Fine; it’s episode nine. Happy?
This week, Chefs Bayless, Lo, Chiarello and Keller take a field trip to Best Friends Forever State Park, where they go on a nature walk, learn to make hand-dipped wax candles and eat s’mores around a campfire while having a sing-a-long. Bayless plays the harmonica. Unfortunatley, the night takes a sad turn when no one wants to share a tent with Chiarello. (He’s a wetter.)
Okay, maybe not. But if the last two weeks are any indication, that’s what it will seem like.
LAST WEEK: Zoey Deschanel. Vegans, aka “Those People,” according to Gael and UnBalaban. Art Smith’s unbearable mugging and forced good humor are finally banished from our screens. Chiarello is not.
Note: Rick Bayless informs me via Twitter that Chiarello is, in fact, nice. I will report that fact, but that does not negate my need to wail on him non-stop.
10:02: QUICKFIRE: The blindfold taste test. Ooh, I love this one. Crunchy Andrea won in the original, correctly IDing umebohsi, which Chiarello “has never even heard of.”
10:03: Chiarello’s first. Hoisin, FAIL. Chervil, FAIL. Mascarpone, FAIL. Shiso, FAIL. He gets corn and peanut butter right. Yay.
Seriously, mascarpone? You are MICHAEL CHIARELLO, CROWN PRINCE OF ITALIAN NAPA STYLE. You disappoint me.
10:04: Hubert. He has to ID poppadom. What the hell is that?
Lo biffs fricking peanut butter.
10:05: Bayless thinks hoisin is RANCH SALAD DRESSING. Why does NO ONE know what hoisin tastes like? Hoisin is my kitchen workhorse, along with maple syrup. Also: what kind of cut-rate brand are they using that it tastes like ranch dressing?
10:06: WINNER: Chiarello.
Kill me now.
ELIMINATION CHALLENGE: Catering for 200. Choose your team from 12 past contestants. Blais. Spike the Hatbag. Malarkey. Scallop Jamie. Ilan the Waste of Space. Guy from a season or two ago that no one can remember with the semi-‘fro. CJ the Guy Who Cooked Lots of Fish. Shrill Betty. Angry Dale. Antonia Who I Really Liked. Elia With the Great Hair Who Turned Out To Be Kind of An Ass.
And FABIO!! Did I mention FABIO!!? He’s my friend on Facebook. We’re total besties.
I can’t believe I remembered all 12.
10:10: Chiarello is forcing everyone to submit to tests. Consequently, no one wants to work for Chiarello. They may be Top Chef contestants, but they’re not stupid. I get that this is an interview process, but no one wants to be a peon for the asswipe.
Well, except Spike.
10:12: So we can guarantee that Chiarello’s whole team will hate him.
Maybe this episode can be saved.
10:15: Brian, re: Spike and his hats: “He’s like the anti-Gael.”
10:16: Chiarello asks everyone, “What’s my name?”
Who’s your daddy? Does he look like me? Has he taken any time to show you what you need to live?
Sorry, I shouldn’t sully a good song like that.
God, I hate him.
10:19: Chiarello ends up with FABIO!!, CJ and Malarkey
Hubert: Hatbag, Elia and Antonia
Lo: Ilan, Jamie and Dale
Bayless: Blais, Alex and Betty
I was with Bayless on Blais, which I think was smart. The Betty thing? We all make mistakes.
10:22: Jamie thinks Lo seems overwhelmed. Make her a scallop, I’m sure it’ll help relax her.
Malarkey will do whatever Chiarello wants. Hopefully, that means FABIO!! and CJ are plotting some kind of Carrie-esque takedown. I get it. You’re the boss. But please, turn it down a notch. His douche meter goes to 11.
10:24: Just like old times: scrambling. Cellphones. Rush for the seafood counter. Regular Top Chefs are way better at careening around Whole Foods like a pack of demented weasels.
10:25: Dale v. Chiarello. Dale punches lockers. Chiarello is a douche and calls Dale “Young Man,” for no apparent reason other than being a douche.
Dale gets all up in his grill, and Chiarello is trying to be the bigger man. I am a small woman, and hope there is a knifing before the episode ends.
