Lucca - The final five travel to Italy. First the chefs must make an Aperitivo for 30 locals from the town of Lucca that pairs perfectly with a Peroni beer. Then, they must use in a dish for a Tuscan food festival.
Bravo's Top Chef Season 17 finale in Italy did not get off to a great start for Gregory Gourdet.
Going into the first Quickfire Challenge in Tuscany, Gregory revealed that he had thrown his back out during the culinary competition. "It takes a lot out of you, and I'm really hoping my back doesn't bother me through these finals," Gregory said in an interview during the June 4 episode of Top Chef.
But Gregory didn't give up and pushed through the pain to serve up a dish fit for happy hour during the Quickfire and a dish featuring white truffles for a Tuscan food festival for the elimination challenge. Unfortunately, the judges didn't feel that the white truffles worked in Gregory's stew, and he was sent to pack his knives and go.
Gregory opened up more about his back injury and his Top Chef elimination in a post on Instagram on June 6, revealing that "there was a lot of drama off camera" and that he has had issues with his back for a decade. "10 years ago I had my first back issue, threw it in the walk in and had to stay in bed for a day," Gregory shared. "Over the years it came and went, only thing that helped was constant exercise, yoga, acupuncture."
Unfortunately, Gregory's back started acting up again just as he and his fellow Top Chef Season 17 finalists (Stephanie Cmar, Kevin Gillespie, Melissa King, and Bryan Voltaggio) got ready to head to Italy. "Hours before we got on the plane for the Top Chef finals in Italy I had a debilitating spasm that had me limping and pushing through. I had another one halfway into the first quickfire in Lucca two days later," he wrote. "The next 24 hours was a rotation of medics, doctors and chiropractors giving me shots in my butt, adjustments and pain meds so I could just make it through the truffle challenge. I could barely walk during the truffle hunt and the grocery shop."
Gregory explained his thought process behind cooking that stew for the elimination challenge. "I chose to make the dish I did because I knew I could make it injured. I crossed my fingers it would work but alas it was the wrong dish for the challenge and not executed great," he said. "As you saw there are serious rules with how to respectfully use this cherished ingredient. I blew it by blowing out the delicate white truffle. I was then in bed for 3 days after my elimination unable to move then finally flew home."
Gregory showed his gratitude for all of the support throughout his Top Chef journey. "A huge thank you to everyone that tuned in and rooted for me. I only hope I was able to bring you an hour of entertainment during these historic times," he shared. "Things in society have gotten far more serious so this is a perfect time to transition into focusing on more critical things."
But all in all, Gregory is proud of his performance during Top Chef Season 17, especially how he represented his Haitian heritage. "I made some mistakes, one sent me home before the finale but I can honestly say I gave 100% each day, got to show America Haitian food," Gregory said. "I have zero regrets."
Gregory concluded his note with an inspiring message. "Remember everything you need in life is already inside of you," he said. "Please keep up the fight everyone. Much love."
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