TOP CHEF LAS VEGAS RECAP: Natalie Portman And Little Pricks On Tongues


This is a Recap of Top Chef Season 6, Episode 10, “Meat Natalie,” originally airing October 28th, 2009. If you read on, spoilers will be spoiled faster than Robin spoils the show’s watchability when she’s in a camera shot.

TC Kevin Robin– For the second straight week, “Let’s go to the M Resort” wasn’t spoken by anyone, it was just random audio dropped in over footage of the chefs leaving the house. Clearly, the show agreed to mention the M Resort by name in every episode, realized that there was no not-awkward way to do this, and just have a cameraman mutter “let’s go to the M Resort” in a Bryan imitation voice over footage where you can’t see anyone’s mouth.

— For the Quickfire, chefs were given a classic tv show and had to put their spin on the traditional tv dinner. The chefs then talk about how they grew up on tv dinners (what a HUGE advantage!) and how unfamiliar they are with the shows (“oh man I’ve never seen Gilligan’s Island — how am I gonna cook an island-themed meal if I don’t know what The Professor did in Episode 2F09, ‘Hula Parrot’??”)

Seinfeld Dish– Also, “Spin on the traditional tv dinner” meant “Cooking three things and putting them in compartments.” Really made me want to subscribe to TV Guide Magazine.

— I literally do not know how Michael Isabella could have lived his life without seeing an episode of frickin’ Seinfeld. Whenever he’s near a television, does he just close his eyes and ears, ball up, and roll away screaming?

— I was disappointed that none of the shows were completely terrible theme choices, aside from Seinfeld and maybe The Flintstones. I really wanted one dude to be like, “Pepper Dennis?? Oh sh*t. Guess I’ll make something with pepper.”

After the jump, Eliminator, the ZZ Top album:

TC Jen Nervous– Wow, how’d Top Chef manage to book a challenge in Craft Steak? Must know someone.

Jen, calm down. You’re good at cooking. Eli, Robin, and Michael I. are not good at cooking. Just cook normally and you will cook better than them. Losing Top Chef 12 weeks in isn’t as embarrassing as spilling veggie sauce on Natalie Portman’s entourage.

— Could they have possibly set up the “no meat” twist any more obviously? It was already obvious from the preview clip last week of Natalie Portman saying “I have one request” and everyone being shocked, then the episode was called “Meat Natalie,” then the chefs spent 10 hours talking about the meat they would definitely be cooking, then they were let into the meat locker before even being given the challenge, and then BOOM! You can not in fact cook meat oh snap! That was such an unexpected twist, M. Night Shyamalan should’ve been the guest (he only eats meals that are twists).

— Michael Isabella has 60 G-D dishes on his restaurant menu? Is he the chef at a 24-hour diner? Though I guess that would explain a lot…

— Michael also came through with the inspirational quote of the night: “Gold medals are lost in the last six minutes of competition when people change their mind.” So true! The 200m is always lost when a runner decides with only 6 minutes to go in the 20 second race that he’s gonna run the other direction.

TC Padma PenisPadma elicited some giggles when she described the garlic as being like “A little prick on the tip of my tongue.” I wish there was some way to see everyone at the table simultaneously thinking “Don’t make a Salman Rushdie joke, don’t make a Salman Rushdie joke…”

— Regardless, Kevin – the meatiest meater that ever meated — wins the Quickfire then the Elimination Challenge and manages to hold back the tears when he receives a suite of GE appliances with which to cook his own Schwann’s frozen dinner. Talk about the high life — the dude’s practically living in a rap video at this point.

— Not that it’s been particularly difficult this season, but I called Michael’s departure less than halfway through the episode for my seventh straight correct elimination prediction, yelling it out loud in a room of no other people. Can I somehow make money off this pointless talent? Other than the $20 a week I’m making now, I mean?

– Robin stays on the show another week after giving this frantic, rambly explanation of her dish:

— The show hasn’t done anything Vegasy in a while. What happened to, like, forcing the chefs to cook playing cards with slot machines?

TC Michael IUpdated Power Rankings

1) Kevin – I feel like he’s gonna emerge from the brothers scuffle to take this thing; he’s too good of a chef, too likable, and too memorable to lose to Robot A or Robot A.1.

2) Michael V – I really get the sense that the show’s setting him up to be the Stefan A-Hole runner-up (they tried the same thing with Richard the season before but he was too nice). Michael’s comment about “I could’ve made Kevin’s dish in 20 minutes” is the stuff of future comeuppance-getters.

3) Bryan V – He’s, whatever.

4) Jen – She received one of the most damning evaluations ever from Tom, who explained “We’ve seen chefs this late in the competition get tired and psychologically they start falling apart.” I’m not sure when Top Chef became Full Metal Jacket, but after seeing Jen’s nerves these past two weeks, she seems more likely to shoot Tom from a toilet than to win this thing.

Next To Go) Robin, Eli. Doy.

Next Week On Top Chef: Toby Young believes that a chef has taken a Vegas gamble and lost, just like Tom Cruise in the movie Rain Main (is probably what he says after that).

Episode thoughts? Reactions? Favorite/Least Favorite parts? Robin stuff? Finals predictions? TV Shows you would have liked to have seen in the Quickfire? Leave it all in the comments.

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