Buddha Lo Calls Out Chefs for Making Croquettes

Buddha Lo is a two-time Top Chef winner, executive chef at Hūso in New York City, and a Saratoga Spring Water brand ambassador. He is sharing his thoughts after each episode of Top Chef season 21, set in Wisconsin, offering a unique perspective as a former cheftestant.

Warning: This article contains spoilers.

There was a lot to take in with this episode. We’re starting to find out a lot more about the chefs. Let’s dive right in.

Kristen Kish, Carla Hall, Clea Duvall, Michelle Wallace on Top Chef episode 3.

David Moir/Bravo


It was a cherry challenge, and I thought the techniques a couple of the chefs were using to pit the cherries were interesting. I would’ve just gone straight into slicing the cheeks off it, like how you would for a small peach.

Rasika won with cherries and cipollini onions. She showed a lot of knowledge about making sure there’s a balance, because the cherries love the sweet and sour combination.

Charlie did beets, which was very gutsy. I wouldn’t dare touch a beet or even try to cook a whole beet within 30 minutes and then slice that. Kaleena’s cabbage was too large — and it seems like she just barbecued it and put it in the container.

Rasika Venkatesa.

David Moir/Bravo


Finally! Cheese! It was a very interesting challenge because the judges don’t decide who the winner is, the festival guests do.

Two things: First, I think a lot of the chefs got in their head as soon they heard Cheese Fest Wisconsin. They said, “I’m going to do a fried cheese.” If I was in the challenge and I heard so many people doing crispy fried components, I would’ve avoided it like the plague. It’s not Top Croquette, it’s Top Chef.

Second, when we saw Tom Colicchio’s walk through, he was deeply concerned about Kevin’s crab and gorgonzola dish. He said, “If you can pull it off you could win.” Whenever you hear something like that, pivot.

Michelle Wallace won the elimination challenge on Top Chef episode 3.

David Moir/Bravo


Michelle is no one to sleep on. She is coming out all guns blazing. She had an excellent idea doing a meal with the collard greens. I’ve never heard of that combination before and I thought that was brilliant.


Kevin was sent home for his crab salad and gorgonzola dish. Running low on his relish before serving the judges was really unfortunate. It’s one of the few times where the luck of the draw of serving last really does hurt you.

Kenny Nguyen was eliminated on Top Chef episode 3.

David Moir/Bravo


I would say there’s a good top four:

  1. Manny had didn’t have a great daily elimination, but he’s been hearing some strong comments from the judges.
  2. Michelle, her instincts as a chef, she just knows how to work it, work good flavors and be able to execute it at the same time.
  3. Rasika (for obvious reasons).
  4. Dan has been quiet, but they loved his vision in the elimination challenge, and he seems to be quiet and confident. So yeah, he hasn’t been getting a ton of comments yet, but that’s kind of scary.

I was very quiet at the start of my season, so we’ll see what happens. It’s a long game.

Top Chef airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo.

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