Exclusive Clip: Top Chef Contestants Clash During Out-Of-Control Grocery Shop

An exclusive preview from tomorrow's "Top Chef" reveals that even the best of the best have trouble budgeting. In the episode, the Cheftestants must whip up a relish tray for a Wisconsin supper club on a grocery budget of $1,000. This may seem more than enough, but trouble quickly arises as the teams realize their imaginations have outgrown their funds.

Despite the Orange Team's Rasika sacrificing almost all of her ingredients because she has immunity, the Green Team's budget is substantially diminished by Laura's expensive collection of items. Costs rocket from $600 to over $900, leaving Danny with practically nothing to work with. Although the others offer to help and work together, it's clear Danny has been given the short end of the stick.

While the problem the Cheftestants are experiencing is somewhat unique (wouldn't it be nice to be worried about a $1,000 grocery budget?), it calls back to some of the biggest mistakes we make when grocery shopping. For example, if the teams had gotten together and written a list, taking into account the price per unit of their items, they may have noticed that some items were too expensive and didn't add much value. Of course, this is said with the caveat that, since "Top Chef" is maybe, possibly, totally fake, the lack of preparation is likely a deliberate production choice to heighten the drama.

Budgeting problems aren't isolated to the Cheftestants

The clip also speaks to a wider anxiety. Based on a poll by Yahoo Finance and Ipsos, 67% of voters feel that food prices have been the most heavily impacted by inflation. Things have gotten so drastic that the White House has weighed in, with President Biden launching the Strike Force on Unfair and Illegal Pricing dedicated to holding corporations accountable. While the Cheftestants don't get political in their discussions, they do demonstrate an awareness of how expensive luxury items can blow a budget to smithereens, with Laura's chocolate, alcohol, and vanilla being called out. Compare this to earlier in the clip when the gang is removing onions from the cart to save money only to hear "The onions are not the problem!" 

It's fairly obvious that Laura is being given the villain edit treatment here, standing silent as her expensive items throw Danny firmly under the bus. There are plenty of rude things you can do at the grocery store, but have you ever taken a friend (or a candy-obsessed child) with you, only to find your cart filled with a bunch of stuff you didn't want? Or, if you live with roommates and have a shared grocery budget, you may have had to rein in one individual who doesn't realize that their luxury buying habits have a negative impact on necessities. It seems like this is the feeling "Top Chef" producers are trying to evoke in viewers. 

Tune-In: "Top Chef" airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on Bravo.