Top Chef

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Vegetables and Off-Color Jokes

Eli had Gilligan's Island, so he went totally tropical and made macadamia nut shrimp with sweet potato puree, tropical herb salad, and cherries and bananas. Given the parameters of the challenge, I don't have a problem with his dish, if it's executed well. At least you can see the tie to his show.

Michael V. has Cheers and he made chicken parmesan with spaghetti gratin, braised Swiss chard, and cherry pie. I get that he was going for bar food but I don't think of any of those dishes as bar food. I would have liked a refined or deconstructed version of sliders or (given the show's Boston setting) fried clams or a fish fry or something. And pretzels should be involved somehow. Paul points out that he tastes fennel, and he likes it.

Robin had Sesame Street, and she says that she thinks of "the big eye." What is she talking about? Is she thinking of Romper Room and "I spy with my little eye"? So her food is a burger with egg, crispy kale, carrot salad, and almond-laced cookie. I get the cookie, but what about the rest of it? It's pretty colors? How about some kids' food like chicken nuggets or pudding or something? Paul claims he likes the direction and inspiration. He is on drugs.

Bryan had M.A.S.H. and his theme was American food from the '50s so he made meatloaf, mashed potato, asparagus, and apple tarte tatin. I can get behind his reasoning, and the food looks good. The judges agree with me.

Judgment time. Paul's bottom two is Jennifer and Robin. Jennifer's pea salad was not great and the chicken didn't hit the mark. Robin's burger was kind of dry. How about neither of their meals had anything to do with their theme? Apparently, that's not a consideration. So why have themes at all?

The top two are Kevin and Bryan. Paul felt that Kevin hit the concept well, and executed his food perfectly. Bryan's food was good, and so tasty that Padma let out an involuntary "Mmm." In the end, Kevin is the winner. He doesn't get immunity, because there's no more immunity to be had, but a version of his dish will appear in the new line of Top Chef frozen foods. That sounds like the worst idea of all time. Way to dumb down your food, show. There's no way any frozen food could be as good as a gourmet meal. And it's going to be distributed through Schwan's. I used to be so jealous because our neighbors would get frozen French bread pizzas through Schwan's and I thought they were the greatest. Meanwhile, my mom was creating home cooked meals every night and I didn't appreciate them. Irony. Kevin is psyched because his grandma buys food from Schwan's so maybe she'll see his face on the package or something.

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Top Chef

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