Cohen next asks if the competition has helped the cheftestants' culinary repertoire. Yes. They learned stuff. Stuff that makes them cook. MALARKEY! gets into it, pounding his chest for emphasis (he's wearing that weird blood-spattered argyle vest again): "This group of people -- all we wanna do is talk about food. All we wanna talk about is where we traveled, where we ate, what we ate, what we're cooking, what we're doing, and seriously, we sat around saying, 'No one gets tired talking about food!'" Point is, they learned from each other and they learned from the judges' critiques.
We move on to what is most certainly the best montage of the whole stupid hour. Going on about how two cheftestants made a love connection that year, Cohen tells us to watch. The clip show starts with a silent movie title of "Meet Howie & Joey," and defining clips of Howie and Joey follow. Howie's a "bulldog," and Joey wears a big Italia jersey and is from New York. Then we get the clips of Howie and Joey fighting in the Stew Room during the barbecue challenge. Next we get the title, "There's a thin line between love & hate," and we see Joey apologizing to Howie and shaking his hand. We definitely never saw that before. Next come clips of Howie and Joey getting along, being complimentary of each other's food, all of which finally conclude with Howie wanting to share his wine with Joey. Then comes the title, "But cruel fate forces them apart," and Joey is sent home and he's crying and he's hugging Howie. As Joey sobs in the clips, we see Howie and Joey totally cracking up in the studio. We go back to the studio and though he's laughing, Howie is totally wiping his eyes. The cheftestants and judges applaud, and Howie and Joey hug and grab hands. "Hug it out!" Ted Allen shouts. "Ahhh, hug it out!" Padma's neck parrots. Cohen wants to know if Joey and Howie have seen each other since the show ended, but Joey says this is the first they've talked. Cohen's all aghast: "Did something happen?!" Howie explains that after the way he acted on the show, he wasn't sure who would even want to talk to him, so he kept his distance. However, he admits, since all the cheftestants have been pretty great to him, it's brought out new emotions in him. "Is that a tear in your eye?" Cohen singsongs. Howie nods mutely, and all the cheftestants cheer. Aw.
Casey announces, "Howie is completely different this time around!" Upon being further pressed, though, Howie says he was laughing so hard and that's why he's tearing up. "It's the riiiight answeeeer," Padma drawls, holding her arm in front of her and clapping elaborately. She is so baked. Howie then says that it's easier for him to hear bad things about himself than to hear good things, so when people compliment him, he gets emotional. Case in point, just saying that choked Howie up. CJ reaches across Joey to pat Howie fondly. Cohen says he has a question for Howie's "better half," and asks about Joey's new tattoo. Joey then gets up and shows it off. The tattoo is on the side of his calf, and it's a chef's knife with "Pickles" written on the blade and a ribbon reading "Top Chef 3" winding around it. There are also the obligatory Chinese characters on either side of the knife. "Was it a decision between a Top Chef logo and a heart with Howie's name in it?" Cohen wonders. Dude, the joke has been slammed into the ground. By you. You've killed it. Joey says that particular tattoo is going on his other leg.