Top Chef Recap

By David Mumpower

November 5, 2013

When I said I wanted you to spank me, I didn't mean in Last Chance Kitchen.

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Previously on Top Chef, an entitled young white guy became the self-proclaimed face of Vietnamese cuisine, at least for the week. The results were fairly predictable. During a Vietnamese cooking challenge, Travis angered a native of the country, his teammates and a couple of the judges. He also failed to present a solid dish, and his fingerprints were all over the meal that led to elimination for a fellow competitor. In other words, Travis framed Janine, directly leading to the arrival of the Australian chef at Last Chance Kitchen.

Don’t cry for Janine yet, Australia…and fans of hot women. There is good news for our ditzy heroine. The first round of Last Chance Kitchen involved the five chefs who have been voted out by the judges. That group includes Ramon, Jason, Bret and Aaron plus Janine, the lone female loser thus far. Janine capitalized on her 20% chance of survival by cooking a dish that put a spark in Tom Colicchio’s eyes, thereby defeating runner-up Jason. Janine is the reigning champion of Last Chance Kitchen.

Last season, I wasted a lot of time speculating upon exactly how the winner of Last Chance Kitchen would be re-integrated into the winner’s bracket of the show. I am not going to bother with that much during season 11. Until someone involved with the program specifically states otherwise, I will presume similar behavior this time. In other words, Janine would have to win from now until the final three players remain, and then she would probably have to beat at least one if not two of them in order to earn re-entry. Like everyone else, I like the affable Janine but the odds of her being a factor at the end of Top Chef are remote.


The first segment from tonight’s episode demonstrates the difference in personalities among the losing team from last week. Sara laments her leadership performance. She feels the weight of Janine’s elimination, worrying that her influence had a hand in the lackluster quality of the dish. Travis calls his mother for comfort since his dreams of Top Chef Vietnamese Heroism were crushed. Travis notes that his father has no idea that he is gay. This is one of those overwrought statements that kids make because they think they are so mysterious while their parents are morons. Travis, everyone who has ever met you knows you are gay. And self-absorbed.

Tin foil alert! The proceedings advance to the Quickfire challenge wherein the chefs note that every possible item involved with the process of cooking is wrapped in tin foil. This is a repeat of a challenge from last season that was equal parts entertaining and annoying. The difference this season is that everything is wrapped, not just the foods. Also, Gail Simmons arrives just in time to introduce the players to her mother, Renee. Joining Padma is her mother, Vijaya.

The two mothers have a purpose during this challenge. They will be playing a round of Supermarket Sweep. After five minutes of choosing various tin foil packages, the two women will present them to Team Simmons and Team Lakshmi. The chefs will be required to use every ingredient to craft various meals. Some of it is food that nobody would want to eat. If you don’t believe me, grab five random items from your refrigerator then think about what that meal would taste like. I’d probably wind up with cheese, grapes and ketchup casserole.

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