Trouble With Toast

Top Chef D.C. – Episode 4 | July 9, 2010

I am so glad I waited until Thursday night to watch this week’s Top Chef – it kept me blissfully insulated from the LeBron James media circus.  Because, truthfully, I know (and care) as much about basketball as Lynne knows about cooking pasta.  Ooooh, burn!

This episode was really weird.  I hated the baby food challenge – yeah, it’s fan-freaking-tastic that Tom and Padma have procreated (though not together), but I’m not sure that pureeing is a great sign of chefly talent.  Also, I couldn’t decide which was more disturbing – Kenny’s pimping of the dead wife story, or Alex’s uncomfortable sex references (though I did find his comment about practicing making babies, not baby food, somewhat amusing).  In the end, Tamesha and Kenny each win $10,000, but no one has immunity for the elimination challenge.

Which brings me to my next beef.  What the frack kind of nonsense was the elimination challenge?  Holy confusing, Batman.  I mean, the idea of a round robin-esque cook-off was kind of cool, but it didn’t sit right with me that the “losers” of the breakfast and lunch rounds were the ones that ended up winning the challenge and getting trips to Italy and Spain.  Oh, well, at least I got to stare at Eric Ripert and Bryan Voltaggio for a while.

The breakfast round is a flurry of eggy activity, and Amanda and Stephen (with a poached egg concoction) and Tiffany and Tim (with a crab cake Benedict) are declared safe.  The remaining chefs are annoyed that they have to cook lunch, particularly since, as Kelly notes, they didn’t receive any feedback about why the judges didn’t enjoy their breakfasts.  A fair point, I suppose.  Anywho, the funniest part is that Kelly and Andrea serve overcooked fish (I’m sorry, feesh) to Eric Ripert, and he and Padma have an adorable exchange about sending a dish back at Le Bernardin.  Tee.  Angelo and Tamesha are safe, with their beef carpaccio and kimchee vinaigrette, and Ed and Alex are safe as well (their seared scallops looked yummy, though I’m not sure what gnudi is – it looks like gnocchi to me).

The chefs cooking dinner are even more pissed than they were about cooking lunch, which I’m sure does wonders for their concentration and overall state of mind.  Everyone stews about how the judges wronged them.  Two teams make short ribs (Kelly/Andrea and Kenny/Kevin), and they each think their version is the best.  Arnold and Lynne make homemade squid ink pasta and mussels, but they clash about when to start cooking the noodles.  Arnold becomes increasingly anxious about not having enough time, and Lynne is a miserable bitch and repeats about 6 times that she’s made homemade pasta tons of times before (which is a death knell if I ever heard one).

Sure enough, Lynne undercooks the pasta, and the judges are not pleased.  Kelly and Andrea have the winning short rib, and they each get a trip to Europe (if I had been safe in the breakfast round, I would be raising all kind of hell).  Kevin and Kenny defend their dish to the death, and Lynne is a miserable bitch and keeps dodging questions by saying that she was happy with the flavor of the dish.  In the end, Arnold and Lynne are sent home because of execution errors and the fact that, apparently, black pasta is just too scary for Hilton’s guests.  Bummer, as Arnold was the contestant I hated the least at this stage in the game.

Note how I phrased that.  I didn’t say I liked Arnold – I said I hated him the least.  That is how I feel about this season of chefs, ladies and gentlemen – they are constantly battling to be the best of a cadre of bad options.  At this point, I guess I’m going to have to root for Alex, because at least that skinny booger TRIES to be funny and light-hearted.



  1. Eliminating Arnold was RIDICULOUS. Mandatory elimination of partners is like a three-strikes law. The judges ought to have the flexibility to eliminate the crappy partners while keeping the ones that show promise.

    Gnudi is naked ravioli–ravioli without the skins.

    Comment by Barzelay — July 13, 2010 @ 4:36 am

    • I agree – Arnold’s departure was a sad result of yet another team/partner challenge. I always like it better when they allow each chef to cook for him/herself and stand or fall based on their own dishes.

      Thanks for the definition of gnudi – I guess it really looked like gnocchi because they were squeezing it out of a pastry bag-esque device and then cutting it directly into the boiling water.

      Comment by bettyjoan — July 13, 2010 @ 11:10 am

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