Chiarello seems not to realize that anyone else on his team has actually ever cooked anything before, or that most (if not all) are actual restaurant chefs, some quite successful. Also, he seems to think that the kitchen is his own tiny empire. Can we get him a tiny crown and a tiny scepter? And then a tiny parliament to unseat him, and a tiny mob to burn his tiny effigy.
10:28: Jamie doesn’t feel like she and Lo are in the same place. I have a great therapist if they’re looking for one. It worked for Metallica, right?
10:31: We’re halfway through the episode, which means its time for the TWIST!
The whole shindig is being moved, so it’s time for the Official Packing of All Foods Into Gladware Containers. Chiarello’s “whole day is unwinding like a yard sale.” I’ll have you know I’ve been to some very successful yard sales. I once sold a Volkswagen at a yard sale.
10:33: Kelly is back. Is it time for another TWIST? Can’t wait!
Their stations are in the hot, hot sun, so have fun with your dairy and raw bars. Also? You have to cut one of your chefs. Have fun!
FABIO!!: “I’m sweating like a mountain goat at the beach.” Sigh. I’m still waiting for the FABIO!! show.
10:35: Betty, Malarkey, Jamie and Hatbag are out.
Lo is displeased with Jamie’s performance. She is totally deadpan when she says this, and yet so incredibly frightening. Although Jamie is now longer working for her, she should still watch her back.
10:37: Blais pronounces Chiarello’s name wrong every single time. I like to think it’s on purpose.
Watching Hubert run with his tray of food is just adorable.
10:38: Gael is wearing her gold summer hat. UnBalaban’s tie? Yes, it matches. And he’s wearing a long-sleeved dress shirt and vest in the hot, hot sun. I think he might not have any sweat glands.
10:40: Chiarello has a “rustic Italian buffet.” I’m not fooled, i cook, I know what “rustic” means. It means “looks like shit.”
If he’d been less of a pompous ass, he’d have let FABIO!! talk. He totally would have won over the unBalaban.
Hubert has an EIGHTEEN COURSE BUFFET. Sucks for whoever comes next…Bayless. Sad.
10:41: Bayless actually did something he hadn’t done before by learning from Blais. LEARNING, Chiarello. From your SOUS. Who are REAL CHEFS.
10:43: Preview of judge’s table:
British judge: “There was a misstep here today.”
UnBalaban: [shakes head while pursing lips unnaturally tightly]
10:47: JUDGE’S TABLE: Shot of Gael and UnBalalban sitting next to each other, in rapture over Keller’s whole spread; I think his eyes might roll back in his head but I’m not sure they’re physically capable of that. I think they’re squeezing hands under the table.
10:48: UnBalalan is doing a LOT of lip pursing tonight. And when I say he’s doing a lot you know it’s over the top, since pursed is his normal lip state.
Gael called Chiarello’s fish “mealy.” Heh.
At least he’s able to admit that he didn’t trust his sous to turn dishes over to them.
10:51: Taking a break to actually look at the screen. I want Hubert’s gazpacho, and his lamb. He’s praised for giving his sous leeway.
Backstage, Hubert: “I had a smoke last night.” Is he telling us he uses the MJ? Somehow, I wouldn’t be surprised. Look at that pony tail. He’s the gourmet French chef John Denver.
Lo’s taking a beating. She can probably tell, because her shuriken are tingling.
10:53: Commercials: It is my firm belief that all the “Real Housewives” shows, together with the FreeCreditReport.com commercials, signal the death of culture.
10:56: Hubert and Bayless have the highest scores, and move on to the Champions Round. Aren’t we already in the champions round? How many more rounds must we endure?
UnBalaban, on Keller: “I’d give you a galaxy of stars if I could.” What’s up with him tonight? He’s punchy. Drunk? Just had a great shopping spree with Gael?
10:57: Lesson: Trust your competent sous, and win.
10:59: Lo’s at 17. Chiarello ends up at…19.5. On one hand, DAMN IT. On the other hand, I appreciate the fodder. And Lo did kinda suck.
NEXT WEEK: Running. Things on fire. Chiarello making bold pronouncements about his ability. Previous winners return to judge, which means: Dieterle! I loves me some Harold.