Top Chef
Top Chef Holiday Special

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Keckler: B- | Grade It Now!
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It Came Upon A Sniff And Sneer

Because Top Chef never seems to give me more than a few months' break before shoving something back on the airwaves, we now have this holiday special, featuring a rather odd selection of cheftestants and filmed at a time that wasn't actually a holiday. (Unless you count Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur, and the producers clearly weren't.) From Season 3, we have CJ (YAY!), Sandee (bwuh?), and Tre (DAMN STRAIGHT!). The Twosies are Josie (...okay?), Betty (not enough earplugs in the world), and Marcel (of course). Finally, going all the way back to the very first season, we have Tiffani (natch) and Stephen (awesome). Why season one got only two reps is a mystery. As they are all competing for a cash prize of $20,000 that isn't even going to charity for this fake season of giving, Padma wonders if there will be "goodwill towards all," or if it will be "the holiday from hell."

Okay, the first Rav-4 pulls up to the Top Chef Chicago house, and not only is there no snow on the ground, but the TCC house is the only decorated house on the block. It looks ridiculous. And obvious. I feel sorry for the neighbors. However, since the producers continue to think the viewers are dumb enough to be convinced by their shallow sleight of hand, all the cheftestants make loud noises about how cold it is outside. This is also when we get to catch up with the various cheftestants.

Stephen is opening a restaurant "soon," as is LA-based Tiffani. Tiffani tells us that "Top Chef puts asses in seats," so she's here to win the $20,000 and the asses. Josie, in a knit ski cap and fur-lined anorak, bounces loudly into the house and reminds us that she was ousted in the fifth round. I am so not ready for this next cheftestant. As soon as she sees Josie, Betty screams loud enough to shatter my "Glass Spider" album. Marcel, his hair expertly sucked and piled on top of his head, tells us that he's been doing all sorts of dream living, like doing commercial fishing in Alaska. Raise your hand if you'd like to see Marcel as the newest greenhorn on the Northwestern. Now, raise your hand if you'd like to see Ilan used as crab bait. I think we've got a show there. Marcel, his sunglasses still on inside the house, gives Betty the barest of hugs. Betty reminds us of all the crap that went down between her and Marcel. She says there were "just circumstances that built up." Betty goes on, showing all seventy-five teeth, "I'm was a little bit embarrassed that I showed so much anger. [And veins.] And I'm able to step back now and see Marcel for who he is." And we're able to see your veins for the scary purple color they are. Stephen tries to out-pompous Marcel as they toast each other, and I realize that, man, it's either the years or the tailors that haven't been kind to Stephen. He looks like he's been piped into his suit by a pastry bag. Speaking of not looking good, what's with the Abraham Lincoln beard, Marcel? Are you bringing molecular gastronomy to Lancaster County? Because given how they feel about buttons, I think the Amish might not take to meat glue.

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