Back of the House

Football Metaphors Not Enough to Save ‘Top Chef’

<em>Top Chef</em> judges in a huddle.
Top Chef judges in a huddle. Photo: Courtesy of Bravo

Last night on Top Chef the dwindling contestants were unleashed on storied Soldier Field to cook a tailgate party for Da Bears and their hungry fans. But first there was the Quickfire, a beer-pairing challenge surely sponsored by the Brewers Association. In the elimination round, even Gale Sayers and the Fridge showed up to pass judgment on such gridiron faves as poached pears and skirt steak. Chatty Ryan’s California cuisine was too far-fetched for the judges, but it’s such poor food choices that make Top Chef a joy to watch. Adam Platt and Josh Ozersky are off this week, but that didn’t stop Aileen “Fauxersky” Gallagher and Michael “Bratt” Connelly from shouldering their burdens.

Fauxersky: I don’t care what the judges thought. Anyone who gets to pick a beer to pair and goes with Michelob Ultra loses all food privileges.

Bratt: I have a feeling this is the first time Richard’s tasted beer in a long time. Doesn’t he seem more like the biodynamic-wine type? Or perhaps he likes a glass of Shiraz wrapped in Saran Wrap and slightly smoked?

Fauxersky: Does Glad make Saran Wrap? If so, yes.

Bratt: I’m waiting for the challenge where they have to incorporate Glad products into the dish.

Fauxersky: That’s when Richard just serves a sous-vide bag.

Bratt: Spike displayed the least imagination this episode, which is nothing new. He didn’t even cook in the Quickfire, and then he made chicken wings for the tailgate party.

Bratt: The only thing he’s got going for him is his burgeoning man-love for Mark.

Fauxersky: Well, since the lesbians got separated, Top Chef needs a new subplot.

Fauxersky: But the bathtub thing, as well as the early Dale conversation with Lisa about feelings, convinced me that this show is fast becoming Real World, with food.

Bratt: The bathtub definitely took us into Real World Las Vegas territory. I even sensed some tension on Antonia’s part when Nikki returned from her thrashing at the hands of the judges.

Bratt: And, of course, we have Jennifer, who is now doing everything “all for Zoi.”

Fauxersky: What’d you think of the Elimination Challenge? I kind of loved it. There were so many ways for the chefs to go wrong!

Bratt: It proved that the producers have followed suit with other reality shows and decided to create as many disadvantageous scenarios for contestants as possible.

Fauxersky: Well, at least it fit Chicago in a way that wasn’t totally contrived, like the gross block party.

Bratt: It hammered home the idea that Chicagoans like to eat outside. They were dealing with a strong tradition that more or less has a code of conduct regarding cuisine.

Fauxersky: It seemed there was a lot of food that required utensils. Skirt steak?

Bratt: Yeah, no one wants to use a fork and knife, especially on some flimsy Bears paper plate.

Fauxersky: The plates were the worst! Nothing looks good plated on a blue and orange Bears plate.

Bratt: But serving a poached pear dessert to Bears fans is like serving honey-glazed ham at a Passover seder.

Fauxersky: I’m sure nothing goes with Michelob Ultra like crème fraîche!

Bratt: Was Ryan a victim of his self-proclaimed metrosexuality?

Fauxersky: His California casual doomed him.

Bratt: The highlight of the episode was when everyone applauded after Ryan proclaimed that he had realized that, “Wow, I’m not the shit.”

Bratt: But Nikki should have gone home. I’m tired of her excuses.

Fauxersky: Oh, I don’t know. The Kiwi was a slob. He licked his serving spoon! Colicchio looked like he wanted to delouse Mark right at judges’ table.

Bratt: Padma just shook her head disapprovingly, like Mark was some dirty one-night stand she couldn’t stand to see the next day.

Fauxersky: And poor Dale. Yeah, he won. But instead of a hot trip to Italy with his lover, he gets a Bears jersey and a giant grill.

Fauxersky: He works at Buddakan. Where is he going to put his grill?

Fauxersky: Start checking eBay. It’ll be there.

Bratt: I’ll bid on the jersey if you take on the grill.