This week on Top Chef, the chefs compete in two all-time favorite challenges while both old (Twitch v. Richard, Fleasa v. soap) and new (Dale v. Evangelass) rivalries emerge.
“I only married you for your money!”
“I know. And once those start to sag, I’m trading you in for a younger model.”
We open the morning after Mutton’s elimination with the Douche Twins mourning the loss of their bubble bath buddy. Hey, if there’s an opening guys, I’m sure Richard will throw his name in for consideration. Rad hairstylin’ tips AND mediocre television-character impressions? What more could you want? We’re down to the final 8 out of 16 chefs, and the women are pumped that it’s an even-gender split for once. I’m all for girl-power, but in looking at the remaining chefs, I’m hoping this week ends with the men having the numbers advantage because either Nikki or Fleasa have. to. go. home.
Everyone arrives at the kitchens for the Quick Fire, and instead of a guest judge we see Scar with Daddy Tom. More Daddy Tom is always a good thing in my book! Scar announces that QF winners will no longer receive immunity, and that this week the chefs will be completing two all-time favorite challenges. The chefs are forced to draw knives and divide into two teams — forks (Yoda, Richard, Twitch, and Antonia) and spoons (Dale, Evangelass, Fleasa, and Nikki). Looking around, Dale echos my thoughts by noting his team doesn’t have the strongest people on it, although he does optimistically call them capable. That’s more credit than I’d give them. I think the most credit I’d give Nikki is to heat me up a Lean Cuisine, and it’s still possible she’d burn my place down.
“Yeah, the oil from my hair started to drip into my food… so what? Why shower when you’ve got this bitchin’ bandana?”
Once the teams are sorted, Scar reveals the details of the QF — they’re doing the mise en place relay race! Yes, I love this shit! Yoda reminds us of how awesome this was last year, when Hung violently dismembered a chicken without breaking a sweat and Bunny Foo Foo chopped an onion more delicately than doctors cut an umbilical cord. Daddy Tom steps up to explain the tasks — 1) peel and supreme (take the flesh out of the interior membrane) five oranges, 2) peel and turn two artichokes, 3) clean a gigantic, nasty monkfish into two filets, and finally 4) make one quart (ugh) of mayonnaise. DT promises that even though immunity’s not available, the winning team will get a useful advantage, and then gives the teams two minutes to strategize.
On Team Forks, Antonia orders that Yoda do the mayonnaise since Yoda evidently makes it by the bucketful in her spare time. Poor Yoda — between that and Gail’s comment last week about her never being at home, no one thinks this girl has any life. Although her Star Wars obsession isn’t doing herself any favors on that front. I will say though that it’s a good idea to keep Yoda away from any of the knife-related tasks, given her history of shaky hands during QFs. I really don’t need to see anyone sever a finger. As for the other teammates, Antonia takes the oranges, Twitch takes the artichokes, and Richard will be handling the monkfish. On Team Spoons, Nikki’s having a mini-meltdown over the thought of making mayonnaise without a food processor, while Dale bugs out his eyes and gives someone off-camera the “are you fucking kidding me?!” face. I’m already cracking up when in the confessional Dale shakes his head in disgust over Nikki’s stupidity and rhetorically demands “Why are you still here?!” LOL thank you! That is my quote of the season thus far. Oh man, I love Dale. Well, despite her fears, Nikki gets stuck with the mayo while Fleasa takes the oranges, Evangelass takes the artichokes, and Dale will be squaring off against Richard and the monkfish.
The teams line up, and with a whistle blast, they’re off! Fleasa and Antonia start on the oranges, and Fleasa’s shaking like a leaf holding a very sharp knife. That isn’t stopping her though from kicking Antonia’s butt, who doesn’t seem to get the whole race part of “relay race.” You’re not making lunch for the kid you abandoned to come on this show — move your ass, lady! Daddy Tom gives Fleasa his okay on the oranges, and Evangelass starts in on the artichokes. He works quickly, maintaining his team’s lead as Antonia finally moseys through her last orange and Twitch is allowed to begin.
“La di da… cutting an orange… I wonder what the ladies on ‘The View’ are talking about today?”
As the Douche Twins square off on the artichokes, each guy takes a different approach. Evangelass chops the outer leaves off his artichokes with a knife, while Twitch violently begins tearing them off with his hands. Both techniques seem to work until it comes to trimming down the woody part of the stem. Evangelass, using some sort of scraping tool, accidentally snaps the stem of his second artichoke, forcing him to start a whole new one, while Twitch’s idea to use a peeler is a little slower but a lot safer. When the tweaked out crackhead is calmer than you, that’s when you know you need to get a grip. As a result of Evangelass’s fuck-up, both teams finish the artichoke task at the same time, as we move on to the monkfish and Richard and Dale.
