Thursday, November 27, 2008
Foo the Right Thing: The Top Chef recap
“Now, when Chef Tom Colicchio says Happy Thanksgiving, don’t stare at him like he’s got two heads.”
Or such is what I imagine a producer told the contestants for this very special “holiday” edition of Top Chef. I think they film the show about 4 months in advance, so by my calculations, the Foo Fighters were enjoying their tasty Thanksgiving feast in late August. But, hey, it’s the magic of TV, people—and let’s always remember that when it comes to reality TV, that’s reality with an asterisk.
First, we had our truly wackadoo Quickfire Challenge, which involved one very high concept—reimagine a dish from Top Chef past—that turned into another even higher concept when guest judge Chef Grant Achatz announced: “We’ve decided we’re in the mood for soup.” (The next time I eat out, I’m totally going to instruct my entire table to dramatically put down their menus and say to the waiter, “We’ve decided we’re in the mood for soup.”)
Anyway, some yummy looking soups were being concocted from some very unlikely ingredients—tuna tartare? falafel? bacon and eggs?—but it was Leah who won, despite her bold declaration that she hates white asparagus. Also, lest you're still not convinced that Carla needs her own line of Hallmark cartoon greeting cards, this week she told us the special ingredient in her soup was “love.”
So Leah picks the teams for the Feed the Foo challenge and it’s basically Team World Domination (a.k.a. Team SexyPants) versus Team We Can’t Boil Water (a.k.a. Team Cougar), so naturally I was rooting for the underdogs.
Off they went to the supermarket, where Stefan and Fabio’s raging manlove manifested with a tender forehead kiss at the checkout line (their brand of hetero-passion cannot be contained within a kitchen.)
Then, more curveballs thrown their way: They have to cook outside. They have one burner. They have no refrigerator. They have a boatload of microwaves. Hey, were they trying to give the Foo Fighters botulism or something? And then, as pretty boy Jeff put it blandly, “God made it rain.”
Actually, Jeff was the only semi-hateful character on Team Oh Crap I Burnt the Toast. Despite the fact that he hasn’t won a single challenge or even gotten an honorable mention in a Quickfire as far as I remember, the boy thinks he is all that. (Oh, and by the way, the man is a chef for the Dilido Beach Club. I said Dilido. Get your minds out of the gutter.)
Somehow, Team We Don’t Know What Sous Vide Means Either put Ariane in charge of making the turkey—only the most important element of a “Thanksgiving Dinner”—and, in an even more unlikely turn of events, it worked. Yay, Ariane. (Oh, but honey, look up cougar. It doesn’t just mean sexy, it means on the prowl for younger men. I’m sure Jeff thinks you want him bad.)
One thing I noticed about the Foo Fighters, they say “fuck” a lot on the buffet line. I guess cause they’re rockers.
So the two meals were pretty much neck and neck, with everything Jeff did for Team We Forgot to Add the Salt pretty much sucking. Of particular note? His parfait that one of the waggish Foos referred to as “barf-ait.”
So, damn, Team World Domination Wins. If only they knew how close they came to losing to Team Fallen Soufflé. (No actual winner this week? I guess it just wouldn’t be in the spirit of Thanksgiving in August.) Cut to the dorkiest group of humans ever to rock out at a Foo Fighters concert.
In the end, it comes down to Jeff, sweet Richard, and that peanut-butter-dripping bandit himself, Danny. Jeff may’ve made barfait and dry spoonbread, but at least he showed leadership qualities (and also, Padma still wants to trade haircare tips with him)—so he’s safe. Danny seems fairly useless, but he and Jamie hate each other, so that bit of lesbian-on-Guido action ain’t going nowhere—he’s safe. Richard is loveable, but he made sucky smores (how is that even possible?)—so he is packing up his knives and going home. Don’t cry on the way out! Whoops.