Since Teen Wolf Marcel left last week with his facial hair grooming products and "You haven't heard the last of me!" exit line (until Top Chef All Stars: Foam and Rap airs), nine cheftestants are left to duke it out for the title.
On last night's episode, the chefs find Padma (dressed like an Oscar) and Target's fanciest clothing designer, Isaac Mizrahi (dressed like Michael Kors) waiting for them in the kitchen. Angelo tells us his two passions are food and fashion and saying anything that will make us think he isn't deranged. Too late, Angelo. You had us at "Russian bride."
After Padma pimps her jewelry line (huh?) and Mizrahi rattles off something about Xerox machines and fashion, Padma's voice is dubbed back in to add that Mizrahi is the co-host of some wannabe Project Runway show while the cheftestants nod their heads politely and wonder when the hell this pimp-fest is going to end so they can friggin' cook already.
Quickfire Challenge The chefs are told they must prepare food that's meant to be looked at, not tasted, which makes perfect sense for a cooking show. Mizrahi will judge purely on aesthetics. How can anyone top a Quickfire Challenge like this one? Answer: They can't. It's the worst idea for a Quickfire, ever. E-V-E-R.
Not surprisingly, the chaos happens quickly and painfully.
Spoiler alerts ahead, haters!
Blais is doing something that looks like frozen charcoal turds, Tre is putting polka-dotted whatevers on a plate, Antonia re-created a frightening version of Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree, Fabio says that Angelo's dish looks like a bag of vomit (it does) while putting the finishing touches on his shit-sterpiece of fish blobs, and Mizrahi is presenting himself as a paranoid and touchy fashion designer -- how unheard of.
"I mean there's nothing more delicious than a raw egg, is there?" Mizrahi says to Padma, "Especially when it doesn't have salmonella." Ew. Isaac, please pack up your fashion freak show and go back to your super-sane and not-insufferable world of fashion.
Of course, when it comes to crazy, good ol' Angelo doesn't disappoint. After telling Mizrahi his favorite designer isn't him and then can't explain why, he scrawls the word "crocodile" on the table but spells it "CROCADILE." Mizrahi likens this to "Charles Manson or something," which would be funny if this wasn't the same man talking about Xerox machines and salmonella only minutes ago.
After an eternity of ridiculousness and wasted food, Mizrahi praises Padma for "such a challenging challenge" (sigh) and deems Blais the winner for his black ice cream no one on this top-rated cooking show even tasted -- bravo, Bravo!
Elimination Challenge Three Italian guys walk into the kitchen and already this segment is more interesting than Isaac Mizrahi. The challenge: Cook a three-course Italian meal for the Italian-American owners of famous NYC landmark Rao's Restaurant: Frankie No, "Junior," and Dino the Chef. The chefs are broken into three teams, Antipasti, Primi, and Secondi. Each chef is solely responsible for their own dish. The three Italians (Mike, Antonia, and Fabio) are all on different teams. Coincidence? Hmm.
Quiet kitchen. Tiffany's polenta catches fire, but she has more.
Antonia says that Rao reminds her of an old-school Italian restaurant. Note to Antonia: Rao is an old-school Italian restaurant. Now, please be quiet.
The judges' table includes guest judge
Karen Hill Lorraine Bracco who, thankfully, knows to flush the cocaine down the toilet and hide the gun in her panties should Rao be raided by the fuzz. Anthony Bourdain has decided to show up as well and everyone starts talking about Goodfellas and trying to out-Italian each other -- except for Padma, who says nothing. Ugh.
The ladies -- Antonia, Tiffany, and Carla -- kick ass with their antipasti course, with Antonia's family-style mussels being the favorite. Team pasta -- Tre, Mike, and Dale -- all tank miserably with undercooked and overcooked dishes that Bourdain is making snide, Mafia-type jokes about (witness protection program, hiding dead bodies) and that every Italian at the table has heard a million times. Team segundi ends the evening respectfully with the continuing man love between Fabio and Blais in full swing.
Judges' Table Fabio and the ladies are the favorites, with Antonia taking the win for her steamed mussels. In the stew room, everyone is pissed (especially Fabio) that Antonia's steamed mussels dish won and stare in shock for what seems like hours before they applaud her win. Damn Haters. The Black Hammer gonna come down on you, hard.
Tre, Dale, and Mike of the bad pasta brigade are in the losers lineup. After admissions of errors, hung heads, and a beating by the judges, Tre is asked to pack his knives (and sexy ass) and go.
Next Week: Jimmy friggin' Fallon!