Top Chef

Episode Report Card
Chuck: C+ | Grade It Now!
Mai Buddha Sucks

Jose thought the short rib "was the highlight" of the menu, and asks who made them. As Lisa, in close-up, gestures toward Spike, a voice that sounds like Dale's says, "I made the ribs." Bourdain asks about any disagreement, and what looks to be a big blowout gets resolved more smoothly than anything this team has done yet: Spike conceptualized the dish and told Dale how to braise them, and Spike gives both Lisa and Dale credit for executing on his vision. See how easy it can be?

Speaking for all the judges, Bourdain says he thought the mango sticky rice -- "Definitely not the way that I've ever made it before," says Lisa, since the grocery didn't have the right kind of rice -- "was a pretty appalling dish." Since Bourdain got his zinger in during dinner, he lets one of the other guests characterize the rice: "baby food garnished with potpourri." A dirty diaper filled with curry! Bigfoot's dick! Dale and Lisa argue about which one of them, literally, lifted the substitute rice off of the grocery shelf, until an exasperated Bourdain tells them to shut up. Jose thinks their evident lack of teamwork "is not what this business is all about." Ouch.

Jose also observes that Spike's focus on the front room belies a desire to wash his hands of Dale and Lisa's squabbling, which was a decent strategy this week. It was hard work hanging all those Buddhas, says Spike, and when Bourdain asks him to identify what went wrong, he plays a bit dumb and chalks it up to poor communication. Duh, says Bourdain's face and Padma's finger. Dale maintains that the time for an executive chef to deal with sass and attitude is after service is complete, while Bourdain maintains that if service isn't operating according to his expectations, whoever's making trouble will get "a world of shit unloaded on them." There's some he said/she said bickering about how Lisa answered a question about salad seasoning. "You're only as good as your weakest link," says Dale. "You're only as good as your leader," counters Lisa. Spike looks to be enjoying himself immensely.

Go away, says Padma, and opines that there's "plenty of blame to go around on this team." "All working at cross purposes from the beginning," thinks Bourdain, as Jose compliments Spike for his smart strategy of getting out of the kitchen and away from the bad Dale/Lisa juju. Not only that, he managed to "do his job properly," says Padma. Damn, he's safe again. Dale, thinks Ted, could easily be sent home for the scallops, with "that ridiculous, glopped-on, horrible butterscotch sauce," while Bourdain thinks he sucked as a manager, conceptualizer, and executer. Lisa, on the other hand, created some of the worst problems, says Ted, and Padma mentions that, in making two dishes she'd made before, Lisa totally "botched both of them." Bourdain highlights her defiant posture and attitude, and her difficulty accepting criticism from the judges, or from anyone for that matter, as she bitches to Spike in the stew room, under her breath but loud enough for Dale to hear. Dale tells her that if she has something to say, she should say it to his face.

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Top Chef




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