Tonight’s Top Chef features the judging prowess of culinary superstar Senator Mark Warner. And toothpicks. ‘Nuff said.

Last Week: Tamesha didn’t realize she was on Top Chef, not Top Scallop, and packed her knives. The Dropper may or may not have led her down the garden path.

9:02: Were you aware than Shaft is a beast in the kitchen? I don’t know if he’s mentioned it.

QUICKFIRE: Apparently, the 18th District of Illinois is represented by a middle schooler.

9:03: The first day of Congress school is on ethics, and I’m not even going to make a joke about that.

For the challenge, they’re creating an hors d’oeuvre that packs the punch of a full dish, in accordance with the Congressional toothpick rule, which has nothing to do with the size of Congressional dicks as one might think.

9:05: Kelly is making a scallop. So is Hopcraft. They both think they’re going to win obviously. HAVE WE LEARNED NOTHING?

9:06: Okay, with Alex of the serial killer glasses, that’s three scallops.

Amanda doesn’t so much have “an idea.” Or a “clue.” Or “skill.”

9:08: Ed is having a hard time conceptualizing anything and cannot “transport [his dish] to the stick. JUST STAB THE FOOD WITH THE STICK. THE END.

Tiffany’s pronunciation of “prosciutto”: stop. You are not Italian or Alex Trebek.

9:09: Amanda, smiling girlishly at the congressman isn’t going to work. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t play on your team.

9:10: Hopcraft’s wide-eyed hyperenthusiam makes me want to kick him. Hard. In a special place.

The top: Kevin, The Dropper and Hopcraft. “All I could think was: wow! There’s a lot on that stick.” Again, I’m not going to touch that, congressman.

Winner: The Dropper. Damn

9:12: Coming up, the show continues to force the fiction that is Tiffany and Ed down our throats.

9:14: Commercials. Do viewers of Top Chef enjoy Hard Justice? I know I do!

9:15: ELIMINATION: Power Lunch. They’ll be taking over the Palm restaurant, cooking one of 5 proteins on the Palm’s menu.

Alex is overwhelmed by the number of ways there are to cook salmon. Including well-done. Really? I’ll order the steak.

9:17: Andrea hates everything about the swordfish she’s drawn. We can only hope this doesn’t cause her to disrespect the fish

9:18: Are Power Lunches at the Palm served family style? Because those portions: whoa.

LeahRedux is cutting her Porterhouse off the bone, rendering it no longer a Porterhouse. Keep going, NotLeah, keep going! That’s a great idea! I mean it!

9:20: Those lobsters could kill a man and steal his car.

9:21: The extent of Ed and Tiffany’s relationship = a blase discussion of pea puree. Sexy!


9:24: Commercials. Why do I do much cooking when Jenny Craig produces suck satisfying premade meals? I’m a sucker.

Commenters, where art thou this evening? You are missed.

9:26: You can tell the Palm is classy because of all the caricatures on the wall.

The winning chef gets their dish put on the menu AND their picture on the wall. Can you imagine Hopcraft’s evil leprachaun mug leering an you while you’re trying to wag the dog? Creepy.

9:28: Colicchio enters the kitchen to make everyone nervous, thus upping the chance than someone will injure themselves.

9:29: Injury! Called it.

Has anyone seen Ed’s pea puree? Please?

If Alex actually did steal it? Lamest move ever.

9:31: The diners are Washington insiders, reporters and politicians. It takes a long time to introduce them all. I stop listening. Also there is Art Smith.

Every dish LeahRedux makes screams, “CULINARY SCHOOL!” You’re trained, we get it. Stop beating us about the head with your pommes, they’re fucking potatoes.

9:33: Someone has disrespected the fish, but it’s not Andrea. Well, she might have, by drowning it in butter.

9:34: The tinkly music of stolen pea puree plays in the background as Alex serves his salmon.

“Has John Podesta ever eaten anything but bile for Republicans?” (via @JeffHouck)

I’ve been over flavored foams since season one, as I assume we all have.

9:37: Art saw the love in those dishes, because Art is stoned.

Also: have you seen Ed’s pea puree?

9:40: Commercials. Being a father feels even better than it used to now that we have iPhones.

Are you fun? If you’re not, don’t even THINK about going to Mohegan Sun. Everyone’s invited…everyone who’s fun, that is. You’re probably not fun enough.

9:42: Pointless interlude. Hopcraft’s sense of humor is a gift. Everything else about him is a curse, but that’s just me. The other chefs seem to think he’s funny, probably because they’re drunk.

9:45: Maybe you haven’t realized, but there’s some sort of drama about a pea puree.

9:46: JUDGE’S TABLE. Top three: Alex, Tiffany and Ed.

Ed shows a moment of personality, but only a moment.

Art goes on and on about the beauty of the pea puree. And on…and Alex gets the win.

9:48: Ed looks nonplussed. Which he usually does, but this time it’s gravid with meaning.

Alex: “It’s gotta be your own food on the plate,” except when it’s not.

I’m sorry: the theft was alleged. Innocent until proven guilty, and all that jazz.

9:49: Bottom three; Kelly, Andrea and Kevin.

9:51: Kelly committed the fatal flaw of oversalting. Fatal flaw, and that is not hyperbole.

Padma dismisses them with the most perfunctory “That’s all.”

9:53: Art Smith looks like he’s going to a Cuban wedding, not coming from a Power Lunch.

9:55: Commercials. The dogs were watching the show with me. They’ve fallen asleep. I think it’s an editorial comment.

9:57: The three of you all sucked in a variety of ways. Andrea, pack ’em up.

9:58: “I don’t need four people behind a table to tell me that I can cook.” No, but you do need them to give you $100,000. You didn’t fail to “play the game,” you cooked crappy food, AKA disrespecting the fish. Deal. Maybe you should have stolen the pea puree.

Next Week: Do they even EAT food in Brazil? And Marcus Samuelsson in a hat.