Quickfire Challenge: Joe Jonas is on hand to challenge the cheftestants to create a midnight snack for elementary school kids to eat during their sleepover at the Museum of Natural History. They won't have utensils or plates, and Joe Jonas will pick the winner. And here are the dishes they showed:
Antonia: white chocolate and cherry muffin with cinnamon and allspice. There are also apple slices, but she doesn't mention them.
Blais: white bread, spiced apples with whipped honey and crunchy chocolate
Spike: homemade potato and carrot chips with mascarpone and marshmallow dip with lime zest
Tre: cracker with cranberry and cherry jam, apple-smoked bacon and fresh basil
Casey: chocolate and bacon lasagna with apple juice and candy
Dale L.: sweet tart nuggets and caveman boulders with chocolate sauce
Jamie: mini cheddar biscuits with homemade apple sauce
Tiffany: coconut rice pudding with grapefruit sauce
Dale T.: corn cake with dried cherries and whipped maple topping
Fabio: apple with white chocolate, caramel and blueberry, and an apple with dark chocolate, marshmallow and candied ginger
Tiffani: Rice Krispie treat snowball with malted milk and graham crackers
Angelo: fried dough with white pepper, Old Bay spice and cheddar crumbs
Stephen: snickerdoodle sandwich with white chocolate, coconut ganache, apricot and mint
Jen: bacon ginger taffy and honey grilled peaches
Mike: chocolate coconut corn bar and coconut horchata chaser
Joe's least favorites were Tiffany's, because it was too messy; Mike's, because the chocolate flavor didn't come through, and Stephen's, because the mint wasn't strong enough. His favorites were Spike and Tiffani, and I'm sure it wasn't at all set up ahead of time, but it's a tie! So they're going to the museum to let the kids decide! Tiffani and Spike do a schoolyard pick from the other chefs to form teams. Tiffani ends up with all of the women minus Carla plus Dale L. Various cheftestants complain about not getting to make their own dishes and having to help someone else win immunity, which is kind of fair. Anyway, the kids vote by screaming and Tiffani's dish wins pretty overwhelmingly, so she gets immunity and she gets to pick her ingredients for the elimination challenge.
Elimination Challenge: It starts right after the Quickfire ends, and they remain on their teams. They have to cook breakfast for the kids and their parents the next morning using only what they find in the museum's pantry. Tiffani's team will use T-Rex diet food: meat, eggs and dairy. Spike's team will use Brontosaurus diet food: vegetables, fruits, and grains. They have to sleep over in the museum on cots, what little sleep they get. Each team breaks up into pairs. Team T-Rex realizes pretty quickly that their choice isn't as great as they thought since they don't get flour or herbs, which makes sauces pretty much impossible. Jamie slices her thumb open and has to leave to get stitches, leaving Jen alone to cook their dish. Many other chefs feel like Jamie wussed out, and considering that Fabio broke his finger and still cooked during his season, I kind of have to agree. And the guest judge is Katie Lee (no longer Joel), the host from the first season, which seems awkward. Here's what they served:
Dale T. and Mike: fresh corn grits, stewed peppers and salsa verde
Marcel, Richard, and Angelo: banana parfait with seasonal fruit and tandoori maple
Carla and Spike: V9: gazpacho with fruits and vegetables
Fabio and Stephen: potato gnocchi with leeks, spinach and mushrooms. That perennial breakfast favorite.
Antonia and Tiffany: frittatas with either bacon and cheddar, ham and cheese, or chevre
Casey and Tre: salmon with shrimp and apple-smoked bacon sauce
Jen and Jamie: braised bacon and hard-boiled eggs
Dale L. and Tiffani: steak and eggs with Hollandaise
The winning team is Team Brontosaurus and the winners are the makers of the banana parfait: Angelo, Marcel and Blais. It's funny, because at the last minute, Angelo decided to cut up the plums and Marcel didn't want to, and then Marcel thinks that he should have won as an individual. Hmm. Of course he does.
