Top Chef Recap – Season 13, Episode 5 (and Last Chance Kitchen)

Big Gay Wedding
Screened 7 January 2016

How is it only three weeks since the last episode? Who are these people? What’s this show called – Top Chef? So I’m guessing it’s about gay chefs who like to take the active role in bed. It’s not? Damn.

Quickfire Challenge

We head to Hadley’s Date Garden which the farmer hosting them tells us is the Date Capital of the United States. The chefs are handed baskets of dates and then they drive off but not before Isaac tries out one of the harvesting machetes. He’s literally the last person in this cast that I’d give a machete to.

Waiting in the kitchen with Padma there is a woman who one of the cheftestants, Kwame I think, describes as “John Legend’s wife”. Padma describes her “my friend, the gorgeous model, all-around foodie and beauty Chrissy Teigen”. Sorry, Padma, but models are by their very definition not “foodies”. It’s insulting to pretend Chrissy Teigen eats anything other than air and dust.

Kwame is overcome by the Padma/Chrissy one-two punch of hotness on display. Speaking of “one-two punch” Teigan’s boobs are almost falling out of her top.  Those barely-contained melons are surely a health and safety hazard in a kitchen.

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By the way, they are both AWFULLY styled here.

But, it’s dates and not melons that are the fruit of the day. The challenge is to tell the story of a great romantic date using actual dates. Carl is inspired by the time he missed a ballet show because he had his tonsils removed so instead he and his girlfriend stayed at home with a milkshake. Milkshakes > ballet in my book also. Chad takes inspiration from the “Daddy dates” with his daughters. We’re shown some photos of him looking cute and playful in his skinny trousers and colourful sneakers. Could he BE any more a perfect example of a hot hipster bear? No, he could not.

Sigh.

Sigh.

There are A LOT of great looking dishes to be judged but it’s hard to concentrate due to Chrissy Teigen’s style of presenting which I’d describe as “affected flirtatious”. She probably thinks all her forced double entendres are sexy but actually it just makes everything she says sounds like bad porn.

Bottom: Chad, Man Bun, Carl. Carl only made a date milkshake! Buddy, everyone else is competing for Top Chef and you’re auditioning for a job at a Dairy Queen.

Top: Jason, Isaac, Giselle. Jason wins for his Roasted Baby Carrots With Deglet Nour Dates, Brown Butter and Pine Nuts. The carrots are literally black in places and Padma rates him for his bold charring. His dish looks so good it makes me want to lick the screen but I daren’t since Chrissy Teigen is on it and I don’t want herpes.

Elimination Challenge

“Palm Springs loves a good wedding” announces Padma, which has the gay cheftestats fist pumping (because Palm Springs = gay weddings?) and Man Bun and Kwame looking really uncomfortable. There’s no indication subsequently that they are homophobic so either they hide it later or that’s some really odd editing.

The guest judge is Art Smith and he announces that the group will indeed cater a “big fat gay wedding” which, again, has Kwame looking seriously concerned. But Pink Hair is in tears, thinking back to her own same sex nuptial a year ago. Sidenote: she and her wife couldn’t look sweeter in their wedding photos.

The next morning, before their three-hour prep time, Padma sends over a yoga instructor. It feels a little random but most of the chefs are into it. Wesley and Isaac, however, just lie beside the pool. I suspect they’re not doing yoga because the instructor is a slightly camp male – if it was a sexy woman in a leotard they’d be doing downwards dogs as hard as they could.

Kwame mentions his time overseas and in the snapshot he’s smoking. Wesley had cigarettes with him while sitting out the yoga and Chad was smoking in a previous episode. Why do so many chefs smoke? Is it the stress of the kitchen? It seems counter-productive to their craft since smoking affects your smell and taste. Also, it’s gross. Sorry men but I don’t want your nicotine-stained fingers in my food.

Most of the group have paired up and as they prep it’s obvious from the edits that Pink Hair/Giselle and Man Bun/Kwame are in trouble. The latter pairing’s dish is steak and mashed potatoes except Man Bun has liquefied the potatoes so that they resemble wood-working glue.

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The good news is if you don’t like the sauce you can use it to fix a broken chair.

What most strikes me during the cooking is the “frat house” feel of this cast – Isaac and Wesley are “whoop-whooping”, Amar and Chad chest bump. I can see why gay Jason has said he feels uncomfortable around this mob. There’s a straight, masculine, locker room energy in the kitchen. I’m half expecting some towel whipping and butt slapping. As the field narrows I will definitely be expecting a pissing contest – I’m talking figuratively but with this lot of bros it could even go literal.