Okay, I’m not gonna lie — this is some nasty ass shit. There’s gigantic fish carcass and guts flying around, as both guys hack and saw into their monkfish a la Hung and the chicken. I have some tilapia in my refrigerator right now that I think is going into the freezer for a few days — which will probably be how long it’s gonna take me to look at raw fish without feeling nauseated. Lisa comments that Dale’s doing a pretty amateur job at cleaning his filets, but it’s a moot point as he and Richard finish at the same time and Daddy Tom approves both of them.
Which brings us finally to Yoda and Nikki, and the horrifying concept of making mayo by hand. From what we saw during the strategy session, Yoda should have this one easily, but we all know how she likes to cave under pressure in QFs. Now making this mayo basically comes down to drizzling oil in a bowl of egg whites while stirring as fast as you can until your arm falls off. It has nothing to do with knife skills or any other chef-related technique — this is a physical competition, and Team Spoons chose the wrong person as their anchor. Nikki’s chicken arms can’t keep up, and Yoda wins the QF for Team Forks!
“Psst… Since you’re so good at it, I’ve got something else you can beat… my bunk bed, 11 o’clock?”
As Team Forks hugs and celebrates, Team Spoons looks on with varying degrees of annoyance and sadness. Dale especially is taking the loss hard, given how big of a lead Fleasa built for them. Now in case you haven’t noticed, Dale can be a bit too competitive at times, and isn’t the most mature of the contestants. Still — slamming your fist into a locker and screaming “fuck” in front of all the remaining chefs and 2 judges? Not the best idea, dude. As Antonia points out, someone needs to get his diaper changed. And check into anger management.
Seeing as though these lockers hold Richard’s chemicals and Twitch’s meth lab, Dale’s lucky he didn’t blow up half of Chicago.
Once Dale’s been wiped, powdered, and strapped into a new Luvs, it’s time for Scar to announce this week’s Elimination Challenge, which is the second of the all-time favorites the chefs will be doing this week. She begins by talking about restaurant wars — where each team opens a competing restaurant, responsible not just for the food but also decor, service, etc — and how they’re not going to do that challenge this year. The majority of the chefs aren’t happy about that, and are still getting over their disappointment when a young couple joins Scar at the front of the room. Turns out they’re engaged and whoring themselves out for free wedding shit — and accordingly the EC this week is wedding wars, a challenge we haven’t seen since the disaster of Season 1!
The chefs are staying in their same teams from the QF (poor Dale), and will each cater half the McBland wedding (125 guests/team), according to either the bride or groom’s culinary preferences. Adding to the pressure is that the engaged couple runs their own restaurant and wedding venue (aka a Holiday Inn?), so they will be much harder to please than a normal couple. As the winners of the QF, Team Forks gets to decide whether they want to cook for the bride or groom side — and they pick the bride, leaving Team Spoons with the groom. Evangelass is shocked the other team picked the bride, given how there’s a good chance she’ll go all bridezilla on their asses whereas the biggest problem Evangelass foresees with the groom is dying of sheer boredom from trying to talk to him. Scar announces they have 45 minutes to meet with their client, an hour to shop at Whole Foods and Restaurant Depot, and a $5,000 budget. They’ll do most of the cooking here in the kitchens, and at the wedding they’ll have two hours to prep. Oh and one more thing — they’ll be pulling an all-nighter in order to get everything done. Twitch is all excited about the prospect of an all-nighter, and drops that “culinary boner” phrase those of us whose TiVos didn’t cut out caught last week. He tells us he won’t have any problems staying up for as long as it takes, as he starts creating rails on the mirror perched on his lap.
Other things that give Twitch boners: poodles, Rock Band, and Rainbow Brite.
