Thursday, December 18, 2008
A Very Special Episode of Top Chef
Ah, smell the sweat, breathe in the polluted humidity, dodge the naked cowboy in Times Square. It’s Christmas—in August—in New York!
Once again, we’ve got our big faux holiday episode of Top Chef, and this time they’ve somehow snookered Martha Stewart, amFAR, and Natasha Richardson to go along with the charade. (The Christmas tree at the amFAR party was a particularly nice touch.)
First, Martha Stewart strolls in as judge of the Quickfire challenge. I feel like there should be fanfares or fireworks or supplication rituals or somethin’, but she just kind of shows up. Martha, as it turns out, is a big fan of the one pot dish. (Insert your own crockpot-in-the-slammer joke here.) So the assignment is: make a one-pot holiday meal.
This is bad news for Radhika, who usually uses 10 pots to make one dish. (Can I just say that if I used 10 pots to make a single dish, I would either throw away all the pots or consider selling my home as is. No way would I be cleaning that shit.)
Gene makes a stew that he thickens with corn starch. Queen Martha does not approve.
Jamie’s scallops, however, pass muster.
Hosea’s paella gets “props.”
But Fabio’s polenta fails to impress. “My grandma will be so ashamed,” he says.
Let us pause for a moment to take the “How Well Do You Know Fabio?” quiz.
Who will Fabio’s grandma be ashamed of:
a. Fabio, for screwing up a family recipe and shaming the Viviani good name?
b. Herself, for creating the subpar polenta recipe that sent her beloved little Fabio to the Bottom 3?
c. Martha Stewart, for not appreciating the awesomeness of her awesome grandson’s awesome polenta?
If you guessed c, you win! You know your Fabio Viviani! (Congratulations?)
The OPG Ariane naturally makes a filet over mashed cauliflower with a very deceptive I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter element. And she wins! And it’s funny, because Jamie comes in second again. That can’t happen enough in my book.
Next, the Harlem Gospel Choir comes in and starts singing the hell out of some Christmas standards. Top Chef goes way high concept on this—each contestant will have to create an appetizer representing one of the 12 days of Christmas. (Smart observers will note that there are only 11 cheftestants left. I think four calling birds got the shaft.)
Fabio moans and groans that 9 ladies dancing is the hardest of all the days. (And this is the guy most Bravo viewers want under the mistletoe?)
Hosea is confused and seems to think that the pipers piping are smoking actual pipes, not playing flutes. Oh well, he’s Jewish, so I guess he gets a pass. He decides to smoke some pork. (So, uh, I guess he’s not that Jewish.)
Radhika gets the partridge in a pear tree and decides to make duck.
Everyone crams their stuff into the fridge—ominously—and goes home for the night.
Morning arrives and the refrigerator door has been left open! The horror!
I dunno. Maybe the fridge door just popped open on its own, but it looked pretty secure the night before to me. Why do I have the feeling that some evil Top Chef producer opened the door to create their very own Christmas-in-August miracle?
Because you see, folks, a spirit of teamwork emerges and everyone chips in to help save Hosea and Radhika, the worst victims of the Christmas-in-August Refrigerator Massacre. It’s sort of like Extreme Home Makeover, except with pork.
Off to the amFAR party they go, where, in a shocking moment, skeevy Stefan makes lewd comments about Natasha Richardson’s voice. (In fairness, she does have a lovely voice.)
The deal is, guests at the party will place their AIDS ribbons next to their favorite dish. (Probably the least sensitive use of the AIDS ribbon in the history of charity, but I digress.)
Hosea, with his pork, and Jeff, who made some sort of high concept island cheese salad, are working the room and getting their flirt on and piling up the ribbons.
In the end, Hosea wins!
Ariane made deviled eggs because she had immunity and I guess was in the mood for deviled eggs.
Jamie made scallops again. But they were raw and mushy and gross this time.
Gene made some sort of nasty sweet ceviche.
Melissa made . . . wait who’s Melissa again? (Sorry. Has anyone ever exhibited less personality at this stage in the competition?). Right, she made filet with too much gorgonzola on top.
So Gene, Jamie, and Melissa are the Bottom 3. The best part about this is that Jamie can stop bitchin that she’s always in the Top 3.
The judges confer and decide that all three dishes suck. But than again, everyone’s dish pretty much sucked! Mediocrity pays! And also, it’s Christmas in August and everyone chipped in and it is a Very Special Episode of Top Chef so. . .no one goes home. Merry Summer Solstice to you all!