Top Chef Recap
By Jason Lee
July 1, 2010
So we're two episodes (soon to be three) into season seven of Top Chef and a few questions still remain. How competitive will this season be? Will we see any talent along the lines of the Michael/Bryan/Kevin triumverate from last season? Will this cast be a snarky one (like Season 2) or a shut-up-and-cook one (like Season 4)?
The next couple of episodes will go a long way to answering those questions. As we open the third episode, the chefs seem to finally gotten over their starry-eyed, "I'm on Top Chef" amazement and have realized that this is a competition, dammit. Amanda knows how close she was to going home last episode, Kenny is pissed that he hasn't won a challenge yet, Angelo was shocked at how Kenny threw his team under the bus and Arnold can't believe the antagonism emerging after only two Elimination Challenges.
Welcome to Top Chef, bitches.
The cheftestants enter the kitchen and find Johnny Iuzzini (a "god of pastry" according to Tiffany), Gail and Padma. In yet another moment of promotion for the upcoming spin-off, Top Chef: Just Desserts, the two judges from the show will be judging a dessert Quickfire. The cheftestants will have one simple task: cook a great pie.
Kelly and Arnold continue their spat by fighting over their cooking space. Meanwhile, Hot Angelo, who has never cooked a pie before in his life, decides to do a curry yam "pie." I start getting worried; rule #1 on Top Chef is follow the directions of the challenge.
On the other side of the kitchen, Lynne, an instructor at the Culinary Institute of America, works with ease without a recipe (incidentally, is anyone else surprised that a culinary instructor hasn't made more of an impact in these early episodes?). Alex is making a disgusting-sounding tapioca pie with an almond crust. Ed is pairing his banana cream pie with celery.
Alex and Ed, indeed, end up on the bottom, along with the Rosie O'Donnell look-alike, Tracy, whose blueberry crumble pie had a crust that was too thin.
On the top, we have Villain of Season 7, Kelly with a beautifully made chocolate ganache pie and Stephen with a strange-but-successful curried apple pie with whiskey. Then, in a very strange move, Johnny ends up announcing that KENNY has won the challenge with a great bananas foster pie. Was he even in the running? I'm confused.
So Kenny has immunity in this Elimination Challenge, which will celebrate another American tradition: the picnic. The cheftestants will be cooking for interns on Capitol Hill at the George Washington Mount Vernon estate. Each person will have their own grill by which to cook their dish.
The cheftestants head to Whole Foods to shop and I can already tell that the gloves are off. Everyone is now hungry to win this thing. It's nice to see them finally amp up the intensity.