Kevin Gillespie on Thursday’s Bravo’s “Top Chef All Stars” episode fell just short of making it to the finals, ending his second run on the show for good.
“I am a fighter, and I believe you have to fight for what you think is right and what you want in life,” Gillespie said in a philosophical farewell commentary after getting eliminated. “I wanted to come here with a message. I’ve had really hard times the past couple of years. I’ve fought back and won. I want people who are struggling to keep hope. Great things can come of it.”
He and the three other chefs competed in a tough elimination challenge in Italy where they had to make a traditional Italian primi and a second dish that featured Parmesan and prosciutto.
They had three hours to make both.
“That’s a little tight to do two dishes, and we’re cooking for a lot of phenomenal chefs from the area,” Gillespie said on the show. “There is a lot of pressure, but I know these dishes are good enough to carry me to the finale.”
Unfortunately, his prediction didn’t come true.
Both Melissa King and Stephanie Cmar created dishes that impressed the judges and were both guaranteed spots in the finale. King was rewarded best chef of the night. For King, this was a third elimination win in a row, placing her in the favored position to take the entire competition and the $250,000 prize next Thursday.
The bottom two chefs Thursday were Gillespie and his pal Bryan Voltaggio. The judges found flaws in all their dishes for various reasons.
Gillespie’s first dish was a pasta ravioli with cannellini beans and Parmesan whey under a bean ragu and borlotti bean broto. He then placed more Parmesan on top of the dish at table side.
The judges loved the dish but felt Gillespie overdid the Parmesan by placing more on top of the Parmesan-filled ravioli.
His second dish was a pork roast with apples and 36-month prosciutto. “It’s pork on pork, which makes me very happy,” he told the judges before they ate it.
They liked the apples and the sauce but felt the prosciutto was an after thought. They also found his pork roast too dry and tough. Gillespie during the challenge said the type of pork he was cooking was difficult to get exactly right, a foreshadowing of sorts.
“There was a lot to like about both dishes,” Tom Collichio told Gillespie at the judges’ table. But the aforementioned flaws caused him to go home.
Gillespie defended his dishes, saying he felt they were good. “It felt like the most soulful food I made since I’ve been here,” he said. “That at this point in my life is all I care about.”
A couple of the Italian judges really hit Voltaggio hard by saying his food lacked “soul.” He still managed to survive the final cut.
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