Top Chef

Episode Report Card
Chuck: B- | 2 USERS: A+
Stupid Displeasures

What alleviates mediocrity? BEER!!! A glorious collection of pitchers -- all sudsy, blond and amber, breakfast of champions -- greets the motley crew as they enter the kitchen. Nikki, talking to the camera and still toting last week's enormous hairball, gets excited because "it looks like fun, and we all need a little bit of fun." What you really need is a little bit of detangler, dear. Padma (wearing a sort of Flashdance meets Women in Cages off the shoulder top) introduces the guest judge for the Quickfire, a woman named Koren Grieveson, the head chef at a Chicago restaurant called Avec, who looks like she might enjoy quaffing a cold one with Jen and Zoi, if you catch my drift. Finally -- a Chicago chef. Stephanie, who's assumed the role of official Chicago gustatory guide, attests to Avec's Chicago location, and its awesomeness.

Padma explains the Quickfire ("this round of the competition is about simple pleasures"), in which each cheftestant must create a dish that pairs perfectly with beer. There are sixteen pitchers; each individual may taste three beers, and then must choose one with which to pair their dish. Stephanie tastes first, and chooses a six pack of Hoegarden, as she explains that, in beer pairings, "you don't want the food to overpower the beer too much, and you don't want the beer to overpower the food." Well, duh. Dale's not overly experienced with beer and food pairings, just FYI. Amidst lots of shots of beer sipping, Mark cops to enjoying a beer now and then, while Lisa, a hearty type whose love of beer isn't a surprise, chooses a Michelob Amber Bock, saying, "I love cooking with beer, I know what this beer goes with, and I know that I can keep it fun." Stop being so fucking negative.

Jen ends up choosing Candygram Land Shark beer and considers it a lucky charm since her "hair is like a shark fin." Call it what you will, but that thing ain't nothing but a fauxhawk. Spike maintains that he's "not a real beer drinker, really," which sounds like hogwash and dents his street cred, and goes on to say "it all tastes the same to me," which is just sad. After a few more six packs -- Bass! Kirin Ichiban! -- the cookdown begins. Richard's strategy, as usual (beyond being a suckwad), "is to take a buzzword of the challenge" -- "simple pleasure," in this case, which is actually two buzzwords, you shark-fin-hatted loser. Instead of relying on cool gizmos and contraptions to combine salmon and root puree, he'll scale it back and "make a good sandwich," which will somehow involve tuna.

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Top Chef




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