“Top Chef: California” recap (13.1 & 13.2): Double the challenge, double the fun

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On the bottom is Angelina, Grayson, and Floppy. Floppy’s dish was super inconsistent, even though Gail and Emeril liked it, Padma and especially Tom really did not. Grayson is very upset to be in the bottom (again) in the first round, and she’s pretty defensive. In the end, Floppy Hair is sent home because he made some actual mistakes instead of just being boring. Bye, Floppy!

The next morning the chefs are eating breakfast when Sassy finds a note from Padma asking to meet her on the roof. What I wouldn’t give for that note.

img5Pretty sure this isn’t the first time I’ve pretended Padma sent me a note…

Padma drops a bomb on the chefs: They are opening four pop-up restaurants across the city in just one day. Dang. Turns out Kwame is kind of a pop-up veteran, so he’ll likely be an asset on any team. Speaking of teams, Padma goes through them really quickly and I honestly don’t know who most of the people are yet. So there are four teams, I can tell you that much. And one of the teams has Sassy, Frances, Grayson, and Bunhead. And Karen is on a team with carrot soup guy.

Each pop-up will be in a neighborhood and the food will have to embody the culture. Since Bunhead has the bloodlife of L.A. flowing in his veins, he won’t shut up about the neighborhoods. Speaking of Bunhead, one of the other teams drives by his restaurant and they all laugh at the the fact he plastered a big ass picture of himself on the side. I now like all the chefs in that car (grey team.)

The grey team, by the way, is going to be cooking Persian food. The purple team (the one with Karen) has a Korean theme. The orange team (Sassy, Frances, Bunhead, Grayson) gets a vegan restaurant, which you’ll be downright shocked to know Bunhead knows EVERYTHING about. The blue team gets Mexican, and they’re pumped about it. All the teams get some background cultural information from the restaurant owners before doing menu planning and heading off to do shopping.

The judges head over toward the first pop-up, the grey team’s Persian restaurant. I was surprised because no one mentioned the make or model of the car yet, but Padma was snapchatting and Gail was tweeting so I think they reached their quota of awkwardly forced product placement by instead awkwardly attempting to be hip and social.

The grey team’s restaurant is hoppin’ and the judges order one of everything to try. Overall, the team did a really nice job— especially Marjorie’s dessert, which is great because as we all know dessert is usually the Top Chef kiss of death. I just found out that Marjorie was the chef at Ripple in Washington, DC, which was one of my favorite restaurants when I lived there. So now Marjorie has skyrocketed up to my faves list, y’all. It’s a wild ride around here.

The judges head to the blue team’s Mexican pop-up next. These guys seem too prepared and happy—I feel like something is going to go wrong. They also didn’t ask their Mexican expert any questions, and it looks like that was a mistake. The judges are not vibing on this food, except for maybe Kwame’s shrimp. And that’s why you always ask questions and don’t assume you know everything.

Next up is the orange team’s vegan restaurant. Grayson is still wishing she could use pork and Bunhead is still being lame, so we haven’t missed much while we were away. Frances’ chickpea dish is tasty, but Tom is mad that she didn’t use fresh produce. The rest of the dishes do not impress the judges at all. Ruh roh.

Lastly, the judges head to the purple team’s Korean pop-up. Some of the dishes are not totally authentic, but all the food is really tasty. Back at the Stew Room, Bunhead thinks his team is totally going to win. I think he is totally wrong. Padma calls all four teams to the Judges’ Table.

She announces the winner first—it’s the Persian team! The team that didn’t know much about their cuisine at all! This is great lesson about learning and growing as a person, I hope you’re all paying attention. Marjorie wins the challenge with her amazing dessert! Take that Top Chef, stereotypes!

The losing team is obviously the vegan team. Frances gets yelled at for using canned chickpeas, Grayson’s salad was boring, and Sassy’s beet was dry and not executed well. Bunhead tries to claim that they had the most difficult pop-up, but Padma shuts him down. JFC, I hope Bunhead goes home. He’s safe though, because his dish actually wasn’t that bad. Lame.

The second chef going home this season of Top Chef is Chef Sassy. Aw man, I’m actually kind of bummed about this because she was growing on me. Before she leaves, she lets us know that the competition did not break her of her sassiness, so we can rest easy knowing that.

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