December 17, 2008 09:53 PM by DA Southern
Top Chef gave us a quick recap of judge Gail Simmons wedding shower episode and the eventual elimination of Daniel from the Chef-testant hopefuls last week. We also watched as a frustrated Jamie was shocked how Ariane could keep pulling out victory after victory even though she had been in the top for the last couple of challenges. No one was as shocked as Ariane at the last challenge and finally Ariane has gotten all of her confidence back and has put a huge target on her back with the other chefs. All this was in preparation of the big Christmas episode that we have been waiting for.
Morning broke at the Top Chef house and we saw Ariane playing mommy making up beds in the house. Jamie, still trying to complain to anyone who would listen, finally found a sympathetic ear in Leah and was extolling the virtues of her cooking. Over in the boys section, Eugene was also lamenting for his inability to crack the top although the judges seemed to believe he had promise in the first couple of challenges. The Europeans were lamenting their recent string of bad luck as well and we saw Hosea dealing with a personal crisis as he was dealing with a dad with cancer.
The Quickfire Challenge:
The chefs walked in for the quick fire and found a decorated kitchen awaiting them and, of course,Christmas themes would be the next challenge. Host, Padma Lakshmi wished the chefs happy holidays as she greeted them and announced that for the Quickfire Challenge, the chefs had to create aChristmas dish using only one pan to show a typical holiday cook that it is not as messy as imagined. The fear reigned across the faces of several of the chefs as most chefs seldom worry about dirtying dishes as that is why they have dishwashers. The only other fear that could be even more scary was when Padma welcomed the guest judge for the Quickfire, Martha Stewart.
Martha said to keep cooking simple, even quoting Albert Einstein to get her point across. The chefs had 45 minutes to prepare and off they ran. It looked as though some of the chefs were using more than one pots but it was an optical illusion as several of them would cook something and pour whatever they cooked out and then cook something else. As usual, the chefs were scrambling at the end of the 45 minutes and Martha and Padma went about judging. Martha wasn’t fond of Jeff’s dish as well as Eugene’sor Fabio’s, who has not done so well lately. Fabio took umbrage saying that it was his grandmothers dish. Martha was high on Hosea and Jamie’s dishes as well as Ariane’s, who continues to surprise. In the end, Ariane again took the top prize and scored a book from Martha and immunity for the next challenge.
The Elimination Challenge:
Padma announced that the chefs were becoming caterers for aChristmas themed party for an AID’s foundation party and Padma then called in the Harlem Gospel Choir to help announce the challenge and Padma then announced to the chefs to draw knifes. As each of the chefs drew knifes, the choir sang The 12 Days of Christmas and Padma said that the dishes were to be inspired by the song. I guess no one will want to eat five golden rings but I guess it depends how they are prepared. Padma then announced that the party will be hosted by actress, Natasha Richardson, for AmFar, the foundation for AIDS research and that she would also be a guest judge.
It was off to the Whole Foods grocery store with $800 for their 12 Days of Christmas feast and several of the chefs were having a tough time making a connection between the song and their dishes, except Leah, who had three French hens. The chefs now had three hours to prep and get everything ready for the next days party. As some of the chefs reeled off their dishes, it was tough to see the connections to the song and some were definitely a stretch. Hosea’ grilled pork tenderloin was smoking up the kitchen and Jeff was set on impressing the judges with his dish as the day came to a close.
The chefs had crammed their food into the refrigerators as they had left the night before and when they returned in the morning, they found that the food was ruined that they had prepared and could not be served because the refrigerator had not sealed. It seems Hosea and Radhika were the most affected and it was kind of nice to see the other chefs come to their aid and give them ideas and product to make new dishes. Radhika was a bit circumspect about it all as she said that the judges probably didn’t care about what happened and that since they were chefs, they should come up with another dish.
The chef arrived at the party to prepare and Jamie seemed like she was cracking under the pressure as the festivities got underway in the ballroom. The chefs rolled out the food and in a unique twist, the guest were to place AIDS ribbons by the dish they liked the best. The chefs all explained their dishes and the connection to the song and it was still hard to see the connection for a lot of the dishes. Maybe I need to learn to cook so I get it.
Poor Jamie, who had worried about being in the top and not winning definitely did not have to worry about it this time around as the judges were not impressed with her food. Hosea’s dish was fairly successful as he roasted some pork and he got a lot of ribbons and looked like a favorite to win. Jeff’s dish seemed to impress and even Stefan seemed to be getting some fairly good reviews and ribbons. The chefs all relaxed a bit and drank some champagne to celebrate their success at the end of the night as Tom and Padma headed to the judges chamber.
Padma called in Hosea, Jeff, Stefan and Radhika to face the judges first and told them they were the top four. It was nice to see Radhika there as she had trouble with her food early on. In the end, Hosea ended up with the most ribbons and was the judges choice as well, and it was good to see him win one.
Padma then asked for Jamie, Eugene and Melissa to come before the chopping block and Jamie was asked first about her dish. Jamie was pleased with her dish and got pretty defensive about her dish to the panel. Tom was not please with Melissa’s dish that had a lot of blue cheese in it and thought it overwhelmed. Eugene got defensive about his dish, too, and the judges were not so pleased with the lack of concern the chefs had about trying to improve their dishes. Tom shocked when he said that overall, he was not happy with the quality of the dishes that have been served and that he wanted to talk to all of the chefs about the lack of quality they had been serving in the last couple of challenges.
Padma announce that they had a decision and before the decision would be rendered, Tom did indeed go into the chefs waiting area and talked to the chefs about stepping up their game. After all of the dissatisfaction that was displayed by the judges, Tom announced that in spirit of the holidays, that no one would be leaving the kitchen.
So, Eugene, Jamie and Melissa dodged the meat cleave tonight, but the chefs were definitely put on notice that they were to step up their game if they wanted to have a chance to win.
Photo Credit: Bravo