So the members of Team T-Rex are the losers. They argue with the judges. Jen especially is feisty and acts manic and twitchy and did she get her meds screwed up or what? She's sure that her dish was awesome when, in fact, it was pretty bad. And really? Hard-boiled eggs cut up on top of a wet slab of bacon? Meanwhile, Jamie did literally nothing, which hardly seems fair. Anyway, the judges send Jen home, although they claim it has nothing to do with her arguing. I can't believe that Jamie got away with doing jackshit, and I LIKE Jamie. I really think Jen was either overtired or on caffeine or SOMETHING ELSE because she acted really weird and un-Jen like. Weird. And she also unleashed a stream of profanity when she thought she was off camera. I feel like I need a shower.
I think they're trying something different with the "Previously On" segment, and I like it. Instead of the usual "Previously on Top Chef" voiceover and then clips from the last episode, they intersperse interview footage with various chefs with short clips from the previous episode. So most of the footage is new interview footage that we haven't seen before, or footage from the Stew Room that we didn't see before. Anyway, it's a new way to help viewers who missed last week get caught up, while not totally boring people who did see it and just want to get into the new challenges. I usually FF through the Previously On segment because by the time I get to it, I've already watched the previous episode at least two or three times to recap it, and I'm not interested, but I found myself watching this. I'm not going to recap it, because there's really no new information, but I'll give you an overview: the chefs realize that this competition is no joke, they respected Elia's skills and then she got eliminated, Richard got disqualified for going over time, Angelo won, and Fabio was pissed because he felt Bourdain was overly mean. There you go.
Every time I watch the opening credits now, all I can think of is the version they did for last season's reunion, where it was sexytime. That's all I can see now. And Mike is in there, and I don't like it.
The cheftestants enter the kitchen to find out about the Quickfire. And guess who's there? Joe Jonas! I immediately recognize him as a Jonas brother though, since I'm not a tween or a parent of a tween, I wouldn't know which one he is. Spike claims to immediately recognize him. Antonia definitely does, since she has a daughter who is a Jonas Brothers fan, and will be insanely jealous when she finds out that her mom was in the same room with a Jonas. This is like if my mom had met Kirk Cameron circa 1986. I would have FREAKED OUT. Meanwhile, Dale T. is like, "He's who?" and admits that he thought Jonas might be a pastry chef. Heh.
Padma explains that there is going to be a sleepover at the Natural History Museum, and Joe Jonas will be the special guest. So the Quickfire Challenge is to create a midnight snack for the kids, and Joe Jonas will pick the winner. Blais interviews that they have no idea what Joe Jonas's palate is like, so it's hard to calibrate the flavors. Is he a cheese doodle guy or a gourmand? And will he be picking the dish that he likes, or the one that he thinks the kids will like? Joe Jonas gives further details on the challenge: there will be no plates or utensils available, so the snack must go in a brown paper bag, and they have... thirty seconds. Everyone kind of freaks out internally before Joe admits that he was kidding. Okay, that was actually funny. A few of the cheftestants definitely bought it. Padma laughs too, and then says that they have forty-five minutes, and starts the timer.
People start running around grabbing ingredients and equipment. Dale T., like Blais, is worried about cooking to an unknown palate. Dale L. is worried because he knows that kids are picky eaters. So his strategy is just to throw a bunch of sweet and crunchy stuff into some marshmallow fluff and call it crack for kids. And frankly, it's not a terrible strategy. Then everyone is looking for sugar in the pantry, but no one can find it. Fabio yells out, "Who has the shooooo-gar?" Turns out that Dale T. has the sugar on his station, and Casey explains in an interview that the proper etiquette for a common ingredient like that is to take it out, use it, and then return it to the pantry so that others can find it. Instead, everyone has to run around looking for it, and then visit Dale's station with a cup and scoop some out. That is kind of a dick move. I can see Dale's position, which is probably that he doesn't have time to run it back, but it's not like he took some esoteric ingredient that no one else needs. It's sugar. They're making a snack for kids. Nearly everyone will need it at some point. Thus, selfish.