Sometimes I can’t figure out if “Top Chef” is brilliant or retarded. It’s like the prettiest person in high school. You want to think they’re also the smartest and most talented, but their big boobs and charisma blind you to whatever the truth may be. There were some interesting decisions made at the end of tonight’s episode, both by the contestants and Daddy Tom, that left me vacillating between two opinions: A. These people have built the most creative , interesting, thoughtful reality competition ever. B. This show is run by people who come into work drunk. I’m fine with both options. Shit or shinola, this show is my friend. My fat, funny friend. In what is becoming a tradition in the “Top Chef” house, we start with Marcel annoying the hell out of somebody first thing in the morning. Last week, he was throwing paper wads at a sleeping Frank’s face. This week he’s upped the a-hole ante by slapping his flip flops together in a slumbering Michael’s ear while jumping up and down shouting “get up! Get up! Get up!” Is this just a reality show ploy to get us all riled up or is Marcel really this dickish? And now that he’s wearing grease in his hair (thank you, btw), why is his “soul patch” going crazy? It looks like a really tiny, really hairy man’s butt crack. OK, Bravo, we get it. Marcel’s the villain. Now please, follow “Friends”’ example and fire the damned monkey!
Michael wakes up with a little thong on his pillow. He tells us he misses his wife as he clutches the tiny thong and says “it’s time for new underwear!” I went to the bathroom and threw up. But to be fair, I did have a huge lunch.
Padma brings the remaining twelve chefs together for the Quickfire Challenge. She is wearing a (surprisingly) simple, chic black dress instead of something a pole dancer or a Barbie would wear, like usual. Stop messing with me, “Top Chef”! Is Padma brilliant or retarded?
Today’s challenge is to create a complex, mouth-watering treat known as the Amuse Douche. That’s easy! What douche isn’t amusing? Oh, wait. This is a cooking show. Thank God they spelled this for us, as I could picture my Meemaw in Texas falling off her chair in horror at the thought of a televised douche. Turns out an amuse bouche is a single bite sized portion of savory food that leaves you wanting more. This is yet another example of the culinary terrorism brought to us by the French. Make the tastiest, most mouth watering dish you can think of and cut me off after one bite or I’m like totally gauche. Damn you, France!
Padma introduces us to Guest Judge Suzanne Goin, executive chef and owner of both Louque and AOC restaurants in LA and recent recipient of Food and Wine Magazine’s best chef award. Sam tells us Goin’s one of his favorites. She’s simple and rustic. Where I come from, that means stupid and dirty, but I guess it’s a compliment if you’re a chef. Suzanne takes the Chefs to the store to get their ingredients, and the store is a row of vending machines! What, did last year’s 7-11 product placement (where a bunch of disgusted, pissed off Chefs called the chain revolting and nasty on national television) not end well? Padma gives each chef a $10 roll of quarters to buy their ingredients. I wish they had a machine with beer sold at $5 a pop, just to see Michael have that debate with himself. Cliff assumed Michael would win this challenge since he’s never seen anyone else put so much junk in his body. I saw the fault in his prediction immediately. If crappy eating habits made you smarter, I’d be blogging for NPR. It looked like Michael chewed up Snickers and Corn Nuts, spit them out, and rolled them into balls. Then he stuck a Cheeto in the tops, to use as toothpicks, affirming my belief that Michael is the worst “Top Chef” contestant EVER.
Marcel, who was talking mighty big before he found out he was stuck with white trash ingredients (when is the molecular gastronomy challenge?), stood at the vending machines with a blank, shifty eyed stare while Betty sourly waited in line behind him. She looked like she was one snap away from slamming his head through the glass, but Betty hasn’t completely lost it. Yet. Once the Chefs had their ingredients, they flailed about the Kenmore kitchen determined to get their tiny morsels prepared in thirty minutes. Marcel went with rice pudding, missing the point entirely, while Sam chose potato salad. Throw in a boiled hot dog and these chefs are officially retarded. Or BRILLIANT?
Most of the Chefs did some impressive work. There was the frommage frittata chippenade with a basil, pear and fig sauce from Betty and a ham and swiss cheese quiche with a pesto dressing and a side of mint infused tea from Frank, which Suzanne said made her feel like she was sitting on a porch. Ooh, what a simple, rustic thing to say! Suzanne also liked the mini tostada with Dorito chicken salad from Elia. She said tostada sounded much better with Elia’s heavy French accent. Elia blushed and expressed an interest in soccer and Suzanne said soccer was the only thing that kept her sane in this insane world. They kissed lightly in front of the Kenmore cooking center, and then it was off to finish judging for Suzanne. Mia cut up Twinkies and garnished them real perty, which makes Susanne scrunch her face. This is an amuse bouche, you silly woman! Ah, Mia just isn’t the same without Emily there to rub her feet and tell her it’s all gonna be ok.
