Last week, blue crab carnage and a goodbye to Baltimore boy Timothy Dean. This week, tortured Cold War references. It's just another day in the Top Chef DC universe.
This week's episode starts with the standards: shots of chefs in bed and talking heads lamenting the loss of the most recent contestant. Apparently Tim was a bit of a father figure. Who knew?
As our cheftestants enter the kitchen for the Quickfire, they realize two things: 1) Miami chef Michelle Bernstein will be guest judging; and, 2) they're about to embark on the annual Fear Factor protein Quickfire. The selection of proteins layed out before them ranges from foie gras (not scary) to duck white kidneys (aka duck testicles aka scary).
The chefs draw knives to decide who will pick first and nobody feels sorry for Annoying Amanda, whose last place spot leaves her with an emu egg that requires a hacksaw and fire-retardant gloves to crack.
Andrea, however, spends some time feeling sorry for herself, because she knows Bernstein from Miami, where apparently they used to be rivals until Andrea chose the Mommy track and Bernstein chose the rich-and-famous track. Andrea is uncomfortable being judged by someone she perceives as a semi-peer and she obviously struggles a little with how she thinks Bernstein views her. I won't be snarky here because I feel for her - I do. It's not always easy to make the decision to focus on family over a bright career and even if you never regret having kids, there are always what-ifs. And that is the end of my "it's tough to be a woman, or even a man" rant.
Back to the Quickfire: everyone's operating at various levels of comfort (Angelo did not realize he was signing on for duck ball marshmallows), when Padma announces a twist: everyone is to take over the protein to their left. Collective groans all around, except from Amanda, who is more than happy to pass her emu eggs onto Kelly. Who is not that psyched to receive them.
In the end, though, Kelly's emu egg omelette, though simple, is the big winner, while Stephen's "insipid" frog legs, Alex's dry ostrich and Andrea's dry boar (driven, apparently, by her psychological drama) end up on the bottom. Kelly receives immunity, too, which is huge in this challenge.
Onto the Elimination Challenge, which involes one of the most drawn out, miserable puns we've seen in Top Chef history. Tom and Padma say something about the Cold War - which has been over for nearly 20 years, last time I checked - and explain that the cheftestants' challenge will be to make a cold dish. The twist is that they'll divide into two groups. Group A will taste Group B's food and vice versa, and each group will be able to nominate one chef for elimination and one for the win.
Next up, the cheftestants are delivered to the USS Sequoia, "the Air Force One of ships," where apparently Kennedy and Nixon did some negotiating, or something. In one of the more pointless scenes on the show, the chefs wander around the ship - which is cool - to plan their meals and potentially sabotage one another. And that's it. The boat's just there to look pretty, apparently.
Next, to Whole Foods, then to the kitchen. There's much discussion of elimination strategy - Will they try to get rid of their strongest competitors? Is this Survivor all of a sudden? - and whether Angelo is actually helping Tamesha with his advice, or hurting her. He tells the camera that he's "here to win," which is just about as close to "I'm not here to make friends" as you can get.
There's little cooking drama this week, with all the focus on the actual tasting. Group A, which includes Angelo, Tamesha, Tiffany, Stephen, Andrea, and Kelly (who tastes with both groups), is pretty harsh - bad enough that at one point, Tom and Gail counter their assertions that Kevin's dish is lacking acid.
They must be pretty convincing because Kevin ends up nominated for the win for his tuna and veal surf and turf, while powerhouse Kenny is nominated for elimination for his big old mess of lamb. It's hard to tell if Kenny really deserved the nom, or if Amanda should've gotten it for her cartilage-filled chicken galantine. We may never know.
The second group (Kevin, Kenny, Ed, Amanda, Alex and Kelly) is a little less harsh, though still critical, and ends up nominating Tiffany and her seared tuna in gazpacho for the win and Tamesha and her oddly cooked scallops for elimination.
Kevin wins for his dish, which the judges call "delectable," and he's given a week-long trip to Hawaii, which is pretty sweet if you ask me. I'm sure his wife and kids agree.
Anyone who's ever watched an episode of Top Chef knows what happens next: Tamesha goes home. Because, say it together, this is not Top Scallop. Seriously, when will the cheftestants realize that scallops just do not show well in this competition?
Tamesha laments letting Angelo have so much influence over her, but in the end, she's extremely calm (as per usual - she might be the least excitable chef ever), says her thank yous and says goodbye.
Oh, one more thing I forgot to mention: in the DVR buster, Ed reveals that he and Angelo have, ahem, shared. Ed dated Angelo's girlfriend just before Angelo did. How did they wait until now to reveal this? What other gross surprises do they have in store for us???
And that is all for this week's episode. What did you think? Was Kenny unfairly nominated? Should Amanda have had a shot to go home? Was Kevin the rightful winner? Could the Cold War puns have been worse? Please leave a comment with your thoughts....