WAKE UP CHEFS, IT IS TIME TO GO TO LE BERNARDIN! Oh wait, first everyone has to fart around the house. Carla has girl power. Blais likes nutella. Antonia is the Black Hammer. ERRRRRRP. What? Apparently, during her original season, whenever someone was on a team with Antonia they were sent home. And this season the same thing is happening. Thus, the nickname…the Black Hammer? Honestly, I have neither the time, the inclination, nor the post-graduate doctoral education in identity politics to unpack that one, so let’s just go to Le Bernardin. SMIRKTHONY SMIRKDAIN IS WAITING FOR US! Man, Smirkthony is extra smirkish today. Looks like someone smirked up on the smirk side of the bed this smorkning. He explains that in his recent book AVAILABLE IN STORES AND ON-LINE NOW, he dedicated an entire chapter to Justo Thomas, who butchers between 800 and 1000 pounds of fish before 6AM or something. Smirkdain lists a whole bunch of impressive qualities about Justo and it’s all very Bill Brasky. “Justo’s so fast at butchering fish that he can’t be measured by most man-made timepieces.” Stuff like that. “Justo’s so at home with fish that at one point God was thinking of renaming the ocean the Justocean.” Et cetra. They go downstairs to watch him work and everyone explains that it’s very impressive. I mean, I’m absolutely positive that they are right, but the way this show is edited, combined with the delicacy of what Justo does, it’s kind of hard to tell. At some point there are definitely a few pieces of fish on a metal tray. The contestants have 10 minutes.
Chop chop chop. Fish fish fish. Some people are terrible at butchering fish and some people do not even know where to begin, that seems to be the range of skills. Hands down, knives up. Justo walks around and mostly seems tired. He could have butchered 500,000,000,000 fish in the time it is taking him to deal with these fools. At least they waste no time in pointing out who stinks and who REALLY stinks. Fabio, Carla, Tiffany, and Antonia did the worst job out of all the bad jobs. Dale, Richard, Mike, and Marcel all did well enough for the surprise double Quickfire challenge of making a dish out of the heads and bones of the ruined fish. Congrats? You have to cook food out of garbage? Whoever wins for best use of garbage in a plate of garbage gets immunity.
Cook cook cook. Garbage garbage garbage. Admittedly, everyone’s dishes look really good, and particularly impressive what with the whole being made exclusively from garbage thing. Dale thinks he’s got this on lock because the only thing his family ate when he was growing up was garbage. That is useful in this challenge! Personally, I think Blais’s dish looks the best. You know, for a dish that is made out of things that you might find buried deep inside a trashbag in a dumpster. Oh, and Marcel complains that when the chefs come around to try his dish that they try it wrong? Sure, Marcel. And I’m sure the camera is showing your face wrong, right? It’s actually not a slimeball face at all but the camera just doesn’t GET IT. He also says something about how horrible he feels about wasting a life? When it comes to throwing out fish heads? Shut up. Just shut up. Shut your mouth.
Dale wins. TEAM DALE.
The chefs head over to the Top Chef kitchen where Padma is marry me I MEAN WAITING with guest judge Ludo Lefebvre, which I believe is French for “Ludo The Worst.” This dude. So gross. He’s the Mr. Brainwash of the food world. Anyway, this week it is Restaurant Wars. As always, some of the contestants blow my mind by giving each other high fives. That happens every time! What am I missing here? For one thing, Restaurant Wars is traditionally the most boring episode of every season of Top Chef. For another thing, it has nothing to do with actual restaurants. And for a third thing, I’m not sure why you would ever high five ever about ANY reality TV show elimination challenge. It is just surprising behavior! Also, how many times can everyone on this episode say “pop up” as if they just read it in the New York Times Thursday Styles section? (Answer: everyone can say “pop up” too many times.)
Dale is team captain and gets to choose the other team’s captain, so he chooses Marcel. DING DONG. Marcel tightens his headband another two notches. Marcel is “honored.” Haha. You’re using the word “honored” wrong, Marcel! You mean “embarrassed” or “humiliated.” He says that he feels like he has been given the opportunity to take the bull by the horns. Huh? That sounds like something Marcel read on one of those free advertising placements above a urinal. They pick teams. Everyone that Marcel picks is so pissed to be on Marcel’s team. Obviously. He’s awful just as a person, much less as your boss. And as soon as everyone splits up to start planning, it’s also clear that his team is going to SPOILER ALERT lose. Badly. So so badly.
The editing on this show is always so obvious. For example, they show lots of footage of Dale’s team bragging about how well they’re going to do. And then they show the actual restaurant wars and Dale’s team seems to be just CRUSHING the competition. So, it’s just a rout, right? But then everyone keeps saying how this time in Restaurant Wars, it’s the diners, not the judges, who will decide the winning team. And they cut to just one dude who is like “I actually liked Etch’s food better.” Right. Then it turns out that it was just a total rout. They built the entire episode’s dramatic conflict around one quote from some dude who was INCORRECT. Because Marcel’s team was a mess. At least they didn’t call their restaurant Medi, I guess, but what a shitshow. Meanwhile, Dale’s team, Bodega, was just killing it. “You guys killed it,” Tom will say at the judges’ table. No joke. It’s dead. I would eat at Bodega. Look at me. I’m a 65-year-old man living in Brooklyn who writes a blog about chipmunks on waterskis. I’d be a REGULAR at Bodega.
Bodega wins, no duh. But first, Etch is brought in to get a new one torn for them by the judges. Only 17 out of 76 diners preferred Etch. Tear tear tear. New one new one new one. “The asparagus was too bland.” “The gnudi was too salty.” Then the contestants turn on each other. Mostly everyone is yelling at Marcel. Except Angelo, who is very “O’ Captain, My Captain” all episode, as if we can’t see the grease just oozing out through his scalp. Total slimebucket. A Bucket Full of Slime: the Angelo Story. What is hilarious is that to defend himself, Marcel claims that he told everyone to fix the very specific things that the judges just criticized. Right. “I told them that the asparagus was too bland and that the gnudi was too salty.” Hahhaha. Drop dead, Marcel.
Bodega comes in, gets praised for everything about their performance, Richard Blais wins $10,000, hugs all around. Now, back to the shitheels! EVERYONE IS ELIMINATED! Just kidding. I wish! Thankfully, though, Marcel is eliminated.
GOODNIGHT, NURSE. That kid. Just the fucking worst kid. Poor guy. It’s probably really hard being so horrible in every possible way. He explains in his exit interview that the only mistake he made in the challenge was picking the wrong teammates. See what I mean? Just a living nightmare of a human being. Bad attitude. Bad face. Bad everything. Go to bed, Marcel. “This isn’t the last you’ll be seeing of me.” Yes it is. If you can’t even control a fake restaurant for two hours, what makes you think you can control WHAT MY EYES LOOK AT?!