Jen Jasinski did Denver proud last night on Top Chef Masters. The chef/co-owner of Rioja, Bistro Vendome and Euclid Hall, who was named this year's Best Chef Southwest in the James Beard Foundation competition -- won both challenges, netting another $15,000 for Work Options for Women, her chosen charity. That makes WOW's total take $30,000 so far -- and there are still two more episodes.
"So bleeping cool to win both challenges," Jasinski texts. "I was feeling underestimated, so redemption is sweet."
See also: Chef Jen Jasinski weighs in on her battle to win Top Chef Masters.
It's a strong comeback for Jasinski, who'd been booted out of the competition at the end of the August 28 installment, then beat fellow evictee Sue Zemanick in a web-only Battle of the Sous Chefs to rejoin the show on September 4 -- where a couple of male chefs took a few shots at Jasinski, the sole surviving female.
They're not acting so cocky now. In last night's first challenge, "Make a Dish That Features Ketchup," Jasinski wowed the judges with her scallop with ketchup sauce, fermented black beans, avocados and blood orange. That was a fast $5,000 for WOW.
For the elimination challenge, "Cater a Lucha Vavoom Mexican Burlesque Event," Jasinski created guajillo chile posole with shaved cabbage, lime, cilantro and queso fresco, as well as shrimp, bass and scallop ceviche with papaya, mango, pineapple and plaintain crisp.
Jasinski loves posole -- and the judges loved hers. She won the second challenge of the night with this combo, earning another $10,000 for WOW.
And Sang Yoon was sent home.
Only four chefs and two episodes of Top Chef Masters remain. The top Top Chef will be named on September 25. For more information, go to bravo.com -- where you can also vote for the hometeam, and help win even more money for Work Options for Women, a homegrown program that trains women who've come through tough economic times for careers in the dining industry.
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They couldn't cook up a more inspirational role model than Jen Jasinski.