Last night, after yet another ham-handed (or rather, Spam-handed) Quickfire overseen by the ever-congenial Hung, Top Chef took a marked turn for the better as Dan Barber and his crew at Stone Barns hosted the obligatory locavore challenge. After Toby Young finally laid the kiss of death on Ariane by saying “I feel sorry for her too, because she can’t cook!” (something he admits to regretting), we called on Adam Platt.
Maurer: So, Toby Young has been talking smack about you!
Platt: I’ve got nothing bad to say about Toby. He’s diligently churning out the tortured bon mots the best he can.
Maurer: By that you mean his confession about wanting to have full-blown, unprotected sex with pork.
Platt: I didn’t say I could do better. I just said that I missed Gail.
Maurer: Well, we still have Padma. And for $24.95, you can have the “I Love Padma” T-shirt that Hosea was wearing!
Platt: I’m shamed to admit, I actually half-liked this episode. Unlike the previous ones, its contrivance seemed heartfelt and sincere.
Maurer: True. It was literally a breath of fresh air when they arrived at Stone Barns and Dan Barber was standing there in full regalia, like the high priest of locavorism.
Platt: It was a nice, virtuous setting, and Mr. Barber was his usual nice, virtuous self. But given the idyllic surroundings — I mean, they were in chef’s nirvana — the food was shockingly bad. The winning dish was a chicken cutlet, for Godsakes!
Maurer: That was really the only meat dish that didn’t look horrid. The lamb came out resembling Elephant Man.
Platt: The squinty TV judges, and all those artisans in their straw hats, seemed truly stunned.
Maurer: Ironic given that, till now, we thought cooking meat was the only thing Ariane could do.
Platt: Team pork had a huge advantage going in, but you knew Ariane was in trouble when you saw her pounding at the meat with a huge sauce pan. It was also a sly testament to the essential banality of true barnyard cuisine. In the real restaurant world, everything needs to be gussied up a little bit. The city chefs all looked lost and out of their element, like they’d been caught in a blizzard without a fur coat.
Maurer: Were you irked when they kept presumptuously describing their dishes as “beautiful” when they presented them to the judges?
Platt: The poor saps have to say something. Anyway, I think Jamie of the tattoos established her place in the rogue’s gallery. She and the odious Stefan deserve each other. Although they’re both pale imitations of last season’s horrible Gorgon.
Maurer: I doubt she’ll go next, though. Her chicken went over well enough.
Platt: Carla has to go next, unless she gets lucky (like she did this time) and winds up on a talented team.
Maurer: She said it herself — she “can’t create in that kind of friction.” But I don’t think Radhika will fare well in restaurant wars since it took her an hour to grill corn. Leah and Hosea will stay on since the producers will want more cuddle scenes — and they’ll also want more douchebaggery between Stefan and Jamie. One wonders if they paired off that way as a matter of Darwinian survival.
Platt: That’s a desperate ploy. When the titillating, fuzzy bunk-bed scenes make their way into a cooking show, you know the producers are grasping at straws.