And we’re back! After what was — in retrospect, after much prayer and reflection — a pretty damn awesome premiere episode, it’s time to see if this All-Starry All-Star Season of Too Many All-Stars can keep up the momentum of originally devious challenges, which should pair nicely with a bottle of vintage douchebag.
(Who am I talking about? THISGUY. Of course.)
Last week, Blais was disqualified, Fabio was shocked — shocked! — to realize that Anthony Motherfucking Bourdain is not always *nice*, Elia was sent packing, or is perhaps still hiding out in one of the extra chins a couple of our male All-Stars seem to have picked up since we saw them last.
And oh Jesus, no more than three seconds in, we’ve got ourselves a Jonas brother, people. Spike helpfully identifies him as “Joe,” but I make a note to fact-check that later because Spike also refers to him as a “huge rock star.”
(Angry Dale has no idea who Joe Jonas is. “I thought maybe he was a pastry chef?” No, though maybe the whole “virgin” thing might explain why all those Top Chef Just Desserts people were such whiny-ass bitches.)
Quickfire challenge: The Jonas Person is hosting a “Night at the Museum” sleepover for a shitload of screaming little small people-types, and the chefs need to come up with a special midnight snack for the kiddos. There will be no utensils, and the snack must be presented in a paper bag. CUT TO: Fabio, probably thinking about his sad-sack pasta dish from last week, which was TOTALLY served on a paper bag, like no WONDER Bourdain didn’t understand it, because Fabio was simply ONE EPISODE AHEAD OF HIS TIME.
Unidentified Jonas Object tries to punk the chefs by telling them they only have 30 seconds, but the joke doesn’t go over that well because the chefs all completely believe him, because they HAVE, in fact, watched the show before. They actually have 45 minutes.
Angry Dale steals all the sugar and doesn’t return it to the pantry, then threatens to lace his corncakes with Nyquil. Chins McIsabella insults his mom’s brown-bag lunches, Tiffani-with-an-i admits that she was a complete asshole during the cooking-for-kids challenge of her season, and Blais admits that as a kid, he used to pour heavy cream into his cereal.
*is suddenly looking inordinately forward to breakfast*
Jonas Version 3.4290 and Padma go around and taste. The bottom three are Tiffany-with-a-y for her super-messy rice pudding balls, Mike for his not-very-chocolate-y whatever balls, and Stephen, because he is Stephen. Also: balls.
He only names two favorites: Spike and Tiffani-with-an-i, who looks thoroughly stunned to hear her name. A couple of y’all promised in the comments last week that I would grow to love her, and I believe it may already be happening. Are you guys…witches? You have to tell me if you’re witches. It’s the law or something.
Twist time! Eyebrows Jonas will NOT be picking the winner…instead, they’ll be going to the museum to let the kids decide. Right before we head to commercial, Happydale expresses his general dislike of children. “They’re called brats for a reason.” Yeah, well. Your whole head got alarmingly rotund, Happydale. So there. I can be a brat too.
Tiffani and Spike pick their teams, but neither of them want to play dodgeball with Fabio. Padma lets him pick his own team — he goes with Spike “to piss him off.” I have to say, Fabio is accomplishing something downright amazing tonight: It has not even REGISTERED to me that Angelo is somewhere in this episode, skulking around all creepily and mail-ordering brides or whatever the hell.
I swear I hear Jennifer refer to the little sandwich baggies as “Ziploc” and I momentarily think ZOMG GLADWARE SPONSOR FAIL, but then I see a close-up of the bags and see that they do indeed look like the Ziploc brand. Or perhaps it is Padma’s totally NEW sandwich storage system that SHE invented?
(This will never not be funny to me, BTW.)
It’s kind of telling that out of this entire main-event cooking portion, a mention of SANDWICH BAG brands completely captured my attention and single-handedly derailed this whole recap. Not Much Happened, is my point, because the next thing we know, we’re at the museum and children are pouring in and Puffydale presumably starts screaming in terror, or chasing them with a rake.
Fabio calls them cows, and then Tasmanian Devils, Jamie professes her desire to Never Have Any Children Ever and Tiffani starts screaming CHOCOLATE MOONPIE! CHOCOLATE MOONPIE! The kids don’t like Spike’s raisins and then the Brownish Bouffanty Jonas shows up and it’s alllll over but the sugar-fueled vote-screaming. Spike’s savory carrot-and-raisin option did not go over well at all, and Team Sugary Crunchy Chocolate-y Moonpie is the winner by a landslide of Beiber-fever-like proportions.
For some reason, I assumed this extended quickfire was serving as the Elimination Challenge, though for the life of me I wasn’t sure how that was going to work. And…that’s because I was wrong. Tom shows up and greets the exhausted chefs amid a terrible sea of discarded paper bags and picked-out raisins and tells them that the elimination challenge starts…NOW.
The teams remain, and they will also remain right there at the museum, all night. Then they’ll make breakfast in the morning. They can cook with whatever they find in the museum kitchen and that’s it. The “theme” is centered around the dinosaur exhibit — the T-Rex and the brontosaurus. One team gets to cook with the T-Rex diet (meat and more tasty meat, along with eggs and dairy), while the other team is limited to a veggiesaurus diet: fruits, vegetables and grains. Tiffani, as the quickfire winner, gets to choose. Which: Duh.
