Did you guys catch the Bertolli commercial new episode of Top Chef last night? It was super-sized with an extra 15 minutes of fun, and this time around, I feel confident enough to say I finally know who everyone is. When the cheftestants head to the kitchen, they are met by Padma and Rocco Dispirito (you might remember him from his own reality show The Restaurant). Instead of a normal quickfire challenge, Rocco and Padma are hosting a "culinary bee." Each person has to identify food items either by taste or sight. If they get it right they go to the end of the line, if they get it wrong they're out. Surprisingly, six of the ten chefs are out after round 1, leaving Howie, Brian, Hung and Casey. In his defense, this is what Joey had to say about getting axed so soon, "You got Padma looking at you looking all sexy today, and then you got this asshole right next to her, and your mind just goes blank." Raight... totally blank.

To find out who won the quickfire, what they had to do for elimination (hint: think "brrrr!") and who had to pack their knives and go,

After 6 rounds of the culinary bee - which sounds like so much fun, anyone interested in hosting one? - Casey emerges as the winner with roasted red bell peppers. Oh and my favorite part of the quickfire round? That would have to be when Hung, who could have tasted his ingredient, was too cocky to taste it, said it was one thing, then decided to taste it and realized he was wrong.

Once the quickfire is over, the cheftestants are presented with a bag of Bertolli frozen dinner and a sales pitch by Rocco, who happens to be Bertolli's spokesperson. They then draw knives in order to separate themselves into groups of two, and are told that each pair must create a new Italian-style Mediterranean frozen pasta meal. They have two hours to cook and get things into the freezer and a hour to assemble the next day.

This is where they should have been paying attention. They have a full hour the next day, so obviously the judges think they will need time to do something. Out of all of the teams, only Tre and CJ thought to individually freeze the items - so that the pasta would not absorb the sauce - and ultimately this worked in their favor. Their dish of Black Truffle – Parmesan Linguini with Grilled Chicken, along with Casey and Dale's Turkey and Pork Meatballs proved to be the best dishes. In the end it was Tre & CJ's understanding of the freezing technique that put their dish in the lead and won them a trip to Italy!

If there are winners, there must be losers. In the bottom we had the can't get-along gangs of Howie & Sara M. and Joey and Hung. In one group there is constant bickering, Sara doesn't seem to "do anything" while Howie is just irritated that someone is second-guessing him. Meanwhile Joey plods along doing what he wants and ignores Hung, which was quite costly being that Hung knew they needed to freeze everything individually. Ultimately the frustration between the partners causes both groups to perform poorly and their dishes suffer for it. In the end, in a move I found slightly shocking, Joey is asked to pack his knives and go.

Now, for a few things to discuss:

  • Trip to Italy?! Man those earlier winners got the shaft with a stack of books and some wine, don't you think?
  • Does Bravo need to work on their editing or what? I knew half way in that Brian and Sara N. were neither winning nor losing, they just didn't get any screen time.
  • Was that clip of Sara M. smoking in the hot tub odd to anyone else?
  • How difficult was it to watch Joey break down and cry?
  • Do you think Joey should have been sent home? I really thought it was going to be Sara.

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