Jen Jasinski moves to the finals of Top Chef Masters

Categories: Cafe Society

The four surviging chefs at the start of last night's episode: David Burke, Jen Jasinski, Bryan Voltaggio and Douglas Keane.
Denver will be in the national spotlight next week -- and we're not talking about Monday Night Football. The really big game is on TV two days later, when Jen Jasinski will compete in the final round of 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, has made a strong comeback since she was kicked off, then won a challenge to rejoin the show. Brought back from the dead on last week's installment, she won both challenges, netting another $15,000 for Work Options for Women, her chosen charity. And last night Jasinski's burger took the first challenge -- judged by Sang Yoon, who was kicked off the week before -- and won another $5,000 for WOW.

See also: Denver's 50 most essential restaurants, No. 47 -- Rioja

Jen Jasinski's rack of lamb with creamy grains, pear, fennel, and red-wine reduction.
But Jasinski's really big win was surviving the final elimination, the "Teacher Tribute," even though her lamb was considered "undercooked" by both the judges and the sniping chefs in the kitchen.

Here's judge Gail Simmons's explanation of why that lamb didn't get Jasinski sent home:

I thought the lamb was a little undercooked. I didn't have a problem with it personally, but I know that's a very subjective question. In general, I do think it was undercooked for the majority of people there and for how lamb really should be. It was just a little too pink in the center, almost blue. I think that was daunting for a lot of people. I also wish it had been more seared on the outside, that she would have developed a little more crust or char, which would have given it more flavor and also helped the texture. There's a lot of fat on the outside of a lamb chop like that. If you don't render it down, it becomes chewy and fatty to eat.

But the grains and fennel she paired with it were absolutely outrageous! I loved that she started with the idea of porridge and, just like Mama Bear's, it was just right

The honored teacher also had a very touching reaction to Jasinski's dish.

And so instead, David Burke was sent home, and Jaskinski moved into the finals against Bryan Voltaggio and Douglas Keane. That episode will air at 8 p.m. Wednesday, September 25 on Bravo.

Best place to watch? Euclid Hall, where all the TVs in the place will be tuned to that channel.

Location Info


1431 Larimer St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Euclid Hall Bar & Kitchen

1317 14th St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Bistro Vendome

1420 Larimer St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

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Good for her! Every time one of the guys on this show underestimates her, she takes them down.


wow... His name is Sang Yoon not Soon Yang.  


wow Patricia... His name is Sang Yoon not Soon Yang.....


Good on her, but she has zero chance of winning the finals.  Both Voltaggio and Keane have been odds-on favorites since the beginning of the season, so it would be a huge upset to catch both of them on a bad night and win.   Truth is she was lucky to squeak in; her second-chance back into the competition was a farcically obvious attempt by the producers to right a wrong by the judges to eliminate the last two women in the competition in the same double elimination round (when it was Voltaggio who should have gone home for an inventive but inedible dish).   On this night, Jasinski's dish seemed undercooked to all but the most avid rare/raw meat eaters, but her competition had done an unimaginative chocolate souffle dessert.     Entrees never lose to desserts on TC.

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