Previousliesssz: We had our second “oh dayuuuum” caliber elimination as the formidable, admirable Casey was sent home for the truly unforgivable twin sins 1) taking a big risk, and 2) being a team player.
Meanwhile, Jamie once again 1) refused to take the role her team asked of her, 2) screwed up a scallop dumpling dish (and green beans. GREEN BEANS!), and 3) was rewarded with another pass. If you are possibly already sick of me constantly enumerating the ways that Jamie makes. Me. So. Angry. This season, then 1) sorry, and 2) I suggest you find another source for your recappage needs, because JAMIE! MAKESMESOANGRY!
We kick things off tonight right back in last week’s stew room, as everyone laments Casey’s passing, now that she has been ritualistically executed off-screen with a Ginsu knife.
Antonia: She attacked this challenge, she was like, I’m not just gonna put up a DUMPLING.
Jamie: Right. Totally. Yeah. Wait, what?
Meanwhile, in the winner’s circle, Marcel is apparently bitching about Dale’s win and I guess a disparity in the amount of portions they each plated? He’s accusing Dale of only serving the judges and none of the diners?
It’s something like that, and Marcel continues his rant back on the roof of the apartment, along with a giant-ass bottle of gin. He drunkenly flails his arms around in what he clearly imagines is a tough-guy way and gets in Dale’s face about I DUNNO HOW Y’ALL DO IT IN UR SEASONS BUT I EMBRACE THE CHALLENGEZ AND MAKE FOOD FOR THE FUCKING PEOPLE (chug chug chug) AND ALSO WHATEVER BLEEP BLEEP FURTHERMORE 20 DISHES WHATEVER 120 DISHES (chug) BLEEP LITTLE BITCH GAME PLAYING BLEEP YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW, MAAAAN. YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW. I’M JUST GOIN’ THROUGH SOME THINGS.
And then! Dale the Formerly Angry Little Peanut admits that he went through anger management training since we last saw him. He is Zen Dale. Whatever Dale. STFU Eyeroll Dale. I think I like this Dale.
Tre: I’m starting to notice that Marcel is kind of an asshole.
Marcel isn’t even given the time to sleep off his drunken douchetantrum, as the chefs are all ordered up and out well before the crack of dawn. They arrive at the Top Chef kitchen to a “Gone Fishing” sign and a note from Padma and Tom: MEET US IN MONTAUK.
(I hereby rechristen this episode “Eternal Scallops of the Spotless Cooking Station.”)
They arrive in Montauk to be told exactly what we already know: They’re going fishing. No Quickfire this week, just five hours on a boat to catch as many fish as they can. Then cook those fish at a beach party for 200 people. Four teams of three, because why the hell NOT make it another fucking team challenge? Lord knows we haven’t already had like, a million of those in six episodes so far.
But! It’s also another Double Elimination! Dun dun etc.
Team three (Angelo, Mike, Tiffany) and four (Blais, Fabio, Marcel) are sent out on one boat, while Angelo admits that he’s still never gotten over seeing Jaws and is scared of the water. So if you see his Murder Van? Jump in a puddle, I guess. Fabio knows everything there is to know about the fishing and the passion for the fishing and zzzzz.
Team one (Dale, Carla, Tre) and two (Antonia, Jamie, Tiffani) head out on a second boat, and 30 seconds later Dale the Fisherman’s Son hooks his first fish.
There’s a lot of fish-catching screaming action on the second boat at the one-hour mark, but by hour two, teams three and four are still completely fishless. Finally, they start catching fish, and then…the other team catches some fish. And…other…stuff. About. Fishing. Dale’s fish is a giant-ass dragon that’s as big as he is. Blais sits in Marcel’s lap and holds his rod. Fish. Fishfish!
Okay. Moving on. The teams shop at an absolutely glorious-looking farmer’s market. The words “I’m excited about this challenge” come out of Jamie’s mouth, as she continues to dead-eye stare at the camera, clearly just beside herself with said excitement.
There’s a quick Moment With Tre where he talks about missing his “best friend,” his wife, but his shirt stays on the whole time so whatever, it’s back to the Nobody Thinks Very Much Of Jamie Show! She whines! She complains! She’s a big giant baby two rows behind you on an airplane and wah wah wah!
Team Blais/Marcel/Fabio are getting the dysfunctional edit, with Fabio doing all the prep and generally getting bossed around by Blais while Blais frets that he’s let Marcel make too many decisions for the team’s dish (SINGULAR, which oh nooooes, Blais, have you people ever WATCHED this show?).
Carla and Tiffani both attempt to create good dishes out of oily bluefish. Carla admits it’s a “trashy” fish that needs a creative approach, while Tiffani tries to convince Tom that SHE thinks it’s actually a really lovely fish. You can literally see the terror seeping from her eyeballs when she says this and realizes that Tom is not agreeing with her in the slightest.
