“Top Chef” Recaps: Episode 4.6 “Tailgating”

Standing behind 16 perfect pitchers of amber goodness are
Padma, who is totally working a little Flashdance
off-the-shoulder action, and Quickfire guest judge Koren Grieveson, head chef
of the popular Chicago eatery Avec.

Um, has anyone counted the number of toaster ovens in Koren’s
home? Tattoos, wallet chain, novelty T and a big belt? The only way she could
possibly be wearing more standard-issue lesbian gear is if she had a Melissa
Etheridge CD stapled to her forehead.

Anyone want to play quarters? — The Quickfire
Challenge is about simple pleasures, so their task is to pair a meal with one
of the beers. The chefs all take turns bellying up to the bar to pick their
poison. Then they have 30 minutes to create a dish that goes with their brew.

Beer? A possible chefbian guest judge? Padma paying tribute
to Jennifer Beals? This challenge makes me want to Snoopy dance across the
living room floor. But not all the chefs are ready to get their Peanuts on.

I love how the female cheftestants seem more excited about
drinking some brewskies than the boys. Nikki says it looks like fun. Good Chicago gal Stephanie
calls pairing beer to food an art, and Lisa declares her love of beer — shocking,
I know. Jennifer picks the Landshark Lager.

Jennifer: My hair is like a shark fin and I got the
Landshark beer. It’s kind of a lucky charm for me.

Some of the fellas, however, would apparently rather be
sipping Chablis. Dale says the last thing he needs now is beer. Spike says he
isn’t a beer drinker. In fact, he says it all tastes the same to him. Dude, if
you think a Guinness tastes like a Bud Light, perhaps you’re not as talented a
dude as you thought you were.

Ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall — Then it’s
time to drink, er, cook. Richard decides to forgo the bells and whistles and
make a sandwich. Antonia doesn’t want to dumb down her dish. Dale is making
pretzel-crusted pork. What, no Beer Nuts? Actually, Beer Nuts might have been a
better idea, because his pretzels turn to dust in the food processor.

Jennifer is stirring the holy heck out of a seafood mixture.
She confesses that she may be a lot more fired up than the rest of the
contestants.

Jennifer: I am doing this for Zoi. I just like want
to go in and like kick some ass.

The clock ticks to zero, and it’s time for a nice cold one.
Padma and Koren sample all the offerings. Richard is first, and he calls Koren
the kind of chef who is a "super connoisseur of beer." Uh, is that
code for "lesbian"?

Turns out you don’t want to sit across from Koren at the
poker table. She has nary a word to say about each dish beyond "thank you."
Then she gets to Spike’s plate, which is a cutting board filled with cold cuts
and clams. After she leaves unimpressed, he says she didn’t get the dish. That’s
because it’s not a dish, it’s Lunchables.

By the time they wind their way to Jennifer, you can’t help
but wonder if the judges have a buzz going on. In fact, Jennifer’s shrimp-and-scallop
beignets seem to give Padma the munchies.

Padma: They’re still light. They don’t taste greasy.

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