Team Spoons (to be renamed Team Groom) begins grilling the groom on his preferences, and when he reveals he likes Italian, Nikki grins and writes PASTA in block letters on her notepad. As the groom continues to talk about his love of seafood, Nikki gets all hot and bothered, breathing that they have the same exact palate. Until he says “I do”, this piece of man meat is fair game in her book, evidently. I half expected her to start rubbing her nipples. Over on Team Forks (to be renamed Team Bride), the bride is busy describing how she’s a fat girl at heart, for she loves red meat, starchy sides, and anything that’s fried. Personally, I’m right there with her, but I don’t think I’d want the equivalent of the Sizzler’s menu at my wedding. The bride and Richard bond over their Atlanta connection, while Antonia snottily informs us that even though the bride vetoed a few classic catering dishes, she’s going to get them anyway and better fucking like it. Both of the future McBlands end by describing what kind of cake they want — him wanting German chocolate/hazlenut, and her wanting a multi-tiered traditional job — while Yoda freaks out, reminding us that there are whole businesses built around wedding cakes because they often take days to make and cost thousands of dollars. Yep, sucks to be you. Get to work.
After the future McBlands leave, the two teams meet to plan their menus. Team Bride’s busy talking about how to make comfort food wedding-appropriate, and Twitch tells us that he’s really excited about his team, since all four of them have won ECs and QFs before and have proven to be good chefs. Cut to Antonia, who bitches to us about Twitch’s lack of experience and how she guesses they’ll “survive.” Why don’t you take a gander across the room before you start complaining — you’ve got the greaseball, the angry midget, the douchebag, and the incompetent Italian. I’m pretty sure Dale would sell his sister into prostitution to be on your team, so shut up. Speaking of Team Groom, Nikki is taking charge while the other three basically defer to her judgment. Oh man, they’re so fucked. As Nikki outlines her plan to make sure they’re the losing team, Dale interrupts a few times while Fleasa and Evangelass stick their thumbs on their asses. Annoyed, Nikki tells us in the confessional that Dale is a finger-pointing pain in the ass, whom half the house doesn’t want to work with. I definitely believe that, but Nikki… I also believe the entire house doesn’t want to work with you.
What about if I sold her to some dude in Amsterdam? They have like, health care or some shit for their whores, right?
Time to go shopping. Each team sends 2 chefs to Whole Foods, and the other 2 to Restaurant Depot. At Restaurant Depot — which looks like the inside of the Costco — we have Yoda and Antonia from Team Bride and Dale and Fleasa from Team Groom. Evangelass wisely stuck Dale with Fleasa, knowing that Fleasa’s the only one on their team bitchy enough to handle Dale’s outbursts — and able to stomach his humping-cheese jokes. At Whole Foods, Twitch is doing his best to prevent Richard from assuming too much of a leadership position (although he rarely steers people wrong) on Team Bride while they pick out flowers. Richard thinks he’ll do a good job picking out flowers because he has pink shoes and a lot of other douchey things.
At 9pm, the teams arrive back at the kitchens for their 14-hour cook time. Here’s the menu breakdown for both teams:
Assorted flatbreads (app)
Chilean Sea Bass
Orecchiette with ragu
Chocolate hazlenut cake
Pulled pork sandwich (app)
Short ribs & bleu cheese in phyllo (app)
Dark chocolate and lemon cake
On Team Groom, Nikki’s making the pasta, Evangelass is dealing with all the veggies, Dale’s handling all the proteins, and Fleasa is focusing on the cake. On Team Bride, Antonia’s doing the appetizers, Richard has all the meats/sauces, Yoda has the cake, and Twitch is handling what’s left.
Right at the start, Team Groom appears to be falling apart. Everyone keeps trying to defer to Nikki, who alternates between saying she doesn’t care to having no idea how to answer. Meanwhile, Dale –who has already taken on more than his fair share of the workload — is running around, picking up the slack for the other three as they ask them. He handles this with his usual bright, cheery demeanor, of course. After a while, though, his teammates realize that maybe spreading Dale so thin that everything he makes is sub-par wasn’t the best idea… even though they blame it on him half-assing things. I sincerely doubt Dale is half-assing anything. First, that’s not his style. Men who risk breaking all their fingers over a lost relay race do not half-ass competitions. Second, it’s his goal to bolster a weaker team, not drag them down even further. Evangelass steps in to take the sea bass dish away, but for entirely selfish reasons of course — he simply wants to make sure he can point to at least one successful dish he directly created when they inevitably lose.
“Why does everyone keep asking me questions like I’m some self-proclaimed expert Italian chef? God!”
