Did the Optimist's Wesley True's survive 'Top Chef' week six?

Credit: Rodney Ho

Credit: Rodney Ho

By RODNEY HO/ rho@ajc.com, originally filed Friday, January 15, 2016

The Optimist's Wesley True finished in 11th place on "Top Chef" after getting eliminated last night.

The Atlanta resident overcooked a lamb dish that sent him out of the competition in the sixth challenge.

He has an outside chance of returning to the competition thanks to "Last Chance Kitchen," but he'd have to beat several chefs in a row to get back in the game. It can be done at this stage but he's going to have to be spot on. If anything, he was an entertaining presence on the show.

Find out his fate on the latest episode here where time management becomes an issue as three chefs battle to create a great burger in just 15 minutes:

True's sloppiness was played up in the first episode and Padma Lakshmi caught him double dipping a tasting spoon in front of her. She admonished him, telling him to never do that again.

For the next four episodes, True was up and down. He was on the bottom week three after the cameras caught him goofing around and with time running out, not plating his dish properly. And the cut of meat was terrible to boot.  He was deeply embarrassed because he messed up in front of judge and former "Top Chef All Stars" winner  Richard Blais and castigated himself accordingly. At the time, True had taken over for Blais at the Spence in Midtown.

In an interview Friday after the episode aired, True said he wasn't sure if Blais' presence necessarily caused him to cook worse but acknowledged "it was a little weird. I wasn't nervous. I wasn't scared of him or thought he was better. It was just an awkward situation honestly. I feel better now that I'm at a different restaurant." (He left the Spencer after a few months and moved to the Optimist.)

After that disastrous third challenge, True redeemed himself in episode four with a Quickfire challenge win the next episode, guaranteeing immunity that day. He had to use a solar-powered stove and created a set of shrimp dishes in coconut broth, lemongrass, sautéed mushrooms, and pickled red onion. He also had a $10,000 donation to World Central Kitchen made on his behalf, and his very own solar-powered stove.

Week five, he was in the top three, cooking his favorite dish with Kwame Onwuachi, who he calls a "kid genius" at age 25.

But in the quickfire last night, he spent part of the time fishing around for a lobster that he thought someone may have taken. In reality, he had misplaced it. Angelina Bastides, on the bottom, picked True as her foe for a Quickfire elimination and lost. So she was out.

But then came True's unfortunate lamb. "I tend to overanalyze things," he said. "Did it need to cook another minute or 20 seconds? I screwed myself. When I was cooking it, I did lay it out to rest. I then put it in another two minutes. I almost didn't do that. If I hadn't, it would have been perfect."

He said the competition was so strong, he felt by the time he got to the top 10, he was in solid company. "I almost made it halfway," he said. "If I had left a week earlier, I would have been disappointed. But I'm okay with how I did."

The judges almost eliminated Jason Stratton for his unappetizing squid meatballs but chose True instead. "I'd rather eat overcooked lamb," True said, "then squid meatballs."

Credit: Rodney Ho

Credit: Rodney Ho