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Top Chef 3.7 - Guilty Pleasures Recap

Last night's Top Chef took us from nine cheftestants to eight. But before there was an elimination, there was a quickfire challenge and some more can't-get-along gang action.

The episode starts off with some behind the scenes action. Joey's departure has made people sad, and Dale and Sara N. have built a new friendship. After a few minutes of watching them behave like real people, we're whisked off to the kitchen for an elimination challenge. This time the guest judge is Chef Govind Armstrong and the product they're hawking is Coldstone Creamery. To find out what happened next,

Once greeted, the chefs are given 45 minutes to make their own original mixes to blend in to Coldstone's Sweet Cream Ice Cream. Surprisingly Hung says that he loves Coldstone - I was nearly floored I really thought it would be something else for him to hate on. He does however, hate on regular ingredients saying that, "Any monkey can make berries." And since he's apparently not a monkey, he's decided to go with cauliflower, tempura flakes and a bunch of other wild things. And as much as I love wild creations, even I had to wonder what on earth was he thinking. How is someone going to love cauliflower over macerated berries or peach cobbler? Same thought applies to Casey who decided to use Sriracha. Yes, she put hot sauce in ice cream... In the end it was Dale with a peach cobbler type concoction who won the challenge.

After the quickfire Padma tells them that they get to go out for a night on the town. Excited, they all head back to the dorms and get all gussied up for the event. However when they arrive at their destination they realize UH OH! It's not a night on the town, it's a night in a roach coach! The eight remaining contestants - Dale, as winner of the quickfire, got to sit out and enjoy a nice meal with Chef Armstrong - divide into two teams and are asked to make late-night food for drunken party-goers.

The teams are Hung, Sara M., Brian and Tre versus Sara N., CJ, Howie and Casey. Once again, I felt sorry for the folks paired with Howie. He keeps getting called a bulldog, and don't you think it's because he looks a bit like one?

The time is 10pm and they have 15 minutes to explore the kitchen, create a menu and then go shopping. $300 dollars and 30 minutes at the grocery store later, the teams arrive back at their coaches at 12:12. The first customers show up at 1:46am. At this point tensions are high, Howie's team is not getting along, Sara N. wants to put ice in a milkshake - um, seriously??? - and when Chef Tom shows up to order his food his mini-hamburger takes an eternity to arrive. Meanwhile, on the other team, the crowd is pumped and happy. Brian has set up a raw bar outside and is really working the crowd. It's clear that their truck is more successful, but apparently it also tastes the best as well.

At the judges table Brian's team is rewarded for being so efficient and communicative. Tre wins the platinum club card and an autographed book (pretty weak compared to last week's Trip to Italy) with his take on Bacon Wrapped Shrimp and Cheese Grits. However, I must point out that even Ted Allen noted, "If you want to make people happy, give them bacon."

Of course if this team is the winning team, then it means that, once again, Howie's team is the losing team. At the judge's table, things get nasty between Sara N. and Howie. Also, Sara said she felt demoralized having to wear the clothes she had on in the kitchen - to which I say, seriously? Didn't you choose to wear that??? She and Howie bicker all the way back to the waiting area when finally Sara is asked to pack her knives and go. I wasn't fully surprised, the editing made it pretty obvious to me - especially showing her bonding with Dale - however I did really like her departing quote. As she left she said, "There's a fine line between being competitive and being an a**hole." I guess we all know who she was talking about!

So what did you think of the episode? What were your fave parts? Did you think it was totally unfair of them to let the cheftestants get all dolled up? Or do you think they should have seen that coming? Will Brian ever cook something that's not seafood? And why did Howie choose not-quite-Cuban sandwiches in Miami??

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