‘Top Chef’ Recap: “Past Suppers”
This week’s Top Chef celebrated the 10th season of the Emmy-winning series by creating a challenge centered around Healthy Choice and Kindle Fire memorable moments from the past seasons. On the one hand, it was great to relive some classic Top Chef memories, like Stefan’s obsession with Jamie, Jamie’s obsession with scallops, and Marcel’s Teen Wolf hair. The unfortunate side effect of this trip down memory lane (aside from the Kindle Fire product placement) was that it made me wish I was watching one of those seasons instead. It’s not that this season isn’t good, it’s just that it doesn’t involve any Voltaggios. (My dream is still to marry one of them. Or Channing Tatum. Whoever asks first.) This season has had its share of “memorable moments,” among which will surely be the expulsion of John “I Shared the Pickles” Tesar.
The Quickfire Challenge involved a really cool infomercial demonstration by some guy who apparently makes ridiculously expensive knives that can cut through thick ropes in midair. As it turned out, the winner of the challenge would get one of these super special ninja knives as a prize. I think Stefan accurately conveyed the shared excitement of the cheftestants when he said, “Of course I have my eye on the prize. I always wanted a $4000 knife. Who doesn’t?” I know it was on my Christmas list, right under diamond-encrusted potholder. The chefs had to complete three stages of knife skill tasks, ending with the butchering of a rabbit. (Was I the only one wondering how many rabbits had to die for this Quickfire?) After several minutes of watching the chefs madly sharpening their knives before Bob Kramer tried to slice a piece of Top Chef stationery with them, Micah won. Sheldon gazed wistfully at Micah’s new knife, which Sheldon referred to as, “pure sexiness.”
Next, Padma told the chefs to check out their Kindle Fires, where they watched clips from previous seasons of Top Chef, including season 7’s Pea Puree Scandal, Carla’s chicken pot pie, and a random scene from season 4 where Spike and Antonia yelled at each other in the stew room. (So…every episode of that season, basically.) The twist for this challenge was that the chefs had to cook the dish from their “memorable moment”—but a healthier version of it. (Womp womp.) Let’s be honest, “healthy” challenges are the worst. No one likes to cook healthy food, and certainly no one likes to eat it. “Healthy” is just Top Chef code for “Don’t use butter or sugar.” And everyone knows the secret to good cooking is to just add more butter. Clearly the “memorable moments” and the Kindle Fires were just there to spice up an otherwise lame challenge required by Top Chef sponsors, Healthy Choice.
Kristen won the Elimination Challenge with her healthy take on Carla’s chicken pot pie. Personally, I think it was probably Carla’s residual good juju that helped Kristen win. Also, she’s a freaking awesome chef. She’s my favorite to win. Meanwhile, John fell victim to the Top Chef Curse of the Risotto. To make matters worse, he blamed his poorly cooked rice on the fact that he couldn’t find a good pot. Lizzie made the poor decision to use her scallops even though they didn’t smell “frish.” They came out horrible, but at least she was humble and repentant rather than blaming it on the kitchen equipment. After several more of those disorienting close-up shots of the chefs’ faces at Judges’ Table, Padma revealed a secret tenth Kindle Fire! (What is this, Harry Potter and the Kindle Fires? How many of these things do we need?) On it the chefs found the “memorable moment” from this season: CJ’s abysmal burger. (Poor CJ will never live that down… Unless he continues his domination on Last Chance Kitchen and comes back to win it all.) Padma announced that John and Lizzie would compete in a cook-off to see who would be sent home. Twist!
Sharing the kitchen proved to be the most challenging part of the challenge for the two chefs—especially John, who is not historically known for his ability to express consideration for other people. John ever so kindly shared the pickles (the required ingredient) with Lizzie, and never let her forget it. She let him use some of her dill, which he took to mean “all of the dill,” prompting her to ask, “Hey, dude, where’s my dill?” (The underrated sequel to Dude, Where’s My Car?) John really couldn’t get past the whole pickle-sharing thing. Even after he was eliminated, he kept talking about how he should have just slapped a piece of meat on a plate and held the pickles captive so that Lizzie would be missing the key component of the dish. Well, I think we all know who will be winning the Top Chef Award for Good Sportsmanship this season.
I can’t say I’m sad to see John go, considering what an obnoxious human being he is. I mean, it says a lot that I legitimately don’t remember Josie talking a lot during this episode. John’s douchebaggery was just too overpowering. (Of course, that could have been the editing.) Josh isn’t far behind in the Douche Pageant though, especially with his comment at the end about John finding a flat pan to cook in. I wouldn’t have been sorry to see Lizzie go either, frankly. But I’m just a little biased against her because I can’t stand to listen to her talk. Fortunately we’re coming up on Restaurant Wars, which always has a high body count. Let’s hope Curly McMustache and South Africa both get stuck at the front of the house—the second-most deadly Top Chef curse. Let the bloodbath begin!
Don’t forget to vote to save your favorite chef! This week it’s Kuniko vs. John. You can also tweet using the hashtag #savechefkuniko or #savechefjohn. (Spoiler alert: I won’t be voting to save John.)