A long, long time ago, when I was a wee young Kiddie Flipit, I would refuse most days to go out and play with the neighborhood kids. I wasn’t an outcast, really. I was just very, very lazy. Those kids ran around and jumped and yelled. No, thank you. I would watch them from the living room window like they were animals in a zoo.
There was this one badass kid, Rusty. Rusty would build ramps in the culdisac with plywood and bricks and fly off of them on his dirt bike. It was amazing to see the jumps this guy could make! Well, those ramps kept getting higher and higher, and Rusty would just smirk at the other kids and jump higher and higher. One day, he was dared to jump a couple of trash cans. I stood there in my living room window, peanut butter jar in hand, watching and waiting. BAM! Rusty fell face down on the street. Hard. Everyone froze. A couple minutes passed before Rusty got up again and everyone breathed. As he stumbled around, you could tell that there was something different about him. I mean besides the bloody broken face and the concussion. He had failed. He had been humbled. As I finished off the jar of peanut butter, I told myself I was smiling because I was happy Rusty was ok.
This week, Top Chef taught us that you can walk the walk all you want, but you have just as good a chance as anyone else of getting paralyzed in a car crash. Oooh, my pizza just got here!We start off the day with Elia doing yoga and promising to be an emotionally stronger person. She’s calm, she’s centered. She’s making us forget all about the chocolate faced “give them a shot of veeenager” from last week and instead using her Thanksgiving win to center her soul. Go girl. It almost gave me the self-confidence to turn off my TV and get a job and a spouse and a life, but I was instantly depressed again when they cut to Frank sitting around in his boxers. He reminds us that he’s been in the top for the past few challenges, and for the past several years, he’s been “the best at my field”. Put on a shirt, I’m trying to binge, here.
Guest Judge Raphael Lunetta (Food and Wine Magazine’s Best New Chef and owner of Giraffe in LA) and Padma greet the Chefs at the Farmer’s Market. Padma’s wearing a bright pink halter and a jingle jangle belt. She’s like Latin Grammy Barbie with an added Lara Croft scar on her right arm to remind us that not only is she BEAUTIFUL, she can kick our asses. I bow down, Lakshmi. Today’s Quickfire Challenge is to buy fresh ingredients from the Market and prepare a great dish without cooking anything. I was immediately turned off by this because Farmer’s Market + no fire = salad, and I was holding a cream cheese wrapper in my hand. It hurt my feelings.
The Chefs seem to think that every challenge is very, very difficult, and their solution is to start running around like a bunch of aimless maniacs. This whole “running into a challenge” thing is a reality show staple Top Chef should avoid at all costs. In reality, these contestants don’t run. Except for Sam. PSILUVU.
If Elton John and Clay Aiken could make babies.
Most of the Chefs are feeling more inspired once they get their hands on the food. Mia says raw corn on the cob is something everyone should have the pleasure of eating at least once in their lives. If only there was a stalk in this damned trash can…Michael doesn’t ever get inspired, and today is no different. Completely bummed, he stares at the camera and shrugs. “I don’t eat raw food. So like, what am I gonna do, you know?” He finds salmon jerky and watermelon, but he feels it isn’t a confusing enough choice, so he grabs a yellow bell pepper on the way out. Oy.
Back in the kitchen, Frank and Michael openly hate on each other. Michael says Frank is pounding on the worktable like he’s humping a gorilla, and it’s causing Mike’s salmon watermelon tower topple over like it’s in a 7.0 earthquake. Mike says he hopes Frank gets sent home, because he’s making him crazy. Frank says Michael is a hack and couldn’t cook his way out of a paper sack, unless it came with a side of fries. LOL. Frank’s a total prick, but at least he’s funny.
