to root against.

If Adrienne had made it through last week, maybe she and Sara could have gone after each other but they even embraced after last week’s show, so that feud fizzled.

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We get a taste of the camaraderie in the episode teaser, which shows Michelle and Sara eating breakfast together. As Michelle downs her grape juice, Sara says, “You have, like, blood red teeth, like ‘I’m out for blood!’” And Michelle just smiles.

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A toast to “Top Chef” Kentucky, in the second part of the final episodes in Macau. Chef Michelle Minori shares her dish with the judges for a chance at the finale. Bravo Carmo Correia/Bravo

Sure, we also see her saying she plans to pick the others, including last week’s winner, Kelsey, and Eric, off “one by one.” But in such a nice way!

Still, it’s always the quiet ones you have to watch out for.

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Can you smell success? Guest judge Abe Conlon and host Padma Lakshmi give chef Sara Bradley’s durian-based dish a sniff in the last Quickfire challenge of the “Top Chef” Kentucky season. Bravo Carmo Correia/Bravo

In the snippet at the end of last week’s episode, we got a glimpse of host Padma Lakshmi welcoming the to their “last Quickfire of the season.” But it looks like a doozy: Durian, known as the stinkiest fruit in the world. Apparently if you can get past odor, it actually tastes amazing.

Padma says durian reminds her of “stinky feet ... with a little drop of rotten fish.” Good luck with that.

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Chef Kelsey Barnard Clark gives the durian a whirl in the last Quickfire challenge of the season. Bravo Carmo Correia/Bravo

Coming off a big win last week, Kelsey looks like the one to beat. She managed to leverage her Southern roots into the perfect Chinese New Year dish, edging out Michelle’s strong effort.

At the other end of the scale, Sara and Eric were less successful. Sara tried to a similar Southern crossover but cauliflower just ain’t grits.

And Eric bombed with his gloppy green coconut curry, which Padma called “muddy.” Eric pushed back on that but we’ll see how far that gets him this week.

The teaser also gives up a shot of the chefs being blown away by a surprise guest.

“How the hell did she keep this secret from me?” Kelsey asks. Even Eric looks like he’s about to cry ... who could generate such an extreme reaction?

My guess: Their moms.

top chef macau moms.JPG
Remaining “Top Chef” Kentucky chefs Sara Bradley, Kelsey Barnard Clark, Michelle Minori and Eric Adjepong welcome special surprise guests to Macau ... their moms maybe? Stay tuned; we’ll find out Thursday. Bravo Carmo Correia/Bravo

As for the Elimination challenge, we don’t get many clues:

Kentucky Sara says “There are going to be three people in the finale; I’m going to have to cook the dish of my life to get there.” Duh.

Abe Conlon, the James Beard Award-winning chef of Fat Rice in Chicago, is a guest judge.

The setting over looks the glamorous Macau skyline.

And we hear head judge Tom Colicchio say: “It’s horrible to have to cut someone especially when you’ve come this far, but unfortunately, um …” And then Eric says: “It’s that time.”

Yikes! Is that foreshadowing or red herring? Stay tuned; “Top Chef” airs Thursday at 8 p.m. on Bravo.

Janet Patton covers restaurants, bars, food and bourbon for the Herald-Leader. She is an award-winning business reporter who also has covered agriculture, gambling, horses and hemp.
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