Someone has a crush. Wait, sorry, let me rephrase that. Someone has a totally inappropriate and terribly misguided crush. Yeah, that’s better. You see, Stefan has a huge crush on Jamie. He has even made a pair of pants for Jamie’s stuffed animal. And this isn’t the first time he has given her small tokens of his cluelessness.
As Stefan himself puts it, “I think she is sexy. I love Jamie.” Fair enough, Stefan. Jamie and her kick-ass tattoos are sexy. But there is one teeny, tiny little problem.
Jamie: “Stefan, come on, does the word ‘lesbian’ mean anything to you?”
Yep, that’d be the problem. Deluded, thy name is straight dude chasing a lesbian.
As the chefs enter the kitchen, they find host Padma Lakshmi but no guest judge. Instead, this Quickfire Challenge will be palate against palate as they play “Identify the Ingredient.” They draw knives to be paired off and then go head-to-head seeing who can name the most ingredients in a sauce. Jamie gets paired off with Stefan. Sadly, he wins their round and then tells the cameras, “How about that ass whipping?” Boys are so weird.
In the final round, Hosea and Stefan square off. Hosea prevails and feels great about it afterward, and not just because he gets immunity. He says, “Stefan is tough, he has a huge ego … And I out-palated him.” In fact, the other chefs’ general bemusement and downright loathing of Stefan is a recurring theme in this episode.
In the Elimination Challenge, the chefs again draw knives to get placed in teams. Radhika is very clear about whom she does not want to be teamed up with: “I would rather be on Satan’s team than Stefan’s team.” As an added bonus, Satan would be a whiz at flame grilling.
The chefs get split into groups of “Old,” “New,” “Borrowed,” “Blue.” You see, Padma is throwing a bridal shower for one of her girlfriends. But who is the lucky lady? Well, none other than Top Chef judge and Food & Wine magazine editor Gail Simmons.
They break into Team Borrowed (Jamie, Ariane, Radhika), Team Blue (Fabio, Leah, Melissa), Team Old (Jeff, Stefan, Hosea) and Team New (Gene, Carla, Daniel). At Jamie’s suggestion, Team Borrowed goes with an Indian-flavored lamb dish. Team Blue goes with Chilean sea bass from the deep blue ocean. Team Old goes with a trio of heirloom tomato dishes. Team New, inexplicably, goes with build-it-yourself surf ‘n’ turf sushi.
As they start cooking, Tom comes in to check on their progress. He seems particularly perplexed by Team New, which has had a problem with its rice and is also including Daniel’s “fusion barbecue sauce” with its sushi. I think Tom sums up all of our reactions best when he asks, “Barbecue sauce?”
Back at the house, Stefan and Carla are on Jamie’s bed. Stefan is trying to get Jamie to kiss him. No, I am kidding. He even tells the cameras later, “Me and Jamie, we kind of have like an edgy thing going on.” Well, if by “edgy” he means “lesbian” and by “thing” he means “totally uninterested,” then I guess he is right. Alas, he means it the literal way.
Jamie: You have the hots for the lesbian …
Stefan: If you win the challenge I get a kiss.
Jamie: You can kiss my cheek, if you’re lucky.
Stefan: No, you can kiss my mouth.
Jamie: NO. I can’t even believe we’re even having this discussion.
Stefan: (Kissing sounds.)
Jamie: You are so gross. Uuuughh!
Elsewhere, a happier and 100 percent more likely couple is playing cards. But it seems, despite all their flirting, Hosea and Leah are “just friends” because she has a boyfriend and he has a girlfriend. But what happens at Top Chef stays at Top Chef, right?
The bridal shower begins, and Gail tells her assembled guests that they are “the largest table of hot-looking ladies I’ve ever seen in my life.” I think if you put Padma at any table, you could probably accurately make that statement.
In the kitchen, the real drama is underway. Team New is dealing with soggy rice and Daniel’s decision to put mushrooms on Carla’s salad without asking her first. He also uses the word “spluge” when discussing his food and says the women will want to take their clothes off after tasting it. I think I just threw up a little in my mouth.
Team Borrowed is having its own problems with the lamb. Ariane has cut the cooking time too close and now it’s a race against the clock to make sure they don’t serve it too raw. But all the other chefs help with plating, and a crisis is averted.
Gail’s boss, Food & Wine Editor-in-Chief Dana Cowin, serves as guest judge for the Elimination Challenge. As the courses are served, the ladies’ reactions can be summed up best as Team Old — yum; Team New — what is this and why do I have to eat it?; Team Borrowed — yummy yum; and Team Blue — this looks like old-people food.
At the Judges Table, teams Old and Borrowed get called in first as the favorites. Jamie’s puree gets props, as does Ariane’s lamb and Jeff’s tomato sorbet. As Dana is set to announce the winner, Jamie says under her breath, “I want this win.” And then, well, I think what happens next can best be explained in pictures.
Ariane wins and Jamie is the unhappy bridesmaid once again. Poor Jamie, the Cougar Cook snuck in and stole your Calphalon winnings.
But the unhappy almost-winner has nothing on the miserable losers. Teams New and Blue get called in and Tom spares not the rod for he clearly thinks these chefs are spoiled children. While Carla and Gene admit Team New made mistakes, Daniel says he was “unbelievably happy” with his team’s dish. I have no doubt that he is also “unbelievably happy” with the unbelievably stupid way he shaves his beard.
Tom then tells Team Blue that if they continue to cook the way they have, he “doesn’t see you three being here much longer,” and he tells Team New, “I would love to send all three of you home.” Yeah, that’s going to sting in the morning. But only one can leave so who gets PYKAGed? Blessedly, Daniel.
A stunned Daniel tells the cameras afterward that he didn’t think the judges understood what he was doing, and he probably would have been able to stay longer if he had thrown his teammates under the bus. He then compares Top Chef to football, and I rejoice, again, at his departure.
Next week: Martha, Martha, Martha! Stewart, that is, will be the guest judge.