Betty has normalized this week. When Padma and Guest Judge Lunetta come by to judge her halibut ceviche and grape guacamole, she doesn’t wear the Cheshire cat grimace or craaaaack at all. She’s been there and back, and you can see it on her face. Or she’s just severely medicated. Whatever the reason, Betty is a normal human being this round and I love her for it. Raphael is impressed with the overall caliber of the work on this challenge. Thirty minutes is nothing, and the Chefs all managed to come up with something good. But as we know, for there to be a top, there has to be a bottom.
Michael made a napolean out of jerky, so it was hard to cut through. Raphael said it needed more depth. But it was like beef jerky! But like made with like salmon! I think that’s deeper than we’ve ever seen Michael go. Mia’s corn salad was bland looking, and to make it worse, there was an unused, supple, bright red heirloom tomato sitting on her worktable. Betty’s dish tasted good, but the presentation wasn’t there. She is not happy that she’s in the bottom three again, but still she doesn’t craaaack. This show is messing with my mind.
On the upside, Frank’s scallops and Elia’s Asian influenced ahi were second and third, but Marcel’s watermelon steak (seriously) took the prize of immunity from today’s Elimination Challenge. This was his first win and he was very humble about the whole thing, saying his performance couldn’t have been called anything less than swaniet.
Soooo swaniet, baby
Insert Monkey Dance here. Marcel is one of those people who refuses to let you like them. In the story, the Ugly Duckling did turn into a swan, but it took more than what Ilan referred to as “a hunk of watermelon”. LOL Ilan. BTW, did it look to anyone else like Marcel was gazing lovingly at the Guest Judge?
This guy’s gonna toss the monkey around like a wet noodle later.
This Week’s Elimination Challenge centers around breakfast, the most important meal of the day, or as the Chefs have come to know it, the time when Frank stops snoring and walks around in his underwear. These people haven’t been hungry for breakfast for weeks. I hope they remember what to do.
Mia says everyone around there knows her as the queen of breakfast, since she used to work a brunch shift under the freeway. That homeless know-how might come in handy for this challenge, since they only know they are cooking a filling meal for “mystery athletes” and they won’t know what kind of kitchen equipment they will have to work with until they arrive on site. No problem. Give her a can and a lighter and Mia’s good to go. The other Chefs are not so confident. Sam, who’s been telling us what a “force” he is and how everyone looks to him as the “Team Leader”, admits that this is the first challenge that has truly stumped him. Not knowing whether or not they will have a stove or even pots or pans is making it really difficult to plan his dish. In other words, he doesn’t know if he can fly over the trashcans. He’s got a concussion already and he didn’t even make the jump. Just like that, the cock is gone from his walk, leaving him a scared little boy in a comb headband. People are behind you, Sam, but it’s because you have a bubble butt.
We’re behind you, Sam.
The three girls are hopeful that a boy will get sent home this week. They’re starting to bond, not to mention no one wants to be the only woman left in a kitchen of men. Elia tells us she’s had a hard time working her way up in the food business. I have images of her being underestimated, sexually harassed and getting yelled at by male chefs in French even though she’s said a hundred times she’s Mexican, and I like her even more. Fight, my sistuh! I find myself rooting for the girls, even though two out of three of them make me nuts.
When they arrive at the Challenge the next morning, I am so shell shocked I have to rewind three or four times. A couple of Silver Toyotas are making their way down a beach, where the Judges wait with…CHARO?!?!?! OMG!! I have been praying that her Geico commercial was the start of a long and prosperous comeback, and here she is! She looks even better than she did in the old Hollywood Squares days! Wait a second…Charo would never wear that bandana. Padma! Now look, Padma’s had a couple of campy moments, but nothing could have prepared me for the Ski Slope Hooker she showed up as today. She wore a tiny denim skirt that her penis would have been hanging out of if she had one, along with a flesh colored bikini top and fur vest that made it look like her Lara Croft side took over and killed a couple of raccoons to barely cover her areolas. Is she a telenovela diva, Indiana Jones, a little girl, or a whore? Damn you, Padma! Pick a style and stick with it! And while I’m at it, how has Gail Simmons not thrown one barb her way yet? Slap her, Gail!