Suzanne is understandably unimpressed with Michael’s poopy stick, and his lazy drunkard attitude doesn’t help his chances. “It was like, really hard, so I just did whatever.” She rips into him, and tells him what he’s heard so many times already. “If you don’t want to be here, there are plenty of pasty alcoholics standing in line to take your place.” He swears he’s dedicated and looks like he’s gonna man cry. Cut to Carlos, who is amused by Mike’s bouche. He calls it the most phallic thing he’s ever seen, and it looks like Carlos knows his phalluses, as he’s managed to take completely different ingredients than Michael and make them look exactly like the same Snickers Cheetos poopie, but this time shaped like a little penis with parsley on top. It was a close call, but I think the Cheeto was the deciding factor. You either love em’ or you hate em’.
For whatever reason, the producers decided to go with a food guilt theme tonight. Uh, hello, Bravo. This show is supposed to be a celebration of food and not caring whether or not you’re fat…right? I mean come on, we know we’re fat. Everyone knows America is the fattest country in the world HANDS DOWN, and not only do we keep eating, we do it with a smirk on our face. Like “Yeah, I’m fat. I don’t give a f*** what you think. I’m an AMERICAN. I’m ALLOWED to be fat!” But with our freedom comes guilt and self-hatred, another thing we do really well. The only thing more American than fat is fat camp. This week’s Elimination Challenge is centered around one of these fine American institutions. Camp Glucose. At first I thought this was such a cheesy, obvious name for fat camp, but then I realized , camps often go with the most obvious name. The first time I smoked marijuana was at Camp Stony (not kidding).
The Chefs are divided up into four teams and told they have to come up with a three-course meal that is under 500 calories, which it turns out, is nothing. 119 calories in a tablespoon of olive oil! 85 calories in a slice of white bread! One tablespoon of butter is 102 calories!! At this point, I pulled up my shirt and folded my gut into big, hairy, smiling lips.
This was a team challenge, and my tummy mouth smiled when Betty and Marcel got stuck on the Black Team together. Betty knows she said some childish things to Marcel last week, but her attitude for this challenge will be completely professional, and since Marcel already knows the extent of her hatred, she can attack him with her eyes now.
Once the teams were selected, the nutritionists came in to make sure the menus were calorically accurate and well balanced, which they all were…in theory. This was just the sample pitch to the nutritionists. The actual lunches would be prepared the next morning.
The Red Team bet that a fat kid would suffer through grilled chicken bites and cole-slaw to get to the fudge cake finish. Sooo mean! Dietetic coleslaw in exchange for a tiny piece of cake? Just punch the kid in the face, give him a sugar free Halls drop, and be on your way, you torturers! The Orange Team wasn’t much kinder to the kids. They went the “healthy” route and planned out turkey meatballs and a fruit smoothie. Oh, Sam. Being cute and diabetic doesn’t give you an advantage with fat kids. Milkshakes do. The White Team’s chicken parm, veggie lasagna and cheesecake looked fattening and tasty, and the Black team went with pizza and cookies, which is tough to beat. Betty was in charge of the cookies, and poor thing believed the Splenda “just like sugar” advertising. Splenda is not sugar, it’s chemical cancer. Her meringues were a disaster. The nutritionists signed off on all the teams’ menus, now they just had to cook. And this is when the audience learns what us chunky people have always known. Dieting makes people crazy, paranoid, delusional, sneaky, manipulative and mean. Dieting is very, very bad. When it came down to the Chefs sticking to their allotted calories, this episode went to hell and I flashed back to my fat, traumatizing childhood. The parallels almost gave me an aneurism.
Once the nutritionists (my mommy) were gone, the Chefs (twelve year-old me) brought out the squirt bottles of olive oil (the boxes of Little Debbies) and went to town. Betty says that since her cookies didn’t work out (my daily salad lunch wasn’t really doin’ it for me), she put in less egg-whites and added more Splenda (so I just didn’t eat), but then Carlos mentions Betty’s using sugar in her cookies now (at school lunch break, I snuck a peanut loaf out of a convenience store), and the nutritionists weren’t there to ok it (my parents both worked, suckas!). Wait a second. Did Betty use more sugar or didn’t she? Because if she did, she just told a blatant lie on camera with the most sincere face I’ve ever seen. Oh man, lying about calories (please don’t send me away! I was starving, mom!) has turned Betty to the seedy life of a food addict (I denied stealing the peanut loaf all the way through three months of fat camp and my family has never spoken of it again).
