"Top Chef" nods to KFC before stepping into the ring to honor boxing legend, activist and Louisville, Kentucky native Muhammad Ali.

By Korsha Wilson
February 14, 2019
David Moir/Bravo

It's another round of sports-adjacent Top Chef challenges for the cheftestants after a three-on-three basketball cook-off got the better of Michelle Minori. But first, a Quickfire has the chefs taking on perhaps the most famous Kentucky-branded product other than bourbon: fried chicken. Specifically, the kind Colonel Sanders pioneered and chef Art Smith cut his culinary teeth cooking up in his early years.

Then, not only do the chefs have to make a meal inspired by the late Muhammad Ali, they’ll also be judged by Padma Lakshmi, Nilou Motamed, Tom Colicchio and Ali's daughter Laila Ali, a boxing legend in her own right. Nilou is (rightfully) fangirling at the judge’s table and asks Laila a profound question about what lessons her father taught her that she uses in her life. Laila says compassion is something she uses every day that she learned from her father. “Compassion for others, we don’t have to agree with one another but we’d all be in a better place if we all had compassion and understanding,” Laila says.

In the kitchen, the chefs are putting finishing touches on their dishes and helping each other with the task of plating. Sara’s first up to present, and once her dish is plated she brings it out to the judges and is handed a microphone. “This is my worst nightmare,” the Kentucky-native says as she looks out at the crowd and tries to make sure her microphone is on. She tells the crowd that her dish of king salmon and cucumbers is inspired by Ali’s first professional boxing match at Freedom Hall in Louisville in 1960 (Ali’s went by Cassius Clay Jr. at the time) and the fact that he moved “as quick as lighting”.

Will Sara’s dish impress Laila Ali and help her win the competition?

'Top Chef’ in Kentucky airs tonight at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Bravo. ‘Last Chance Kitchen’ streams immediately following the show at BravoTV.com/Last-Chance-Kitchen. Find additional interviews, chef bios, and more at BravoTV.com/TopChef.

Advertisement