Previously on Top Chef: The chefs were challenged in having to calculate pi. Some did better than others. Afterwards, the gang headed out to Mount Vernon to grill for a bunch of
Morning. Townhouse of Tapas. Interior.
The chefs get ready for their day and the producers start telegraphing the end right away by showing interviews with people who we weren't really sure were actually on this thing. We get Arnold (The Chef With The Prada Cookware) being smarmy about his win in the last challenge, Andrea (The One With The Curly Hair Who We Thought Was An Extra) lamenting the loss of her pal, Tracey, and Timothy (The Decoy) who makes the obligatory "It's not where you start, it's where you finish" cliché.
Off to the Hinckley Suites kitchen for ...
Immediately, the chefs are thrown off when they see Padma and Tom, sans "special guest judge," along with a bunch of baby toys.
"They can't have us cooking baby food!" says Timothy.
"Tom and I have babies now. We're too busy to go shopping for ourselves. So, you're making us baby food and you will like it!"
Well, that's what it sounded like to me.
So, the chefs have to prepare two dishes, an adult version which will go direct to DVD and will be sold in a plain brown wrapper and a baby-friendly one. Sort of like those competing movies with the title Toy Story.
Right off the bat, previously invisible chef Lynne (The One With The k.d. lang Voice) waves her arms, makes comical throat sounds, and laments that she don't know nothin' 'bout feedin' no babies.
Padma explains that she and Tom will each be picking a winner for this challenge. And while there will be no immunity (the reason why becomes evident later), each winner will earn $10,000 for their trouble.
Arnold does that (probably well-meaning, but totally sounds cynical) "I'd give the money to widows and orphans and baby seals with HIV" thing. On the other end of the spectrum chef Alex (The Cooking Goblin) fulfills his weekly mission to totally creep out the audience by the ten-minute mark by telling us that he'd use the money for hookers and blow. (I wish I was making that up.)
Your time starts NOW!
Alex, it seems, is determined to make us all sick by again invoking the image of himself having sex. "I've practiced making babies, not baby food."
And suddenly I discover what appears to be pureed vegetables landing on my lap.
Kevin (The Puerto-Rican-By-Marriage-One-Since-He-Doesn't-Much-Stand-Out-For-Anything-Other-Than-His-Cooking-Which-I'm-Sure-Is-Great-But-Makes-It-Really-Hard-To-Be-Snarky Chef) says he had a kid and has another on the way, so he's sure he has this in the bag.
Tamesha (The Cooking Rihanna) thinks she's got this one, too, since she used to feed her little brother when he was a beh-beh. (Also, I swear she must have a cold. Either that, or she's doing her take on a Maya Rudolph character.)
Kelly (The Culinary Laurie Metcalf) wants to prove that one doesn't have to have kids to win this.
Kenny (Chef "Hello, Children!") pulls out the heretofore unrevealed fact that his first wife, the mother of his first child, died in a traffic accident. We get the serious weepies and start to wonder if this bit of biographical data could mean a sad end for his hopes here, too.
Stephen (The One Who Has No Clue How Over His Head He Is Here) criticizes Kenny's dish, saying that he's sure it would choke his babies. (Did he mention he has babies yet this week? Yes, he has babies. Every freakin' person has babies. Babies are very "in" now.)
Even freakin' Angelo (This Season's Designated Dickwad) has a baby.
No wonder I'm always sitting next to one whenever I travel.
As everyone finishes up their dishes, Kevin grouses at Timothy about some suspected cross-dish spicing and I'm left wondering what Amanda (Chef Eau de Marlboro) is off someplace hunting for some bourbon to complete her baby food dish.
Tom and Padma come back in to taste the dishes. And they don't say much about any of them, except that we get a reprise of Padma's "let's find the bone/seed/fingernail in the dish" game from previous seasons. (This season's victim is Kelly, who let a random lemon seed stray into her baby food dish.)
Come time for the judging, Padma and Tom reveal their most- and least-favorites separately.
Tom wasn't too keen on Timothy's undercooked lamb dish and Alex's sex offender-y "herbaceous" offering. Padma wasn't fond of Kelly's bland pork nor Kevin's Phil Ramone-y "pool of blood" dish.
As for the favorites, Tom liked Lynne's "who needs kids?" dish and Tamesha's licorice oil-infused offering, and Padma favored Angelo's tri-level baby food with f
But the winners are ...
Tamesha ... and ... Kenny!
Next, Padma introduces this woman who in in charge of restaurant "concepts" at the Global Hinckley Suites. The challenge, Tom and Padma explain, will be to create a breakfast, lunch and dinner which would be adequate to serve as room service dishes at the hotel chain. And the twist? The chefs will be cooking in teams of two, competing tournament-style.
In the first two rounds, the teams with the two best dishes will be declared safe and will not have to compete in the following round. In the final round, three teams will compete. The team with the best dish will be declared the winner. And both players on the team delivering the worst final dish will be eliminated.
Dum dum dum!
