Top Chef

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As the morning routines commence (exercise, knife sharpening), Antonia's still focused on the night before, and feels that being in the bottom with Zoi "was just such shit." Zoi, ever the optimist (heh), believes that she deserves to be there, and wants to stay positive instead of stewing over what she too believes was an unwarranted trashing. In a way, thinks Zoi, that kind of criticism can be helpful, as it "lights a little fire under your ass."

Jen, ever the devoted girlfriend, comes to Zoi's defense, testifying to her "talent and skill" and admits that as a "fan," she gets bent out of shape when she feels like Zoi is being unreasonably attacked. Based on Zoi's performance to date, Jen must spend a lot of time being bent out of shape. It was a quick morning at the cheftestant house, and as the gang takes off for the kitchen, Ryan helpfully reminds us that two men and two women have been eliminated.

This week, Ming Tsai, owner of Blue Ginger Restaurant, host of Simply Ming, and user of ceramic knives, brings his ugly choker to join Padma, eschewing blue for a black blouse with puffy sleeves, as guest judge. I think Ming's great -- I like the premise of his show, where he chooses one master ingredient and makes several dishes with it, and his food always looks great, although Ming himself is looking a tad bloated. As Lisa explains, "Ming is best known for his east meets west cuisine," and, as she loves his food, she's "all grins," which, if indeed that were the case, would be a nice contrast to her shit-smell mask (but, even all grins, Lisa looks like a sourpuss).

"Good taste" sums up this week's Quickfire, explains Padma, droning that "one of the most important weapons in a chef's arsenal is his palate," cleverly letting us know where the palate is by sleepily raising a finger toward her lips. Ming jumps in with this pearl of wisdom: "If you can't tell what tastes good, then you shouldn't be cooking." In order to ascertain how "truly sensitive" each cheftestant's palate is (and here Padma whips out a black blindfold, acting like it's something naughty and inspiring giggles all around), it's time for a BLIND TASTE TEST! "If I was standing on a couch I would be jumping up and down," says Antonia. OK, really, who measures their level of excitement by imagining being a batshit-crazy Tom Cruise on Oprah? I suppose it's a fairly exact expression of, uh, insane enthusiasm, but it's disarming that Tom represents her go-to place when something strikes her fancy.

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Top Chef

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