In this week’s Top Chef, the contestants were first asked to create a shellfish dish, with the winner getting immunity from elimination in the episode’s second round. Brian and Howie’s simple creations were the best of an unimpressive bunch, and guest judge Alfred Portale of Gotham Bar and Grill gave Howie the nod. Later, all the chefs were asked to reinterpret American standards like meat loaf in low-cholesterol versions, and the results were even more dismal. Micah, the South African mom, was singled out as having the very worst dish and was given her walking papers at show’s end. She was barely done sniffling her good-byes when we were on Instant Messenger with our buddy, the acerbic Adam Platt, comparing notes.
Platt: I would begin by saying Micah was not robbed. She was a train wreck. That dish she cooked looked like a poodle’s birthday cake.
Ozersky: I just disliked her whole sanctimonious manner. How not surprising was it that she pulled that whole “I’m glad I lost” routine?
Platt: Have pity, Cutty! I actually thought they’d keep her around for those very reasons. She was full of character in a gruesome way. What about your hero, Howie? He made a glorious comeback this week.
Ozersky: That’s right! Still sticking to your “Howie is doomed” bet?
Platt: For the record, that first seviche creation he came up with, with a kind of marigold on top, looked dreckish in the extreme, no matter what the Spock-like Mr. Portale said, that merciless Vulcan of the judging panel. The best part about the shellfish challenge was them scrapping in the tank with their nets, and Portale looking on with that slightly horrified, fastidious grin.
Platt: Not that I could have done any better, of course.
Ozersky: It’s not your job to do better, Platty. It’s your job to sit back and deride the efforts of others.
Platt: Speaking of which, let’s talk about C.J. the giant’s swampish interpretation of tuna casserole.
Platt: … or maybe let’s not. If you were served that grim creation at a restaurant, you’d scream.
Ozersky: If I were a judge, what venomous bons mots I would have laid on C.J.!
Platt: Maybe. Coming up with bons mots under the klieg lights, with the lovely Padma sitting next to you in her goddess outfits, is probably not as easy as it appears.
Platt: So who’s next to go, Cutty? It’s way past the Gobbler’s bedtime.
Ozersky: I’m thinking Dale; he seems kind of amateur hour … or the Jamaican lady.
Platt: You’re probably right about the Jamaican lady. I think the Grim Reaper will be coming for her next week. Of course, there’s always Howie. Howie’s capable of blowing up at any time. You know, I live right near Portale’s restaurant. Howie’s coming to work for him for a week. The little bulldog will be wandering the streets of my neighborhood, haunting my every step.