Top Chef Finals Take a Nasty Turn

By Karen

Top Chef spared no expense to fly the last 5 all-stars to the fabulous Atlantis resort in Nassau in exchange for the privilege of misleading, sabotaging, endangering, and utterly exhausting them.

In the Quickfire, the cheftestants went head-to-head with the winners of their respective seasons, cooking outdoors in the sun (why?) on several nonworking burners. Carla couldn’t finish her rice, and Padma pounced on it as incisively as when she revealed to the nation that Target doesn’t sell coconuts.

For the Elimination, the chefs were told they were cooking for Bahamian royalty and logically assumed bluebloods would expect high-end fare. They planned accordingly with lamb and lobster and fantasized about working in a palatial kitchen for a change.

But the police escorted them to a nondescript fish restaurant where a bunch of nobodies in colorful costumes were dancing on the sidewalk. Ha, ha! “Royalty” was the “King of Junkanoo,” Bahamian Mardi Gras.

They had to cook in the restaurant’s cramped, ill-equipped kitchen, only to see 2 ½ hours of prep work go up in smoke — literally — when an unused deep fryer ignited. They evacuated while their food was marinated in fire-extinguishing chemicals.

With a shrugging “shit happens” attitude, Colicchio told them to go right back and start over from scratch. The show must go on.

They were tired, they’d had a bad scare, and they had to return to the same sucky kitchen. Any idiot could have predicted the results.

The judges must have still rankled from the excellent dishes served across the board the previous week because they were in full backlash, hunkered down in one of the restaurant’s booths like a bunch of mean girls. Eric Ripert even joined in, albeit with a few gratuitous swipes at fairness.

The only adult at that table turned out to be the King of Junkanoo.

At one point during the disappointing dinner, Gail and Padma wondered aloud if the chefs might be “a little disheartened” by the night’s events.

Let’s see… being flat-out lied to about the diners, having their food ruined in a senseless grease fire, consigned to cook in yet another craphole, or being forced to make their dishes twice?


If any judge dared to say anything even halfway complimentary, he or she was immediately drowned out with nitpicky bitching.

I have never wanted so badly to hit each of them upside the head with a skillet.

In the end, they hated EVERYTHING. The King of Junkanoo, who seemed to mostly like the food, must have felt like a total idiot.

Colicchio began the elimination by dismissively conceding the challenge was “tough,” but assured them the rest would be. Then he had the nerve to ask why they didn’t all rethink their dishes — once they realized they’d gotten a total screw job on who’d be eating them — while they were waiting to hear the outcome of the fire.

I’m sure Colicchio is a real prince in person, but if there were an Emmy for “TV’s Most Sadistic Prick,” he could win it (with stiff competition from Jillian Michaels on Biggest Loser).

To every chef’s credit, nobody blamed the the show’s obvious failure to prepare. That would have been unsportsmanslike. But it was open season for the judges to tear up food that miraculously came out as well as it did in spite of every effort to sabotage it.

Padma was offended by the sweet apple chip garnish on Carla’s pork. Gail was irate that her portion of Carla’s pork was raw, although that piece seemed to be a one-off. This was after Carla had tried in vain to deep-fry, then grill it BECAUSE THE KITCHEN DIDN’T HAVE A FUCKING OVEN.

Sweet potatoes put Carla’s dish over the top, and the judges’ unanimously damned it as “too much like a dessert.”

To hear them tell it, you’d think Carla slathered pork in chocolate ice cream and Nutella with Hershey’s sauce on top.

Tiffany also made pork. Ripert thought it should have been “more complex” and Gail found it “unmemorable.” Tif’s sides were dirty rice, curried slaw, and tomato jam. Ho-hum. THEM again?

Gail kvetched that Mike’s chicken was dry. Ripert thought Richard’s cannelloni was “too soft,” but it was another one-off complaint.

Antonia put pork in her polenta, which Gail said turned the pork into “mystery meat” like school cafeterias serve. (Spoken like a true mean girl.)

In the end, Mike’s dry chicken won and Carla went home for being too sweet.

