Top Chef Recap

Disclaimer: I am writing this on a red-eye flight after traveling non-stop for the past 36 hours. My apologies for the lack of timeliness and the apparent haste with which this is being written, but I’d like to catch a couple winks on the way back to Philly.  Plus, the battery’s on its way out. Man, that sounds whiny.

Padma’s voice sounds extra squeaky at 36,000 ft.  Cokey’s bummed about Bilbo Stephens leaving (she’ll miss her little buddy, but the best of the best are here, and Cokey).  Kenny’s perplexed about an inability to unleash the beast (might be a lack of full moons during filming), but Episode 9 presents plenty of opportunities to do so, starting with the Quickfire, where tag team is back again, so check and direct and let’s begin (by drawing knives).  A few blank ones until Kevin draws first choice and picks trusted advisor Smoove K (these guys better not be doing it, too).  Regular guy Ed draws the second choice knife, and with a shit eating grin smeared across his face, he picks none other than Tiffany (‘cause they’re definitely doing it). Kevin—representing the blue-aproned crips—rounds out his team with Kelly and Cokey, while Ed—repping the red-aproned bloods—picks up Angelo and shady creepy vulture Alex (shit this is a bumpy flight).

With blindfolds on, the cheftestants get crack-a-lackin.’  It turns out that Kenny—in the leadoff spot—is not only a beast, but he’s also a preppin’ weapon.  Cokey picks up what Smoove K’s putting down, but Alex sends his group into a tail-spin, totally losing Tiff’s trail.  After a round of high fives from the crips and a nightmare walking from the bloods, Nancy Pelosi rolls on the scene to taste Kevin and Co.’s seamless sautéed shrimp over angel hair pasta with a mustard sauce, and Team Red Ed’s roasted red snapper with wilted greens and maitake mushrooms (things that are wrong about America: Top Chef is great and all, but you should really get back to work as the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.  And what’s up with your palate, anyway?).  Alex hopes that rosy Pelosi likes the umami of the dish (then gets fined for not saying Kikkoman), but his haste in salting the fish led to their downfall, and the crips wind up taking home the win and a cool $10,000 to split among them.

Next up, the elimination challenge (cheftestants in unison): Restaurant Wars!  Hopefully something exciting will finally happen.  Because you join a gang for life, the crips stay with the crips, and the bloods stay with the bloods.  Enter Frank Bruni, who, according to Kevin, will put you on blast (more friggin’ bumps, Jesus).  Bruni’s a demigod, and one of the few people in the world who can get away with being a dick.  Also lurking in the background are winemakers Bill and John Terlato, suppliers of the wine for restaurant wars and veritable mole people.

Without having to dream up the décor, the cheftestants can concentrate on their food.  Tiffany, dressed as the Gorton’s fisherman, complains about no shopping list, but it wouldn’t be a competition without some sort of challenge.

The cheftestants head to Redwood restaurant, where we learn that the bloods have named their concept EVOO (f*ck off, that’s so bad), and also that creepy shady vulture dumbass Alex has blown it with his share of the prep work.  Simultaneously, Smoove K tells us that the crips have named their concept Twenty One 21, evoking either tourette’s syndrome or the montage from Goodfellas where the one guy “gets the papers, gets the papers.”  We also see an overconfident group of crips whistling Dixie, always a bad sign.

Next, Alex shows his waitstaff how to wipe down chairs and tables, screws up the menu descriptions, and is generally a huge jerk.  The judges are impressed with EVOO’s food, which is not the case for Twenty One 21, even though Kelly (dressed as a medieval warrior) offers up much better service than Alex.

In a surprise twist of events, the bloods pull out a win.  I suppose it’s Top Chef, not Top Service.  Alex, ever so shady, gets pulled along by his group.  Ed, with a delicious turbot, wins the challenge, a giant bottle of Terlato wine (to enjoy with Tiff), and a trip to their vineyard (also to enjoy with Tiff).

The losers—the overconfident crips—sit in front of the judges and try to get Alex booted to no avail.  Kenny’s shocked that they’re up for elimination, but his food was bad.  Bruni referred to his cheese dish as terrible, and Colicchio compared his beet salad to Hamburger Helper. Cokey’s beef was terribly cooked, and Kelly’s soup was thin and flavorless.  In the end, Smoove K gets the Daughtry treatment, and is booted much too early, leaving a crew of Taylor Hicks-esque cheftestants.  We’ll miss you Kenny.  You were truly a beast.

Top Chef [Official Site]