Top Chef
Food For The People

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TGI Top Chef

The cheftestants file into the firehouse. Okay, I have to point this out because I forgot to point it out in the first recap. The judges are all standing with one foot forward. I learned from my grandmother, who was a model at some point in her career, that's how they teach you to pose to show your figure to the best advantage for photographs or in the movies. Gail, Colicchio, and Chef Friday are all standing with one foot forward. I think Padmadala's been giving them tips. I noticed that Harold and Colicchio were also standing -- rather stiffly -- like that in the first episode as well. Padmadala welcomes them and tells them they will all have fifteen minutes to finish their dishes before serving them to the firemen in turn. The cheftestants take off, and the judges meet the firemen and sit down at a TGI Friday's striped tablecloth. I'm really scared that Colicchio is wearing what looks like an animal print shirt, unbuttoned, over a white tee-shirt. It's like his idea of what it means to dress, LA-style.

Michael prepares his dish and tells us, "I'm not running around the kitchen, freaking out, I'm not freaked out. There's plenty of time, there's no reason to get all flustered." He's so stoned. Or drunk. Michael tells us he would "totally order" his sandwich if he saw it on a menu. Munchies'll do that to you. "I haven't carried a tray like this since I worked at Fridays," Michael tells the other cheftestants before boosting his tray onto one shoulder and walking out. I hope he doesn't have to slide down the fireman's pole. Michael serves his Cheesesteak Sandwich with Onion Rings and leaves. The reviews are not good. The firemen think the steak is overcooked and has no flavor. Colicchio adds that the whole thing is greasy and chewy. "It's like it's presentation," someone adds, "Very sloppy."

Marcel is next in the firehouse kitchen to finish off his dish. He tells us -- oy, what is he wearing? He's got a lavender tie under a tight little navy blue vest over a blue button-down -- all which conspire to make his shoulders completely disappear. He's such a tiny little Hobbitman. Marcel begins, "The first think I do is take one of my onion rings and drop them in the deep fryer, you know, just to see what the temperature's at." No, no -- don't try to talk all normal when you're dressed like a Wall Street Mini Me, because I'm not going to listen. The deal is, the temperature dropped way low after Michael used the fryer for three batches of onions rings, so Marcel has a hell of a time dealing with his onion rings. Point of order: don't sacrifice one of your onion rings to test frying temperature. I was taught to just use a small crust of bread. By the way, that's a fuck-ass tiny fryer they're using! It looks large enough to comfortably fry three onion rings! Marcel keeps bitching -- mildly, I thought -- and Betty rolls her eyes DRAMATICALLY. Betty complains to us, "Marcel had a problem with the deep-fat fryers. And instead of THINKING about 'how I can fix this,' he started to PISS and MOAN and complain about the fact that he couldn't do what he was supposed to be able to do." Marcel swears a lot. Elia comes into the kitchen and checks the fryer out. Marcel tells us that Elia was trying to help him and he even imitates her thick accent, which I'm not sure how I feel about that, because she was trying to help him. But maybe he was doing it lovingly and self-deprecatingly because we do find out later that they've worked together before. In the end, Marcel has to ditch the onion rings. He brings out and presents his Pork Chops with Mashed Potatoes and Cabbage and explains further that he also made a mushroom sauce and the cabbage has bacon in it. WANT! "Very tender," one fireman says to Gail, who does a bitchy shrugging head movement in response.

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