In last night’s episode of Top Chef, Scott Conant judged a Quickfire that incorporated horse food and then the cheftestants went up against their predecessors Josie, Spike, Andrew, Nikki, Camille, and Miguel in head-to-head, twenty-minute cook-offs of dishes inspired by NFL teams. Contrived? Definitely. And even Colicchio admitted that the culinary students who judged them voted based on personality. But the episode did have some moments of truth. First, when Stefan admitted, “I’m a douchebag,” and second, when Spike of the Funny Hats opined, “It should’ve ended with season four.” Would Adam Platt agree?
Platt: A Quaker Oats Quickfire challenge!?
Maurer: Next week they’ll cook Top Ramen for NYU students.
Platt: We did get to see Padma dressed up like a football referee. But I thought this show was supposed to be about New York? Where’s the city? Where are the great chefs? Where’s the great food?
Maurer: I wanted more NYC chefs until I saw Scott Conant amid that football pastiche. It was like watching Stevie Wonder have to sing with Usher.
Platt: Conant managed to be condescending and underwhelming at the same time, which is a pretty mean trick. To his credit, though, he wanted to boot Fabio, but the Don saved him for the sake of the show. Only Fabio can get away with immortal phrases like “If they're going to give me a monkey ass to fill with fried banana, I’ll come up with something!”
Maurer: Fabio’s oats-encrusted eggplant looked like something out of Edward Scissorhands. And what about his elimination dish? When he plated it, he said he was worried the venison was overcooked. Then he told the judges that he thought it was medium-rare. The Don clearly saw through it, but gave him a pass.
Platt: Fabio’s a happy bullshitter. His venison looked like it had been dragged from the Milwaukee sewer. But they’re keeping him around because his personality is one of the few things that animates the show. That’s also why Carla has survived. When I saw her sitting like an ostrich on the couch, her eyes fluttering in meditation, I was sure she was doomed. Sad for us all, I was wrong.
Maurer: What about Jeff? Padma voted for him, the Brit called his dish “very good and summery,” and Tom also said he liked it, saying only that Josie’s was more authentic. (Warm seviche? Authentic?) And yet they turned against him when it came time to choose between him, Fabio, and Stefan, who seemingly emptied every leftover scrap in the fridge onto a plate.
Platt: Stefan is the best chef on the show, and he’s won about ten competitions in a row, so the Don couldn’t dispatch him for one slip-up. Fabio’s the producer favorite, which leaves poor, bland Jeff, who I thought handled his unjust fate with nobility and style.
Maurer: So — who gets chopped — er, told to pack their knives next?
Platt: I hate to admit it, next week’s show doesn’t look half bad. Watching Carla cooking a live eel for Mr. Ripert at Le Bernardin will be a sight to see.
Maurer: Somehow I don’t see that working out. But then Leah also has trouble with fish. And she already has a defeated air about her, like she’s just waiting to be put out of her misery. She seems startled every time she wins.
Platt: If there’s a God, either Carla or Fabio will be next for the glue factory.