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Top Chef Fodder

Top Chef: Da Chefs

ryan.jpgThe chefs are all still reeling from Zoi's astonishing, though not completely surprising, elimination. Spike is feeling particular heat after hanging her out to dry. If Jennifer has anything to say about it, it'll be him up next on the chopping block. She wishes she could've been together with the love of her life longer, but says she's going to aim to win Top Chef not only for herself, but for Zoi, too. Oh, it's SO on now.

Ryan adds there's lots of tension in the apartment, but Lisa points out it's not just from the elimination--but the win, too. She's happy she won, of course, but is still having problems with Dale. He confronts her and apologizes for yelling at her, but expresses his concern over her negativity. She's cool with that, except she notifies him next time, he better come to her when he has an issue. Then in her video diary, she says he can go *beep* himself. I love her!

The chefs head on down to the Top Chef kitchen, where they see 16 pitchers of beer up on a bar and Chef Koren Grieveson standing next to Padma Lakshmi. She is the executive chef at Avec and is here just for the Quickfire Challenge, which is all about simple pleasures. Their objective is to create a dish that pairs well with beer, but doesn't overpower it. Dale and Nikki feel lost instantly. He especially feels his dish instantly went to "hell in a handbag". Hah.

Richard decides to base his dishes off the buzz words (in this case, "simple". He chooses to do a sandwich. Antonia expresses how simple can often be hard. Lisa sees no difficulty with this, however, nor does Jennifer. The latter has her good luck charm, her mohawk shaped like a shark fin. She's all fired up and raring to go. But it's hard to tell who Koren truly likes, because she has a great poker face.

She declares the three bottom dishes to be those of Nikki (who's floundering these days), Spike (who's weaker than he realizes), and Dale--to which Lisa responds, "Good, bitch! How's the bottom feeling?" (Did I mention that I LOVE her.) But Koren liked three dishes very much, and those were: Richard's, Stephanie's (a real testament to who's the best, as she usually hates Quickfires), and Jennifer's. She's thrilled, of course, but she would like to finally win something...and what better time than now? Koren declares her the winner! Hooray for her. This is just what she needed to keep her faith in this competition. She channeled her negative energy into her first win. Spike cheers "Yay, lesbians!" Oy gevalt, dude.

The cheftestants are then informed of their Elimination Challenge, which is to create individual meals (the first truly individual task since the first episode) for a Tailgating party prior to a Chicago Bears game at Soldier Field. The fans (and players) will determine the top and bottom 3 dishes via scorecards marked with either "touchdown" or "fumble", among other terms. And from that, the judges will determine who stays and who goes.

At the market, Spike jumps on wings, much to many others' collective dismay. Dale opts for ribs instead. Nikki gets sausage and peppers--AND shrimp. Richard admits he's a wise-ass, and decides to make a "paté melt"--get it, patty melt? Antonia is equally excited, more so for being outdoors though. Andrew is not so much, because his sport is cooking. Ryan also gripes that he's not a sports guy, but focuses more on his metrosexuality. (And to think, up until now, I was so confused....) Mark bitches in his subtle kiwi way that he doesn't care about football.

The contestants are all a mish-mash of confident and clueless. Ryan is preparing, for some strange reason, a 5-course meal...for an outdoor grilling feast. Smart. Jennifer decides to go Greek for Zoi. Aw. In the midst of all this chaos, the refrigerator is almost overflowing. Richard saves the day by taping it shut and the contestants retreat to their house. They all begin to unwind after a long day, with some wine and Andrew acting like a pirate. Awesome.

But the real highlight comes from Mark and Spike, who bond and begin to frolic--in a bubble bath. The girls are not interested in joining them...especially not Antonia, who refers to it as a cheap porno. I am now literally laughing my ass off, as she describes the hilarity of the bubbles, champagne, and all-around homoerotica. (This show can be such fun after all!) Spike's all "Whatever, I'm secure with my masculinity and sexuality." But what he's really saying is "I wanna do Mark, so take the cameras away...ooh, or don't. MEOW!"

The next day, the chefs arrive at Soldier Field, where they can choose between charcoal or gas grills. Mark proudly testifies that he's the only one with enough guts to tackle the charcoal. Then we are introduced to Paul Kahan, who will be our guest judge for the Elimination Challenge. He's a chef at Blackbird. And then the crowd enters the field and goes nuts. Football players are everywhere and it seems as if all the chefs have done a magnificent job--seeing as how all we're really hearing is compliments galore.

Ryan appears to be working the crowd pretty well, while Spike disappoints some by foolishly inquiring when the last time the Bears won a football game was. Don't mess with...DA Bears. Andrew, however, is in the full spirit of everything--even wearing a football helmet. See, this is exactly why I love this guy...he's into life. We should all be Andrews! Unfortunately, his head seems to get stuck--much to the amusement of Gail Simmons, as Andrew squeaks and twitters. Gail calls him "A trip". I call him "lovemuffin", but trip is equally suitable.

The real trouble here seems to be from Nikki, who runs out of her primary ingredients by the time the judges reach her and tells us she's practically shitting her pants right now (a pleasant image for a food show, naturally). But in bigger doody is Mark, who is a complete mess. His station is in utter disarray and he is a bit uncouth with his product (he licked a serving spoon, then proceeded to fill cups of soup). I don't expect Tom to let this one slide on by. But the chefs relax some more, playing around with a football, shouting "Get the kiwi!"

Back at the Judges' Table, Antonia, Dale, and Stephanie find themselves called in. As usual, they are the Top 3. Once again, Stephanie continues her streak of triumphs with her FOURTH consecutive week in the Top. And her fifth, overall, not to mention, as she has always been at the judges' table--only once for being in the bottom (despite saving herself with a second dish) and two previous wins (making her the fastest two-time winner and the first female since Betty in Season 2 to do so before another male). But the victor in this challenge...is an exuberant Dale. He is very thrilled about the win alone, but receives a Bears jersey with "Top Chef" imprinted on the back of it, as well as the Weber electric grill he used in the challenge.

Then, as usual once again, he is forced to send back the Bottom 3: Mark, Nikki, and Ryan. Nikki is surprised to be there, based on the reactions to her food (which were predominantly positive), as am I. But despite the good reviews, overall, she was still bested. Fortunately, another woman was not likely to be kicked off just yet, as the men had bigger faults at hand. Ryan was slammed for his execution--and his rambling didn't do much for his case either. Mark, on the other hand, was called out for his extreme sloppiness and Tom warns he's going to have to get his act together. The judges discuss and debate heavily, as this elimination ultimately determines the Top 10. But in the end, it was Ryan who would be saying good-bye (and a thousand and one other things), for his refusal to get with the Tailgating theme. This leaves 5 girls and 5 guys still vying for the title of Top Chef. Will the guys triumph once again...or can the girls outdo them once and for all? Stay tuned....


Posted by on April 17, 2008 11:14 AM
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So much for Jennifer's comeback....

-- Posted by: Kev at April 24, 2008 2:16 AM

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