Everyone freaks out and immediately starts picking out their Cooking Partners Of Doom.
- Kenny teams with Kevin.
- Angelo teams with Tamesha.
- Timothy teams with Tiffany (The Really Loud One).
- Andrea teams with Kelly.
- Arnold teams with Lynne.
- Ed (This Season's CliffieLust Object) gets stuck with Alex.
- And Stephen and Amanda are left as the lonely, nobody-wants-me-because-I'm-knife-bait team.
The chefs head off to the Kroger's for supplies and snark. Tiffany tells us that she's not going to let bottom-dwelling Timothy do anything that's going to get her eliminated. Prison Matron Lynne says that she's afraid she's going to be overbearing. And Arnold The Cooking Stereotype is most concerned that if he wins, people will think of him as "more than a Louis Vuitton bag."
And with statements like that, do you really think that's gonna happen, bud?
The chefs return to the kitchen to discover the judges Padma, Tom, Eric Ripert and Lady Hinckley sitting at a long tables alongside guest diners, former Top Chef contestants DoucheyMike (Season Six), RoboBryan (Season Six) and SpikeInMyEye (Season Four).
The chefs work on their breakfasts. Everyone's goal is to make the best breakfast so they don't have to cook again. The only drama is that Tiffany had taken full responsibility for her team's offering and Ed and Alex's dish is a mess and ends up missing more than one ingredient.
Come time to serve, the rapid-fire edits make me positively dizzy and leave me with the impression that the diners didn't care for any of the plates.
Angelo and Tamesha have chemistry. He thinks she's beautiful and can cook. She thinks it's never gonna happen. ... No mention is made of the the mother of this newborn of his.
Fakeout scene over!
Come time for judging, however, we hear that two teams actually did serve great breakfasts. And the two best teams are ... Stephen and Amanda ... and Timothy and Tiffany.
The erstwhile bottom-dwellers enthuse at their win. And everyone else either starts to panic or, like front-runners Kenny and Angelo, fume that they've been bested at this stage of the challenge.
Off to cook lunch. Your time starts now!
Angelo cooks up an angry carpaccio while Lynne takes charge of her team's lunch, some tuna dish that involves "forbidden rice."
You want this rice? Yeah? Well you can't have it!
Meanwhile, Alex continues his sexual innuendo cooking theme insisting on making me retch again discussing his being a nudie.
Time for service again and _ again _ the quick cuts leave me wondering if the judges actually liked any of the dishes.
But somehow judges manage to pick two more winning teams. And this time it's ... Ed and Alex ... and Angelo and Tamesha.
A flop sweat comes across the three remaining teams who realize that they're left to "cook to not go home."
Andrea and Kelly, Arnold and Lynne, and Kenny and Kevin go full-on bitter as they head back to the stoves to make their dinner dishes. It gets very uncomfortable very quickly.
Kelly says she's "bitter." Kenny says he's "angry." And Arnold is surprised that Lynne "seems pissed off."
Andrea and Kelly, though, seem to be working well. Their only concern is that, like Kenny and Kevin, they're making short ribs. Still, they're confident that they have the better dish, since it has "the business," the magical rub which is to make the ribs sing.
We see Kevin and Kenny going through a bit of conflict over their glaze. But it's Arnold and Lynne's mussels and pasta which seem to be headed for disaster, since the two keep arguing over when to start cooking their pasta. Arnold wants to start sooner; Lynne's sure that if they do that it'll be overcooked and she'll be damned if some kid is going to make her do something she knows is wrong and will lead to her elimination.
Let's see how that works out, shall we?
Come time for service, once more we can't be too sure whose dish is loved and whose is not.
Padma calls up all three teams for the inquisition. And right away the guest judge names the winners ... Andrea and Kelly! Woo hoo!
And as a reward for having not made the best breakfast, having not made the best lunch, but making the best dinner, they each win a trip for two to Europe!
Back in the No Longer Glad To Be Stewed Room, you can bet the bitterness of the last hour seeps from the pores of each of the previously-safe chefs.
This leaves Kenny and Kevin and Arnold and Lynne in danger.
The flop-sweat begins.
When quizzed about their dish and the you-could-see-it-coming undercooked pasta, Lynne remarks that she wasn't happy with it. The look of "Shut the fuck up, woman! We're trying to stay here!" all over Arnold's face is something to behold.
As for the guys, though, the criticism seems to center on the fact that their ribs didn't have enough glaze.
They're sent back to stew. There the tension is thick. Amanda decides this would be a good time to poke at Tense Kevin with a stick, telling him that it's not up to him to tell the diners how to eat their meal.
Tense Kevin responds with sarcastic golf clap.
They're called back in.
"Arnold and Lynne, please pack your knives and go."
They return to the kitchen to say their bitter goodbyes.
Then they pack their Prada and Birkenstocks and go.
Next time on Top Chef: It's an under-the-bus-athon! No one wants to compromise. Alpha Males battle! And something gets dumped on the floor!