Moving on to the Elimination Challenge -- what a joke, right? -- the cheftestants break into teams to prepare a lunch that will be served at the horrifically named Camp Glucose, a fitness camp for kids where Wilford Brimley is clearly the camp mascot. And guess what? Betty and Marcel are on the same team! Wonder how many takes it took to get that result. Anyway, with nutritionists weighing, analyzing, and scrutinizing every drop, every crumb, the meals have a five-hundred-calorie limit. Betty makes some tan meringue cookies that don't seem to work with Splenda but, interestingly enough, work very well with sugar.
The kids eat the meals and judge that Betty, Marcel, and Frank had the best food. Since the popular pizza entrÃ©e was Frank's idea, Suzanne names him the individual winner. As the judges try to decide who should be knifed, Sam lets it slip that there may have been some cheating -- in the form of recipe-twiddling, post-nutritional analysis -- going on. However, Sam won't say who he thinks was getting happy with olive oil squeeze bottles. BUT Mia steps up and points out how St. Betty, the Patron Saint of Teeth and Screaming, made her cookies with sugar instead of the approved Splenda recipe.
With the judges stymied and not willing to send anyone home since they can't point at a clear loser, Colicchio addresses the cheftestants. Betty starts crying after admitting that she used an additional two tablespoons of sugar instead, but didn't think she was doing anything wrong. Apparently, she was the ONLY CHEFTESTANT who didn't realize that she wasn't allowed to change the recipe after the nutritionists signed off on it. I guess ignorance of the law is a defense in this case, because St. Betty isn't booted. Crying that she figured they had sixty unfulfilled calories to use as wiggle room, she pleads she didn't act with intent to cheat. Back at the loft, people scream and talk about buses and hand-holding, and Betty cries some more.
What a bizarre episode. I feel curiously... empty. No one got knife'd. No one cried (well, except Betty, but for other reasons). No one really messed up in the Elimination Challenge (well, except for the whole totally nebulous cheating thing that didn't really get figured out to my bloodthirsty satisfaction). And I still don't hate any one cheftestant (well, maybe Betty a bit more).
Morning. The cheftestants wake up in various ways. Elia is doing yoga and Betty does hand-weighted squats with a big ol' bandage on her upper thigh where she must've received that chemical burn from last week's off-camera dry ice incident. Lounging under his covers, Michael mutters something about ten more minutes of snooze time. There's a light blue scrap of something above his head on the pillow. I'm getting scared. Michael tells us that when he woke up, he felt like crap because of being on the chopping block in the last challenge and he also misses his wife. Still in bed, Michael tells us, "I need a new pair of panties," and we can see he's got the scrap of blue fabric in his hand. Okay. Okay. Okay, um. So, WHY would he need a NEW pair of panties? Is it because the old ones have lost their smell -- no. I can't. I can't go there. I WON'T THINK ABOUT MICHAEL SMELLING HIS WIFE'S PANTIES AS HE FALLS ASLEEP AS THOUGH THEY WERE SOME SORT OF SECURITY BLANKET! See, but I did. I did go there. And now I need a fierce drink. And a bath. In lye. Next scene, Michael is laying face-down on a couch (fully dressed) and Marcel starts banging flip flops over his head -- which are oddly loud for being made out of foam -- and yelling at him to get up. The cheftestants leave the loft.
Krappy Kenmore Kitchen. Padmadala introduces James Beard Award-winning Suzanne Goin of Lucques and A.O.C. in LA and author of the fabulous and James Beard Award-winning Sunday Suppers at Lucques. Padmadala explains the Quickfire will be to prepare an amuse bouche. They will shop, have access to the Top Chef pantry, and be given thirty minutes. Suzanne Goin elaborates that their amuse bouche is something that should leave her wishing she had more. Padmadala tells the cheftestants to follow her to do their shopping. Marcel tells us that he could go many routes, one of which would be do an oyster dish with an apple gelÃ©e. Rounding the corner, the cheftestants all exclaim ruefully as they see they will be "shopping" at two vending machines. Their budget is ten dollars in the form of a roll of quarters and they get to buy two things from each machine to create their amuse bouche. One vending machine is the traditional chips, candy, and nuts type of thing. The other looks more like the revolving dessert trays at Perkins. It's all lit up, revolves, and has several shelves stocked with what looks like fruit salads, microwavable hot dogs, hard boiled eggs, and sandwiches. I never worked in an office with that kind of stuff and it makes me sad. ["Don't be. You've never mistrusted anything in your life like you mistrust vending machine egg salad." -- Joe R]