“Top Chef” Recaps: Episode 4.1 “Anything You Can Cook I Can Cook Better”


Cooking out — Then it’s time to kick open the closet
door. Or should we call it a pantry door?

Zoi: Uh, we have a little announcement to make. We
know each other in San Francisco,
and we’re a couple.
[concurring] We’re a couple. [There are raised eyebrows all
around and an "oh, wow" from the peanut gallery.]
OK, so it’s "out." … So it’s a shock to us that we’re here,

And then we hear from Spike who, I kid you not, is wearing a
bamboo baseball cap backwards because he’s gangsta like that.

Spike: When Jen and Zoi announced that they were a
couple, instantly I was like, "Aw, this is bulls—." But I thought
about it for a while and I was like, no big deal, they can go home together.


Zoi thinks being on the show as a couple will be tough and
just as much a disadvantage as an advantage. Yes, but think of all the
processing you can do together afterward. It’ll be like lesbian heaven.

Ready, set, cook! — In walk head judge Tom Colicchio
and Padma. Mmm, Padma, mmm. Huh, what? I got distracted.

Right, the Quickfire Challenge: Make a signature deep dish
pizza. Wow, I bet the chefs never saw that one coming. It’s not like they’re
standing in a deep dish pizza restaurant or anything.

Everyone troops into the Top
kitchen, where we learn that the chefs were allowed to bring 200 dollars’
worth of ingredients they "cannot live without" and equipment that is
stored in individual lockers. Wow, just like high school. I swear, principal,
that’s just oregano.

The cheftestants scatter like cockroaches. OK, sorry, bad

As they knead, chop and sauté, we meet New Yorker Dale (Hung
Jr.), Chicagoan Valerie (Rachel Dratch’s sister), New Yorkers Manuel (teddy
bear — what? he looks cuddly) and Nikki (Pillsbury Too-Much Dough Girl) and Los
Angeleno Antonia (I can’t think of anything, really, nothing).

Lots of interesting pizzas I would never order in a
restaurant are being made: meat and potatoes (Valerie), Marmite (Mark), and
peach with a sweet tea sauce (Richard). The honorary chefbian even has the
nerve to call his sweet Georgia
pie "traditional." Yeah, sure, just try ordering one from Pizza Hut.

Finally, our third (actual) chefbian, Lisa, gets some face
time and immediately gets all When Harry Met Sally on the situation.

Lisa: It’s not about having a specialty; it’s about
the fact that you can really touch people with food. Somebody can eat one of my
dishes and be like, "That’s orgasmic! That’s amazing!"

I need to find her restaurant, pronto.

Dish it up — F-bomber Andrew realizes there are no
more deep dish pans because Richard used two. Many bleeps later, he ends up
using a cast iron skillet while casting an evil eye at our honorary chefbian.
Our first feud and only 13 minutes into the season? How you like them apples? (Personally,
I like them baked with cinnamon and drizzled with a little port wine reduction.)

As the pizzas come out of the oven, Dale makes a pointed
observation: "I’m looking at some of these pizzas and saying, ‘F—, that
looks horrible.’" True enough. But, in their defense, deep dish is usually
served in the pan, so these crumbling, cracking monstrosities are not entirely
their fault.

What? I may not know much about cooking, but I do know
something about pizza.

The chefs all scuttle their creations into carry-out boxes
and warming bags and head off to meet their mystery guest judge. If they’re not
there in 30 minutes, is it free?

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