Thursday, June 24, 2010
Hell-nO Pudding: The Top Chef recap
Okay, can we talk for a second about Sam Kass, White House Assistant Chef? Hello, salty goodness! Why do I feel like the Obama staff is better looking than the cast of The West Wing?
So the Quickfire Challenge was to come up with the worst pun imaginable. Padma came up with “Bipartisandwich” and won.
Actually, a “Bipartisandwich” was what the Cheftestants had to make for their challenge—in groups of two, in “red state/blue state” aprons, with one hand tied behind their backs. (I think one-hand-tied-behind-your-back is an apt metaphor for our two-party system, so I approve.)
Terry lucked out with Ed, who is left-handed.
Timothy’s partner Alex was afraid that Timothy was going to shank him. (Dude, chillax.)
Tracey was all squeeing over having to be tied up with Angelo, to which I thought:
a. Who can blame her?
b. Wait. . .she’s not gay?
(By the way, I’ve decided that instead of making Angelo the villain of this season I’m just going to embrace the hotness. He’s the villain everyone wants to have sex with—like Eric from True Blood)
So Angelo is kind of torturing Tracey by saying things like, “I call this sandwich Sex on a Plate” and “I call this spread Liquid Love.”
Later, he tortures her further by saying that she’s like his “twin sister.” (Cue the “you just lost on the game show” music.)
Anyhoo, Angelo and Tracey win—and get immunity. (A key factor in tonight’s show.) I tell ya, that Angelo was sure lucky to team up with a chef extraordinaire like Tracey! He is one fortunate fellow.
On to the Elimination Challenge: In groups of 4, they are to make a nutritious school lunch for 50 kids at $2.60 a pop.
Angelo and Tracey stay together and they pick—Ed Cotton and Kenny? Wait. . .I figured Angelo would want to go against his arch nemesis Kenny.
But Kenny sizes it up right away: On the off chance that Angelo’s team loses the challenge, there is a 50 percent likelihood that Kenny is going home. Diabolical!
(The thing is, though, once Kenny figured this out, why didn’t he stop Angelo from spreading some peanut butter on a celery stalk? )
Meanwhile, Kelly has turned into Mrs. Bossy Pants with her group—Arnold, Lynne, and Tiffany.
Her plan is to make pork tacos with pickled onions.
“Are you sure the kids will like the pickled onions?” asks Arnold, a perfectly fair question.
“Trust me, they’ll love them” she replies in her “this discussion is over” voice.
As for Amanda, she gets the brilliant idea to create the next generation of AA members with her chicken thigh in sherry jus.
At Restaurant Depot, there’s enough room in the budget for her sherry, but not enough for Jacqueline’s chocolate. So Jacqueline’s yummy banana-chocolate pudding is suddenly a markedly less yummy banana-nothing pudding.
Back at the house, Kelly’s team confronts her for taking too much credit for the tacos.
(Also, back at the house, we find out that Tracey does have a girlfriend. Good to know that my gaydar, honed from my years at Bennington and subsequently, my years watching the Bravo network, has not let me down. Hey, Angelo’s hotness knows no sexual boundaries.)
So the funniest moment of the show for me was when Tom Colicchio checked out Kelly’s team in the kitchen. Mind you, this was mere hours after she had been scolded for taking too much credit for the tacos.
Chef Tom: What do we have here?
Arnold: It’s taco da—
Kelly (interrupting cow): I’m responsible for the tacos!
(Something about the way Kelly said it—in a rush, half-crazed—made me think of a Kristen Wiig character on SNL. Start working on it, Kristen.)
So they go to the school and start feeding the middle schoolers.
Stephen, he who always seems on the verge of tears, tells Sam Kass that his rice has “165 grams of fat.” Sam’s eyes widen. (OMG, murderer!)
“Uh, 165 calories, I mean,” Stephen clarifies sheepishly.
Back to the judging table, where Amanda’s team and Angelo’s team are called first.
Angelo looks confused. He’s thinking to himself: Am I so good that I can’t even fail on purpose?
Thinking she’s in the bottom, Kelly immediately starts looking for who she can blame for her tacos.
But it was a fake-out. Angelo and Amanda’s groups ARE the Bottom 2.
In the (very testy) judging room, Tom asked Angelo if there was any strategy behind his recipe, which goes something like this:
Take one stalk of celery.
Take one jar of peanut butter.
Angelo denied any gamesmanship. But later, back in the waiting room, he was whistling innocently, the universal sign for “I’m guilty.” Also, he leaned into Tracey, his breath hot on her neck (uh, sorry) and told her a “secret”: “I don’t like Kenny.”
Meanwhile, Kelly dreamed a little dream and it came true: Her pork carnitas rules! She wins! She couldn’t have done it without herself.
In the end, neither Kenny nor Peter Cottontail (aka Ed) were going home. It was Jacqueline, with her starchy, grainy, chocolate-free pudding. On the bright side, maybe there’s some leftover sherry for her to drown her sorrows in.