“Top Chef: California” recap (13.5): Big Fat Gay Weddings

Previously on Top Chef, Karen and Baldy 1 won the golf course refreshment cart challenge! This episode picks up immediately after elimination: Baldy is sporting some crazy eyes as he compares competing on Top Chef to training for jiu-jitsu (y’all better watch out for that guy) and everyone figuratively pours one out for Grayson. Angelina, meanwhile, is fired up and hoping to perform better after her 321st brush with elimination.

It’s a new day, and the chefs head to a date garden. The chefs learn that they’re in the date capital of the world, and also get to see a pretty sweet looking machete that farmers use for harvesting. They load up some dates to-go and head back to the kitchen.

Once they arrive, the chefs find Padma and Chrissy Teigen standing in the kitchen waiting for them, just looking like angels sent straight from heaven. One idiot dude (I’m not sure which one) says, “That’s John Legend’s wife,” as though she has no separate identity at all. It was probably Bunhead.


I mentioned this at the end of last week’s recap (because this scene was in the teaser), but I think it bears repeating that a thing that happens in this episode is (DIRECT QUOTE):

Chrissy: Dates are sweet and succulent and sticky.

Padma: Like you.

“Like. You.” THAT’S A REAL THING THAT HAPPENED ON TV AND IT WASN’T IN MY DREAMS. What a world we live in, you know? Anyway, I think they introduce the Quickfire Challenge after that. Something about using dates (the food) to tell a story about a date (the social event). The chefs bustle around the kitchen, telling stories about their dates as they cook.

The chefs all present their food and stories to Padma and Chrissy. It’s pretty commendable that they were all able to formulate words standing that close to two actual goddesses. Some of the stories are better than others, but the important thing that happens here is that Padma and Chrissy continue to kind of flirt with each other.

The worst dishes belong to Chad (one of the beardy guys), Bunhead, and Boston Carl, while Jason (Glasses), Cajun, and Giselle are on top. Jason wins! Jason is gay, so I’m not saying this means the LGBTQ community is better at dating, but I’m also not NOT saying that. The end of the Quickfire Challenge means that we have to say goodbye to Chrissy Teigen. I’m not sure who is the most sad: Padma, Kwame, or me. (It’s me.)

Padma introduces guest judge Art Smith and explains this week’s Elimination Challenge: the chefs will all work together to cater a wedding reception for 25 same-sex couples. And there’s more, Padma got ordained so she can officiate! And she’s super excited about it!

Look at this adorable nerd.

Art and his husband are also going to be renewing their vows at the ceremony, and he talks a little bit about marriage equality. Karen tears up at this, thinking about her spouse. She never thought she’d be able to get married when she was younger, but her one year wedding anniversary is coming up! She got to have the wedding (and the dress) of her dreams.

MORE adorableness!

The chefs do their menu planning and shopping, which mostly gets off without a—hitchexcept there seems to be some tension between Giselle and everyone else. The next morning, Padma sends an instructor over to the chefs to lead them in some yoga by the pool. Sure, why not? After the chefs get centered, they head to the kitchen to cook. Y’all, I’m a little nervous about Karen. Giselle seems all over the place and they are working on a dish together. Keep your fingers crossed.

At the ceremony, there are just loads and loads of adorable queers in love. Padma looks absolutely stunning as she officiates, leading the couples through their vows and then, ultimately, declaring everyone married. I don’t really have anything snarky to add, because I think someone has been chopping onions in my living room.


After the ceremony, everyone heads over to where the chefs have set up a buffet. They’ve coursed their dishes out and, thanks to Jason, cleverly tied in romantic references. (“Just One Look” is the name of the first course, GET IT? Because LOVE!) The judges really love pretty much everything in the first two courses, so by the time they get to Karen I’m extra nervous. They do not love Karen and Giselle’s asparagus. Damnit. They also really don’t like Bunhead’s potatoes, but Kwame’s chutney on top of the steak might have saved him.

At Judges’ Table, the judges rave about the majority of the food. The best dish is Kwame and Wesley’s shrimp, and Kwame wins the challenge! On the bottom are Karen and Giselle’s asparagus salad and Bunhead and Kwame’s steak and potatoes. Bunhead starts rambling about his dish, and Jason chimes in to tell the judges that Bunhead certainly did not describe it that way to the rest of the chefs. Oh, snap. Jason has zero fucks left to give.

The judges ask about Karen and Giselle’s dish, and Giselle claims that it really wasn’t her thing and she was just helping. Karen calls her out, being like, “Hey, dude—at least I attempted to make a dish and compete.” Giselle’s like, “Yeah okay, maybe we didn’t collaborate or cook well today, but can you believe Bunhead over there? Thinking his potatoes were good?” It’s totally out of left field, but, whatever, I’m glad she did it. Get out of here, Bunhead.

The judges deliberate and it sounds like they’re thinking of sending Karen home until Gail saves the goddamn day by reminding everyone that, yeah, Karen made some mistakes, but what did Giselle even actually do? The chefs come to Judges’ Table and Tom does his usual little intro to the elimination by tying the in the challenge theme (marriage) to the flaws in their dishes. Classic Tom. Anyway, Giselle is sent home. I don’t really have strong feelings either way except to say that I wish it had been Bunhead.

Next week on Top Chef: we’re heading to San Diego!