The wedding scenes are beautiful – the joy in the couples, and Padma, is genuine and affecting. Art’s husband (they’re renewing they’re vows) is wearing a beige kaftan that is both the most ridiculous and the most awesome thing I’ve ever seen. Pastor Padma is rocking a white tux in the way only Padma can. I’m less enthused over her neon pink lipstick though. The whole thing leaves me in tears, however, that may just be my reaction to the lipstick.

Judging

From the dining comments it’s unclear who is on the top since most of the cheftestants have done a great job. In the end it’s Wesley and Kwame’s (Kwame did the sauce for two different dishes) Pickled Shrimp With Cucumber Onion Salad, Citris Vinaigrette and Cashews that takes the crown, with Kwame the victor.

That some seriously pretty food.

Want. In. Mouth.

To camera Kwame then says “People that were part of this wedding are going to remember this day for the rest of their life. They’re going to draw back to it and see that my dish was the dish of the night.” Kwame, these couples got married, by a celebrity, on television, in a mass ceremony! That is what they will remember. Your citrus vinaigrette will be forgotten before it’s even pooped out their other ends.

The dining comments did make it clear that two teams are in trouble – Pink Hair and Giselle, and Man Bun and Kwame. Surely that makes Kwame one of the first Top Cheftestants to be the winner and on the bottom. But Padma immediately clarifies they loved Kwame’s sauce so he’s not going home.

Man Bun and Kwame’s New York Steak With Potato Cream and Eggplant Tomato Relish is slammed for that puddle of wood-working glue potatoes. As Man Bun defends himself Jason calls him out for misrepresenting the dish, then Sister Wife makes sure Man Bun is truly under the bus. From the flashbacks it’s debatable whether he really misrepresented what he was doing – he says he’s cooking steak and potatoes which he did, he just pureed the spuds until they looked disgusting.

Pink Hair and Giselle’s Charred Eggplant Puree With Asparagus, Smoked Mushrooms, Citrus Vinaigrette and Kumquats meets with equal disapproval from the judges. In defending herself Giselle also throws shade at Man Bun saying at least she and Pink Hair and are prepared to admit they did bad but he stood there, defending his vile liquid potatoes.  That’s a lot of hate thrown Man Bun’s way – he must be annoying the others as much as he annoys me.

In the end the judges weigh up whether they should let Giselle “skim by, doing nothing” or dump Man Bun for the “strange consistency” of his potatoes. Gail gets a lot of screen time, which I appreciate. She’s so often the judging panel’s MVP – managing to perfectly capture both good and bad feedback in pithy statements.

In the end it’s Giselle who gets the boot. She’s gracious in defeat and I’m sorry to see her go. Of the remaining cheftestants she was the one with the “softest” energy, which helped balance out the macho-ness of much of this cast.

By the way, there was a HUGE spoiler in the teaser for next week. Unless one shot was edited to provide a red herring we now know that someone goes home from the Sudden Death Quickfire in the next episode and who that is. Spoiler after the Last Chance Kitchen recap if you dare…

Best Line of the Week: “I grew up really never thinking that I would be able to marry someday the person that I loved, it was something that was off the table.” Pink Hair nicely summarizes why gays and lesbians are making such a huge deal of being able to marry. Because it is a huge deal for us.

Worst Line of the Week: Chrissy Teigen – “Dates are sweet, and succulent and sticky.” Padma – “Like you.” For a scripted comedic aside that (a) doesn’t make sense and (b) is not remotely funny. Also, ew.

Last Chance Kitchen

Giselle vs Grayson

Tom tells Giselle she wasn’t assertive enough so the two Gs are shown a table of around forty ingredients and given twenty seconds to each come up with two recipes, Tom will pick one. Wait, how is this “assertive”? It’s “decisive”, yes, but those two things are not the same.

Just like last time this episode has all the punch and fun the main episode is currently missing. It’s like everyone is drunk. These tapings look like so much fun!

The women are only given twenty minutes to cook and I am seriously impressed with what they turn out. Grayson’s roasted lamb looks REALLY tasty as so does Giselle’s pan-seared chicken.

Winner is Grayson. Two wins in a row – only like a hundred to go.

 

Spoiler for next week…when we see the cast getting instructions for the main challenge post the Sudden Death Quickfire there’s one cheftestant missing from the group shot.  It looks like Dangerous Minds ends up on the bottom and then loses the resulting cook-off…

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  1. Top Chef Recap – Season 13, Episode 6

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