Which one should change?
There is a large pit of fire in the sand, and Padma tells the Chefs this is their kitchen. Frank and Cliff take these developments very badly. Frank had planned a quiche, which entails a pie like crust and lots and lots of eggs, which now looks impossible, and Sam says if he knew that they would be cooking on a big fire pit instead of a stove, he would have prepared something very different. No shit, Headband. That’s the point. To tighten the screws a bit, the mystery guests are a huge group of surfers, so anything too fancy shmancy’s out. Rav4s! Fur vest bimbos! Surfing! Fire Pit! Oh, Top Chef, you’ve outdone yourself on this one.
Where’s Guest Judge Lunetta? Surfing, baby! A chef with a sense of adventure! Bloody Celebrity Chefs. I am sure Raphael is a very nice guy, but so far this episode, he has flirted with Marcel and surfed. Kinda hating him.
Mia tells us that she is rarin’ to go as she’s cooked for cowboys and considers herself a barbeque-ologist. Ok. Mia has worked a brunch shift, cooked for cowboys, and titled herself a “barbeque-ologist” less than 15 minutes into this episode. Mia has WORKED, ok? I am starting a letter writing campaign to Bravo requesting an entire episode with cuts of Mia listing all the jobs she claims she’s had. Mia is either extremely experienced or incredibly fireable. You decide.
Her crabcake benedict with mango cream seemed to be on track, but Cliff wasn’t so lucky. He was having some major sand trouble. He never realized how you drop something and boom, it’s covered in sand. How much of Cliff’s food has been dropped on the floor and then plated? The guy was dropping a lot. I’m just saying. Ew. -10.
In shocking news: Michael forgot to bring his eggs to the beach (sad horns). He forgot EGGS. For a BREAKFAST challenge. (same sad horns).Frank laughed and grinned at the camera. He says Mike’s an idiot and he can’t believe he made it this far, or even to Los Angeles. Betty offers some of her eggs, and Cliff and Sam chip in too. Aw. Teamwork! I hope Frank had fun ragging on the monkey, because he had a grueling task ahead. He decided to go with his original quiche idea, even though there was no oven. He was going to make a quiche in a pan. Over a barbeque pit. Nice work. What were you saying about making it this far? Or even to Los Angeles?
Elia is making waffles covered in melted cheese, fried egg, and honey butter. Elia’s cooking for my kind of athlete. The non-athlete. Elia speaks for the people. As the Chefs daintily prepare their breakfast, they see a huge crowd of hungry surfers coming at them and realize it’s time to make the party happen. Bring in the Rav4s! Put Padma in a birdcage!
Sam’s “Green Eggs and Ham” turned “I Am Sam” disaster looked like a burnt bagel with chewed up cat food on top even in the Glamour Shot they take for cut tos. He is not suprised by his obvious failure, and thinks he has the best chance of going home. Come home, Sam. There’s no shame here.
Mia’s crabcakes were beautiful and very popular as was Ilan’s Spanish “pan con tomate”. Elia’s sweet and salty waffles were “the bomb”, leaving the Judges impressed by the work so far. Betty didn’t break the streak. She did eggs, leeks, tomatoes and corn “bundled” in a soft shell of black forrest ham over rustic toast. She calmed down and did a great job. Does less crazy equal better work? I don’t know, Mia’s doing well today too.
The Judges have been very impressed up to now. The Chefs have shown great creativity and workmanship. And then they get to Frank, who’s zucchini and smoked salmon quiche has turned into scrambled eggs with a side of cannoli cream. The judges aren’t having it. Gail is (a little too) angry about the “brown, rubbery, eggs” and says the cannoli cream had no place on the dish. I know that a raving bitch is just dying to come out in Gail, but so far she has just alluded to that side of herself with short bursts of anger and annoyance. Come on, Gail. Feed the people.