The guests and judges and our guest judge Kerry Hefferman, executive chef at South Gate, who Padma introduces to the teams with little more fanfare than “yeah, hey, this guy”, arrive and start sampling the offerings. (Where the fuck is Bourdain, by the way?) I’ll try keep it all straight:
Team BlaisMarcelio: Sea bass and succotash, corn puree, tomato confit, concord gastrique and jamon air. One dish. Oooonnnne dish. Meaning, it better fucking be mindblowing, but the judges’ collective minds remain mostly unblown.
Dale presents the Biggest Bass Ever In The History Of The World To Ever Fit Into A Fish Taco with corn and avocado relish, creme faiche, radishes and cabbage. A solid hit with everyone.
Carla offers a smoked bluefish lettuce wrap with pickled watermelon rind, more radishes and…bagel croutons. Several diners declare it their favorite.
Tre serves his version of a “gazpacho salad.” IT’S NOT A SOUP! At least not…technically. It’s striped bass with tomato, cucumber and avocado and what looks like gazpacho for dressing. The judges seem to like it.
Jamie serves striped bass, watermelon salad with dill, shaved radishes (OY with the radishes already) and cucumber water. Tom thinks it’s really, REALLY watery.
Tiffani also smoked her bluefish and served it with tomato, roasted corn and zucchini ribbon salad. This does not go over nearly as well as Carla’s.
Antonia also had a tough fish — porgy, and chose to make an open-faced po-boy with Old Bay mayo and cabbage slaw. Everyone loves it.
Team Tiffany/Angelo/Mike made two team dishes instead of individual ones: Pickled bluefish, spicy watermelon, shallots, red chilies, confit potato and dill; and striped bass with corn puree, tomato, aleppo spice rub and watermelon. They both seem all right, but my interest is fading from all this corn and tomato business.
Stew room. The first teams called to Judges’ Table are Dale, Carla, Tre and Angelo, Tiffany, Mike. Marcel tries to point out that the first to go aren’t ALWAYS the winners, but Antonia assures him that yeah no, I’m pretty sure we’re the bottom.
And she’s right.
Blah blah everything was great and cooked perfectly and wonderful and we loved it all so hard blah. Tom declares Carla’s bluefish lettuce wrap “brilliant” and it FINALLY dawns on me that the bagel chips were a play on a smoked fish and bagel riiiight as she’s declared the winner. AGAIN! Well played, Hootie Hoo. Well played indeed. And she’s going to Amsterdam.
Seriously. She won with LETTUCE. No one has ever won Top Chef with LETTUCE!
(Note: Please don’t fact-check me on the lettuce thing. I actually have no idea.)
She’s so excited that she dances back into the stew room and shrieks her news, only to get bitched out by Marcel who snarks, “Excuse me for not being super excited, but that means we’re in the bottom.” Like that’s Carla’s fault, or something. She’s immediately deflated and whispers that the judges want to see everybody else, and then mournfully frets to her fellow top-tiers that she should have contained her excitement. Dammit, Marcel. You’re such a small little douche sometimes, honestly.
Predictably, Blais, Fabio and Marcel get major dings for preparing just one dish. It needed to be perfect, and instead it was kind of overkill, and was so restaurant-fancy with the foams and doo-dahs that it didn’t really fit on the menu of a beach party. Tom digs for the “trust issues” between Blais and Fabio that were made so much of in the earlier editing but the guys all clam up and refuse to do any bus-throwing. Not even a little toy Matchbox bus! Boo! No fun!
As for Antonia’s fried po-boy, Tom tells her that had she not had such craptastic teammates, she probably would have been going to Amsterdam, because it was actually quite fantastic and everybody’s favorite. Well shit. I’m still thrilled for Carla and all, but could we MAYBE step away from these complicated team challenges once or twice so the actual best dish gets the win and the actual worst dish goes home, all straightforward like? Like in the old days? Or something?
Jamie’s cucumber water was…watery. Everything else was bland. Shocking. Tiffani’s bluefish was overpowering (she left the skin and bloodline on) and everything was out of balance. The judges pepper Antonia with questions, trying to get her to trash talk her teammate’s offerings…or possibly admit that she could have helped them but didn’t? Or something? She decides to cry instead. Great. Thanks. We’ll call you back in a few minutes, you useless sacks of non-drama.
Decision time. As much as I’d hate to see the female contingent hacked down by two full members tonight, I simply cannot fathom this competition without Blais in it, so I manage to destroy a good two or three fingernails in the agonizing 45 seconds or so during Padma’s final loooooong dramatic pause….and…
Tiffani. And…(seriously, Padma pauses again, like there’s ANY mystery left here)…Jamie. It’s so inevitable it’s not even mildly interesting. It’s as exciting as cucumber water, as exciting as Jamie is when she’s really, really excited about something.
Tiffani’s fish. It’s…a tad gelatinous-looking for my tastes, I think.
My long-awaited squee-fest is tempered by Tiffani’s bummer of an ouster, though, even though she never seemed to really hit her stride and emerge as a threat. She was likable and she tried hard, and she took this shit seriously. So Tiffani? I wish you nothing but awesome. And Jamie? Well.
Mmmm, yellowish fish-water with green flecks. My favorite!
Next week: RESTAURAAAAAAAANT WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!TOP POSTS