I’ve revised my prediction for the final challenge. The remaining chefs will be presented with a larder stocked with rotting produce, decomposing meat, and bug-infested starches. Padma will purr, “Your final challenge, chefs, is to use these ingredients to prepare a dish that’s fresh, healthful, and delicious.”

I would love to see the final 3 get the last laugh by poisoning every judge just a little, even though Padma undoubtedly would relish the chance to puke off a few more pounds.

7 Responses to Top Chef Finals Take a Nasty Turn

  1. zappa says:

    Pork,ice cream and Nutella,is that so wrong?
    The best punishment for Padma would be the poison that makes her gain weight,so that the tight ,slutty number that she has planned for the finale doesn’t fit.The islands are then scoured for a tailor who doesn’t have scissors,sewing machine,etc,who can alter her dress in the dark with one hand behind their back…10 minutes before air time

    Zappa’s mom

  2. catsworking says:

    ZM, I think there’s a reality show running in the Bahamas right now called “Top Tailor” where they have several contestants who could do the job under those conditions. I just hope Padma has no problem being repeatedly poked with needles. 😉

  3. adele says:

    ZM and Karen. love the idea of “Top Tailor,”and you’re right, ZM, a poison to make Padma gain weight would be too sweet. I was pissed off at last week’s TC as well. Even Le Berardin would probably close for the night if there were a kitchen fire and all the food contaminated. It just seemed completely unrealistic to make the chefs go on.

    But I knew immediately that Bahamian royalty would probably be some kind of carnival king and queen, and I was surprised that Blais or Carla wouldn’t have figured that out. Carla had worked in the Bahamas and Blais seems pretty erudite about things other than cooking. I mean, come on, at most the Bahamas would have a British governor general — it’s not a monarchy.

    I’ll be watching tonight, but last week’s episode and the cruel and unusual conditions the cheftestants endured may have finally soured me on the series. It looks like they’ll be diving for their food this week; maybe we’ll get to see a shark attack.

  4. catsworking says:

    Adele, I’ve absolutely had it with Top Chef. I’m going to finish out the season because I’ve already invested so much time in it, but no more, Bourdain or no Bourdain. He’s been virtually a nonentity this season anyway.

    I’m sure the reasons they made the chefs go straight back into that kitchen were 1) They had to keep to a production schedule, and 2) They didn’t have a Plan B in case something went wrong, or 3) They thought the fire was a Godsend to heighten the drama and make the chefs pull another all-nighter.

    Only one of my favorites is left — Tiffany — but I’ve gone off her. Now I’m rooting for Antonia or Richard.

    Which means that Mike Isabella will probably win. If Marcel is Charlie Sheen in an apron, then Mike is Richard Hatch (the creep who won the first season of Survivor and has been bouncing in and out of jail ever since for allegedly not paying taxes on the winnings. He’s on Celebrity Apprentice right now, one of the reasons I’m not watching it).

    As for tonight’s upcoming TC episode, it wouldn’t surprise me if the producers actually STOCKED the water with piranhas and sharks just to make it interesting. That’s how those rat-bastards roll.

  5. adele says:

    I’m pulling for Antonia, whom I’ve always liked, but I won’t mind if Blais wins, since I think he’s incredibly talented; I’d just like to eat Antonia’s food more. Mike Isabella seems to be kind of a one-trick pony.

    Considering how intense Richard is, I kind of think he won; otherwise, we might have already read of a self-immolation

  6. adele says:

    Okay, I don’t like Mike Isabella’s personality, but both he and Richard practiced working with conch, knowing that the finale would be in the Bahamas, so cudos to them. I did think that Tom seemed to be in a particularly grumpy mood, and it was hard to tell from the comments, who would win. He called Mike’s dish “greasy” and seemed impressed by Richard’s, but Mike won. Richard is becoming painful to watch.

    I’m hoping that next week our cheftestants are in a real kitchen, not fighting unpredictable heat sources, wind, sand and potential rain — and that they won’t have to dive for their main protein. I can’t believe that there are two more weeks of this.

  7. catsworking says:

    Adele, I just watched the latest episode last night and it only elevated my disgust to new heights.

    It would seem that Colicchio is nursing a boner for Mike.

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