topchefmasters1And then there were four. It’s time for a party, everyone! Specifically, a sausage fest.

Tonight, my challenge will be to try and make sense for the entire hour, for I am still not fully recovered from Monday’s x-treme festivities. If you suddenly see lsknfoiwneosinkjsndgkshf in the middle of the post, it means I’ve keeled over and my head has hit the laptop keyboard; hopefully Brian will notice quickly and will jab me awake with a sharp stick.

And the chefs’ challenge: Cookbook Smackdown!


Will it ever get old? Oh, wait, it already has.

10:02: QUICKFIRE CHALLENGE: Cookbook swap! Jonathan will cook Marcus and vice versa, Moonen and Susur will swap. Marcus is still wearing demin.

Most notable issue of the challenge: Kelly is not wearing anything hideous and / or outlandish.

10:04: Did you know that Marcus is not American? And he has a global background. He would like to remind you. You know, in case you forgot.

Hey, Rick Moonen can’t follow a recipe either!

10:05: Susur needs pictures, because he “cooks with his eyes.” Sounds painful. Also, stop whining.

10:06: A TWEEST! Create a soup that retains the integrity of the original recipes.

Susur sweats like a motherfucker.

10:09: James Oseland, AKA unBalaban, is the judge and is resplendent in fuschia.

Is it just me, or does his vocabulary take a few steps down when he’s separated from Gael? “Oh, wow.” “This is good.”

10:10: This challenge is not only determining a winner, but also what cookbooks I will be purchasing next for the smackdown.

10:11: Coming up: where does Rick Moonen buy a shirt that awful? It makes the denim look really, really good..

10:14: Commercials. Who greenlighted Marmaduke? I bet they’re in a bad place right now.

10:16: Kelly’s voice get’s really weird: “Let’sgettothescooooores.”

Winner: Marcus.

Goddamit it.

The chefs get the “day off” and are sent to see The Groundlings. Rick Moonen is genuinely happy, and seems not to recognize that this is the classic Bravo sign of a TWEEST. Get your head in the game, Moonen.

10:17: Outside of the kitchen, Marcus dresses much as I did in the first grade. Rick’s stripey shirt makes my eyes bleed.

10:19: The audience is asked to yell out colors, emotions and ingredients…and Rick starts to clue in. Slowly.

I don’t want to be the one who has “violet pleasure salmon,” because ick.

10:20: Marcus, because he is weird and annoying, picks the salmon. I bet there will be beets involved.

I hate beets. But then, I hate Marcus, so they go together.

10:23: Commercials. The Weight Watchers ads during Top Chef are like the covers of women’s magazines with giant pictures of cake next to ads about losing belly fat. I like neither.

10:25: Points to Waxman for using the word “penultimate,” one of my favorites. He’s got “burnt sienna depression avocado” and I’m worried for him; he looks like he needs (better) meds on a good day.

“Chocolate lust peanut butter”? So easy it’s unfair.

10:28: Of COURSE Jonathan Waxman was a trombone player. The saddest of the horns.

BEETS! I called that shiz.

Susur is making food that looks like a vagina. For real? THAT’S where you go with chocolate lust? Also, we always knew your sense of humor was questionable. I am fearful for how much we’re going to have to hear the word vagina over the next half hour.

10:30: It’s important for Marcus to win because his charity is SO IMPORTANT. Are we really playing the my-charity-is-better-than-yours game?

10:32: Hello, Gail. Hello, ladies.

10:34: One day, just one day, I want them to show Kelly spitting after she chews. Just once.

Jonathan is solid, but not blowing anyone away. Hoping the vagina tanks. Also hoping I never have to say that again.

10:35: Chocolate mousse. The cheap way out. See through it judges, see through it.

10:38: Commercials.  That’s not what an oompa-loompa sounds like! I’m strangely offended.

10:41: Pointless interlude. Chefs are superstitious. I learned a lot there, thanks for taking those 30 seconds from me. And for giving Bravo an excuse to run more commercials that sap yet more of my life away.

10:43: Do you use It’s where all the cool people are now.

God, I’m so glad I don’t have to date anymore.

Seriously, what is it about Marmaduke that goes with the Top Chef demographic? Can someone make that connection for me?

10:45: Group hug. Apparently, the chefs are contractually obligated to do it once per episode. “We became friends, and that’s what counts.” BLARGH.

unBalaban has the severely pursed lips of undercooked pork.

10:48: There was raspberry puree with the chocolate mousse? And we’re going to ding Waxman for going too simple? COME NOW, JUDGES.

Perhaps my bias is showing.

10:50: “Pleasure shrimp.” Another phrase I don’t necessarily want to hear again.

Yes, expertly roasting a chicken should put you at the top of the pile. That’s a skill, my friends.

10:51: Vagina shaped food = embracing improv, NOT overly literal thinking.

17 stars for chocolate mousse? I CALL SHENANIGANS.

10:53:  It’s down to Rick and Jonathan and oddly, I don’t want to lose either of them. I don’t even mind that RICK MOONEN IS TALKING TO ME HERE.

10:55: The Killers: better or worse than Marmaduke? Not an easy call. Also: are people really responding to the “Miracle Whip is HIP, HIP WE TELL YOU” messaging? I mean, they must be, since they keep running the commercials. I just don’t understand our national psyche.

10:57:  Marcus: “Jonathan cooks his food and Rick…works really hard.” Glowing!

2.5 stars, unBalaban? Really? You are soulless.

I’m getting ready to say goodbye. But it won’t be easy.

10:58: Susur’s going to win the whole thing, isn’t he?

I think Rick is going to cry.

NEXT WEEK:  Running. And Hubert Keller! But also Chiarello. Dang.