Top Chef: I Was Livid, Angry, Upset, and Out of Synonyms

NUP_135065_2201I can’t tell anymore if this whole season of Top Chef is boring or just this particular episode. I only know I’ve lost all enthusiasm for recapping it. But I’ll try to keep it interesting for you.

And so: Ash talks about feeling intimidated by people who go to culinary school. Michael V. reveals he has two daughters and that he puts chef-ing before family. So he has to do well otherwise he has no excuse for being absent from their lives. Nice. Jennifer is sick and slams a door, but she’s hard core, y’all, so her “illness” will have no impact on anything. Really. It’s fake drama that has zero effect on the entire episode.

Quickfire. Guest judge: Tyler Florence. The chefs must create a dish based on three key words that describe mood, taste & texture, and type of cuisine. Somehow, this relates to Cookstr.com. Oh, and it’s a high stakes Quickfire because this is Vegas, bitches! In case you’d forgotten.

Adjectives include: stressed, umami, romantic, adventurous, tired, crunchy, Latin American, Asian, etc.

Eli doesn’t care about what other people of think of him. FYI, I guess. Robin admits to knowing that most people think she shouldn’t still be here. Jennifer believes in keeping her mood and personal life out of her work. Which seems kind of cold, doesn’t it? After all, we are a product of all of our experiences and influences. They inform our decisions and how we handle things. But that’s just me nitpicking. Because Jennifer, for all of her talent, is kind of a pill.

Tyler’s bottom three: “Elementary” Robin, Eli, and unadventurous Jennifer. His top three are Mike I., Kevin, and Mike V. The win goes to Kevin, who has the option to collect $15,000 or immunity. He takes the money. Who needs immunity when you’re Kevin?

Elimination Challenge. Create a family style dish from a bag of ingredients provided by a famous chef, working in teams of two. And to turn things up a notch, they all have to cook in their Top Chef house! Kooky!

During the cooking phase, the most notable tidbits: Mike I. hates Robin, and “she knows that [he’s] a better cook than her.” He decides to proceed by ignoring all of her input on their Asian dish, even though she’s cooked Asian before and he hasn’t. In a quick montage, we see Robin talk Mike I. nearly to death. Despite his obnoxiousness, I think he might actually be a gentleman as he restrains himself from stapling her mouth shut. Mike V. takes the lead on his team with Ash, who defers to all of Mike V.’s decisions. Ash either has a crush or zero confidence in his own contributions. Then again, I imagine Mike V.’s intensity can be intimidating. They short a circuit in the living room, which affects the quality of their fish. Eli allows Ashley to take the leadership role, as she makes gnocchi on a daily basis and he doesn’t want to cook the prawns. Colicchio worries about their plating technique as it will ruin one or both parts of the dish.

Service. The chefs line up to introduce their dishes, and Mike I. “forgets” to include Robin in his description of all the work he did. Ashley & Eli: The gnocchi was salty and the spot prawns undercooked. Mike V. & Ash: Overcooked fish and undercooked pancetta. Bryan & Laurine brought out the flavors of their dish. Kevin & Jennifer: Their kobe beef was “fabulous” and the tomato & cardamom broth blows the judges away. Mike I. & Robin: Despite their personal tension, the dish works with some minor flaws.

Prior to Judges’ Table, Mike V. and Bryan share a moment as Mike worries about his fish. He admits to not feeling confident for the first time. Ash all but accepts the blame for Michael’s mistakes.

Judges’ Table. Top marks go to Laurine & Bryan and Jennifer & Kevin. It seems obvious that Bryan carried Laurine, however it is Jennifer’s tomato broth that wins this round. So much for being sick!

Representing the losers, out come Ash & Mike V., and Ashley & Eli. In the stew room as the losers head out, Kevin seems to ask an innocent question of Bryan about his brother’s dish, and Bryan turns into a shrew and refuses to answer, basically telling everyone to shut up. Ouch.

Meanwhile, Michael accepts the blame for the overcooked fish and the short circuit wiring, which seems unreasonable. However, Tyler Florence assures us all that the wiring is definitely Michael’s fault. Ash turns into the biggest idiot in the world by saying that all of Mike V.’s ideas were better than his own and that Mike V. is a culinary genius, i.e. “Picasso.” He belatedly realizes his mistake when Colicchio calls him out on the foot in his mouth.

Eli competently dodges all the blame for his team’s dishes, and it all comes back to Ashley for the over-salted and tough gnocchi and undercooked prawns.

Deliberation rehashes more of the same, so bring the losers back out, and going home: Ashley! She tears up in her exit interview, but she’s looking forward to what comes next and remains optimistic.

Boring, right? It’s not just me? Bring back Hector!

Next week: Bryan V. vs. Mike V., and Eli vs. Robin! I’m sure it won’t be half as interesting as they want us to believe.

Listen to The J Factor with J.B. and Jaimie here or on iTunes.

Season 6, Episode 7: Dinner Party (originally aired October 6, 2009)

For more on Top Chef, click here.

Wednesdays at 10/9C, Bravo

Photographs courtesy of  IMDBpro

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