Top Chef: Spam! Is this Spam?

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September 3, 2009

2:31 PM

In the opening portion of Wednesday’s episode of “Top Chef” we saw the cheftestants debriefing after Eve’s elimination during the Boys v. Girls challenge, when suddenly Preeti realizes that all of her roommates are being eliminated one after another. Hmm, wonder what that means for her future?

Waiting for them in the kitchen for their quickfire challenge were baskets upon baskets of exotic potatoes (who knew there were more than ten?) and the aptly named Mark Peel. It just seems like they have gotten lazy with this challenge, because when have they ever just given them one ingredient and told them to go forward? The twist could be you have to serve them raw to a group of octogenarians. Where is the creativity?

Surprisingly, some of the chefs were actually befuddled by the potatoes. In what seems to be the natural thought process of a chef under fire, they decided to go instantly for ice creams, soups, and gnocchi, because that is what you naturally do with a potato. Jesse, Eli and Ron were in the bottom three, while Ash and Ashley were up top. Jennifer won with her mussel dish, to which a needlessly bitter and sexist Mike grumbled favoritism, because she couldn’t possibly cook on her own.

In this week’s elimination challenge, they had to cook for members of the Thunderbirds at Nellis Air Force Base with military rations, including Spam, as their main staples. The cheftestants were told they would be working as a group, but instead they decided to split into teams. Bitter, sexist Mike appointed Jennifer as their leader, probably so he could hold it against her if they failed. The two brothers ended up not working together, so Brother Bryan worked with confused Running of the Bulls contestant Mattin, with whom he made beef with a cauliflower confit and a demi-glaze, or as they call it, comfort food (just like Grandma y’all).

Of course, each chef had to give an interview explaining why this challenge is intensely personal and important to him or her. Probably the most absurd was Preeti’s explanation that she became a chef because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Really? I could understand if she worked with the military in any way at all, but a restaurant chef? Seriously?

Once all of the military personnel and their families had eaten, the editors made what was quite possibly one of the most touching moments of Top Chef. After going around and having all of the families express their gratitude, you would think that nobody was going to get eliminated. But because Bravo had nearly half an hour left to fill with Glad-related plug-ins, somebody had to go.

At the Judge’s Table, Eli and Kevin, neither of whom will ever stop explaining that they are from the south, earned high marks with the pulled pork dish. But the ultimate prize went to Brother Mike, who, along with Sexist Mike, made a dish that was, in essence, a piece of bacon on lettuce. But the twists didn’t stop there. Sexist Mike was called back to the Judge’s Table for a shrimp dish he unnecessarily made to help out the team, and boy, was he bitter about that. In the end, it was Preeti who went home for her drab pasta salad (which any of us could have made here in a dorm, by the way). Foreshadowing isn’t just in fiction.

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