Top Chef

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Chuck: B+ | Grade It Now!
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Flop Sweat

"I'll never understand the food that Richard does," says Spike -- yes, that and a whole lot of other things. I will say that they've gone with a massive tofu steak, which I would find unappetizing were it placed in front of me (that is a mighty big piece to stand alone). Richard acts like "perplexed" douche while explaining the dish (officially speaking, it's a tofu steak marinated and beef fat with green curry, but y'all already knew that) -- it's interesting to see all of the other cheftestants milling around the table, eyeballing the different dishes and deliveries. He gives Dale credit for devising the dish (well, he calls Dale "the brainchild behind the dish," so I think that's what he means), and Dale returns the compliment by explaining Richard's beef fat marinating trick, which creates a perplexing identity crisis for the tofu -- am I soy, or am I beef? Dale cites "a lot of elements to that dish that I felt were, like, good" as justification for this post-service optimism.

His confidence is validated by the reception at the table -- Ted thinks "the curry is terrific" with good heat, and that the guys responded to the "perplexed" (and most perplexing) part of the challenge with dexterity. Colicchio's impressed because, while he would be dejected if he had to cook tofu in a competition, "these guys just went for it and they made the tofu center stage and I think they did a great job." Ashram Lady -- oh, sorry, Amanda Blake Davis -- appreciates their consistent complimenting of each other, since "giving credit to everyone" is an important part of improv.

Antonia's cooking her fish at the last minute in an effort to make it as good as she possible can, as everyone helps plate her and Lisa's Polish sausage -- er, fish. Spike, always a supportive teammate, says the plates "went out cold, and looked like turds." For someone with so much self-professed confidence and talent, he makes a lot of disparaging comments about other people's hard, if at times misguided, work. Lisa says "we got drunk magenta Polish sausage" before they explain their sea bass with purple potato puree ("kind of that magenta, we didn't want it too purple," says Lisa), chorizo and tequila sauce. This is starting to sound like an Ionesco play -- "You asked for a fireman, so of course I brought you a rhinoceros." And then, in a moment of inspired brilliance, Lisa and Antonia hoist two shots of tequila. For themselves. "No tequila for us?" asks Johnny, and in case you didn't know they just made a huge gaffe, the clunking music makes it abundantly clear. "No tequila for you guys. Sorry," says Lisa, and it's obvious that she is really, really sorry. I'd have stopped everything right there and sent that bitch home, but instead a bunch of pissed off diners dig into a fish that's supposed to be a sausage.

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Top Chef

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