Back of the House

Sternbergh Thinks There Are Too Many Locals on ‘Top Chef’

Sara wants her buyback already, dammit, while Brian looks on with concern.
Sara wants her buyback already, dammit, while Brian looks on with concern.

Last night’s episode of Top Chef was a bloodbath: After a Quickfire Challenge in which the chefs were asked to create a cocktail pairing for the prominently placed Bombay Sapphire Gin, most of the show was devoted to an elimination challenge in which they split up into teams of three and made courses for a special tasting menu. The tuna course was a flop, putting both Howie and Joey back on the brink, but the pineapple-themed dessert course created by Dale, Camille, and Sara was even worse and had Camille headed straight back to Brooklyn. Adam Sternbergh, New York’s culture critic at-large, gleefully IMed with us afterward.

Sternbergh: It was fun to see a show where the judges were full-on “This is horrible.”

Ozersky: I know, there’s definitely a sadistic element in watching it.

Sternbergh: I was actually moved by Casey and her “blanket of guilt” speech.

Sternbergh: She was crying! Actually, at the end, everyone was crying. Who knew chefs were so sensitive?

Ozersky: They’re not. Inside, they’re all Howie.

Sternbergh: I’m all for Howie. I love that bulldog! Platt be damned!

Sternbergh: Do chefs really call each other “Chef”? Like, “Thank you, Chef.”

Sternbergh: They sound like Jedi Knights.

Ozersky:: They do if they’re real chefs, not line cooks or whatever.

Sternbergh: So, Josh, was justice served tonight?

Ozersky: Well, I thought that the dessert chefs did have a point. It is easier just to serve a slice of filet mignon. They at least tried to reach for something special.

Ozersky: But I can’t tell. They tart up all their food … it’s like an Applebee’s commercial, with all those glossy close-ups.

Sternbergh: True. Then again, I don’t know my scallops from my shallots.

Ozersky: They do love their scallops on this show. All the bland ingredients: tuna, scallops, filet. Everything that won’t offend. I think that’s weak.

Sternbergh: But look what happened to the risk-takers.

Ozersky: What lesson does this teach America’s youth?

Sternbergh: Stay away from pineapple.

Sternbergh: Still, Camille seemed capable. And cute. Too bad she was done in by dessert.

Ozersky: A blow to Brooklyn … but she represented.

Sternbergh: There are plenty of New Yorkers left. It’s like the whole show, practically.

Ozersky: I wonder if the trans-Hudson peoples object to that.

Sternbergh: If I have to choose among them, I think Joey’s not long for this world. He looks like he should be working on the line at Hawaiian Tropic Zone.

Ozersky: I hate to say it, but he does seem bad. But you know, he is actually the chef at a very good New York restaurant, Café des Artistes.

Ozersky: I wonder if they didn’t drop the ball this season by getting looks, personality, etc. at the expense of ability. There should be some old drunk with track marks, who would run these guys into the ground.

Sternbergh: Isn’t that guy hosting Hell’s Kitchen?

Ozersky: Rim shot!

Earlier: Adam Platt Thought Micah From ‘Top Chef’ Was a Train Wreck
Adam Platt Is Willing to Bet Against Howie on ‘Top Chef’

Cooking by Numbers