Cliff’s scrambled eggs with sweet potato and chicken apple sausage tasted good, but he knows that his presentation is less than stellar, and Daddy Tom concurs, calling it “sloppy” and “lost”. Michael thought that meant it was his turn, but Daddy Tom made him go back to his ice chest. No one was too impressed with Sam’s grey scramble over burnt bread. I think the crowd’s faces say it all.
Green Eggs and Ham, I am Sam
Marcel’s game plan for getting votes was to talk surfer lingo, and it was hilarious, brah. If that was really Marcel’s personality, he would be the most popular Chef on the show. Michael questioned Marcel’s maturity, saying he acts like he’s sixteen. Then he farted. Mike feels his chicken and egg taco is close to perfect, and it is, unless you’re in a contest that is looking for originality and a unique sensibility. But it didn’t have sand in it, and I think we all gave him points for that. Come on, he’s Michael.
After a quick swim in the ocean, it’s time for a reality check. Elimination time. In Thursday’s Daily Update, B-side pointed out that Gail was wearing an earpiece during this episode. TY, Tiger! My guess is it’s either a roaming hearing aid or a device that plays white noise to keep her from losing her shit and showing us her inner c word. If I’m wrong and the producers are off camera telling her what to say, they’re doing a terrible job. That woman is Bo. Ring.
The Judges pretty much all agreed that the girls had the top three dishes. Gail tried to give a shout out to Ilan’s egg and potato loaf but since the eggs were brown and she had already made a very clear stance on brown eggs, she had to let it go. Betty, Elia, and Mia it is. Mia’s dish was the surfers’ favorite, but Guest Judge Lunetta chooses Elia as the winner! Second week in a row! Yee haw! There are no hard feelings. The women are just glad they got their wish of being the top three. For today. Buah hahahaha!!
The bottom three were Frank, Sam, and Cliff, and no one was more surprised by their performances than they were themselves. Frank admits his eggs were too dry, but he got flustered by the lack of a kitchen. Sam admits his dish sucked, but said he’s proven up to now that he is a good chef and this challenge was really hard. Oh wah. Gail calls him on it, saying part of the Challenge is to be able to adapt and make a good product in any situation. Sam got backed into a corner and started scratching like a cat. He clenched down on his gum and mentioned that Elia used frozen waffles, as if that would make his dead grey egg and burnt bagel look better. Sam is such a BITCH ass. When the Judges ask Cliff why he should stay after being the only dish with sand in it, his ruffles show. Shocked, angry and confused, he blurts out that it isn’t his time and there’s no way he’s going home! No way! Not my time! Oh hell no! No! NOOOOOOOOO!!! Damn dude, chill. We know they’re not getting rid of Cliff, but it’s nice to see him a little shaken. It’s the only emotional shift he’s shown this entire competition.
As the Judges debate, Gail brings up Franks “burnt, charred eggs” yet AGAIN and says there’s no excuse for them. Ok, Gail! We get it! What about the zucchini first thing in the morning? Or the side of Italian pastry filling? Or the snoring? Or the underwear on the floor? Or the drunken bullying? There’s more here to be disgusted with than eggs.
Apparently, the judges agreed. After a nice speech from Daddy Tom paralleling surfing and cooking (it’s how you ride the big waves that make you a star, broham), Frank is told to go pack is knives. Frank’s raw arrogance had blinded him to this possibility, and it showed on his face. Aw. Poor gorilla. Didn’t you hear? Your eggs were BURNT and CHARRED! Frank says anyone involved in Top Chef is welcome to his house (pass) and leaves with a very intensely fake calm. He reminds us that a true chef is a gentleman. I think we can all agree that he’s dead on with that one.
“Memoirs of a Gentleman”
As for Rusty? He kept jumping that dirt bike, but he stuck to plywood ramps for a very long time.
So what do you think, Dear Readers? Will Elia continue to ride the waves of success? Will Betty continue on calmly or will she return to the dark side? Will Lunetta get Marcel’s number?