The chefs are allowed to sleep a little first, on some cots, upon which the crew have nicely provided Top Chef jammies and flashlights. Stephen kvetches about missing his loft in downtown Manhattan and says the cot provides for some “uncomfortability, if you will” and I hit the pause button on the remote, get up, walk across the room and punch my TV right in the center of his goddamn stupid face.
Meanwhile, Tre (oh right, where’s he been?) is all, “I sleep naked. My style, it is cramped, and stuff.”
Some of the boys decide to forgo the 45 minutes or so of sleep and go on a flashlight tour of the museum, reasoning that it’s better to just power through rather than deal with post-nap sleepybrain. It’s not a bad point, but then they stumble upon a naked missing-link ape woman model and Puffydale snarks that he’s “seen that before — it’s Casey in the morning.” CUT TO: A shot of a fresh-faced, gorgeous Casey. CUT BACK TO: Dale’s fat greasy smirking head. Which I only imagine punching, because the Stephen thing took a lot out of me.
The teams arrive in the kitchen and survey their ingredient choices, and Team Meatosaurus realizes they may have made a critical error: carnivore does not equal omnivore. Crucial stuff like acid, herbs and flour are off-limits. They are strictly meat, eggs, dairy only. Team Veggiesaurus, on the other hand, is absolutely thrilled with the bounty and variety of fruits and vegetables and grains available to them.
Wahhhhmbulance break! Jamie slices the hell out of her thumb and leaves to get stitches. A decision that is met with a teensy bit of derision from some of the other chefs who have stuck around through challenges despite burns, cuts and broken fingers. Things are not looking good for Team Meatosaurus. Casey is expressing some concerns (to the camera, anyway) about Jen’s soggy-textured pork belly, which as we learned last week: PORK BELLY IS THE OFFICIAL DISH OF DEATH ON THIS SHOW. DO NOT ATTEMPT. Jen tastes her pork, though, and declares it perfect, so Casey shrugs it off.
Some of the Veggiesaurus fare (gazpacho, butterless gnocchi) does not sound super attractive for 7:30 in the morning, however.
The chefs move outside to serve and there’s some drama about plums between Angelo and Marcel and Carla and untrustworthiness and messing with a man’s mise en place and zzzzzzz.
Jamie returns with…two stitches. More chefs rag on the wussiness of her two measly stitches, including — surprise! Puffydale, who tells her (not really, of course, he just says it to the camera) to “be a real chef.” Gosh, he’s a likable one, all of a sudden.
Customers! It’s…the kids from the night before, plus their parents. Did we know this? I didn’t know this. The chefs don’t seem shocked…though they all admit that yeah, they didn’t exactly make kid-friendly dishes or anything. No chocolate whoopie pies for breakfast, kids! Here, have some gnocchi with mushrooms, leeks and spinach instead, first damn thing in the morning.
The kids pretty much hate everything. It’s all too spicy and weird and texture-y and stuff! The judges (who are tragically Bourdainless this week) seem like they’re trying very hard to make the kids feel like their opinions matter, so mostly it’s just Tom saying, “Okay! Mm-hmm. Yeah. Which intern picked the kids for our table? Because I think he might need to die now.”
But no! Really! The kids are the judges “favorite part” of the day. Honest! Because they are not baby-haters like Puffydale and Jamie. Also: Totes paid to say that. Also: Padma’s boobs. Holy wowza.
Team Veggiesaurus is called first. They’re the winners, which damn, that means a whole heapload of asshole gets to stick around for another week — Stephen, Angelo, Fabio, Isabella, Marcel — lord, it’s amazing this team didn’t rip a hole in the stretched-out granny panty fabric of the universe. The winning dish was the only vaguely breakfasty one, a simple banana parfait with fruit and “tandoori maple” that was produced jointly by Marcel, Angelo and Blais.
Team Meatosaurus tries to call bullshit on the challenge, reasoning that a T-Rex would eat a damn brontosaurus, therefore aspects of the herbivore diet should have been available to them. Tom points out that he did indeed specifically say they’d be limited to meat, eggs and dairy, sooooo? “Yeah, but…” No. Shut up. Your food sucked.
Excuses about oven troubles felling the frittatas, Tre’s over-reduced sauce, and then a hissy fit from Jen, who insists that she — and the team — do not deserve to be there. She tasted the other team’s food — every dish! — and makes a patronizing little snap sound with her mouth implying that the judges are wrong, and then oh dear God, responds to a question about their decision to pile everything on a single plate, buffet style ,with something about the judges being Big Kids who could have asked for another plate. There’s some mumblings about Jamie not working through her injury and then it’s back to Jen’s Epic Tantrum of Smirkface. She maintains that her dish was 100% flawless in seasoning, texture and execution. (Casey, who expressed concerns similar to what the judges are now saying, wisely keeps her mouth shut.) Jen admits she never argued during her season, but says, “Welcome to Jen All-Stars.”
Tom seems to dig her mouthiness, though, and maintains that someone will go home for a bad dish, not for arguing.
Or…not. Because Jen totally gets sent home. Damn! Pork belly strikes again! Future Top Chefs, take note. Jen All-Stars’ newly found backbone quickly crumbles, and she’s barely out the door when her mic picks up her expletive-laced sobbing fit over not making it even close to the finals. I admit I’m surprised too — I had her pegged as a threat and a contender, but alas, it was not to be. Again.
Next week, double elimination! Do you hear that, All-Star Douchebag Contingent? I like those odds.