Top Chef

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Walking on Broken Stained Glass

Kevin explains that he's not a big fan of room service. What's wrong with him? Who doesn't like room service? You pick up a phone and call and then your food shows up? And it's really overpriced and usually not that great and...okay, maybe he has a point. But still! The decadence of it all. Anyway, I'm not sure how this logically follows but since he doesn't like room service, Kevin has decided to make steak and eggs.

Meanwhile, Michael has a pan that is on fire on the stove, and Jen notices before he does. He doesn't seem alarmed that his pan was on fire. Not sure if he meant to do that, or he's so focused that he doesn't care, or what. He interviews that he's making a Cuban-inspired breakfast, but nothing is working out for him. So he's frustrated and that's been established. Robin runs in and tries to clean up her equipment, and Michael yells at her and says he'd prefer if she'd get out his way. Robin retorts that she was told to get her shit out of there. And while I understand that she's trying to help, she really could not have picked a worse time to do so. Like she could have yelled out, "Michael, do you need me to move my stuff?" and he probably would still have cursed at her but could have also said she should wait until he was done plating. She just has no social skills. Anyway, she grumbles about the inhumane treatment she's getting because she's a professional victim.

Michael is next to serve his dish: huevos Cubana with banana puree, rice, bacon, and arugula salad. It looks freaking delicious. He tells them to break the egg and mix it with everything else on the plate, and I kind of hate it when a chef has to tell me how to eat their dish. Shouldn't I get to decide? Nigella makes some comment about how you can eat breakfast for any meal of the day and Michael interviews that they seem to like his food, which is ironic considering how much he struggled to get his plates out this time.

Kevin arrives with his dish and explains that he likes a hearty breakfast so he made a version of steak and eggs with crème fraiche, aged cheddar, and green onion. His dish looks awesome too. Man, I love breakfast food. I wish I could eat all these dishes. I had eggs cooked similarly the last time I was in New York City and we went out for brunch and they were SO AWESOME. And if there had been steak too? Forget about it.

The last group is Jennifer and Bryan. Jen says that she works in a hotel and does room service all the time. So she's decided to make creamed chipped beef, also known as shit on a shingle. Why? WHY WOULD SHE MAKE THAT? Or, deconstruct it or something, or use steak instead of chipped beef. Bryan is doing something with polenta, and he explains that even though there's no immunity, he still wants to make the best dish.

Jen walks in and serves her food; she interviews that Nigella looked at the plate like "What the fuck is this?" Well, she doesn't curse, but that's the gist. Jen explains that she grew up eating this dish and then EXPLAINS THAT IT'S CALLED SHIT ON A SHINGLE. Why? Does she want to fail? Why would you ever mention the word shit when talking about your food? Is she high? I get that she's kind of making a joke but it's still a horrible idea. Her dish also includes potatoes and tomatoes.

Bryan is the last chef to serve, and as he takes the top off his plate, Nigella comments that she smells vanilla. Bryan explains his dish: a four-minute egg with vanilla buerre fondue, crab, asparagus spears, and corn polenta. I don't know about the vanilla with eggs and corn and crab. That seems a little weird to me, especially if the vanilla is strong enough that you can smell it. After Bryan leaves, Nigella admits that the vanilla is throwing her off and if he had skipped it, the dish would be a winner.

The cheftestants return to Padma and Nigella's suite to find out their fates. The ladies have gotten dressed (or taken off their robes -- they were probably dressed the whole time). Nigella starts out with the losers: Bryan, because of the vanilla, and Robin, because her dish was too one-note. Robin admits that she wasn't proud of her dish. Why? Why admit that, other than to try to draw pity. Shut up, Robin.

The top cheftestants were Kevin, who made them a hearty breakfast that was also delicious, and Eli, who used some wit in constructing his Reuben Eggs Benedict. The ultimate winner's dish had "robustness," and that would be...Eli! Padma reminds him that there's no immunity, but he will be the only one from his season to have a recipe in the new Quickfire cookbook. So that's something.

Elimination Challenge: The cheftestants draw knives, and are each assigned a casino on the Strip. They must create a dish inspired by their assigned casino to serve 175 guests at a party of "Las Vegas's elite." Kevin interviews that it's a lot of people to serve without help. Padma bids them goodbye and tells them to explore their casino tonight, and get ready to serve their dish tomorrow.

Michael heads to his casino, New York, New York. He takes notes and also interviews that he wants to cook something that's a tribute to the firefighters of New York. Seriously, this must be the easiest casino. Make something New Yorkish. Not so tough.

Jennifer has Excalibur, the medieval-themed (super cheesy) casino, and goes to one of the jousting shows. It's kind of sad because the theater is half-empty and she's sitting all by herself; that seems like the kind of thing that would only be fun with a group of drunken friends and you could laugh about how corny the whole thing is while chowing down on a giant turkey leg. Despite eating a whole meal while she was there, Jen says that she lacks inspiration and doesn't know what to make. Again. Some more.

Bryan has Mandalay Bay, and he heads right for their giant shark exhibit. He reads the signs on the wall about sustainability and sustainable fishing practices, which gives him an idea for a dish. He's going to cook and eat a shark! Am I right? We'll find out. He does buy a stuffed shark for his son, so now I definitely think he's going home tonight.

Robin has never heard of her casino, the Bellagio. Never seen the famous fountains? Or seen Oceans 11? Anyway, she walks in and immediately notices the Dale Chihuly sculpture overhead. It's all colored stained glass. Robin interviews about how she wants to integrate art with food. She's totally talking to herself in the casino, saying that gelatin will be involved. I wish they had a reaction shot of a tourist wondering what the crazy lady is going on about.

Kevin visits the Mirage, which is designed to look like a tropical oasis. And it has dolphins! Kevin interviews that everyone thinks he's a redneck, but he's committed to a lot of food causes like slow food and organic food. Not sure what that has to do with his casino, but okay.

Eli has Circus, Circus, the scariest casino in town. Which is also totally not on the Strip, is it? Okay, I looked it up, and it is, but it's waaaaaaay down at the other end, away from all the nice casinos. Eli walks around and takes note of all the carnival games and circus food. I think this is the second easiest casino inspiration.

Back at their house, one of the Volts asks Eli if he saw the circus, and Eli says there's actually no circus at Circus, Circus. Someone (Bryan?) laughs that Eli is the whiniest dude ever. Eli goes on to complain that there's no restaurants or food at that casino. Um, didn't we just see him looking at a sign that advertised all manner of carny food? Michael points out that the point wasn't to get inspired by the food, but to get inspired by the scene. Eli continues to complain that the casino wasn't like a circus, and wasn't what he expected. It really is more like a carnival than a circus, but maybe he should adjust his expectations, no?

The next day, the cheftestants arrive at their kitchen and have three and a half hours to cook. Wait, we didn't see them go shopping! How am I supposed to understand where the food came from

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