TOP CHEF RECAP: When Did Stefan Turn Into A Die Hard Villain?


This is a recap for Top Chef Season 5 Episode 5, airing December 11, 2008. If you haven’t watched it and you plan to, do not read the English words below and process the thoughts that those words represent, or you will have spoiled yourself. And possibly soiled.

Stefan Die Hard– So Bravo decided to make Eurostar Stefan into a reckless, egomaniacal, bullying villain? He’s always been brash and overconfident, but he doesn’t seem to be nearly as big a bully as Bravo makes him out to be. All the contestants kept agreeing that he was a bully, though, meaning either he’s a lot worse behind the scenes, or the Bravo producers were pressuring chefs into characterizing Stefan as “the villain.” Until Stefan shoots the dude from Nakatomi Towers, I’m not buying it.

— Last week in my Recap, I typed “Ariane? Really??” This week, I will do so again but make the font larger:

Ariane? Really??

— Every time Top Chef does an Elimination Challenge at a social event, like Gail’s bridal shower last night, I’m always hoping Bravo will air a clip like the following (though it never happens)

Gail: I feel like the roasted corn hash doesn’t really add much to the Chilean sea bass, it feels very obligatory, very forced.

Bridal Shower Guest Who Isn’t A Professional Food Critic: So, how ’bout this bridal shower?

After the jump, more second-rate analysis including updated Power Rankings and the funniest analogy in Top Chef history: bid a New York Post-like farewell to “Baba-booey” Daniel:

Baba Bye

— Daniel bid farewell to Top Chef with the most accurate, most applicable, most not-complete-rambly-nonsense analogy in the history of literature:

Daniel Headband“I do feel like they made the wrong decision. But there’s nothing I can do. It’s out of my hands. There’s wrong decisions in football games, you know what I mean? Barry Sanders runs the ball, the guy grabs the back of his jersey. The refs didn’t see it, but all the fans saw it, so everybody’s booing. You know what I mean? The ref makes the final call, and there’s nothing you can do.” (transcribed thankfully by

What is this analogy even trying to mean? Daniel, a marginal cooking reality show contestant, is the greatest running back in NFL history, but he was “grabbed by the back of his jersey,” meaning that his dish wasn’t very good, but the “refs” (judges) “didn’t see it” (meaning they saw that it was bad but it was actually good) and “everybody’s booing” (meaning Daniel at home watching this episode air is booing his television). Makes sense.

Hosea’s got some palate on him, huh? I wonder if he can taste my FIST IN HIS MOUTH. Wait, I have nothing against him. That just slipped out. He actually seems pretty cool.

Fabio talking to the ladies at the bridal shower:

Fabio: Greeting, all.

[Ladies laugh for 20 minutes]

Fabio: I cook-a the food.

[Ladies laugh for 20 minutes]

Fabio: You all look — how you say? — good.

[Ladies laugh and swoon for 20 minutes]

Fabio: Italy.


— Every shot of Tom C eating the food by himself in the kitchen silently was a bit depressing and made me laugh.

— This week’s DVR fast-forwarding effer-upper with Stefan and Jamie was not actual content by any definition of the word “content.” More happened during the actual commercials than during that segment — I’m fast-forwarding through these things from now on. Con Sarnit.


1) Stefan – Still probably the most talented overall, but would Bravo be playing up his D-bagginess if he ended up winning?

2) Hosea – HUGE week for Hosea; he showed off his palatial skills (that’s a word right?) and got a lot more airtime and praise.

3) Jamie – Rebound for Jamie, too, who’s now been in the Top 3 four times this season. I apologize for mixing her up with Melissa in my Power Rankings last week and throwing her in the “No Chance” column; I printed a full-page retraction in this past Sunday’s New York Times.

4) Jeff – Nice week for Jeff too, but he still seems prone to having one super-awful week, and that’s all it takes in this bizzzz.

5) Fabio – He’s messed badly multiple times now, and his attitude could get him in trouble at the judge’s table. An accent can only get you so far.

On The Bubble: Leah, Radhika, Ariane, Gene, Carla, Melissa (next to go), Marquette

Episode Thoughts and Future Predictions in the comments, Top-Chef-Watching-Peoples!

related stories
you might like
Powered By Zergnet