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Top Chef Recaps: Yes, Toby Young Still On Show

The epic New York season of Top Chef is finally upon us. To honor the occasion, New York comedian Max Silvestri takes us through the season episode by episode. His take, below:

2009_01_topchefrecap.jpgAccording to a friend who read Tom's blog on Bravo's website, Toby Young was under the mistaken impression last week that he was brought on to Simon Cowell it up with his cruel and acerbic British "wit." He was wrong. He was brought on to be a competent food judge. Whoops! Maybe he's been told by producers to cool it with the terrible jokes? Who knows. I could read Tom's blog myself, but I'm a comedian, not a journalist, and this is Top Chef, not Top Scallop.

This episode begins with two very important reminders. One, Leah and Hosea still love cuddling. Don't they both have significant O's? Maybe it doesn't count because they are cooks and eating ain't cheating or something. And two, one can buy Hosea's "I Heart Padma" t-shirt on bravotv.com. Shoot, I hope I don't break my laptop trying to log onto that page too quickly. I hope you can also buy a t-shirt that says "It's Not a Bald Spot, It's a Solar Panel for My Murdering-Toby-Young Machine."

Padma welcomes Hung as the guest judge for this week's Quickfire. Hung's just the best. I genuinely wake up missing him every single day. (Huh?) As Hung loves fresh ingredients and is the "fastest chef in Top Chef history," the chefs have only fifteen minutes to make a dish out of canned food. Conceptually perrrrrrfect. Obviously Ariane is pumped because she was not even aware you could get ingredients not in cans.

Everybody runs to grab cans off the cart as there is such limited time (in honor of Hung). Jeff says it's like a mosh pit! Is it, Jeff? How many mosh pits would you say you and your hair have been in? 30? 40? Am I getting warmer? Meanwhile, Hosea's pissed that Stefan's "boyfriend Fabio wouldn't even give [him] any fucking artichokes." Settle down, Stef and Fab are not even exclusive. And I think you still have a chance to beat Ariane's horrendous looking open-faced sandwich. My dad says that in the army they called that S.O.S. for "shit on a shingle". I never quite understood what that means, but I think Ariane's dish made me realize that the bread is the shingle and the gravy and meat on top look just like she shat on it. Thanks for bringing me and my father closer, A-Train.

Hung picks Hosea, Stefan and Jeff as his favorites. And despite all Hosea's brow furrowing, Stefan is the winner. Oh man, H-Monkey is so mad. Literally fuming. Stefan: "I fucking nailed it." Hosea: "I really wish I had not give him the spam he so desperately needed to win." Sorry, but Stefan made a velveeta grilled cheese, that shit's the best no doy.

For this week's Elimination Challenge, the chefs draw knives and split into teams to make a family style lunch using seasonal ingredients. Jeff, Fab and Radhika are cooking pork. HoLeah and Ariane are making lamb, and Stefan, Jamie and Carla are cooking chicken. Will everyone get along? Stefan and Jamie will not. Stefan loves Jamie when she's pissed off and I'm pretty sure he's being difficult just to get himself aroused. Carla just can't create in that energy, in that friction. She should spray them down with Pam, maybe, and then hold up a lighter and point the can at herself.

The chefs hop in the van to go to Whole Foods Market to buy their ingredients. But wait, this van is not taking them to Whole Foods Market, they are going to a place with trees. Oh shit, it's Dan Barber and his whole team at Blue Hill at Stone Barns. Shit's about to get real. From farm to table, everybody.

The chefs go to meet their meat. Fabio is in awe of the pigs. He is not a vegetarian. "But dis doesn't mean that I don't respect another life. You born, you been raise it, and you get killed for the porpoise, but stillin dis lifetime process, you should deserve respect." Aren't those the lyrics to Circle of Life in the Lion King? Not at all? OK.

Stefan checks out the hens, and he fixates on how he is the only male around. Every other living creature near him has either a vagina or cloaca. Must be tough, Stefan! You are the only cock in the stall.

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Once in the kitchen, Teams Lamb and Pork proceed to ruin their respective animals. They take it off the bone, they tenderize it, they tie it unevenly, they remove the best fat, they slice it against the grain. Total amateur hour. Dan Barber's gonna be so mad, guys.

The judges are roundly impressed with Team Chicken, and Dan Barber awards the entire team the Winnership. Everyone's happy except Stefan kinda who secretly wishes he could have won by himself. I love him.

The judges' favorite pork dish? Fried green tomatoes. Ouch. Toby Young (does not) say, "And much like the hit film Fried Green Tomatoes, I felt as a diner that that rest of my meal was like Mary Stuart Masterson watching the tastebuds of her high school sweetheart, played by Chris O'Connell, get stuck in the train tracks of amateur techniques and then get run over by a locomotive of poor preparation." Oh wait, he actually says "the pesto is the big bad wolf that has blown this team's house down." Are you saying that the pesto really wanted to get into the team's figurative house? Did the pesto try dressing up as an old lady? But the tomatoes are good enough to make Team Pork only the second worst team.

The judges tear apart the butchering of the lamb. Lots of blame to go around. No one is coming off well here. During deliberations, Toby and Padma get into it when Toby says he pities Ariane because can't cook, and Padma's all "actually, she's cooked well before" and Toby says "but isn't our rubric that we only judge on their performance today" and Tom the Decider says "that is completely correct." Oh snap! Gonna be a lot of tension in the locker room after this one. Hit the showers, everybody

But first: Ariane, you go home (just over the bridge or through the tunnel). Despite all my Ariane hate this season, I actually feel bad about this one. She had started to cook better food, and then got thrown under the bus by Hosea and Leah who seem a little brainless and distracted these days. Young love, everybody. It's the worst.
— Max Silvestri
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