Hosea says that there are only seven chefs left, so there is no room for error. This is incorrect. There are six rooms for error. The guest judge is Scott Conant, who just won three stars in the NYT for his new restaurant, Scarpetta. So it only makes sense that this is a special Super Bowl edition of the show. You know, because of the classic marriage between haute-cuisine and football. Excuse me, but this champagne braised caviar-stuffed bratwurst doesn’t seem to be sprinkled with emeralds, and the magnum of Miller High Life is room temperature. The Quickfire involves a game of football squares that uses a bimetric calculation to determine that the whole thing is an advertisement for Quaker Oats. Let’s get ready to coooooookballlllll!
They have 45 minutes to create an original dish combining their football square food group with oats. In what will prove to be PROPHETIC, Carla interviews that Jeff is a great chef but that he “can’t quiet the creative monkeys.” That might be true. But it’s important to remember that we all have our flaws. Carla, for instance, can’t quiet the eye monkeys. On a separate note, “Seafood and Quaker Oats” is a chyron that need not exist.
Barftown, Population: My Barf. This is yet another classic instance of the Top Chef challenge paving the way for some of the worst food imaginable. “This tastes terrible.” “Yes, because it is seafood and Quaker Oats.” “You have a very strong point.” Everything is a beige log. Stefan wins by making dessert because of how desert is something that you can making using Quaker Oats that doesn’t involve it being a disgusting joke. He does not get immunity, but he does get a “special advantage” in the Elimination Challenge. Matador will be his wingman.
For the Elimination Challenge, Fabio notices there are football helmets everywhere. He actually says “I think that my challenge is going to be to cook something.” Man, you cannot get anything by these contestants. They are just crushing it on knowing what show they are on. Padma introduces the chefs’ competition for this episode: a group of “all-stars” from previous seasons and also Miguel. Spike is wearing one of his trademark hats because Barack Obama can only bring change to Washington so quickly. Each chef will pair off with an “all-star” in a head to head competition of cooking everything in a cooler (because of how people use coolers filled with scallops and sushi grade tuna for the Super Bowl). Stefan’s advantage is that he gets to pick who to face off against, and he picks Andrea from season 1. He keeps talking about how easy it is going to be to demolish Andrea, so something tells me that he is not going to demolish Andrea. I’m not sure what makes me think that. It might have something to do with the way Fabio says “he think he have his challenge in his pocket.”
In order to really make this challenge Super Bowl-y, the chefs will be cooking at the Institute of Culinary Education in front of an audience comprised of season 5′s kicked off contestants and a collection of ICE students in a makeshift studio that looks like a cable access children’s game show. FOOTBALL! There is an elaborate point scoring system. Whoever the judges pick gets seven points, and then five members of the audience rate the dishes for a “field goal” (I get it) of three points. Whoever loses their head to head is up for elimination. OK, let’s kick ‘em ups! Right? That’s how you start a football game, right? Let’s kick ‘em up sportsletes! Danny’s ready.
I can’t believe he isn’t in movies and sitcoms and boy bands and community theater and hosting his own stand up comedy night at Caroline’s and owning three restaurants and promoting a cookbook and going to space yet. Is it the shorts?
Each pair of chefs only has 20 minutes to cook their dishes, which is not a lot of time. But they cook in front of the audience? And there are seven pairs? Plus a certain amount of clean up and re-staging between rounds? This is going to take forever. No wonder Padma’s drunk.
Hosea spends the whole episode calling Miguel “Chunk,” which makes me really mad. Admittedly, Miguel does seem like the kind of guy who’d get locked in a freezer with a dead body because of his love for Rocky Road, but Hosea needs to stop throwing so many stones at all the glass houses. Stupid thumb head.
So Leah, Hosea, Carla, Jamie are in the top four. Toby Young is surprisingly quiet and un-quippy this week. What’s the matter, Toby Young? backlash got your tongue? If this was an episode of Top Headband, Jamie would win. (She would also win if it was an episode of Top Contestant That Scott Conant Keeps Insinuating He Would Like To Fuck.) But it is not Top Headband. Sorry, all three ladies.
Carla wins the entire competition despite not caring about football. Huh. That’s weird. This week’s competition was so impeccably football themed that it seems almost impossible that someone could win without knowing all the ins and outs of football because of how much this episode used them properly and relied on them in a way that made sense. Her reward is two tickets to the Super Bowl. Uh oh. Better catch up quick, Carla. Here. You’re welcome.
In the end, Fabio, Stefan, and Jeff are up for elimination. Yikes! Two of those guys are projected finalists! Oh, Jeff goes home. Never mind. Back to the Dildo Club. No one’s made that joke yet, right? Perfect. FIRST !!1!1!!! Good luck with those creative monkeys, Jeff!
Chefs to watch: Jamie, Stefan, Fabio (but pick it up, Fabio, you’re trailing now)