By 2 am, most of the chefs are starting to feel the strain, especially knowing there’s still 9 hours to go before they even head over to the wedding. Even Mr. I-Can-Go-All-Night Twitch (ugh, really unpleasant images just came to mind) is getting cranky, complaining to us that it’s been hours since he’s been able to sneak in a fix, and comparing his creamed spinach prep to Popeye’s wet dream. Close, but I think Olive Oyl would have to be swimming in the spinach to be 100% accurate. And maybe Bluto as well. When Richard helpfully offers his teammate some advice on how to make the creamed spinach more presentable for the wedding, Twitch gets all pissy about it and tells us Richard should mind his own business. Hey, douche, you’re on the same team! Ah, irrationality brought on by exhaustion. And drug abuse.
Back on Team Groom, Nikki’s cranking out her pasta while telling us she was kinda forced into doing it by her teammates. Bullshit on that, dude. She so jumped on the chance to make the one thing she thinks she won’t fuck up. Checking in on Dale, she tells us she’s worried about the way he’s making the ragu, since he’s not using a typical tomato base within the sauce. Looks like Dale keeps changing ingredients and aspects of dishes without really clearing it with everyone first, although it’s hard to imagine he’s making anything any worse. I think to do that, he’d have to urinate in something. Not that I put that past him.
Daddy Tom decides to make an appearance at 7:30 am, after a good night’s sleep. He better be careful or someone may just punch him in the face for it (coughDalecough). He stops by Team Bride first to taunt them a bit and see what they’ve been up to. An exhausted Richard explains their menu with a slack-jawed stare and drool at the corner of his mouth, but Daddy Tom seems comfortable with what they’re doing and moves on with a warning not to fuck up as bad as Stephen & Co. on season 1. Yoda says she won’t have any eggshells in the cake, but when it comes to the Han Solo action figures, she’s not making any promises. Turning to Team Groom, Daddy Tom amusedly looks at Fleasa’s sad, ugly little cake and asks them about their Italian theme while Nikki awkwardly tries to shift the responsibility off her shoulders. This group definitely gets a colder reception than DT gave Team Bride, and he warns them not to dumb-down their menu too much. DT, I’d be more worried about being served raw food than whether it’s wedding-appropriate if I were you.
Richard tries to impress Daddy Tom with his impression of Corky from ‘Life Goes On.’
Daddy Tom leaves the kitchen to give us his assessment. He thinks Team Groom has an advantage by cooking Italian food, given that it’s a crowd pleaser. As for their cake, DT acknowledges the groom requested a simple cake but hilariously adds “Well I hope he didn’t say ugly, because that’s kinda what we have… it looks like a battleship of some sort.” LOL. As for Team Bride, he knows they’re the stronger team, but is worried their comfort food could be a disaster, given that it all hinges on the S-word… seasoning.
With that, the chefs head over to the wedding. The future McBlands both look great, as we see the bride head down the aisle, wearing a beautiful strapless gown. Guess you can splurge on the dress when you save $10,000 on catering bills by whoring yourself out. With 30 minutes left before service, the chefs are bustling around the kitchen when Scar comes in to announce the judges — herself, Daddy Tom, Gail, and Gale Gand, executive pastry chef (okay that’s just cruel)/co-owner of Tru, which is only a few blocks away from my place and is supposed to be excellent. Yoda, realizing that Gale is big-time pasty chef, pees her pants a little as she ices and decorates Team Bride’s cake (which looks a million times better than the stack of pan-shaped rectangles Team Groom is serving).
Time’s up, and the waiters arrive as we learn a bit too much about the future of the McBlands — overhearing the bride talking about how she used to wish the groom loved her the way she loves him, until one day he suddenly did. AKA the day he realized he’s getting a bald spot and a beer gut and needs to lock her in before his appearance completely goes to hell. The chefs begin sending out their appetizers, and the guests love Team Bride’s short ribs, pulled pork sandwiches (even though they’re messy), and pizza. As for Team Groom, while the flatbread is well-received, the bread in the bruschetta is too thick and hard, causing the toppings to drop all over the guests like pigeon poop.
“Oh fuck, did I just chip my veneers?”
Moving inside a large tent for the dinner service, the McBlands are officially announced, with the bride wearing a totally different gown than before. How much free shit exactly did these people get? Buffet service begins, with Antonia and Richard working the table for Team Bride, Twitch staying in the kitchen (good call on not needlessly scaring the guests), and Yoda running in between. Once they grab their plates, the judges begin chowing down, complimenting Team Bride on both the brisket and the filet mignon, while criticizing Twitch’s crispy chicken (that Antonia had told us she thought was a bad idea when he first suggested it — way to be strong).
