'Last Chance Kitchen': A Second Shot at Fame for 'Top Chef' Losers

Friday, 24 Jan 2014 07:23 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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As Bravo's popular "Top Chef" reality competition heats up, chefs who have been eliminated from the show in previous seasons have found new life and popularity in the web series "Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen," which concluded Season 3 on Wednesday.

In the web series, the eliminated "Top Chef" contestants go head-to-head through a series of challenges to win a place back on the regular show, giving "Last Chance Kitchen" its dramatic edge. Chefs Carlos Gaytan and Louis Maldonado battled in Wednesday night's web show.

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"Last season, 'Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen' received more than 9.5 million views, and redefined the relationship between linear programming and a companion web series," said Adam Flomenbaum, of the website Lost Remote. "Enabling eliminated contestants (sometimes fan favorites) from a reality series to compete in a different medium and then re-enter the competition is a strategy sure to be employed by networks moving forward as they look for more ways to engage fans across platforms." 

Gaytan and Maldonado were whisked off with the other remaining "Top Chef" contestants Wednesday in the last battle to reach the Bravo show's finals.

"'Last Chance Kitchen' took its last two competitors to Maui with the rest of the finale cheftestants to face off in the final leg of ('Last Chance Kitchen') in tropical Hawaii," wrote Mariella Mosthof of the website The Braiser.com. "Louis and Carlos got a whopping 60 minutes to make a dish with fresh native fish, but that's only because they had to make five plates. 

"One for (lead judge Tom Colicchio), one for Emeril (Lagasse), and one for each of the finale contestants — all of whom got a vote in choosing their future competitor," Mosthof added.

The web series aired immediately after the Bravo's "Top Chef" regular 10 p.m. Wednesday show ended. Season 11 took place in New Orleans.

The chefs had to impress culinary experts and a slew of celebrity guest stars this season, including Jon Favreau, Lea Michelle, Anthony Mackie, Questlove, Leah Chase, Paul Prudhomme, Jacques Pepin, David Chang, John Besh, and Eddie Huang as well as local New Orleans legends Kermit Ruffins and Dr. John.

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