Top Chef
Chef Overboard

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Hung's 300 Years War

Howie gets to his canned fruit, dried fruit, powdered juice, boxed drinks, and nectars aisle. He's not a happy bald man. Meanwhile, Hung is likewise unhappy with his cereal, canned milk, and coffee aisle, but reasons he has to just deal with it and decides to do something he did as a kid. Oooh, Lucky Charms! I haven't had that in ages. Why are freeze-dried marshmallows so good when they've been slightly glazed with milk? It makes them all glossy and velvety and luscious. CJ is pleasantly surprised by his Spanish condiment aisle, but notes, "There's only so many ways you can pickle okra." Ew, screw pickling it -- a quick and hot sauté is totally the way to go, and damn, that shit is better than popcorn. Casey, of the cookies, crackers, and bread aisle, talks about choosing a can of mango preserves, ginger snaps, and Nilla Wafers (ooh, that's another one I need to add to my Childhood Shopping List!) in order to make some variation of a banana pudding. Dale pulls stuff from his canned and dry soup and "International" aisle, telling us there's "jack" in his aisle. He grabs Ramen noodles, hominy, black beans, and queso blanco. The Brians, as fate would have it, have been assigned to the canned seafood aisle. But instead of defaulting to his comfort zone, Brian tells us, "And then in the back of my mind I'm going, 'Colicchio doesn't think you can cook anything but seafood!'" You know that the back of Brian's mind takes up a fair amount of real estate. I'm just saying -- he's got a three-bedroom back there. Brian goes on, "And then it was like the skies parted and the Holy Lights hit me: SPAM!" See? Didn't I say O'Brian wanted to take holy orders?

Back in the kitchens, the cheftestants have twenty minutes to cook. A few of them share their feelings, both confusing (Sara says she wants to make free-form lasagna, which turns out to be ravioli later) and angry (Howie is convinced he won't make anything good). As Hung chops up Fruit Loops, he tells us that this Quickfire is the most fun he's had with a challenge yet, because he's just playing with food like a kid. On a white square plate, Hung has constructed a little landscape of freaky food. So far, he's got hard meringue mountains, cocoa powder for land, and a crushed blue Fruit Loop river where, I'd like to think, Gummi Bears are fishing for Goldfish Crackers. There's a mess of something green on the other side of the river from the Mt. Meringue, which sort of looks like julienned zucchini. Hysteria! Seriously, Hung is the last person I would figure to channel Frankie "The Bull" and his Magical Mushroomland. Now Brian, however, he's the one I'd peg to build, like, the holy temple of Joppa with a string bean Harry Hamlin and a cauliflower Kraken rising from a sea of Kool-Aid. "Dude, are you building a Smurf village over there?" Dale calls. And with that? This became my favorite episode of the season. MALARKEY! giggles. No, not cauliflower: broccoli. Because of the seaweed. Hung says, "Natural garden" and dots some of the cocoa earth with more crushed Fruit Loops. "He had mountains and streams and fields," MALARKEY! laughs to us, "I had no idea what this guy was on, but man, I want sooooome." You already got it, dude. Hung tells us he loves being able to express himself through his cooking, "I love eating, I grew up eating, all my family are chefs, they all own restaurants, we're all in this business." Hung grew up eating? That's funny, I didn't. I guess that's why I'm not on Top Chef. I wonder if other people know about this "eating" thing…

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