Top Chef

Top Chef Recap: Open Season

We just noticed that Tre and the T-Rex are making the exact same face.
We just noticed that Tre and the T-Rex are making the exact same face. Photo: Myles Aronowitz/Bravo

Last night’s Top Chef kicked off with the chefs reflecting on flashbacks of the previous episode, proving that there is indeed something more annoying than “previously on Top Chef.” Luckily we then went right into the Quickfire, guest-judged by Joe Jonas, whom we’re glad Bravo I.D.’d because we, being older than 14, do not know him immediately by sight. Does anyone in Top Chef’s demographic love the Jonas Brothers? Most of the chefs certainly didn’t. “I had no idea who Joe Jonas was. I thought he might be a pastry chef,” remarked Asian Dale.

Anyway, the chefs had to make a midnight snack for the kids attending the American Museum of Natural History’s annual night at the museum sleepover. The usual crazed antics ensued, with everyone getting pissed at Asian Dale (who wanted to spike his dish with NyQuil) for keeping the sugar at his station. Surely the Top Chef kitchen, with its seemingly unlimited supply of liquid nitrogen, has more than one bin of sugar? Wonderfully, we got some great nuggets of childhood memories in between the billowing nitrogen, including baby Stephen shoving a humongous piece of matzo in his mouth, Richard’s fond memories of eating cereal with heavy cream instead of milk, and the charming Mike I.’s insults of his mother’s cooking. Padma and Joe weren’t fans of Tiffany’s coconut rice pudding, Mike’s chocolate-coconut corn bar and horchata, or Richard’s white bread with spiced apples and whipped honey and chocolate. However, they also “couldn’t pick a winner” and announced that the tie between Spike’s homemade potato and carrot chips with marshmallow mascarpone dip and Tiffani’s Rice Krispies snowball with malted milk would be decided by the kids at the museum. So they’re going to get their elimination-challenge assignment at, what, 2 a.m.? (Spoiler alert: Yes.)

The chefs split into teams to make 150 snacks, with Richard, Asian Dale, Marcel, Stephen, Angelo, Mike, Carla, and Fabio joining Spike (“the tough guys and Carla”) and Jen, Antonia, Caucasian Dale, Casey, Jamie, Tiffany, and Tre (“like the Spice Girls and a bodyguard”) joining Tiffani. Richard, naturally, immediately got sad that he was not participating in the liquid nitrogen fest going on at Tiffani’s team, while Asian Dale, full of quips this week, likened working for Spike to “making chicken soup out of chicken shit.” However disgusted the chefs were at each other, though, it became clear at the museum that most of them share a disdain for kids, with comments ranging from "[they’re] like cows” to “these kids are horrific.” Did anyone else feel bad for the parents of that one kid who wouldn’t stop bugging out at the camera? Joe Jonas came out (to less fanfare than we would have guessed) and asked the kids which dish they liked better. Unsurprisingly, it was Tiffani, because why on earth would children pick vegetables over sugar?

Sure enough, Tom then appeared to hand out the elimination challenge: Cook breakfast for the kids and their parents and serve it at 7:30 a.m., using only what you can find in the museum pantry. Tiffani got the option of choosing to be Team T-Rex, only cooking with meat, eggs, and dairy, or Team Brontosaurus, cooking with just vegetables, fruits, and grains. After she picked T-Rex, the chefs enjoyed a little pajama party next to the taxidermied moose (meese?), and Tre complained that this was going to complicate his preference of sleeping naked. Also, by “pajama party” we mean “45 minutes of sleep,” as the chefs’ alarm went off at 3:44 (we set our alarm for weird times, too). The fact that they had not showered was not lost on us.

Cooking madness was more maddening than usual, as Team T-Rex realized that only cooking with meat, eggs, and dairy meant no flour or herbs. Meanwhile, they whined, “You look at brontosaurus and it’s like sunshine, puppies, and rainbows.” And also Stephen calling Fabio his “fellow paisan.” Jamie proceeded to slice her finger open and left to get stitches, at which point Fabio immediately reflected on when he broke his hand finger and kept cooking, while Casey went off on some monologue about Jurassic Park that we didn’t understand. Jamie returned in time for service, which consisted mostly of Fabio flirting with everyone over the age of 50 and Marcel warning Angelo not to fuck with his mise en place.

The judges picked Team Brontosaurus for the win, with extra love going to Fabio and Stephen’s gnocchi with leeks, spinach, and mushrooms (which apparently counts as breakfast), and Richard, Angelo, and Marcel’s banana parfait with different fruits and maple something. The parfait garnered the win, prompting Angelo to remark that it’s hard to beat him when he’s on a streak (so, two = streak).

Team T-Rex immediately started complaining as soon as they hit judges’ table, whining that they didn’t have an advantage because their ingredients were so limited. Obviously, Tom and Gail shot this down immediately. Honestly, when has that argument ever worked? Most of the team quietly conceded to the judges’ criticism (inconsistent frittatas, salty sauce), but not Jen, who went off the rails. She refused to agree with the judges that the eggs on her braised bacon with hard-boiled eggs were bland and said she would fight them to the death over them, which, whoa. Calm down, Jen. It turned out that her strategy of cooking to the judges and not the people the challenge is for (and also yelling at the judges) doesn’t work, because they sent her home. So if you were in a reality-TV pool for who would make the finale, you just lost.

Next week: Two people go home! So hopefully these extended episodes get normal! Tre sasses Stephen! Wylie Dufresne! Plagiarism accusations! Tiffani freezes her melons! That’s what she said!

Night at the Museum