Team Groom has Nikki and Evangelass up front, Fleasa as the middle man, and Dale in the kitchen, bitching away about having to cook all the hot dishes alone. I feel bad for the camera guy who had to stand there and listen to him for the entire length of the reception. The groom and various guests work their way through the offerings, with everyone seeming very excited and pleased with the choices. But once the judges sit down to eat and critique, things start looking not so good for Team Groom. Not only do they find Nikki’s tortellini poorly made, but the filling is too sweet. The judges also criticize Evangelass’s mixed vegetables as being visually unappealing and unoriginal. They do however like Dale’s ragu, despite Nikki having bitched away about it earlier.
After dinner, it’s time to cut the cakes. Yoda’s looks beautiful, and if I didn’t know better, I’d think an actual pastry chef created it. As for Fleasa’s…. I don’t think I’d serve that thing at a five-year-old’s birthday party, let alone a wedding. Yeesh. But don’t judge a cake by its frosted-by-a-blind-man appearance, as the guests rave about its moist texture.
“Hey stud, lemme give you my number in case this whole marriage-thing doesn’t work out.”
With the wedding over, everyone heads back to the kitchens for Judges’ Table, where Scar calls in Team Bride. But instead of announcing them as the winning team, the judges begin grilling them. Specifically, Daddy Tom scolds Twitch for making the crispy chicken, which was too similar and inferior to the chicken he made last week for the kids challenge. When asked how else he contributed, Twitch mentions the creamed spinach — which Scar didn’t like, and Twitch blames on Richard for adding a last-minute ingredient. But enough fucking around — Team Bride is the winning team! Dropping their stern personas, the judges heap on praise for the cake, brisket, and pizza — with Richard getting the win for both his leadership skills and his dishes. In a sweet gesture, he “gives” the win to Yoda instead, and they ultimately agree to “share” the win when the judges announce there is a $2,000 prize for the winner. At home, Richard’s wife breathes a sigh of relief and just barely refrains from beating the crap out of him. Bitch likes her stemware, I guess.
Team Groom heads in before the judges, and after asking what each person’s responsibilities were, Daddy Tom demands to know who was the team leader. Nikki jumps in to say “definitely not me!” while Dale suffers a mini-aneurism and Daddy Tom and Scar stare at her like she’s batshit crazy. Turning to Fleasa, guest judge Gale asks about the cake’s fug appearance, and seems satisfied when Fleasa explains the groom’s instructions to make sure it didn’t outshine the bride’s cake. Also helping Fleasa out is that it definitely tasted better than Yoda’s. Daddy Tom then begins cataloguing the problems — the tortellini was dried out and the filling was gross, the flatbread was likewise too hard, some of the meat was overcooked, the horseradish sauce was flavorless, etc.
But when the judges start in on the hard bruschetta bread, Dale snaps, complaining that he did so much more than anyone else. Daddy Tom interrupts to ask if Dale is implying that someone else didn’t do enough, and although Dale doesn’t technically name names, he clearly looks in Evangelass’s direction. A pissed-off Evangelass goads Dale on, saying he’s not going to stand here and let Dale pretend he’s some God-like figure who did everything for the entire team. Dale accurately points out that Evangelass foisted off some of his veggie work on Dale, which leads to a round of beeps and Evangelass accurately calling Dale a little bitch. The judges finally regain control, and Gail timidly tells Evangelass that they really liked his sea bass, as if afraid he’s going to call her a bitch next.
“This is more confusing than the instructions for Salman’s penis pump.”
The judges shoo the losers out for deliberations. Starting with Evangelass, they agree they liked the fish, but it wasn’t a large enough contribution. As for his veggies, they sucked, so that’s not helping matters, either. With Dale, they recognize he did a shitload of work, but argue that he then should have made the team cut a few things once he saw how much there was to do. Turning to Nikki, they’re clearly annoyed by the way she refused to take a leadership position as well as any responsibility for a failed Italian menu, given her “expertise.” They don’t mention it here, but Nikki’s also responsible for several of the dishes called out as being poorly executed. Fleasa is evidently in the clear, as she’s not even brought up.
After Nikki chastises her teammates in the waiting room for pointing fingers and acting like children, the judges call the four of them back in for results. Daddy Tom briefly rehashes the reasons why Dale, Nikki and Evangelass are each at risk for being eliminated, before turning to Scar… who tells Nikki to pack her knives and get the fuck out. Finally! I think they definitely made the right decision.
So what did you think? Did Dale or Evangelass deserve to go home over Nikki? Whose side are you on — Dale or Evangelass’s? And which team would you rather have cater your wedding?