“Top Chef” Recaps: Episode 4.13 “Puerto Rico”

After Antonia leaves, the room is filled with more stunned

Lisa: I know you
guys are upset that Antonia is leaving, but a congratulations would have been a
little bit nice … It just makes me feel like you think the wrong person went

Well, clearly they do. As do a lot of folks watching at home,
according to the Bravo poll shown during the commercial break that said 91
percent of people thought Lisa should be PYKAGed. Some meager congratulations
are offered. And then a lot more is said later to the cameras.

Lisa: This isn’t
a popularity contest. You can have your opinions but the bottom line is that
people really enjoyed my dishes. Forget about the friendships right now. Being
a fellow chef you should congratulate me on it.

Richard: What did
she expect, I don’t understand that? You won the f—ing bronze medal,
congratulations. There you go.

Um, wow. I mean, he’s probably right, but what’s that saying
about how assuming makes an ass out of you and me?

Now, I know Lisa making it to the grand finale has caused a minor
riot among fans. But, I have to say, I feel for her. Deserved or not, she is in
the finals and it’s a pretty big deal. You could understand how the negative
joy expressed by her fellow chefs could hurt a little. I would have expressed
my disappointment privately, but there would still be disappointment.

If, as the judges purport, their decisions are based solely
on the plates in front of them that day and not the cumulative quality of a
contestant’s dishes over the season, then this makes sense. Antonia made a
nervous error, and you simply can’t talk your way out of undercooked beans. It’s
like the Olympics. The best athlete doesn’t always win the gold. Sometimes even
the greats have a bad day.

Or if — as many people suspect and the on-screen disclaimer confirms
— the producers have a say in who stays and who goes, you can see why they’d
want to keep a “villain” for dramatic effect.

Antonia herself said in an interview with People.com that she thinks Lisa has a bad reputation on the show because of
editing. And on his Bravo
, regular guest judge Ted Allen wrote of Lisa this episode, “whaddya know, the editors allowed her a
smile or two.”
Gosh, editing the lesbian to look angry all
the time? How original.

I actually don’t dislike Lisa. Many people are turned off by
her gruff manner, but I think abrasive women always get judged more harshly
than abrasive men.

I’m not the only one. Sure, I think she is extremely lucky to have made it as far
as she has. Sure, I think more talented chefs left before her. Sure, she
probably could have and should have been gone long ago. But sometimes it’s
better to be lucky than to be good.

Next week on Top Chef: Lisa says she made it
through by the skin of her teeth. Stephanie says she is expecting a curveball.
Richard says he is the best chef there. But only one can be Top Chef.

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