TOP CHEF RECAP: The Cold War, But More Important


This is a Recap of Top Chef D.C. (Season 7), Episode 6, entitled “Cold War”, originally airing July 21, 2010. The Recap is a good deal shorter than usual this week because I’m getting on a plane in like three minutes, but hopefully I can convey the totality and nuance of this basic-cable reality cooking competition in less than 3600 words. Gonna be tough.

It’s “Cold War” week on Top Chef! Time to prepare some food that’s cold and/or devastatingly nuclear.

For this week’s Quickfire, the contestants must choose an unusual protein, much like Senators in Washington D.C. must sometimes work with unusual lobbyists whose bodies are made up of strands of protein. The contestants draw knives to determine a protein draft order, and Alex quickly snags fois gras, then other chefs snag boar, rattlesnake, llama, alligator, ostrich, and more, then the Raiders draft an unproven protein with a fast 40 time way too early, and finally Angelo gets stuck with duck testicles. Which sounds like an expression that means “getting stuck with the last thing,” but in this case it’s also literally true.

On the plus side, the presence of duck testicles gives us an excuse to watch one of my favorite Louis C.K. bits:

When life gives Angelo testicles, he decides to make testicleaid, and begins preparing a “Testicle Marshmallow,” an extremely delicate dish that shares its name with an unfortunate summer camp prank.

After the jump, the TWIST OF THE CENTURY of this Quickfire:

Halfway through preparing their weird proteins, the chefs are instructed to suddenly take over the dish to their left, because if you want to be a great chef, sometimes, when you’re in the middle of cooking a dish at your restaurant, someone’s gonna run in and force you to start cooking something you didn’t choose that’s already half-made. Why didn’t they just have the knives say a random protein on it, if they wanted to throw the chefs out of their comfort zones? Because in Washington D.C., food changes randomly, like DEMOCRACY.

The Quickfire judge is Michelle Bernstein, a Miami chef whose presence instantly angers Andrea, because that town ain’t big enough for the both o’ them! Actually the town is very large and has several restaurants. I just Wikipedia’d Miami and it was like “Yeah two chefs can live here.” Wikipedia just spoke out loud to me calmly. It’s really useful.

Is Michelle gonna be biased when she tastes Andrea’s dish? She puts it in her mouth and responds, “The flavors are beautiful, a little chewy.” DUNNNNNNNNNNN!!!! Wait, dunnnnnn? Why the evil music chime, the comment was totally reasonable. Andrea ends up in the bottom anyway, probably because of the dunnnnnnn.

Kelly, Tamesha, and Amanda end up on top, with Kelly winning the Quickfire. She only wins immunity, though, cause this week is a “Low-Stakes 80s Crack Epidemic” Challenge.

For the Elimination Challenge, the Chefs will be divided up into two teams — Team Lincoln and Team B — and will have to present a cold dish, because the Cold War happened and the president lives in Washington. The Chefs discuss their dishes on the U.S.S. Sequoia, of course:

The chefs will also have a chance to judge the other team and pick one winning candidate and one losing candidate, and whichever “losing” candidate wasn’t obviously put there because the other chefs were trying to screw him will be eliminated. The chefs talk behind each others’ backs a lot (like the Cold War!) and Russian spies are everywhere (also like it!) and Tamesha decides she might have to strangle Amanda (like that time someone probably got strangled in the Cold War!)

At the table, the chefs rip on absolutely everything, criticizing dish after dish and instantly agreeing with each others’ criticisms with ravenous obviously-being-a-d*ck-ness. Tom recognizes the blatant gamesmanship, and calls them out when Angelo and Andrea both rip a dish for not being acidic enough, even though as Tom points out, it has tomato in it, and lemon shavings, and is floating in a barrel of hydrochloric acid.

All five chefs unanimously vote Kevin as the Team A winner, and 4 out of 5 pick Kenny as the loser. When this occurs because they’re obviously trying to screw Kenny, I make my hand into an L for “lame” and point it at the screen. But the screen’s like, “doesn’t that mean loser?” And I’m like, “I’m trying to say you’re lame. There, I just said it. Sorry for the confusion.”

Team A is just as ruthless when they’re dining, with Ed criticizing a rival’s beef by saying “I couldn’t taste the beef at all – it’s like that saying, where’s the beef?” Remember that commercial from eighty years ago? Ed does. He then describes scallops as being like that saying, “Tippecanoe and Tyler too scallops.” 4 out of chefs 5 pick Tiffany as the winner, and all 5 agree that Tamesha is on the bottom, meaning Tamesha has lost this week. Feel free to skip ahead fifteen minutes to when we are informed that Tamesha has lost this week.

Oh, quick DVR-buster: Ed “used to bang Angelo’s girlfriend.” When she gave up and grabbed the nearest straight dude? I didn’t say that, someone else typed that on here. Can they please eliminate Ed or Stephen ASAP so I stop confusing them? (Racism!)

Kevin defeats Tiffany to win a trip to Hawaii! But he gets confused when he realizes the trip begins two episodes from now.

Tamesha and Kenny stare down the judges for the final verdict, which will obviously be Tamesha. Tom says, “The Cold War has finally ended, and unfortunately, one of you has been Cuban Missle Crisised.” Padma says, “Tamesha, pack your Cuban Missle Crises and go.” Tamesha says “BLEEEEEEP! Cry.”

Obviously Tamesha was gonna lose out of those two, but she’s still clearly a lot better than Amanda, Stephen, Kevin, Alex, Andrea, Ed, and Tiffany. But hey, them’s the Cold War breaks. Her ‘mentor’ Angelo flashes his most devious Iago smile:

One Cold War almost ended in nuclear holocaust. This latter-day Cold War ended with an overspiced rhubarb jus. Which one is worse? We will never ever know.

Top Chef “Cold War” episode thoughts? Reactions to the Tamesha verdict? Amount of rivetedness by the Ed/Tiffany romance? Predictions for the next few episodes? Leave ‘em all in the comments.

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