“Top Chef” Recaps: Episode 4.6 “Tailgating”


Now that’s cooking with crazy — But we ain’t seen nothin’
yet. Over at Andrew’s house of crazy, he’s wearing a football helmet as he
prepares and serves the food.

So, what’s with the helmet?

Andrew: I wanted to show people my dedication to the
art of what I do. Food is my game.

Oh Andrew, you’re like the Jenny Schechter of Top Chef.
Who knows what bat guano insane thing you’re going to say next.

The judges come to try his glazed shrimp. He tries to get
his helmet off, but it gets stuck on his ears. Gail does the wise thing and
walks away quickly. She then declares him "a trip." A trip or on a
? Ahem.

Do feed Da Bears — Chefbians Lisa and Jennifer dish
up their food. Jennifer serves her marinated chicken with harissa and quinoa tabbouleh
to big Bears fans as well as big former Bear Dent. He is a little suspicious of
the hard-to-pronounce chow and asks if it’s safe. She practically strains a
neck muscle assuring him that it is.

Richard’s pâté melt goes over well with the fans. Mark,
however, may need a fan to cool himself down from all the discombobulated
running around he’s doing. He flips a spoon on the ground while serving Padma
the corn chowder. He frantically cleans off the grill for more chicken skewers.
It’s not a pretty sight. The other chefs notice, and so do the judges.

Tom: It’s an absolute disaster over there.

Stephanie appears to be faring better with her "man
food." But appearances can be deceiving. She is going through her food too
quickly. Way too quickly. When the judges arrive, she is practically out of
peppers and onions for her sausage. The judges are not amused.

After the challenge is over, Mark and Nikki both fret about
their fate. The rest of the chefs play touch football. Cooking is a full
contact sport, you know.

First and goal — The comment cards have spoken. Padma
asks for Antonia, Dale and Stephanie first. Their dishes were the fan
favorites. They had yummy chicken, yummy ribs and yummy pork, respectively.

While the fans pick the top three, the judges pick the
winner. Who scored the touchdown? Dale.

Dale pulls that clichéd pro-athlete move and hits his chest
and then points up to the heavens in thanks. Listen, the Big G doesn’t care who
wins the game or who wins the challenge. She’s got better things to worry
about, m’kay.

So what does he win? A Top
Bears jersey. That’s so much better than a
trip to Italy
. OK, he also wins the big honking gas grill he
cooked on for the challenge. But he lives in New York, right? That thing is
probably bigger than his whole apartment.

Sacking the quarterback — Dale comes back into the
waiting room triumphantly, but with bad news for Mark, Nikki and Ryan. All
three fumbled with the fans.

Nikki gets called out for not making her own sausage and
running out of peppers and onions. Ryan gets called out for choosing a dessert
that in a million years Chef Tom wouldn’t expect to see at a tailgate party.
The dense gnocchi‘s
response was — wait a sec, are you sitting down? This could take a while.

Ryan: I wanted to have a whole dining experience at
my table, and that was where I was heading. I wanted to be able to say, OK,
somebody doesn’t eat chicken but, wow, there is a dessert. And doing a dessert
I didn’t think was too left field … Personally I wanted to cook the way I
personally would like to see a tailgate. I don’t eat heavy, I don’t eat ribs. I
thought of these people and I said, ‘Cool, I’m going to do chicken. Instead of
serving something on a bun I’m going to do it in the application of a salad.’

Oh, you didn’t think he was done, did you?

Ryan: I dissected a tailgate party and the caliber of
people that I’m cooking with. And I’m looking at them and I’m like, I have to
do something different. You know the people came up, everybody was super sweet
at this event. Ladies coming up asking for recipes and why would you do that
and this and that. And wow, pea stew on top of finishing a chicken, that’s
quite interesting. We love it and bringing in, I hate to use the word
California flare …

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