I’m having a really difficult time with this season of Top Chef. My problem is that I actually like almost all the chefs quite a bit, and I find myself irrationally sad when one gets the boot. Even worse, every episode that I assertively decide that I like a particularly person, he or she goes home. John, the kooky dude with dreads? I liked him. Gone. Jacqueline, the blonde woman who always looked like she needed a hug? I wanted her to go far. Gone. Tracey, the jolly lesbian who looked not unlike Rosie O’Donnell? I thought she was a great contender for dark horse. GONE. Heck, I was sad to see even Arnold, the prissy gay dude, go home. He was a bit too sensitive, but he looked like he could cook, and he was at least entertaining. Nope. No love for him. He too got chopped. My track record remained unblemished.
Sadly, I must report that my Paul-the-Octopus sense over who’s going home continued through Wednesday night when I realized that I had a bizarre adoration for Tim, the humble chef from Maryland. There’s something about Tim that I find so immensely likable. He just seems like the friendliest guy ever, and watching him sadly look this way and that after the Quickfire that he thought he had nailed was one of those heartbreaking moments that made me love him even more. Unfortunately, I noticed that he was receiving way too much screen time, which meant he was either going to win the episode or go home. Guess how things shook out?
The moment that Tom, Padma, Eric, and guest judge Patrick O’Connell (who was wonderfully WASPy, particularly with his laugh) crinkled their noses at Tim’s dish during the elimination challenge, I knew he was done. Heck, I knew he was done when Kelly demanded he fork over his prized beets. There was hardly any suspense about it, especially since the other two chefs in the bottom — Stephen and Amanda — hardly had any screen time this episode. Poor Tim. Such a nice guy.
The challenges this week centered on regional cuisine. The Quickfire had the chefs utilizing Maryland blue crabs, which resulted in Angelo divulging that he once had crabs — the STD, not the crustacean — and wasn’t a fan of them. I can assure him it probably wasn’t any better for the crabs either. Angelo is proving to be a fine villain, except unlike previous assholes (ie. Hung), he’s not that fun to watch. He’s just pompous and shrill, and while his bizarre mentorship/attraction to Tamesha is somewhat endearing, I’m overall turned off by the guy, especially since I get the sense that he’s going to turn on her at some point.
As for the Elimination challenge, all the chefs had to work together in one big team to serve up a family-style lunch for 40 people on an organic farm. There was much squabbling, especially between Kenny and Angelo, but eventually, it all worked out just fine. We then watched many minutes of chaos out on the farm, which was the usual blend of fun and stress. Finally, it came time to serve up the food, and by and large, most of the chefs did nicely. Amanda was taken to task for having chopped her carrots too largely, and Stephen felt the wrath of Tom, who detested the bruised lettuce in front of him. Patrick O’Connell, meanwhile, was most unimpressed with the bowls Stephen served the lettuce in, going on a long, flowery screed about the many detractions of salad in a bowl. Honestly, you would have thought Stephen had served him the course out of a dead otter carcass.
Anyway, Kenny ultimately took the win for this week’s show, which was good because I like Kenny. But alas, poor Tim went home. His dish did look like a disaster; although, no more so than Stephen’s busy salad. Oh well. I guess that’s why they call it Top Chef, and not Top ROASTED TURNIPS.
Padma: “Chefs, today you’ll have thirty minutes to make us the ultimate Maryland Blue Crab dish. Unfortunately my dear friend Gail Simmons won’t able to join us as she got drunk off Boones last night and defiled the Jefferson Memorial, bless her heart.”
Patrick: “Here, Gail, you taste first.”
“Really? But I thought you’re supposed to be the supermodel.”
“Huh. Okay. I guess full-figured is in again.”
Patrick: “I’m sorry, I don’t understand. This is just an empty bowl.”
Padma: “I apologize, Patrick, I’m afraid I ate your soup when you weren’t looking. You know how it is: dining for two!”
“I thought you had your baby already. You can’t say that when you’re not pregnant.”
“Oh… well… ISN’T GAIL THE WORST??”
Padma: “Hello everyone. Good afternoon.”
Patrick: “Hmmm… these chairs look alarming. Do we have anything a bit sturdier for Padma to sit on?”
“I’ll be fine, Patrick. Don’t you worry about me.”
“Yeah, no. We need an oil drum here or something.”
Tom: “This lettuce is bruised, and if there’s anything I hate, it’s bruised lettuce.”
Eric: “Oh shut up, Tom. Just put on a scarf and stop being so — how you say? — American.”
Patrick: “I absolutely loved the meal. I did, however, find it a touch concerning when Padma over here chased down three cows with a steak knife and a pistol.”
“I’m afraid I don’t recall that happening.”
“Are you serious? You kept yelling ‘Come to mama! Come to mama! It’s dinner time for PADDY!'”
“And then you frothed at the mouth and bit into a live chicken.”
“Are you sure this wasn’t Gail?”
Tom: “No, Gail went on a booze cruise down the Potomac today.”
“Then I’m afraid you must be mistaken.”
Patrick: “Maybe you blacked out from all the sugar you had.”
Tom: “Yeah, you actually tore into a pulsating beehive. I’d never actually seen bees fly away in fear, but there it was.”
Patrick: “Seriously, you gotta get it together, Padma.”
What did you think about the episode?