TOP CHEF LAS VEGAS RECAP: Chicken Wings, New York, Firefighters, America, Freedom


This is a Recap of Top Chef Season 6, Episode 11, “Seriously This Vegas Is Really Gettin’ Vegas!” originally airing November 12, 2009. If you read on, it will spoil that Kevin was not eliminated this week.

Jen Excalibur AloneBryan, what the hell are you doing making an episode-opening phone call? Don’t you know that’s reserved for sucky chefs who know they’re about to be eliminated so they try to guilt their way into staying an extra week by promising to hit a culinary home run for their terminally-ill mother who is also an orphaned child?

— For this week’s Quickfire, Padma and guest judge Nigella Lawson attempt to cover up their steamy one-night stand by pretending that a “Breakfast In Bed” room service challenge was their plan the whole time. Contestants are challenged to cook a $14 bowl of Corn Flakes and put a dome over it.

—  Michael yells “BLEEP! BLEEP!” within the first one second of the Quickfire, before he could have possibly done anything / seen anything / processed information and reacted to it in the form of swearing. This was by far the BLEEPest episode of the season.

— When Kevin walked into the bedroom, I joked “So for my breakfast, I made a roast leg of lamb…” and he immediately made my joke a non-joke by revealing his “hearty” steak and eggs, mentioning that they like their breakfasts “hearty” down in the heartland while listening to Heart.

Padma Morning AfterEli wins the Quickfire with a delicious-sounding Reuben Benedict, and earns a crucial advantage for the Elimination Challenge: Continuing to not be Robin.

— For the Elimination Challenge, contestants are each given a Vegas casino to explore, select a detail about, and strain really hard to come up with a tenuous connection between that detail and the dish they wanted to cook anyway.

— In a perfect world, the scene where Bryan got inspired by the Mandalay Bay aquarium would’ve immediately cut to him in the kitchen with a frying pan just cooking the whole shark he had just been looking at.

Really Makes Me Want To Go To Vegas Moment Of The Night: Jen sitting in the Excalibur “Knights” show by herself amidst three empty rows. Her feigned excitement was just the awkward gravy on top of the other awkward gravy.

After the jump, the shocking Elimination Challenge results, and the (second) best quote of the entire Top Chef season:

TC Robin Judges Table– Bravo cut the entire Whole Foods shopping scene. It really threw me off not getting to see Eli beeline right for some random food, then Michael patronizingly say “Eli went right for this food, and I was like, good luck with that,” then someone asking to see the scallops and going “yes, I’ll take them.”

— The show played a really funny “Viva Las Vegas” royalty-free sound-alike right as the contestants arrived at the convention space. I’m betting it was a Pump Audio song called, like, “Hooray Nevada!” (Any video editors in the crowd tonight?)

— Gimmie one sec to hit Control-V, aaaaand… Michael, Bryan, and Kevin are this week’s Top Three.

— At Judge’s Table, Michael Voltaggio delivers the quote of the night and second-greatest quote of the season:

“I figured, chicken wings, New York, firefighters – probably something they like to eat.”

Not quite as amazing as Preeti’s “The day I first realized I definitely wanted to be a chef, for me, was 9/11.”, but right up there. My roommate and I rewound it three times.

Robin Flower– Not only does Michael dish out the quote of the night, he frickin’ WINS after his ridiculous explanation. Tom and Nigella agree that his dish is probably something those firefighters like to eat.

— For his deconstructed chicken wing (if you love deconstructing things so much, why don’t you MARRY someone and deconstruct her am I right??), Michael wins “2 Days and 3 Nights” at Terlato Family Vineyards. I guess he’s not allowed to show up during the daytime on that first day — he has to arrive, sleep there, then begin Day 1 the next morning.

— The Bottom Three was even more shocking: Robin, Jen, Eli

Toby Young, to Jen: “I’m afraid your dish was more Spamalot than Camelot.” Meaning, it was a 2005 musical that won a bunch of Tonys, not a 1960 musical that won a bunch of Tonys. Also, the meat was too tough, making it more like spam than a castle, on opposite day.

— Tom: “Unfortunately, Eli, your dish WAS a circus.” Eli’s thought bubble: “Then…don’t I win?”

— Again, not difficult, but I think we all predicted the Robin elimination the second she started walking around her casino, yammering about being inspired by that sculpture and using the words “art” and “gelatin.” She nailed three of Top Chef’s biggest “obviously going to be eliminated” cliches:

1) “I have no idea how to do this, but I’m gonna try it!”

2) “Hey judges, here’s this thing I was gonna make but messed it up so it’s not on the dish remember that!!!”

3) Being Bad

— A tiny sliver of my brain briefly entertained the thought of a possible Jen elimination just to shake things up on Bravo’s end and add some controversy to these pointless weeks leading up to the Brothers & Kevin finale, but if Robin had made it through to next week, no one would’ve watched next week’s episode, it would’ve just been too obvious. This episode was inevitable from about the .0001 second mark on.

Eli Circus Circus DishPower Rankings, brought to you by “We’re not going to the M Resort for this Quickfire but we have to mention it by name every week”:

1) Kevin

2) Michael V – The “Next week on Top Chef” clip of him ripping on Kevin’s food yet again is really setting him up to be humbled in the finale. [INPUT: Trigger Humility Program v3.1 – CONGRATULATIONS HUMAN PEER. YOU ARE RIGHTFULLY VICTORIOUS. PLEASE ACCEPT MY HUMAN HAND SHAKE]

3) Bryan – He’s not even trying to hide his robo-ness anymore either.

Next To Go: Eli, Jen

Episode Thoughts? Favorite/least favorite parts? Predictions for the two weeks leading up to the Finals? Will Eli go first then Jen, or the other way around??? SO EXCITING!!!! Vent away in the comments.

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