TOP CHEF RECAP: Dept. Of Foreign Af-Foods

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This is a Recap of Top Chef D.C. (Season 7), Episode 8, entitled “Foreign Affairs”, originally airing August 4, 2010. There’s spoilers in it, such as the spoiler that they all have to pick a country and make food from it, in case you didn’t figure that out like three letters into the episode title.

This week opens with Kelly lamenting, “Andrea went home last night, and it’s hard…” Are the chefs gonna pretend to be sad every time someone goes home? Because it will happen literally every single week. Can someone just step up and say “Another one of the interchangeably poor chefs lost again, getting us closer to the weeks that matter?” Stefan Richter actually used to scream that into the camera six times per episode.

This week’s Quickfire: Cook some Ethiopian-inspired cuisine for Marcus Samuelsson, who cooks Ethiopian food. HOW CONVENIENT. Also D.C. has a bunch of Ethiopian restaurants so we’re covered on the D.C. tie-in front. The chefs take turns saying how unfamiliar they all are with Ethiopian food, especially Kelly, who has “never eaten Ethiopian food” — I’ve eaten Ethiopian food several times, and I’m me. This bodes not not-unwell.

The big exception, of course, is Angelo, who’s all “I was president of Ethiopia for six years and commissioned a time machine so I could go back and invent what Ethiopian food was and that’s what it is now.” But just when you think he’s being set up for arrogant-failure, Marcus Samuelsson tastes his dish and says “You sure you’re not born in Ethiopia?” Angelo’s subsequent boner knocks the camera out of focus.

Tiffany ends up winning the Quickfire, though, with her “Goulash Hey Look Over There Ethiopia”.

After the jump, Padma brings out a giant map with 9 countries and presents them to the 9 remaining chefs. What could the Elimination Challenge POSSIBLY BE????

The big question remains: Will anyone really obviously steal another person’s food this week? The Bravo viewers really, really don’t trust Alex:

For the Elimination, the chefs will draw knives to set an order, then take turns picking countries from the Street Fighter 2 selection screen (someone’s gonna get stuck with Zangief!) They select, in order: Mexico, Italy, France, Thailand, Spain, Japan, India, China, and unlucky Stephen gets stuck with Brazil. But what about the freest nation on earth, The UNITED STATES OF AMERICA??? [Applause] Thanks for the applause, post!

The chefs will present their dishes at the prestigious International Room With Steam Trays for a group of diplomats, ambassadors, and world dignitaries, most of whom will provide one sound byte on the street and may or may not have ever actually eaten the food / entered the building.

Kenny surprisingly stoops to the sob story level, saying how he’s battled cancer before so he has the strength and mental toughness to win. That should come in handy in the Test Your Strength Quickfire next week, but in the meantime, maybe he should stop being so obsessed with “duos” and “trios” and cook a good “one-o”? (O Snap!)

Kevin draws India and has no idea what he’s in for, saying (transcribed verbatim): “India’s in Asia, right? I don’t know much about Indian cuisine. I don’t know anything really. I’m pretty sure I want to use chicken – where can I find spices?”

Ed draws China and can’t resist lying, “I had some Chinese girlfriends in the past.” Sure you did, Ed, and I’ll bet they talked about cooking their native food all the time during your threesomes with them. Ed is that half-friend of yours who’s made out with like three girls in the last three years but always goes really far out of his way to cram it into casual conversation to convince himself he’s totally One Of The Guyz! We get it – you masturbated with chicken & broccoli once.

Kelly then receives a care package from her husband and forgets that alcohol is common and easily purchasable:

This week’s guest judge is Spanish chef Jose Andres, owner of Minibar and Jaleo, which are two separate restaurants (I thought it was just one trendily-named thing). The TC producers eventually convince him to be super-critical, but for a while, he is loving everything:

The dignitaries are alternately happy and deeply disappointed with the dishes — The Italian Guy says of Kelly’s carpaccio, “I think today’s carpaccio represents Italy better than I do.” Though to be fair, he was also banging five mistresses just outside the frame, so the carpaccio still could’ve been average.

The Swedish dignitary is a much tougher critic, saying of Stephen’s Brazilian steak, “It would’ve been a good buy if I got it at a food stand for five bucks.” Swedish zing!!! Zjing!

Kevin is nervous about his Indian food when the tough Indian-food critics arrive:

After a quick DVR-buster segment in which Stephen pees on himself (just like in the kitchen!), we head to Judge’s Table.

The Top 3: Kevin, Kelly, and Tiffany.

Turns out, all the stuff about Kevin not knowing anything about Indian food was a curried red herring, as he nearly emerges victorious. Kelly rebounds from a rough showing last week, but the win goes to Tiffany for her Mexican tamales, along with $10,000 from Dial Nutriskin (since Glad is now broke after having given $6 billion to Top Chef over the years). Tiffany pulls the rare Quickfire-Elimination double victory, and clouds up the running for the fourth spot in the Finals (the other three will be Angelo, Kelly, and Kenny).

Dial also matches the prize with a $10,000 donation to D.C. Central Kitchen. A touched Jose Andres responds, “What the F**k? We never talked about this.” Marcus is too busy trying to get Padma’s attention to care:

The Bottom 3: Alex, Stephen, Ed

Jose Andres says of Stephen’s steak and rice, “It was like a littal nightmare? Am I saying that right? I am trying to say that your food ees like when you are sleeping and many horrors happen to you? It was like, how you say, eating terrible night visions of your own death then you wake up screaming? Is my English coming across?”

Alex delays his inevitable elimination another week, and Stephen goes home, saying “There would’ve been a thousand other people who’d die for my spot.” Especially Bon Jovi. The Bravo website rubs it in with this non-painful pun:

Next week on Top Chef, a backstage blowup leads to a series of A Few Good Men speeches:

Episode thoughts? Favorite/Least Favorite Parts? Other stuff? Washington? Predictions for the next few eliminations? Finals updates? Leave ‘em in the comments.