Back of the House

Pain, Empathy, and Ennui Over Last Night’s ‘Top Chef’

Tony Bourdain and Tom Colicchio lay on some first-class abuse.
Tony Bourdain and Tom Colicchio lay on some first-class abuse.

On this week’s episode of Top Chef, the remaining rivals were led into an airline kitchen and told to prepare first-class meals for an airplane flight. Unlike recent episodes, where nearly all produced hideous, inedible dishes, this one went pretty well, except for CJ, whose broccolini head judge Tom Colicchio deemed the single worst thing he had eaten in all three seasons of Top Chef. It was bad enough to get the 6’10” CJ sent home, a circumstance we knew wouldn’t please Adam Platt, who had identified with the gangly giant all season. We were on IM immediately afterwards, hastening to see what he had to say.

Platt: I’d like to begin this session with a moment of silence for the fallen giant.

Ozersky: How apt that I lose the porcine Howie, and then you lose your fellow pituitary case CJ.

Platt: The giant’s death was deserved. I think Padma had a thing for him, though. There were tears in her huge mermaid eyes when she gave him the sad news.

Ozersky: She did seem sad. She blurted it out, too, to spare him extra pain. Like George giving Lenny one in the back of the head before the posse could get to him.

Platt: It was a particularly fiendish challenge. I have to give it to them. I wouldn’t want to be cooking for Mr. Bourdain on an airplane. He is the lord of world-weary diners.

Ozersky: Well, like all food critics, he gets bigger laughs from his put-downs than from saying, “the peas are tasty,” or whatever.

Platt: He said some pretty vicious things. I don’t I think I’ve ever described a dish as looking like something left in Bob Marley’s closet. He was correct, of course.

Ozersky: Those guys all have it coming. They’re getting crowned “top chef” for making terrible food under ridiculous circumstances … there are so many real chefs who don’t get on TV: Michael Psilakis, Marco Canora, Chris Lee. These characters can take a few jibes.

Platt: I would also like to ask you the following question. Who the hell cares?!?

Ozersky: Not me. I’ve come over to your nihilistic ways. It’s all straw now that Howie is gone. He was Sisyphus, but the rock rolled back over him.

Platt: The less we talk about Howie the better, Cutty. Let’s lay the poor soul to rest.

Ozersky: Without him, this show is a transparently soulless vacuum, a black hole of product placement and pointless frenzy.

Platt: Exactly!

Ozersky: No, really … There’s a dynamic element that’s now missing. I felt very detached as I watched tonight’s episode.

Platt: Face it, Cutty. We’re bored to tears.

Snacks on a Plane