After last episode's shocking elimination — I really thought Tre was going all the way — and a week hiatus, Top Chef lost a little luster in my book. However, I knew I couldn't let you down, so I ponied up and forced myself to turn on the tv... oh who am I kidding? You know I was going to watch it anyway!
This week's episode — entitled "Chef Overboard" — begins with the "Aisle Trial" quickfire challenge. The cheftestants are greeted by Padma and guest judge Michael Schwartz and asked to draw knives. Each knife has a number on it and that number corresponds to an aisle in the grocery store. Once numbers are chosen, the chefs head to their aisles with a $10 budget. So who won? Who bombed and who went home? To find out
The contestants really get creative for the quickfire. However, the most intriguing item definitely came from Hung. His crushed cereal river and candyland mountain "diorama" was totally fascinating, or as Schwartz said, "What the f**k is that? That is some crazy s**t!" Sadly, the crazy s did not win him the elimination challenge. The winner ended up being Brian with a surprisingly beautiful Spam and eggs. Meanwhile, Howie, who didn't even submit a dish due to his "integrity", was declared loser, along with CJ who over-salted his.
After the quickfire, the cheftestants join up as one team with Brian as the leader — his prize for winning the quickfire was to pick a team leader. They are given $350 and are asked to cater a party for 60 people. Everyone does an individual dish, and some folks join up for a second one (Casey and Sara take on dessert, and Hung and Dale opt for a chicken salad). Howie also decides to do two. Their dishes consist of generic party fare like chicken salad on crostinis, salmon mousse on cucumbers, ahi tartare, etc. Even judge Tom is disappointed by how boring, mundane and "budget" the food is. He believes they should've gone with fewer dishes and a bigger wow.
One of the most visually unappetizing dishes comes from Howie — who opted to do two dishes on his own. His Mushroom Duxelle, if I can borrow a phrase from Hung, "looked like dog diarrhea." I actually couldn't believe how many close ups they showed of it.
The party goes off well, they are almost always out of food, but at the least the folks are eating it. Back at judge's panel, the judges — including guest judge Dana Cowin — question why the menu was so budget, whether or not they have better recipes up their sleeve, and why Brian wasn't a better leader. It becomes pretty clear that the two bottom contestants are Howie and Brian, and in a gesture of chivalry — or perhaps arrogance — Howie asks to withdraw himself from the competition, causing Padma to say "It's the judge's decision Howie, not yours." And perhaps this gesture had something to do with it, or perhaps it was just his time, but when all was said and done, Howie was asked to pack his knives and go.
Now for some things for you to discuss...
- Did Michael Schwartz have a potty mouth or what?
- What did you think of Hung's cereal creation?
- Were you surprised when Brian decided not to use seafood?
- Why do you think Howie asked them to eliminate him?
- Who is this guy with Padma? Did anyone see him in the episode?