That day at lunch, no one noticed any extra calories. The fat kids were sarcastic, funny and sweet. The only way I would have liked them more is if someone had said “Where’s the beef?”, but I can’t expect them to be kids from the eighties. In fact, these children were pleasantly verbose when it came to talking about food. The pizza was bangin’, the lasagna was a hit, and the chicken parm was decent, but the turkey meatballs were like marbles and the fruit smoothie was melted and sour. After awarding Frank from the Black Team victory for his pizza (no surprise there), the judges called in the bottom two teams: Team Healthy, and team Coleslaw Torture. Judge Tom started by laying into Michael. Who the hell’s idea was it to make the least likeable person on the team it’s spokesperson? No one said it, but it’s because he’s fat. All the teams with fat people used them as their spokespeople. So we had Leanne screaming at the kids and scaring them with her McGruff the Crime Dog spiel and Michael stuttering and making fart sounds with his armpits. Frank could have been skinny as a rail. The man had pizza.
give em’ what they want
Judge Tom took Sam to town over his watery, bud numbing “smoothie”, pointing out that the other teams really attempted to make the kids happy with pizza and cake. Carlos stuck up for his teammate saying they were trying to teach the kids a new lifestyle. I know people who have that fruit smoothie and turkey burger lifestyle, and I hope the fat kids don’t listen to Carlos and become one of those hippie freaks. I’m just saying. Sam got defensive and teary eyed, which isn’t flattering, especially with a little girl’s comb headband in his hair. He said that at least he and his team followed the rules. Tom got pissed and asked him who he was accusing. Sam said “I’m not that guy who names names. I’m the guy who instigates drama to take the spotlight off his own failure.” One thing we know by now, Judge Tom hates pussies. Hey did you guys know Judge Tom is married? BUMMER.
While Sam never gets the balls to stand up for what he believes, Mia has no problem “going there”. She says Betty replaced chemical cancer with actual sugar, and that’s the only reason her peanut butter cookies worked. Judge Tom asked if she just didn’t like Betty because she wore makeup and groomed, but Mia denied prejudice. In Tom’s blog on Bravotv.com, he mentions that the other contestants insisted Mia put a lot of extra sugar in her coleslaw, the conniving little Peppermint Patty. Later, Mia refuses to cop to turning Betty in, which makes her the third wuss of the night. The judges don’t really know what to make of the situation. First we had the whole “Otto Hides the Salami” episode, and now we have the “Betty Tricks Kids at Fat Camp into Cheating” scandal. Tom comes to talk to all the chefs. He wants all allegations out on the table. Carlos, who’s still got a big head about his penis, pipes up and accuses Betty of changing her recipe She says that she figured a couple of teaspoons of sugar wouldn’t put them over their caloric limit because they were under the day before. Doesn’t seem like such a big deal, when she puts it like that, but we’d already seen Betty swearing up and down she used Splenda and egg whites, so we know she’s a little squirly. Tom isn’t happy, but he’s not about to kick off Betty when it looks like there was cheating going on left and right. No offense, because he’s damn handsome, but it looks like Daddy Tom has been cheating on his diet a lot lately, so maybe he was feeling sympathetic when he let everyone involved off the hook by having NO ELIMINATION.
You’re answer is to kick off NOBODY? F*** that, Tom! Send half of ‘em home and make the rest sleep outside on the cold balcony floor for the rest of the night! There is NO CHEATING AT FAT CAMP!!!!!! Betty should have won this challenge simply because she was the only one with the guts to fess up. Not to mention, the pizza was her idea and Frank took all the credit.
Back at the loft, Leanne drops the sugary sweet diplomat fakery she’s relied on til’ now to become a lumbering, drunk bull dyke. She yells at everyone and no one, saying her team played by the rules and they deserved to win. Now this Leanne I like! I hope Marcel crosses her path soon, as he has already lived way too long. This show is really good at keeping their contestants awake, stressed, and buzzed (ever noticed someone’s always holding a paper cup of wine?), so by the end of the season, the most polished, level headed people are whittled down to their frazzled core. Tonight, we saw the real Sam, Leanne, Mia, Carlos and Betty. And it’s only week four! In the coming next week clips, Betty’s facial lines are so dark and brooding I can’t help but think she is going to start cracking, leaking psycho wherever she steps.
Before & After
And as I finish the show and begin work on my just delivered pizza, the confusion sets in. The decision to not eliminate anyone may be retarded, but it leaves room for double elimination later. Which is brilliant.
So what do you think, dear reader? Will Betty crack? Will Leanne beat someone up? Will Tom stick to his diet?