Recap

Top Chef D.C. Recap: Cock and Balls

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Jul 22, 2010 | 7:04am EDT

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S7: E6: Today the air inside the Top Chef country estate was hushed. The chefs faced the new morning with a determined sobriety. Timmy Dean (a father figure) was missed by all, truly. Andrea rises up from the ashes of Timmy’s destruction and vows to become better than average this time around. Amanda begins whining about something, Alex does a line off the toilet, Kenny and Angelo are furiously making out in the back pantry. Top Chef Cold War begins!

Quick Fire

Today’s quick fire was the gross proteins challenge. This challenge is old hat, but how do we tie this in to the theme of the season? Probably Bravo is insinuating a similarity between the physiognomy of various senators and that of the distinguished animals who have sacrificed their corpses to the whims of television. There were the usual suspects, including ostrich, croc, rattlesnake, duck testicles, frog, yak, llama, and emu eggs.

Angelo is drawn somehow to the duck testicles (he thinks they are kidneys thanks to culinary euphemism) and designs to make a testicle marshmallow (as an homage to his days in the boy scouts).

The rest of the chefs started preparing their ghastly meats with relatively few complaints  (except of course, Amanda) until Padma waltzes in and breathily commands them all to switch meats mid-preparation. TWIST.

The judge for today’s quick fire was Michelle Bernstein of Miami’s Michy restaurant in Florida. Michelle looks exactly like Andrea, and in fact, they know each other! This does nothing to debunk my theory that there exists an underground network of white girls who look exactly the same and who all secretly know each other. With one sharp exchange of barely contained venom twisted into forced maniacal smiles, it becomes clear that Andrea and Michelle also hate each other. Michelle Bernstein clearly took pleasure in adjudicating her frenemy, smoothly informing Andrea that her boar meat was chewy and placing her at the bottom, along with Alex’s dry ostrich and Steven’s “insipid” frog’s legs.

Kelly won for her creamy and delicious emu egg omelet! Kelly was definitely a Gollum earlier in the season but this episode I found her kind of funny. Hopefully she pulls it out and gives us someone to get behind finally, besides the bald Russian pervert.

 

Elimination Challenge

The Elimination challenge was to prepare a dish to be served cold, just as America serves up a chilly plate of DEMOCRACY to your asses. The chefs were split into teams and are set to judge each other’s food - allowing them to decide who wins and loses. Bravo was able to squeeze many more humorous situational puns out of this particular challenge. This episode was called “Cold War”, and the chefs were split into teams and told they would be “planning” their “strategy” on board the USS Sequoia, a maritime Air Force One, and a place that saw the negotiations of John F. Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis and Richard Nixon’s arms treaty. This segment of the show felt cheap and tactless, and watching spoiled reality show contestants manhandle a historic space was a bit sad.

ALSO we were forced to sit through several minutes of Angelo trying to plan some kind of strategic moves with Tamesha and Stephen and any other weak-willed chef who would listen to him (by advising them what to cook, how to make it, etc), and Kenny fuming below deck that Angelo wasn’t paying any attention to him ("He never notices when I change my hair!”)

Also finally, someone acknowledged that Amanda is extremely annoying - Tamesha deadpans that she could probably strangle her in a second. Understandable!

Back in the kitchens, most everyone has decided to make a carpaccio, which is raw meat thinly sliced, and tartare, which is basically a meat cake patty made of raw minced meat. Essentially we’re looking at a lot of raw meat here. Angelo is making salmon (with pineapple tea) and again refuses to face facts that one should not actually consider animal flesh chunks “sexy”.

Oh, and Amanda put an entire chicken into a meat grinder and formed it into a cake. Sigh.

The judging was pretty entertaining, as each team judged the other and we saw some real psychological shenanigans going on. Groupthink! What a deft tie-in to relevant political themes from Bravo!

Angelo bashed almost every dish as not having “clean flavors” or being convoluted, lacking salt, or containing poorly sized chunks of vegetables. The others in his group mostly followed his direction, agreeing with him at every turn, nodding and frowning at appropriate moments. Even Amanda’s cartilaginous chicken jello-mold didn’t dissuade Angelo from his political crusade against Kenny and his lamb duo, and got him sent to the bottom.

Tom was surprised by how harsh team Angelo was as evidenced by multiple blinks and eyebrow raises. Team Kenny was more even-handed, and Kevin Sbraga liked Angelo’s best, but Amanda rightly points out that Angelo only makes Asian food. In the end, Kenny committed to making sure that Angelo did not win at all costs! Tiffany’s crusted tuna was sent up to the winners circle, and Tamesha’s slimy scallops to the bottom.

 

Judges Table

Kenny was extremely sullen at the table, evidently feeling wrongly persecuted for being such a strong, capable, alpha male. Michelle Bernstein interjected with a swift reminder that having never tasted his food before or witnessing his extreme masculinity, she felt that his food blew. Luckily for the narrative arc of this season, Tamesha was sent home for slimy scallops and watery jus. Whew! We barely escaped that one - where would the show be, story-wise, if Kenny was eliminated? Where would the humanity come from? Bravo needs to be more careful next time. We don’t want to have to make Alex the Tan Russian the protagonist of Top Chef just yet.

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