Top Chef Las Vegas Recap
By Jason Lee
October 15, 2009
We return to the Top Chef house with Team Rainbow reduced to a single member. With the departure of Preeti (she never stood a chance) and now Ashley (she was building momentum but made some big mistakes), the gay population on Top Chef has dwindled down to Ash. You might remember that he was in the bottom three last week. Well, he's bound and determined not to let that happen again. After heaping vociferous praise on Michael in the last Elimination Challenge, seemingly putting him in the running for Top Sous-Chef instead of Top Chef, he promises to stay focused on his own style of cuisine.
The other cheftestant in the house who's on the defensive is Robin. Because of her tendency to ramble on during conversations, utterly oblivious to the fact that others may not enjoy listening to her stream of consciousness gibberish as much as she does, as well as for the fact that she's remained in the competition while other more "popular" chefs like Mattin and Ron have gone home, Robin is in the sh*thouse. Seriously. Nobody likes her. Most everyone, notably Pompous Mike, treats her like an incompetent chef who stumbled into the kitchen and has miraculously avoided elimination by some bizarre twist of fate.
We enter the Top Chef kitchen with Padma standing in knee-high cowboy boots next to Charlie Palmer. I've never heard of Charlie but apparently he's the pioneer of American cuisine and has experience working with both Michael and Bryan. In fact, Bryan worked exclusively for Charlie for over ten years before finally setting off on his own.
Padma tells the cheftestants that pairing is one of the most difficult skills to learn as a chef, and that this week's challenges will test that skill. They spy a table full of Alexia crunchy snacks, which are apparently made with real vegetables (as opposed to potato chips, which...aren't?). The chefs have been snacking on them in the house for the past couple of weeks and now they will have to cook a dish that will pair well with the Alexia snacks.
Eli, whose ego has increased enormously over the course of the show for no apparent reason, is boasting about his skills. He says that since he went to culinary school, he's one of the few people who actually knows how to pair ingredients. He says that he feels that he can win this challenge, easy. "Yeah, cause you've been in the top of so many Elimination Challenges!" I yell to my TV.
Oh yeah, and he still lives with his parents. Loser.
Bryan and Michael, cooking for their mentor, are really stressing out. They clearly want to show Charlie that they've "made it" as chefs. Surprisingly, Jennifer is stressing out as well. She says that she doesn't want to mess up in front of an American icon. She decides to cook a sautéed pork chop...but unfortunately, her dish is the LAST dish tried by Charlie and by the time they arrive at her station, her pork chop is over-cooked.