Time for Top Chef episode 7, and this one promised to be a doozy and was kind of a let down. The drama and entertainment of this show always has the potential to be more than it is, but at the same time, I can’t turn away. Maybe I have faith that it will eventually reach its full potential, or maybe I just love relishing my snob slash asshole personality and running with it. This show definitely indulges that part of anyone’s personality. Anyway, the title of this post represents the Elimination Challenge and the complete lack of concern I felt for the contestants.
And one more thing before we start. While I love Jordan Baker and tend to consider her one of the funniest people in the world I have yet to meet, that triflin’ ass ho straight up jacked my words. She claims she’ll start to judge the dishes based on VOM and NOM, which I totes invented a few weeks ago when I started regularly blogging about the show. Has she been blogging about this forever? Yes. But has she been as awesome as I? Debatable. What’s not in question is the fact that I was cool enough to mix vom and nom in the same phrase (see my reaction to Aisha Tyler in the same room as Richard Roeper). I expect a round of drinks for when we go out. Or else… I’ll challenge her to an all out blog war.
We wake up with the contestants in Casa de Chef. Andrew is still as obnoxious and clingy as ever, whereas Antonia is freaking out about being in the bottom a few times. She starts the blatantly obvious theme of tonight’s episode – “No Room For Error.” Which is odd, because you’d think someone would go home for a technicality or misinterpreting the rules since they hit you over the head with this theme so many times. But no, the judges just didn’t like someone so they sent them home. In other news, Optimus Lez is still missing Zoi and wants to win the entire thing for her. Her desperate attempt at a story line is starting to grate on me, and I had a tiny inkling she was in trouble. Let’s stay tuned to see if I’m right.
The chefs head to the Top Chef kitchen and see a mountainous table of desserts. Nikki, in typical fat ass Nikki fashion, talks about how whenever she goes out, she has to order dessert, and sometimes orders several. Way to make yourself look hot on national television there, Niks. Great call. Our guest chef slash judge this time is Johnny Iuzzi, and he seems like kind of a tool, but in the toolish way that gay guys and girls would still totally want to do him. He hasn’t slid in to Rocco DiSpirito territory yet. But he’s teetering…he’s standing right on the line. The Quickfire is to make a dessert – no twist, no extra layer. The thing is, most chefs have no dessert training whatsoever, since most fine dining restaurants have pastry chefs, so there’s no need to train the head chef in that regard. So the challenge of creating a dessert out of nowhere is challenging enough in its own right. Lisa bitches on and on about how when one is cooking a pastry, if one measurement is off or one ingredient is wrong, the entire thing is crap and tastes disgusting. I hate that she has to whine about everything, but she’s totally right – pastries are more about math and science and less about merging flavors. Then Spike goes on and on about how awesome he is – he memorized a recipe for molten chocolate cake but is totally chucking it to do a pineapple slash rum slash raisin slash shit flavored soufflé dessert. The thing is, who can’t make a molten chocolate cake? And do you really want to memorize that particular recipe when previous contestants have been called out on it for being boring? It’s one of the most clichéd desserts you can make in 2008. Would we expect anything different from Spike, though? Richard goes toward actual talent and makes a banana scallops dessert with banana guacamole and chocolate ice cream. Holy shit, that sounds good. Jenn and Andrew seem like solid choices with a chocolate cake and frozen chocolate banana bits and a banana and chocolate ravioli with coffee and nutella pudding, respectively. Dale makes his own twist of a traditional Filipino dessert named halo-halo – he used shaved ice and mixed it with avocado, mango, kiwi, and nuts. The rest are forgettable or just plain gross, so the bottom three are Antonia, Spike, and Mark. Antonia’s didn’t come together, Mark’s had no composition, and while Spike is commended for trying a soufflé, he’s still in the bottom three. In typical selective listening Spike mode, he talks about how Johnny complimented his balls, when really Johnny wanted nothing to do with his balls or his desserts.
