Top Chef Recap

By David Mumpower

November 18, 2013

She cries more often than Sophie post-choice.

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Previously on Top Chef, Nina won twice during the same episode. Everyone else participating was terrible. That statement is not hyperbole. One of the people in the top group failed in the basic mission of highlighting the primary ingredient for the day. Every single person up for elimination could have been justifiably removed from Top Chef.

Bene fell on his sword for Sara and Travis, the other players who failed. The nicest player this season was removed from the winner’s bracket then defeated by Janine in Last Chance Kitchen. He will be reduced to the role of observer for the rest of the season. His dream of being Top Gay Chef is over.

With regards to the Elimination Challenge last episode, the entire meal was a debacle, the second in a row. I suspect that the judges are every bit as perplexed as I am because they maintain that this season possesses a tremendous compilation of talent. Nobody is exactly sure why said talent is not translating into delicious food. I blame cream cheese, the worst thing to come out of Philadelphia since Danny Bonaduce.

To date, Nina is the 800 pound gorilla while the other players are sock monkeys. Oddly, Nina is the moodiest player at the start of tonight’s episode. She and Bene were bffs, and the Miami resident is lamenting her boy’s elimination. She exclaims that at least she still has Travis. That’s like saying that yes, I lost my diamond earrings, but I still have my compost bin!


While Nina may be the moodiest player, Nicholas is the one with the right to feel the worst. Dude is sick. I don’t mean hungover or sad about not winning the most challenge, either. Nicholas has come down with a case of strep throat. Communicable diseases are never great news for chefs. A physician arrives at the Top Chef house to evaluate him. She advises bed rest and medication over the next 24 hours. There is a real chance that Nicholas will be removed from the game if he is not a quick healer. He simply cannot be allowed to serve food if he remains sick. I have Nicholas in the top five in the Power Rankings, which means he is an upper tier contestant. It would be a huge injustice if Nicholas is unable to continue.

After a few minutes of intrigue involving Nicholas’ health, the show switches to the Quickfire challenge. Kermit Ruffins is the guest judge today. Viewers of HBO’s Treme are well aware of this musician. Ruffins has developed a reputation over the years for throwing the best barbecue concerts in the south. The trumpeter frequently serves his food then puts on a music performance with his band, The Barbecue Swingers. Every Kermit Ruffins concert is a party, but the ones with food are legendary.

The chefs are instructed about the rules of this challenge. Each of their stations feature some of Ruffins’ favorite ingredients and cooking utensils. Alas, there is a twist to the food preparation. After a set amount of time defined by Ruffins’ trumpeting, the players will move along to the next cooking station. In other words, people will wind up finalizing the dishes of other players.

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