Thursday, September 3, 2009
Room of Doom: The Top Chef Vegas recap
If I was bunking in room 666, or whatever room it is that once housed Preeti, Eve, Jennifer Z., and the soon-to-be-gone Laurine (I mean, who are we trying to kid?) I’d do whatever it took to get the hell out. Fake the swine flu. Claim cibophobia (that’s fear of food). Pretend you have a bad case of nocturnal farting. Because they’re dropping like flies in that room, man.
Oh, and way to represent, ladies. So far we’ve had three shows and, yes, three women have gotten the boot. (Somewhere, Julia Child is weeping.) It’s not surprising when you think about it, since all these women were dealing with some serious self-esteem issues. Jennifer Z. refused to unpack her bags because she didn’t want to seem overly confident (no fear of that, honey). Eve claimed that she really only cooked to please herself. Preeti nervously noticed that everyone else’s dishes for the Air Force challenge looked a little more complex than hers (probably because her pasta salad looked like something you’d see wrapped in cellophane at the local deli counter). And Laurine is so excited about feeding those hungry air force kids, she forgot she was in a freakin’ competition. (I realize she’s not technically gone yet, but again, just a technicality.)
Thank God for HBIC (that’s Head Bitch in Charge) Jennifer. She is my gender’s last hope.
So back to the show. Anyone else think it was funny that Mark Peel was overseeing the potato challenge? Just me? Alrighty then.
Some starchy goodness was being whipped up by the contestants, but I was extremely puzzled by Ash’s failed potato ice cream, which then turned into a random smearing of potato “custard” on the plate, which Mark Peel actually thought was a taste sensation.
Michael I.’s first Douchetastic Moment of the Week ™ also cropped up during the Quickfire Challenge: “Risotto is a style of cooking,” he said disdainfully. “Not only for rice.” Like, duh, who doesn’t know that? (Okay, me. But he didn’t have to be so snotty about it.)
Local girl Jesse crashed and burned once again with overly cayenned sweet potato soup. (It was hilarious watching Mark Peel’s reaction to her soup: “The color is lovely. The texture is lovely”—insert spoon in mouth; watch lips contort in pain and all color drain from face—“You do like your cayenne pepper, don’t you?”)
Anyway, Jennifer won the Quickfire and immunity with some sort of potato/oyster combo. Girl needs immunity like Seacrest needs more hairgel. But hey, score one for the double-X chromosomes.
Next the elimination challenge at the Nellis Air Force Base. The contestants paired up, but they were supposed to work together in a giant mess hall, making lunch for the members of the base, many of whom had just returned from (or were on their way to) combat. Michael, in a surprisingly shrewd move, asked Jennifer to be the executive chef.
It was so damn satisfying watching her boss people around, run the kitchen with military precision, and put Hector in his place when he was telling a folksy story about working in a brewery. “Are we going to have conversations now?” she barked at him. “Or are we going to talk about the food?”
(I was surprised she didn’t have the poor guy drop and give her 50.)
The lunch went extremely well—save for Michael I’s soggy shrimp salad and Preeti and Laurine’s lame deli salad. Jesse and Ron made a seasonally inappropriate clam chowder, but I guess it was tasty. Tom Colicchio was utterly delighted by what Goofus did with his bacon. Apparently, it just takes a little wizardry with bacon to make Colicchio giddy like a school girl.
So yes, the top 2 teams were Eli and Kevin (paired up because, as Kevin said, “We bond on a fat guy level”) who made a delicious-looking pulled pork and potato salad.
And Goofus (natch) who was teamed with Michael I. But wait, didn’t Michael I. have that horrible poached shrimp salad? (Foreshadowing, people!)
As Goofus was called in the top 4, Gallant stewed quietly, but the thought bubble over his head clearly read: “Mom loves me more. . .Mom loves me more. . .”
Needless to say, Goofus won. With his bacon prowess, he pretty much owns Colicchio at this point.
Eli and Kevin got their props, but Michael I. was asked to gather the bottom 3: Preeti, Laurine, and . . . Michael I.!
Yes, for the first time ever, someone is in the top 4 and the bottom 3! How did Michael I. manage this inauspicious feat? By admitting that he had nothing to do with Goofus’s magical bacon and everything to do with the soggy shrimp salad.
Commence a display of rage from bizarro Affleck that involved clenching of the fists, rocking back and forth on the balls of the feet, and a truly murderous glare.
Of course, I knew one of the girls was a goner. Preeti showed a bit of spine when she snarkily asked Gail, “Did you think that clam chowder in 90 degree heat was inventive?” But in a move filled with decency and integrity (and destined to get you voted off a reality TV competition), neither Laurine nor Preeti was willing to throw the other under the bus for the lame pasta salad.
“They wanted us to incriminate each other, but we wouldn’t” said next week’s loser Laurine.
As for Preeti, she went back to the room of doom, where she had cockily unpacked her belongings, and left.