The top three are Dale, Lisa, and Richard. Dale’s halo-halo was praised for bring so many flavors together, Lisa’s shitty yogurt/fruit puree and fried wontons (which she totes stole from Steph in the Block Party episode), and Richard for his kick ass scallops and guac mixture. Richard wins the contest and immunity, and is bestowed with the honor of being the only Season 4 chef in the official Top Chef cook book. His immunity should come in handy in the next challenge, which Padma refuses to announce, but strangely tells the chefs about attending Second City Improv that night. Just like Jeff Sebelia said on Project Runway, it’s never a party, it’s always a trap. And the only part weirder than Padma telling them about it and them not figuring it out immediately is Mark, the foreigner, reading off of cue cards a list of famous SC alums to show its significance. Sorry, but claiming Steve Carrell at this point is like saying that Michael Vicks played football for your high school – he might be talented, but his career is practically shit.
The morons that are this season go into this date super jazzed about what’s in store in a night of hilarity. After some clearly out of context jokes that, most likely, would not be funny in context, the performers ask the audience for suggestions. First up is colors. Then emotions. All of a sudden, they want people to list ingredients. What’s that you say, Nikki? You’re a super genius and you figured out this week’s Elimination Challenge? You don’t say! Well aren’t you the smartest girl ever? My notes literally say, “I can’t believe the mental power that is Nikki; she blows me away.” I love that my notes have semi-colons. It makes me feel better about myself when I sleep at night.
Five courses are put together, and people choose their pairs, and then pull a number out of a hat for their course. Spike and Andrew team up and name themselves “Team Douchey McFucktard Attention Whore,” or the easier to digest “Team My Worst Nightmare.” The only other pairs to be noted, since they are the only other ones to comment on their teams, are Dale and Richard, and Steph and Jenn. So basically, my favorites team up in two pairs, and my least favorites pair up in one team. And they’ll get a lot of screen time. Fantastic. Here are the courses and pairs –
Yellow Love Vanilla – Team My Worst Nightmare
Magenta Drunk Polish Sausage – Lisa and Antonia
Orange Turned-On Asparagus – Steph and Jenn
Purple Depressed Bacon – Mark and Nikki
Green Perplexed Tofu – Dale and Richard
Essentially, the crowd at this showing was excessively homosexual and inebriated. Doesn’t turn out with a great mix of words or range of colors, but we’ll deal. The pairs have a budget of $150 and 30 minutes at Whole Paycheck to figure out what they’re going to do. Jenn’s personality starts to emerge more when she discusses the ménage à trois that she’s planned with orange, asparagus, and goat cheese. It’s nice to see her become her own person. I’ve even started calling her Jenn and not Richard’s Lesbian Twin or Queen Elezabeth. That’s proof that she’s cementing herself. In other news, Richard is taking the perplexing tofu to full tilt and rendering beef fat to marinate his tofu in. Tofu that tastes like meat? Sounds perfect.
Lisa continues to be her usual cunty self by refusing to dumb her dish down and use Polish sausage. The thing is, they only have three parameters here to use. Color. Emotion. Ingredient. When you throw one out, you’re kind of fucked from the beginning. When your dish is supposed to be Magenta Drunken Polish Sausage and you throw out a Chilean Sea Bass and Purple Potato Puree with a Tequila Chorizo, you have obviously not paid attention. Way to go, Lisa and Antonia. Meanwhile, Spike and Andrew are literally making it up as they go at the cashier, and Spike is insisting on a squash soup. Antonia says she’d vomit in her mouth if he won for that dish since he threw Zoi under the bus over the same dish earlier in the game. I think we’d all like to vomit every time we heard Spike speak, but that’s not really going to help anyone.
The chefs all have three hours to cook in three hours, and quickly learn that there are no electric machines in the kitchen. The improv theme is going a little far, especially considering the next concept they come up with. Some more time is filled until my superstar comes on screen, and Jenn and Steph discuss how their dish will have sexual connotations and phallic symbolism. I love them. F’reals.
At around ninety minutes into the three hours cooking time, Colicchio walks in and tells them that they have twenty minutes to pack everything up and finish their dishes at Casa de Chef. They’ll be given one last hour to finish everything at the house, which throws most people into a bit of a frenzy. Most people does not include Lisa, since her greasy sixth sense figured out the trick light years before everyone else. It’s so weird – I thought we were watching a reality show on chefs competing for bragging rights, but we’re actually watching several species of White Trash contend for America’s Smartest Retard. Who knew?
