Top Chef Las Vegas Recap

By Jason Lee

October 22, 2009

She cleans up nice.

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We rejoin our Top Chef contestants outside by the pool where we are treated to a gratuitous shot of Jennifer in her bikini. While I will admit that, even from the perspective of a gay man, she is quite the hottie, I haven't seen this type of exploitation of the female figure on Top Chef since Kacie's sunbathing exploits in Season 3.

Meanwhile in the house, Laurine is ready to wipe the slate clean after almost standing on the brink of elimination last week, the men are sad that Ash is gone, and the Voltaggio brothers are arguing almost all the time.


We head into the kitchen for our Quickfire and we see Padma standing with Rick Moonen, a seafood chef famous for his commitment to sustainable food as well as a frequent Top Chef judge. The chefs will be partaking in the first ever Tag Team Cook-Off challenge, which will test their ability to work as a synergistic team.

Each chef draws a knife, with almost every knife completely devoid of any writing or imagery. Jennifer and Michael are the lucky ones. Jennifer draws a knife that says "First Choice" and Michael gets "Second Choice." They are each team captains and they get to pick their team members in that order.

I have no doubt that Jennifer will pick Kevin and indeed she does. Michael picks his brother, Bryan. Jen picks Pompous Mike and Michael picks Eli. We have our two women left: Robin and Laurine. Knowing how little respect anyone has for Robin, plus Jennifer's close relationship with Laurine, it's not surprising that she chooses Laurine for her fourth spot and the Voltaggio brothers are stuck with Robin.


Robin candidly admits that all the chefs think that she is the weakest one left. She doesn't mind. She wants to show them all that she deserves to be there.

Good luck, Robin.

Each team will have 40 minutes total to cook their dish. The catch is that each individual chef only has 10 minutes to cook – during that time, their teammates must wear blindfolds so as to not see what they are doing. Oh yeah, and they are NOT allowed to talk about their dish. And this is a high stakes Quickfire with the winning team getting to split $10,000.

This is crazy awesome.

The chefs get 30 seconds to decide on the order. On the Blue team, Jennifer is chosen to go first because she's the fastest and Kevin goes last because he's best at plating. On the Red team, Eli will start out, with the Voltaggio brothers going third and fourth.

The clock starts and the chefs race to the fridge to see what they have to work with. Jennifer immediately decides to do an olive oil poached cod with shrimp and mushrooms in the sauce. She's super detailed. Eli, on the other hand, preps a whole bunch of raw ingredients and leaves it for the rest of his team to figure out what to do.

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