Top Chef

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Zoo Food

Colicchio, looking resplendent in blue, walks in and immediately asks everyone what they think of the challenge, the look on his face betraying the fact that he thinks it's a dumb as I do. He's skeptical of the glacier's ability to remain a glacier, but Team Penguin seems confident. Team Vulture's menu appears -- they're keeping it a bit simpler with only three dishes: braised chicken on a tostada chip, a Moroccan lamb meatballs, and an anchovy on a quinoa croquette. Spike and Andrew get a little flirty over what Spike calls Andrew's "icicles" -- they should totally make out, and I'll watch. Team Bear's mushrooms look like charred brown briquettes, or turds, opines Spike, and "Who wants to put a turd in their mouth?" More people than one might think, probably. Oh, and dogs. The mushrooms are officially downgraded to "might be served." Meanwhile, Stephanie's crackers are soggy, quite likely beyond repair, and as everyone loads their output for transport to the zoo, it looks like we're in for a Bear/Gorilla showdown.

The event space at the Lincoln Park Zoo is mighty nice, all brick and wood, with vaulted ceilings, a huge skylight and great detail work -- I'd be okay going to an animal diet party if it happened there. The teams begin setting up their stations and prepping a bunch of those awful buffet-line hot dishes that leave everything tasting way too strongly of Sterno. Team Bear's mushrooms have not undergone a miraculous transformation -- yes, Spike, they STILL look like turds. Nikki continues to be the resident decoration advocate, telling the boys, "They don't look pretty like that. We have to make them look pretty." I'm not sure what could feasibly be done, because they do look pretty terrible. Dale sprinkles cheese on top of them, "trying to put perfume on a pig," which is an insult to pigs everywhere.

Team Gorilla's not faring much better. Valerie arranges the blinis on a tray, and while they don't look as bad as the mushrooms, they don't look much better. Antonia refers to them as not necessarily something she "would eat or enjoy." Ouch. Even Valerie realizes she's made a mistake -- blinis really aren't good "make and transport" items, although none of them anticipated the scope of the problem. She's resigned to whatever happens since there's not much she can do, all the while hoping that someone else (like her beloved Stephanie, whose chips, according to Stephanie herself, "are fucking soggy as shit") will make an even bigger mess than she did. Fair weather friend. The chips are jettisoned, and Antonia suggests a last-minute pea shoot and celery salad to accompany the crab.

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Top Chef

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