The best part of my notes for this episode is next – “Ew. Rich is wearing pink clogs.” I think that about sums it up.
Nikki then goes on and on about how we can’t make a mistake at this level. Then Spike discusses his Second Coming some more. Eventually, the teams finish their dishes and start to present them to the judges. I’ll list them since I’m lazy as shit.
Yellow Love Vanilla – Team My Worst Nightmare comes up with a squash soup with vanilla crème fraîche. I hate them with every fiber of my being, but I can tell they did an incredible job with this soup, and the judges agree. Padma even volunteers to lick everyone’s bowls. Because she’s a dirty, filthy, pot-smoking slut.
Orange Turned-On Asparagus – Team Adorable brings out a ménage à trois of orange, asparagus, and goat cheese. Their presentation is phenomenal, but the problem is, it’s not a ménage à trois. It’s an orgy, as Ted puts it, since it includes a salad olive tapenade, almonds, and a huge chunk of bread. The judges hate how difficult it is to eat and access – too many flavors and overly complicated. The three main ingredients they focused on are three of my all-time favorites, and I didn’t want anything to do with this dish. I think that says something. I love these girls and these flavors, but this dish was a trainwreck.
Green Perplexed Tofu – This team not only worked well together, they complimented each other when it came to presenting their dish. Not to get all technical or anything, but they also made an amazing dish – grilled beef tofu with green curry. Tofu that tastes like meat in a mean green curry sauce is genius. The judges are head over heels.
Magenta Drunk Polish Sausage – Their ingredient may have been Polish sausage, but they presented a final dish of Chilean sea bass with purple potato puree and tequila chorizo. The girls not only missed the boat completely, but they took tequila shots in front of the judges and then awkwardly refused to share the Mexican wealth. When you already broke the rules of the challenge, don’t refuse booze to the people who decide your fate. One of the diners claimed that these girls saw the dish’s title as more of a burden than
an assignment or inspiration.
Purple Depressed Bacon – Mark explains that the bacon is depressed because it has to share the plate with brussels sprouts. Okay, two things – this is kinda cute, but it’s also a throwaway comment that is a little too ethereal to justify their usage and it demeans their dish. What the fuck? Nevertheless, their mix of pork tenderloin with sweet potatoes, grape sauce, jus, brussels sprouts, and bacon ends up saving their asses. Seems pretty boring and bland, but the judges find it comforting and claim it would cheer them up if they were depressed. Lame.
My notes call the bottom two as Steph/Jenn and Antonia/Lisa with the top two being Douche/Asshat and Dale/Richard. Then Jenn notes that, as she’s cleaning up the kitchen, she’s packing up her knives and that’s a bad sign. Then the editors play that irritating thump that’s come to mean foreshadowing, and I’m convinced Optimus Lez is going home. Shit. It’s blatantly obvious that I’m right with the placings, though. As the two top teams get called in, Spike is almost unbearable as he talks about how amazing he is for coming up with the soup concept and how his mother told him that only real chefs can make soup, when really it was Ming Tsai who told them when they had the Four Elements challenge. At the last second, he throws Andrew a bone and mentions that he helped. Dale and Richard compliment each other perfectly and the judges rave over their dish. They are the winners (FUCK YES – not only did two faves win, but Douchey McFucktard lost) and they go home with $2500 worth of Calphalon cooking products. Also, how did Dale shift so quickly from hated piece of shit to one of these season’s faves? I guess we’ll never know…
The bottom two are called in, and while I would be most happy with seeing Lisa slash Sunshine go home, it’s clear that Colicchio isn’t happy with either team. Team Magenta didn’t follow the assignment and kind of went their own way, whereas Team Orange added too many flavors and overpowered their simplistic dish. The judges go back and forth on which is the bigger flaw – completely ignoring the rules of the challenge or simply making a bad dish. In the end, the bad dish and not the blatant rule-breaking is what matters, and Queen Elezabeth goes home. Jenn, we were just getting to know (and love) you, and now we have to say goodbye. Tis a shame, tis a shame, indeed.
Next week, we see kids working in the kitchen and Spikes tries to murder one. Anyone who doesn’t already hate him should quickly follow in suit.