I was so psyched for last night’s Top Chef because it featured Penn & Teller. I am a big fan. Their magic/comedy act is always great and their show B*llshit on Showtime is one of my favorites. (Thanks to BS, I find myself skeptical of just about everything these days.) But Penn & Teller would not appear until the second half of the show. First we meet guest judge Chef Michelle Bernstein, who apparently is no relation to that lovable family of bears. (Oh wait, they’re the Berenstain Bears. Never mind.)
This week opened with the chefs mourning the departure of Scarfy. To show solidarity, a number of them even don red scarves. There is also an overwhelming sentiment that Robin should have been eliminated, and many of the other chefs begin to ostracize her. But if you can’t take the heat, get the hell out of the Top Chef Kitchen… brought to you by the Glad family of products.
The theme of the Quickfire Challenge was Angels and Devils. Create a plate that showcases two dishes that exemplify good and evil. I immediately thought that if I was a contestant, I would make Devil Dogs and Angel Food Cake. Then I realized… that’s why I’ll never be a contestant on this show.
- Ash decides to make custard. You just knew he’d have problems with the temperature. Doesn’t he watch this show?
- Eli, Ashley and Jen all make scallops. Is it me or are there an inordinate amount of scallops made on this show?
- Big Papi makes Chilean Sea Bass. Padma complains that her serving had bones in it. Perhaps they were there part of another voodoo ritual. I think he’s gonna need some black magic to last on this show much longer.
- Robin’s theme is sugar, with her story of cancer survival as a backdrop. Eli is pissed that she plays the “C” card to elicit sympathy from the judges.
- Laurine is a miserable mess this week, practically making Stone Cold Jennifer look like The Joker. She’s not happy with the challenges and she hates Robin. (The chef, not Batman’s sidekick.)
- Ash, Bryan and Laurine are the losers. One of Ash’s custards did not set, so he only submits one dish. I don’t want to say I told you so, but…
- Bryan had tried to keep it simple with a play on the colors black and white, but in the end he was just seeing red.
- The top three were Mike V., Eli and the dark horse; Robin. And Robin wins. This makes many of the other chefs want to hang themselves with their red scarves.
- With Robin having immunity, you could practically see the bullseyes on Ash and Ron’s foreheads for the next challenge.
Finally, Penn & Teller enter the kitchen to introduce the Elimination Challenge. They do an amazing ball and cup trick and then deconstruct the same trick with transparent cups. The second time around is even more amazing. The challenge is to deconstruct a dish, which will be determined by drawing knives.
- Toby Young, the Dr. Evil of Top Chef is back at judges table. He’s the Simon Cowell to Gail’s Paula Abdul… Or should I say, Ellen?
- Stone Cold Jen pouts her way through Meat Lasagna. She even avoids Tom Colicchio when he makes his rounds.
- Laurine pouts her way through fish & chips. Robin’s constant chatter does not help matters.
- Big Papi is thrilled to get paella, but it’s clear he has no idea of the concept of deconstruction. He even asks Colicchio for advice… not a good sign.
- For me, I can’t help but think of George Costanza’s mother when I hear the word paella.
- When I was a kid, my mother always talked about how a pressure cooker could possibly explode. This week, I finally saw it happen. The duct tape holding Eli’s damaged pressure cooker just isn’t enough and it goes ka-blooey. Obviously Eli is no MacGuyver.
- Kevin has to make something called Mole Negro. I have no idea what that is, but I am familiar with its religious cousin, Holy Mole.
- Eli makes sweet & sour pork dumplings. The judges refer to them as bull testicles, a dish we learn that Padma has actually consumed.
- Mike I. tries to fake his way through Eggs Florentine. He fools no one.
- Ashley plays the “P” card and once again references her poverty stricken childhood. Perhaps she still can’t afford a comb?
- Ash gets Sheppard’s Pie and fails to deliver the potato element of the dish. That’s two dishes in one episode where he fails to deliver. I can’t believe he survives this round.
- Robin does not waste her immunity and serves up a repulsive clam chowder
- Laurine, who only puts two chips on each plate.
- Ash, who substitutes mashed potatoes with an “Exorcist” looking pea puree.
- Ron, who does not deconstruct his dish, and manages to serve food which is both dry and soggy at once. Strike three! Big Papi strikes out and it’s his turn to pack his knives.
- Smile Jen, they loved your lasagna.
- Ashley, your pot roast boasted a wealth of flavors.
- Michael V. – Hail Caesar.
- And the winner is Kevin! Moley, moley, moley. He also gets some non-stick pans as a bonus. Maybe he should give them to Ron as a parting gift.
Okay, time for me to pack my knives and go. I’m off to find a place that serves Mole Negro. I just have to know what that tastes like.