Team challenge trips up Marrow's Sarah Welch on Bravo's 'Top Chef'

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

Call it the curse of episode four. 

When Mabel Gray chef James Rigato was on "Top Chef" in season 12, and when Detroit's Kiki Louya  competed last year, both chefs were eliminated on the fourth episode. 

Marrow chef Sarah Welch met the same fate on Thursday's episode of "Top Chef: Houston," the show's 19th season. She was eliminated along with California chef Robert Hernandez.

In the episode, titled "Doppelgängers," the two were teamed up for a challenge requiring them to make dishes that looked the same but tasted completely different. Welch made a savory shrimp dish that was made to look just like Hernandez' strawberry panna cotta. 

Detroit chef Sarah Welch is on the new season of 'Top Chef,' debuting March 3.

The judges — Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons, plus "Top Chef: All-Stars L.A." winner Melissa King and Top Chef Masters alum Wylie Dufresne — determined that the pair's dishes just didn't have the proper consistency, and the colors were a little off as well. Colicchio said the issue was "cooking mistakes."

Lakshmi also seemed annoyed that Welch, who said she is allergic to shellfish, made a shrimp dish.

Welch and Hernandez had an opportunity to redeem themselves on "Last Chance Kitchen," a short "Top Chef" bonus series which airs On Demand and on YouTube.

"I think it's just a really difficult challenge," said Welch on the show. "You have to replicate the dish in visual appearance but also make it delicious ... I think we've both proven that we cook really delicious food but the cooking part just got away from us this time." 

"I love Sarah, we formed such a bond together," said Hernandez on LCK. "But I do feel like if this was not a double elimination, I would not be going home, which is what's so hard about this whole situation." 

The winner of "Last Chance Kitchen" gets to stay on and continue to compete on that show. The winner gets a chance to return to the main "Top Chef" competition. Last season, Las Vegas chef Jamie Tran was eliminated from "Top Chef" in episode four, but because of "Last Chance Kitchen" was able to return to "Top Chef" in episode seven. 

See if chef Welch gets to stay on by watching "Last Chance Kitchen" on YouTube here: