Top Chef

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Chuck: B- | Grade It Now!
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It's A Sabotage!

At the Chicago Police Education and Training Academy -- wow, an education academy! -- people do push-ups and jumping jacks. They welcome Top Chef, but unauthorized persons will be subject to arrest. While they do sit-ups (are these people the calisthenics police?), the chef-testants hand-write their instruction labels. Though she's still shitting a brick about her rice (which is what others will likely do after eating it), Lisa hopes that her reheating instructions will make everything okay. Sure, as long as the final instruction is "DO NOT EAT."

They're each stationed at a small table in the strikingly blue and white cafeteria, and the cops enter en masse and mill about as they decide which healthy boxed lunch they'd like to endure. The chef-testants each work to sell their dish -- poor Andrew must know that word "raw" doesn't sit well with a lot of people. Antonia, free of outstanding tickets or warrants in Chicago, sees the cops as nice, regular people (god love the ones that are), and Richard chirps, "Do you like burritos?" Holy headband -- Richard's decided to pair a thin headband with his ever-upward fauxhawk for a look that I can only describe as...gorgeous. It's really gorgeous. "Do you like burritos? Do you like burritos?" Does the headband somehow signify "parrot?" Spike makes fun of Richard the cheeseball, which he totally deserves.

The cops make their selections, and then they have to go and microwave their lunches in a row of ovens along one wall. Individually. It's annoying to walk into your office kitchen, all hungry and ready to heat up lunch, only to find someone else ahead of you. Imagine waiting behind a room full of people -- I hope they've confiscated any firearms. Then they're all sitting eating together, so there's no way the reheating really happened that way. Spike's come up with the savvy marketing ploy of putting two dishes on his table, hiding the rest (if by "hiding" you mean putting them behind you, on the cooler, in plain sight), and acting like they're vanishing -- only to put two more on the table after they've been snapped up. Paging Donald Trump: This kid's really got what it takes! And it impresses Lisa almost as much as it impresses Spike, so you know it's pure gold.

Officially speaking, Stephanie's serving a mushroom and meatball soup with barley, and a root vegetable puree (butternut squash, celery root and apple) to be topped with a chive yogurt, and it comes in four separate plastic containers. Glad: 1, Earth: Zero. The cops like it in ways that range from "Better than McDonald's" to "It all comes together very well with the onions and mushrooms." The judges (Padma, Colicchio, Ted and Sam) give it high marks as well -- Ted enjoys its kick and its heartiness, and Colicchio finds the seasoning to his liking.

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Top Chef

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