Pop Up Pandemonium
Screened 3 December 2015
Previously on Top Chef – AKA yesterday… Two recaps in two days plus a Last Chance Kitchen? Seriously, Bravo, are you trying to kill me?
We start where we finished in Episode 1, on a roof where the cheftestants are ready to throw Padma to her death! Not really but if that actually happened it would make this show one billion times better. Padma introduces the episode’s guest judge – local chef Ludo Lefebvre whose surname appears to have a vowel missing. LA expert and know-it-all cheftestant Man Bun recites Ludo’s Wikipedia entry and informs us Ludo’s style is “progressive French with no rules”. What does having no rules in food mean, Man Bun? You cook concrete? Hair? Uranus?
There’s no Quickfire so it’s straight into the Elimination challenge, which is to open a pop-up restaurant – that day! Kwame boasts he is a seasoned pop-up restauranteur. So clearly he’s going home. Everyone is already standing in neat groups of four that correspond to the teams Padma puts them in. Handy. The final team consists of just guys and hey, there’s my crush, hot hipster bear Chad! Hi Chad! I love you!
The first group is off to Venice. This bunch contains noted Los Angeles historian and bore Man Bun who tells the others they’re going to Venice, a place that has no ethnicity – “white people town” he calls it. Last time I checked whiteness was an ethnicity – a crappy ethnicity but an ethnicity nonetheless.
Team two arrive at their pop-up which is located in a restaurant called Taste of Tehran. With the looks on their faces you’d think they’d been actually sent to Iran. Adorable restaurant owner Saghar Fanisalek dubs the neighbourhood Tehrangeles and gives them a primer on Persian food which Isaac especially appreciates since he claims to know nothing about it. Kebabs and rice, Isaac, haven’t you ever been to a mall food court?
Team three are pleased to end up in Koreatown and meet host Sang Yoon who I and they recognise from Top Chef Masters. Karen boldly claims Asian food is “what I do”. So clearly she’s going home. As they divide up the the menu Giselle offers to do crispy chicken wings even though she’s never made them before. “They’re super spicy, something makes them red,” she says. This may be the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen on this show and remember, this is Season 13.
Team one arrive in white-isn’t-an-ethnicity Venice to meet their elf-like host Eric Lechasseur who owns the vegan restaurant they’ll be cooking in. At least I think it’s a restaurant because they are in a nursery which has some tables and chairs in it. You crazy white people with your Taylor Swift and nursery-slash-restaurants. Eric is sweet but literally tiny. Perhaps if you ate meat Eric you wouldn’t be 4 foot tall.
Man Bun informs their host that his restaurant his “vegan friendly” elicits a hardly-impressed “Wow” from the diminutive host. Teeny Eric’s response is understandable. “Vegan friendly” isn’t anything special, Man Bun. McDonald’s is vegan friendly if you want it to be. The team wander around the place and start tasting random plants they come across. Top Chef Season 9 returnee Grayson has to spit out something – either because it’s a weed or poisonous. Hopefully the latter.
Team four ends up in Downtown LA where their car is jacked and they’re all killed by the street gangs that roam that area. Actually they get Mexican, which my beau Chad is pleased with. He owns two Mexican restaurants and boasts about his proficiency with that food – so clearly he’s going home. Jeremy also has a lot of experience with Latin food so maybe it’ll be a surprise double elimination. The boys don’t ask their host chef anything about the cuisine and the edit lets you know they’ll be punished for this. You can hardly blame them, though, because they have to open their restaurant in like one minute. Who has time for questions? Plus it’s Mexican! Just make a taco and you’re done!
It’s time to shop. Team Persia are edited to look like they’re co operating well. Team Vegan, however, are unsure and disjointed – so clearly they’re going to be the losing team. Grayson is especially shown to be panicking. She is going to make a salad, which she claims is “pumping it up”. Oh yeah, they’re so losing.
While out shopping for the Korea pop-up Giselle asks a random Korean woman how to make fried chicken wings. Scratch what I said about her “something makes it red” comment, this is the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen on Top Chef.
During the cooking Team Persia keeps getting the harmonious edit. Sister Wife is tacking dessert, which she mentions is the Top Chef kiss of death. So clearly she’s going home. Sister Wife thinks it will be her secret weapon, though, because she spent time under a pastry chef. Being under a chef doesn’t necessarily make you a great cook, lady. I’ve been under lots of them, on top of them, inside them even, and I burn water.
Team Vegan continues to receive the “in trouble” edit. Frances, who’s also in this group, complains that Man Bun isn’t being a leader so much as being bossy, which totally nails the smug way he barks suggestions-that-are-really-commands at the women. Also in this bunch is self-described “super-sassy” Renee who is constantly remarking how wonderful life is. I’ll be so glad if this group IS on the bottom. So long as they keep my beloved Frances any one of the other three leaving would be a relief.