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Top Chef S07E03: A System Of Pies And Barbecues

The contestants are shaken, SHAKEN after last week’s harrowing elimination ceremony. Relax, contestants. Seriously, there are, like, a million weeks left to go. So many challenges. So many eliminations. We are just getting started. Hush now. Amanda has to brush her teeth to just TAKE HER MIND OFF OF THINGS. Kenny hates Angelo so much that he reads a letter from home. Angelo hates Kenny so much that he has to go sit in, like, this dirt patch in the backyard? In between a couple loose strands of flowers? He says that Kenny did not stand behind his team and that it has put “a damper on [his] mind.” Don’t know what that means. Perhaps it is an old Monte Carlo expression. Also, maybe the person who piped steaming hot peanut butter into a stalk of celery and then acted MAD CAGEY (whoa, who is writing this recap, Ryan Phillipe?) when questioned about whether or not he would have done the same thing if he didn’t have immunity shouldn’t be so quick to complain that other people weren’t standing behind the team. It’s like the old expression goes: “there’s no steaming-hot-peanut-butter-piped-into-celery-stalks-in-team.” It means we are all in this together, so please stop piping that steaming hot peanut butter into those celery sticks, it’s ridiculous! Meanwhile, Arnold believes that it is now game on and it is time to get serious, and he pops his collar says something fierce to show he means it.

This week’s Quickfire is “make a pie.” And this week’s guest judge is a Hot Topic window display.

Johnny Iuzzini (BOOKMARKED!) is the head pastry chef at Jean Georges, which is a very good restaurant, and he and Gail Simmons are the new hosts and head judges on an upcoming show, Top Chef: Just Desserts. That is a very impressive resume for someone who still wears a chain wallet and calls himself by a little boy’s name. (Seriously, Johnny, you are 35 years old. You are John now.) Anyway, the Quickfire challenge, as I have mentioned, is “make a pie.” What is the catch? The catch is that the pie has to be edible, which it turns out is actually kind of a tough TWIST for some of the chefs. Poor Stephen interviews that he is discouraged about this challenge because two chefs have gone home for making dessert. Sure, except that no one is going home during this Quickfire. And also, BUCK THE FUCK UP, STEPHEN. As a quick reminder because there are still so many contestants, this is Stephen:

So, people make pies. Well, mostly people make complaints ABOUT pies. Everyone explains that they don’t make pies. “I never make pies,” says someone. “I’m not really a Pie Chef,” says another. That’s not even a thing, Pie Chef. Mainly, everyone is trying to set the bar really low on their garbage pie. But at the same time, trying to get extra credit for even making a pie in the first place? “It’s complicated” — Facebook. I mean, you can set the bar low, or you can try and get everyone to think you are a hero for doing the assignment, but it is too thin of a line to try and play both. Not that Amanda doesn’t try very hard. Anyway, some of these pies are just nightmare pies.

What’s that? Don’t get me wrong, I WOULD STILL EAT THAT. But come on. That looks like a plate of jam and nuts.

The judges taste the pies and just RIP into the contestants. It’s kind of amazing. Everyone gets shit on. That will teach them to make pies as a requirement for a nonsense reality show! Unsurprisingly, Tracey’s pie-flavored Soup Bowl is on the bottom. She doesn’t like being on the bottom because “it feels like getting called out for something that’s embarrassing. Like living in a trailer park.” Someone needs to loosen their bandana. Alex is also on the bottom with his chevre quiche, which was a chevre quiche, not a pie, and also Ed, who made celery foam (excuse me, celery SPUMA) to put on his banana cream pie for whatever the fuck reason. Ed seems like a talented enough chef, but he talks a big game for someone who has yet to win any of the challenges. At the very least, he should probably wipe this look off his face.

Kelly and Kenny are the two best pies, but Kenny wins. IN YOUR FACE, KELLY. “When you open your own restaurant at 28 with your husband, you learn how to do every job pretty quickly, including the job of NOT WINNING.” Boom! She is just such a jerk. I don’t like her. She should pack her knives and go to jail.

For the Elimination Challenge, the chefs will be preparing a summer picnic for Capitol Hill Interns (always with the Capitol Hill Interns). Everyone must prepare one main dish and two sides. They will be serving their food at George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate, and when Padma announces this, an audible gasp runs through the room. Looks like we’ve got some real history buffs this season! “I have always wanted to serve re-heated barbecue ribs on the same grounds where George Washington berated his slaves.” Arnold interviews that he is not a grill guy because it will clog the pores way too fast. I know something that will clog your pores faster, Arnold.

Just so there is no confusion: that is a cement truck covering Arnold in cement as he is dropped into the middle of the ocean. By an Eagle.

So, shop shop shop. Cook cook cook. Alex and Amanda get in a fight about an oven. She says her name was on it. He says she’s a bitch. WILL NO ONE REST THEIR CASE? Amanda explains to Chef Tom that these are Prison Rules. Huh? It’s not funny or clever to just say “prison rules” if no one understands what you are talking about, including yourself. Tom is like “Prison Rules”? And Amanda is like “Yeah, I don’t know.” Enough, Amanda. You remind me far too much of Leah from season 5. I look at you and all I see are cheating thumbheads.

Out at the historic and exciting George Washington Mount Vernon Estate, some people do not even know how to light their grills. Oh come on. That cannot possibly be true. Tracey at one point shouts out to everyone, without any trace of embarrassment, “how do you turn this thing down?” That has to be a joke. I mean, let’s be honest, Tracey knows her way around a hamburger. If left to her own devices, something tells me she would know her way around ALL the hamburgers. “Sorry, everyone, there are no hamburgers left. Anywhere. On the planet.” A bird poops. Jonathan Waxman. Food. Alex says of his dish, “I would eat the ass out of this pig all day.” Gross.

The winning dishes are Ed’s spiced tuna loin with lentil hummus, Angelo’s Vietnamese lettuce wrap and smoked egg salad, Amanda’s dry-rub baby back ribs and grilled asparagus with bacon hazelnut vinaigrette, and Arnold’s sesame lamb meatball with tabouli salad and gazpacho. During the preparation, Ed explained that he has done more than his father ever dreamed of because his dad was just some stupid executive chef, and his dad told him years ago that he had already surpassed him. The end. End of quote. What’s wrong, Ed, no FUCK YOU in there? You sure you don’t want to take this opportunity to tell your dad to go suck his own dick or something? Arnold wins.

In the annoying 30-second non-sequitur clip to pump the episodes full of more advertisements, Tracey explains that she is clairvoyant. I WONDER IF SHE SEES WHAT IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN NEXT!

The losing dishes are Tracey’s Italian sausage slider with tomato, cucumber, and onion salad, Tim’s pork two ways with grilled vegetables, Kevin’s grilled marinated flank steak, rice and beans, and tomato & avocado salad, and Stephen’s bacon-wrapped sea bass, ratatouille, and olive pine nut couscous. When they go back to the stew room to stew, Stephen says “they thought it was unrealistic that someone would wrap a piece of fish in bacon, like, do that at a picnic. It’s like, dude, it’s a picnic, hello?” Oh Stephen. Sometimes you pull the football out from under your own foot! Also, didn’t everyone need to make two side dishes but clearly some people only made one side dishes? Forget it, Gabe, it’s Arbitrary Rules Show Town.

Tracey goes home. I mean, yes. Everyone definitely deserved to go home, but she was voted one of the 25 Most Deserving to Go Home in Atlanta. Man, there is still so much chaff to remove from the wheat. If there even is any wheat!

Goodbye, Tracey! You may not have won Top Chef, but you were definitely Top Bandana.