Top Chef S09E04/05: Eat The Rich

I’m not sure if you noticed, but last week was Thanksgiving. Someone on Twitter yesterday wrote, “I am really sad that @videogum went home for Thanksgiving and forgot to write a Top Chef Episode 4 recap. #gabeisonthebubble.” You’re using the word “forgot” wrong. If Bravo wanted thoughtful blog recaps of their show, they wouldn’t have aired it THE NIGHT BEFORE THE MOST WONDERFUL DAY OF THE YEAR. Forget THIS. Anyway, what do you want to know? The Quickfire was cooking with hot peppers, and the Elimination Challenge was making chili. Some of the chilis looked good and some of the chilis looked bad, but in the end I think it turned out that all of them were bad? Like, one chili won, because it is Top Chef, not Top Eliminate Everyone For Their Bullshit Chili, but the judges seemed to have a lot of complaints about everyone. Who was so tired! I almost forgot to mention how tired everyone was. Because chili has to cook all night, or something? I don’t know. It seemed like there were probably ways in which everyone didn’t have to stay up for 24 hours, but they did, and then they bitched about it, so that was fun. It’s neat watching people bitch about how tired they are. (This guy knows what I’m talking about.) In the end, Richie went home, but not before crying. Awww. Poor Richie. The pressure finally got to him. After two challenges. The other guy, you know the one, the one who is a guy but looks like he wears a scrunchie but can’t find his scrunchie at the moment even though it’s around his wrist? That guy hugged Richie and was telling him how great he is. Which is very nice. But also a lie. He’s not that great he just got eliminated. Sooooo. This week we pick up right where we left off. You can still see the Richie Tear Stains all over Scrunchie’s chest.

Padma has an announcement for the chefs, who are all sitting hangdog at the picnic tables after the chili rodeo. One of the contestants nervously wonders if they’re going to have to do another Quickfire right away. Nope. She just tells them to get some rest and that the next day they’re going to Dallas. Oh phew. Admittedly, the chefs could have just gone home, and in the morning Padma could have said “good morning, chefs, today we are going to Dallas,” but it was totally worth it for that 0.3 milliseconds of dramatic tension when we didn’t know that Padma was just going to tell them to go home and go to bed. I was so nervous! Edward complains that he just fell in love with the house that they’re staying in and they’re already getting kicked out. Whoa! RELAX, EDWARD! Fell in love? With a crappy subdivision McMansion filled with Ikea furniture, blistering studio lights, and a pile of strangers? FELL IN LOVE? Also, you’re not getting kicked out, you’re going to Dallas for two hours. Ugh, Edward.

Everyone is treating this trip to Dallas like an exotic journey to a foreign land. “When I think of Dallas I think of wild rhinoceri swimming in lakes of blood.” It would make more sense if they weren’t ALREADY IN TEXAS. But it’s like, you’re just going to another city that you can drive to from the city you’re in. How about you calm down, you Doras the Explorahs. They all pile into their INSERT PRODUCT PLACEMENT CAR BRAND NAME HERE and head to Mysterious Dallas, which I think is located in the Bermuda Triangle the way no one will shut about it. Everyone is talking about their relationships, as one does, I guess? Edward asks Ty-Lor (ugh, Ty-Lor) if he thinks there will be a float dedicated to him in the gay pride parade if he wins Top Chef. I’m not even sure whether or not anyone should be offended by that because it is so weird and nonsensical. The answer, obviously, is no. But it does raise another question: does Edward think there will be a float dedicated to HIM at the Fucking Worst Parade?

They are cruising along doo-dee-doo but suddenly get stopped by a police road block. Oh good grief. Why is this happening? There’s a state trooper who asks for license and registration, which the chef driving the first vehicle says is going to be a problem. Is it? It shouldn’t be. Even for this gag, you should still be a licensed driver and I’m sure the production company took out insurance on your INSERT PRODUCT PLACEMENT CAR BRAND NAME HERE. The trooper tells her to pull over and step out of the vehicle, at which point all three vans drive all the way out into the middle of a corn field and we never see this honorable state trooper again. WELL THAT WAS FUN? Although it is hilarious how panicked Dakota looks by what is clearly not a real cop not really pulling them over.

Pull the balloon of saffron out of your butt and swallow it quick, Dakota! This week’s guest judge is John Besh. That one dude from California, Chris, interviews about how the sun is shining off of John Besh’s teeth and how he’s so handsome. “I’m not gonna lie.” Hahha. The last thing anyone wants, Chris, is for you to lie about whether or not John Besh is handsome. This is the same Chris who talked about how handsome some dude was last week, which is fine, but it’s just funny how they are setting him up with these quotes interspersed with him talking about how beautiful Padma is. It’s all very 40-Year-Old Gay Virgin. I’m not saying that Chris is gay, or that it is even any of our business, but he’s probably gay, and it’s a little bit our business because he signed all the contracts agreeing to be on the show and then said the things he said with his mouth. More accurately, though, it’s actually just hard to know WHAT he even is, because the things that he says about EVERYONE are so confusing. Is sun shining off of teeth really that attractive? And when he talks about Padma he’ll be like “hubba hubba, Padma is looking so gorgeous today, I’d love to see what she looks like sitting on a homemade blanket in a field of wild asparagus,” and it’s like, what?! Chris, what?

