Top Chef Las Vegas Recap

By Jason Lee

September 19, 2009

We'll miss his kicky red scarf

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Four episodes done, eight episodes until the finale. Any Top Chef fan knows that this middle section is sometimes the most boring to sit through - you have some clearly talented chefs but you're still in the process of weeding out some of the chefs who simply have no shot at winning the title. Sure, every once in a while you get a shocker like in Season 3 when Tre got sent home during Restaurant Wars, but even that was another five episodes in.

When we were last in the Top Chef kitchen, we watched as Jesse went home after a botched Quickfire amuse-bouche and Hector for truly botching his beef dish. The brothers Bryan and Michael have clearly established themselves as the front-runners, with Jen, Kevin and Pompous Mike running close behind. We have a bunch of women who are only notable for their lack of impact in this competition.

Except for Ashley, that is. She's clearly been one of the more out-spoken women on the show, which has bothered quite a number of BOPers, though I haven't found her quite as annoying. At the opening of the show, Ashley is lamenting the fact that she misses her family. Her brother just had a baby and she wishes that she could be there for them. I don't see this as good news for her, because anytime a cheftestant gets distracted by thoughts of their family, they inevitably fall behind. The only family-oriented person that I can recall that made it to the finale was Antonia in Season 4, and she got eliminated shortly after landing in Puerto Rico.

In any case, the cheftestants head over to the kitchen and before them they see chef and owner Tim Love, who lost to Hubert Keller in the opening episode of Top Chef: Masters. Clearly he knows what the chefs will be experiencing in this Quickfire Challenge.


And what a challenge it will be. Apparently, last week, while I was TiVoing through the commercials, Top Chef fans had the opportunity to vote on the ingredient that the chefs would be working with, choosing between snake, cactus and kangaroo. Had I known about this fan-participation stunt, I definitely would NOT have voted for kangaroo (aren't they endangered somewhere?). I've eaten cactus at the infamous Pink Taco restaurant in LA and it was okay. I guess I would have come down on the side of snake because frankly, I don't like snakes and the fewer of them around, the better.

(Now before you bombard BOP with comments about how snakes keep desert ecosystems in tact, yada yada yada, I'm fully aware. I love snakes and I love what they do for me. I just don't want them nearby.)

Well, looks like 57% of viewers want to see the chefs cook cactus and that's what we're going to get. There are very few chefs that have actual experience with cooking cactus - only Pompous Mike and Ash, in fact. Pompous Mike knows that cacti are slimy so he cures it like salmon. Ash is trying to do a mexican preparation with it but he's hindered by the lack of a tortilla press in the kitchen (come to think of it, I don't recall any other contestant ever needing a tortilla press on Top Chef).

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