It was a historic moment—the first completely live, totally unedited, in-real-time Top Chef Quickfire challenge. On March 2, right before the Top Chef Season 14 season finale, host Padma Lakshmi revealed the mystery cheftestants: Casey Thompson and Sam Talbot, veterans from Top Chef Charleston.
As part of the Lay's Do Us a Flavor campaign, fans cast votes online to determine the flavor mashup the two chefs would be highlighting in the live Quickfire. In her "finest Vanna White moment," Padma dramatically revealed the winning duo: blue cheese and honey.
Guest judge Art Smith was enthused about the pairing. "I love stinky cheese," he proclaimed. "Stinky, stinky, stinky. And I think it's delicious. And I love honey, because I think honey is a…wonderful foil with cheese."
With 15 minutes on the clock, Casey and Sam raced to grab their ingredients and started cooking. The chefs chopped, whisked, grated, sautéed, and fried while the minutes ticked away. Casey busted out liquid nitrogen to make a quick blue cheese ice cream, while Sam fried up some cornmeal and honey-crusted chicken. Padma and Art worked up an appetite watching the cheftstants and even popped open a bag of Lay's potato chips to munch on while they waited for the chefs to finish their dishes.
When 15 minutes was up, Casey presented a blue cheese ice cream with compressed pears, white balsamic vinegar, and honey.
Casey's blue cheese ice cream
Sam offered up cornmeal-crusted fried chicken with honey, blue cheese, and pluots.
Sam's cornmeal-crusted fried chicken
And the winner was…Sam! He took home $10,000 and the first Live Quickfire honors. We're betting he probably snagged a few bags of potato chips, too.
Have your own killer flavor idea? Submit your flavor at Lay's Do Us a Flavor and maybe it could be worth $1 million.
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