This week’s Quickfire involves backpacks full of sardines and canisters of propane. Padma says something about being resourceful, but it’s all kind of muddled. I mean, why? Why do the chefs have to cook tinned tofu out of backpacks from the trunks of their BRAND NAME CARS? If you’re hungry, just open the tin. Onion soup in the middle of a field sounds like a fucking nightmare. But whatever. Some chefs complain that this is not their comfort zone, which is a hilarious complaint because it suggests that it is someone else’s comfort zone. “I’m always at my best when I am surrounded by a camera crew filming me as I cook beans on a hot plate in the middle of a corn field.” Never mind. Cook cook cook. Field field field. Everyone’s dishes look disgusting and I don’t even want to get into it. The blonde girl who made a “club sandwich” out of SALTINES wins. Good for her. I made you a trophy out of barf. Seriously, this is what they serve you in Space Prison.

Edward is mad that he lost. “It must have been some sandwich because it looked…as dry…as the Texas land…that we were standing on.” What a way with words, Edward. You’re the Cormac McCarthy of Top Chef: Texas. My apologies to Cormac McCarthy for that joke. Sir, you are a treasure, and I should never have compared your beautiful novels to Edward’s shrimp stew in a can or whatever. Shut up, Edward. Even if the producers are writing all of your stuff, I still would like you to shut up. Although you shut up, too, Lindsay. “It’s truly ironic that I would win the Quickfire with a can of Vienna sausages.” In what way? In what way is it ironic? You may be immune in the Elimination Challenge but you are not immune to being told to SHUT UP.

Speaking of the Elimination Challenge, everyone will be cooking for a “high society” dinner party for the landed gentry of Dallas, Texas. There will be three teams cooking three courses for three couples in three mansions for a “progressive dinner party.” Chris manages to tear his eyes away from John Besch’s “teeth” long enough to explain that a “progressive dinner party” is when three friends who live near each other progress from one house to the next. Oh thank God. For a second I thought there might be poor people or black people at this dinner. There are not. Shit is white as fuck.

The three couples are real pieces of work. I kind of wish the show would just be about these couples. I don’t just mean this episode, I mean the whole season. Let’s see what these awful people are all about! The first couple wanted everything to be pink at first, but now they don’t, but they did, and the wife is an “entertaining expert.” Right. The wife in the second couple hates cilantro, raspberries, and meat. She seems fun! I bet you could just stay up all night long with her talking about things you don’t like. The third couple is the best, though. (Read: the worst.) First the wife says “we LOVE fudge.” Haha. I bet you do. Then the husband says, “we’re obsessed with bananas.” OBSESSED! I’m pretty sure that’s what the movie Shame is about. But finally, and bestally, the husband explains that he loves gummi bears so much that his wedding cake (“my wedding cake,” this marriage is gonna last) was actually a giant gummi bear. WHAT A KEEPER HOW DID YOU FIND THIS GUY IF ONLY YOU COULD MARRY HIM TWICE!

Shop shop shop. Cook cook cook. I don’t know if it’s just me, and it could be that the field of competitors is still just way too big, but everyone’s food always looks so terrible this season. I don’t think that I’ve seen a single dish yet where I am like “I wish I could eat my television.” (That is definitely a thing that I have said in past seasons. Out loud. To my television. He is terrified!) Scrunchie makes an appetizer that looks like a cigar, which is just about the grossest thing you can make a thing look like. Even if he made dick-shaped appetizers, he at least wouldn’t have to explain what “the ash that you’re eating” is. Although I guess saying “the cum is wasabi mayonnaise” would also be gross but the point is that it’s very gross. All of the entrees are overcooked. And dessert is just a ridiculous disaster. Chris! What are you doing with this cupcake nightmare! Chris is such a Samantha.

The four winning chefs are Grayson, Dakota, Sarah, and Paul. Two desserts! For as much as everyone complained about having to make desserts (Dakota at one point actually says “I didn’t come here to make dessert,” which is very funny. What DID you come here for, Dakota? To refuse surprises?) Team Desserts actually did OK. But the winner is Paul for his roasted brussel sprouts. Good job, Paul.

Chris, Ty-Lor, Another Chris, and Chuy are all on the bottom. Somehow they do not just immediately eliminate Chris for his hilarious cupcakeocaust. That thing. Don’t even get me (re)started on that thing. Other Chris (Scrunchie) explains that he saw a cigar wrapper and he immediately thought, “I should make a chicken cigar” or something. Yeah, no, we got it, Chris. The way in which you went to a shitty rich person’s house in Texas and then made food into a cigar isn’t some ineffable journey through the wonders of the imagination. It’s still so gross.

Chuy’s salmon was overcooked, but even more bizarre is that he claims it’s a dish he makes at his restaurant, which is not a thing you should say when you’re up for elimination because it suggests that either you should have made it better, or if the dish itself is fundamentally bad, then you should never make it at all and what are you even thinking. Oh, Chuy. Ty-Lor is probably fine. But you could easily eliminate the other three, and I hope they do. LET’S GO! WRAP THIS SHOW UP! WOLF GANG ELIMINATE THEM ALL! No? Just Chuy? Fair enough.

Goodbye, Chuy. You were very arrogant about the whole thing, so it is “ironic,” to use Blonde Girl’s word, that you got eliminated in the third episode (first two ain’t even count. SWAMP OF SADNESS.) Please pack your ‘tude and go back to your uncle’s goat farm or whatever you are always talking about that is just to “real” for America.

Next week: more.