TOP CHEF RECAP: Food So Bad, People Withdrew Their AIDS Donations

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This is a recap of Top Chef Season Five Episode 6 entitled “Christmas F*ckupz”, airing 12/17/08. If you didn’t watch the episode, this recap will spoil things for you, just like the open fridge spoiled Hosea’s pork. Whoops! Now look what you did to yourself.

Gene Dodging Bullet– Holiday mercy rule, eh? I imagine most of us saw that coming after the Judges’ Table roundup, but I was also expecting a Bravo dramatization of Gene’s and Melissa’s heads CGI’d onto Neo from the Matrix dodging bullets. (Matrix parodies are still topical, right? There was one in Alvin and the Chipmunks last year.)

– Did anyone else imagine a Bravo producer sneaking into the kitchen overnight in an olde tyme burglar costume and cracking the fridge open to make this week’s otherwise mundane episode infinitely more exciting? And while he moved, plucking violin strings played the cartoon ‘sneaking’ music, “dun dun dun dun…. dun dun dun….”

– I’m not usually “Captain Good Form” myself, but isn’t it a bit against the rules to pick up chicks at an AIDS benefit? I was expecting Jeff or Hosea to drop the line “Hey group of ladies gathered around my table, all this talk about a disease that makes sexual reproduction essentially fatal has got me thinking about sexual reproduction…”

– QUOTE OF THE NIGHT: Even though it was from the next episode teaser, I couldn’t help but laugh at Fabio’s angry quote “All she ever make is scallops! Is Top Chef, not Top Scallop!” Little known fact: The working title of Top Chef before it was picked up by Bravo actually WAS Top Scallop.*

* Least true thing ever.

MarthaMartha Stewart came across alright, but these celeb-chefs giving away copies of their books as prizes is really getting absurd; next week, maybe the CEO of Swanson will show up and reward the winning chef by grafting a permanent SWANSON tattoo across their face.

– This was by far the most brutal “Chef’s Reactions to the Food” week of the season. It went uuuuuuuhlittle something….like this:

[Shot of Gene serving his food]

Gene: I come from Hawaii and my grandmother is Thai, so I have a lot of personal love and warmth in this dish that I hope comes across.

[Cut to Judges]

Natasha Richardson: This f*ckin’ blows.

Tom: Embarrassing.

[Cut to Jamie serving her food]

Jamie: I literally poured my heart into this meal. I donated my actual heart, from my body, into the meal — that’s how much I care about this dish.

[Cut to Judges]

Natasha: Blows.

Tom: Blows.

[Etc.]

Harlem Choir– I wonder if the Harlem Choir sang the entire “12 Days Of Christmas” in the kitchen? It would’ve been funny if the song just kept going, with everyone’s enthusiasm dwindling as they reached Day 7 or so, then a commercial break, followed by the choir still singing the song, then as soon as they got done they just rolled right into “99 Bottles Of Beer On The Wall”. I should be producing this show.

– This Ariane crap continues to be bewildering; every week, the judges complain about people playing it safe and cooking “not to lose,” and yet Ariane continues to not only survive but to win challenges by cooking really basic food that I can frickin’ make. Next week, I better not hear the phrase “So I decided to keep it simple and make chicken parmesan” followed by “You’ve done it again, Ariane!!!”

Updated Power Rankings 12/18

1) Stefan – Showed off a sense of humor this week; Bravo may be scaling back the a-holishness to set him up as a more likable winner. Or maybe they just cut his “all you Americans are doing all things all wrong always!!!” speech this week because of time.

2) Hosea – Closed the gap this week, making the all-bald finale showdown seeming even more likely. Mr. Clean product shots, anyone?

3) Jeff – I honestly thought his proclamation of “I want to let the judges know I’m running circles around this kitchen” was a prelude to an absolute disaster, like when someone in a horror movie says “Pshhh… Jason Voorhees? If I ever ran into that loser I’d beat the crap out of him!” [instant machete death]. Sidenote: Maybe Jeff meant that he was literally running circles around the kitchen? Seems more plausible.

4) Jamie – She’s been in trouble twice and hasn’t won one yet, but she’s been reasonably consistent and both her mistakes were easily correctable. Plus f*cking up scallops is a Top Chef rite of passage.

5) Fabio – He’s truly been sucking week after week, but he does have that “Who would you like to get caught under the mistletoe with?” Bravo viewer poll feather in his cap now.

Teams playing .500 ball, likely not World Series contenders: Radhika, Leah, Ariane, Carla

Next Two To Go: Gene, Melissa

Thoughts and predictions in the comments, people! Feel free to be brutal, we have no need for “Oooh, it’s Christmas, we don’t have to follow the rules of the show” mercy here.