Brother Luck on His Triumphant (and Brief) Return to 'Top Chef'
Life rarely gives you do-overs, but Top Chef season 16 in Kentucky gave a former cheftestant the chance to compete for the title once more. In a surprising twist, season 15 chef Brother Luck, also known as the ‘king of Last Chance Kitchen,’ entered this season’s competition after beating eliminated chef Nini Nguyen in a head-to-head three-course meal. Luck was thrilled, but the rest of the cheftestants were shocked and in their confessionals talked about not wanting “a new guy” in the house or in the competition. Luck’s elation was short-lived, however, when he found himself on the bottom of a cocktail-inspired challenge and was asked to pack his knives and go.
We caught up with Brother to talk about what it was like joining the competition mid-season, how the chefs in the house really treated him, who he’s rooting for and what advice he has for other LCK competitors.
Food and Wine: What inspired you to come back to Top Chef?
Brother Luck: I felt unsettled leaving Last Chance Kitchen after losing in the final round to Joe Flamm.
FW: What did you think when you first met your competitors in LCK? Did you know Carrie Baird and Jim Smith were going to be there?
BL: I was excited to see familiar faces. I had no idea Jim or Carrie would be joining me as a veteran and I was excited to cook against such talented chefs.
FW: What do you think of this crop of Top Chef contestants? What did you think when you saw them in action?
BL: I think this group of chefs are very diverse and talented. They have a great bond and come from amazing pedigrees. I just wanted to be a resource for them after seeing them in action. I remember we all had so many questions during season 15 and nobody to answer them.
FW: What was it like being the new guy in the house in Kentucky?
BL: It was really tough because I knew that nobody wanted me there. They were all very professional and I didn’t experience any negativity like what I saw on the airing.
FW: Do you wish you had done a different dish in the elimination challenge?
BL: I didn’t understand the challenge because I was so exhausted when it was presented. I liked my dish but made some mistakes that cost me my position on the show.
FW: Do you feel like one of your competitors should have gone home instead of you?
BL: I have no idea who should have gone home since I never tasted the other chefs' dishes. The judges go through a grueling process when deciding who will be eliminated and I respect their choice.
FW: Who do you think is going to be Top Chef? Who are you rooting for?
BL: I hope to see Eric win the show. He seemed like he was focused and determined to prevail. It’s tough to say though because I wasn’t there long.
FW: You’ve been called the “King of Last Chance Kitchen.” What advice would you give a chef if they were entering Last Chance Kitchen for the first time?
BL: Build 75% of your dish from the available pantry on display while Tom presents the challenge. The coolers are always a mystery but the dry ingredients aren’t.
FW: What was the most challenging LCK for you? Who was the toughest competitor?
BL: The toughest LCK was competing against Joe Flamm with a 'cook whatever you want' challenge. Tom gave us way too much time and I overthought everything. My toughest competitor is still Claudette Zepeda Wilkins. She is another LCK monster that really made me work for a win.
FW: Are you glad that you came back? Would you do it again?
BL: I’m very proud of my accomplishments and earning the final victory in Last Chance Kitchen. I don’t think I have anything to prove as a competitor but would come back as a coach or a judge. Maybe for Top Chef Junior, I love watching those mini chefs!!!!