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'Top Chef' recap: Tom Colicchio, Padma Lakshmi get mad

December 06, 2012|By Jenn Harris
  • Judges Padma Lakshmi, left and Tom Colicchio right, looking stern during a judging of a previous season of the show.
Judges Padma Lakshmi, left and Tom Colicchio right, looking stern during… (Virginia Sherwood / Bravo )

Wednesday night's episode of "Top Chef" was by far the worst performance I've seen from any contestants in the history of the show. The words "hate" and "disappointing" were thrown around so often by the judges I found myself slumping in my chair, grumpy when the show ended. So what happened? 

It started at Pike's Place market with Padma Lakshmi in some questionable striped pants and local chef Daisley Gordon acting as guest judge. The chef teams of two butted heads as they built a makeshift outdoor kitchen and created breakfast on a stick for the market vendors. Bart Vandaele and Sheldon Simeon won the Quickfire Challenge and immunity with an egg, cheese, pancetta and spinach puree breakfast sandwich.

None of the dishes looked stellar, but watching John Tesar and Josh "The Stache" Valentine on a team together was by far the highlight -- each walking on eggshells, not speaking up, so worried the other would explode. Definitely mature, of both of them, but pure comedy.

Things only got worse with the elminiation challenge: The same chef teams were asked to make lunch for the artisans who made their chosen ingredients. At the start of the challenge, the chefs were told the winning team would be awarded $10,000 and the worst chef would pack his knives.

The teammates put their skills and opinions on the back burner in an effort to be agreeable. The result? Christopher "CJ" Jacobson and Tyler Wiard made a soggy burger to showcase their pickle ingredient; the Stache and Tesar made an overcooked pork loin and grits with their truffle popcorn product; and Stefan Richter and Brooke Williamson made a rose petal jelly glazed duck with overly sweet red cabbage. The dishes were so bad, Lakshmi felt the need to apologize to the artisans dining with the judges and Tom Colicchio gave the chefs a verbal beating after service, informing them the $10,000 was off the table and that an entire team would go home. 

After a brutal judges table, CJ and Tyler had to pack their knives and go.

Best moments:

CJ desperately trying to throw Elizabeth Binder and Danyele McPherson under the bus, calling their dessert a travesty and a debacle. He asks the judges what they thought, and judge Hugh Acheson quickly responds with, "Your burger was even worse."

Eliza Gavin earning the nickname "Hippie" by proudly admitting that she'd made vegan sushi and sold it out of the back of a van one summer. Her slightly spacey but entitled attitude seems fitting now.

Every scene that cut from the judges going ballistic over how bad a dish was to the chef who made the dish, patting themselves on the back in the kitchen. Kudos to the editors, who clearly have a sense of humor.


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