Week two of Top Chef went easy on the cheftestants: The Quickfire round was a fairly rote greenmarket challenge, in which they could use only five ingredients and had a sympathetic, forgiving guest judge in wd-50's Wylie Dufresne. The Elimination Challenge was not much harder, a big catering job at the Lincoln Park Zoo that they had plenty of time to prepare for, and all the ingredients they wanted. Plenty of dishes were still disasters, however, most memorably Nikki's fecal-looking mushrooms and Valerie's ultimately fatal blinis. It was completely obvious to us that Nikki should have been eliminated. The sense of outrage was still high upon us when we sat down to IM Adam Platt afterward.
Platt: I'd like to begin by saying they threw poor Valerie under the bus.
Ozersky: I know! Valerie didn't even make the worst dish. How could Nikki avoid ejection? Her mushrooms were obviously the worst thing there. Obviously!
Platt: They ganged up on her. It's the law of the jungle, Cutty!
Ozersky: It's stuff like that that makes me think they keep people who are interesting and eject ones that are boring, like Valerie.
Platt: Who knows, my pork chop-loving friend? Those judges work in mercurial ways. I liked seeing Wylie, though. He was very pleasantly un–New York. I wonder if they made him wear that lumberjack outfit.
Ozersky: I liked that Richard thought he was going to get some hot molecular-gastronomist-on-molecular-gastronomist action, and Wylie just sniffed at his limp chicken wings.
Platt: His eucalyptus chicken dish was silly. Sharkface is using his silly gastronome machines as props. But this bunch is much deeper than in years past. Lots of them can really cook.
Ozersky: Some of them are really obnoxious, though. I can't WAIT for Spike to go down for the dirt nap. And that Andrew is just too tweaked up. He makes me nervous.
Platt: I think they'll keep Spike around. His name's too good. But your big bald doppelgänger is doomed.
Ozersky: I'm already over Erik. When he referred to himself as a "soul chef," that was it for me. Is there anybody you want to be rid of?
Platt: Everybody has their eye on Ryan, a.k.a. Hung '08. But it is my fervent wish that Sharkface Richard be given his walking papers as soon as possible. Sharkface's myriad props will separate him from the mass and save him for a while. I'll have you notice, though, that his food looks pretty grizzly. Wylie was gnawing on that chicken with grim determination.
Ozersky: So who's next to go?
Platt: I say poor Erik goes to the glue factory. This is drivel, Cutty. Although I have to say I didn't see one product placement this week, except for the greenmarket and the Lincoln Park Zoo.
Ozersky: How about the random shots of GE oven logos?
Platt: You're right. I missed those.
Ozersky: You just think you did. Now you'll go out and buy a GE oven for your Fifth Avenue manse.
Platt: I just might. And a pet lion too.