This week, the episode starts out once again with scenes from last week's stew room. The chefs are cowed after hearing that there would be no winners because of the sheer suckitude of all of the dishes. There's no real squabbling, but Stefan seems pissed off and Brooke is crying. We imagine she's crying because she did poorly, but maybe Stefan made a pass at her - who knows?
Anyhoo...this week, the cheftestants meet at the Product Placement Kitchen to find Padma standing with an old lady. Not just any old lady, but Marilyn Hagerty, now-famous critic for the Grand Forks Herald. The podunk paper printed the 86-year-old's positive review of the town's much-anticipated Olive Garden and overnight, she became an Internet sensation. She's even got a book deal with Tony Bourdain. (Makes me think I should have been more positive in my review of the Melting Pot.) Since North Dakota is nowhere near Seattle, I have to wonder if there's any reason other than novelty that Ms Hagerty is judging the Quickfire, but I think it's safe to assume that the answer is "no."
For this Quickfire, the cheftestants must pretend it's the holiday season. Christmas in July, if you will. The challenge is to create a sweet and savory holiday dished based on each chef's family heritage. For the sweet part of the dish, they need to utilize this week's sponsor, Truvia, the artificial sweetener made from the stevia plant. And don't tell me that shit's natural. I've tasted the stevia extract they sell at the health food store, and that stuff, while it has a bit of sweetness, is harsh and licorice-like in flavor. It needs a whole lot of processing to get that nasty taste out. Not only do they need to use the sweetener, the cheftestants also have to battle to use one knife, which Lizzie pulls out of the knife block. She tries to hog it first, but Mustache grabs it and slices and dices everything he can get his hands on before he has to surrender it to the next person in line. Meanwhile, the others are using the meat slicer, the front edge of a spatula, anything that seems like it could cut or chop.
After thirty minutes, Padma and Marilyn do the rounds. Brooke becomes worried when Padma calls her apple pie with cheese "homey," and smug Micah sneers when Marilyn says she's never seen a tamale before.
Marilyn is shown the door and two actors enter the stage. Anna Faris, who's been in absolutely nothing I have ever seen, and her husband Chris Pratt (ditto) are Washington natives who are in town for a "holiday homecoming" party. In June. Anna is preggo and eating everything in sight, and both of them are foodies, so they want the party food to be primo. Lord knows why they went to Top Chef if they want good food, but they're probably also media whores who just wanted to be on television. Stefan thinks he has something in common with Anna because they've both been on Entourage. Like I said - media whores.
After shopping, we see the chefs running to the kitchen. As he gets to the double doors, TMHCiD slips and falls, which is rather gratifying to see. At least I enjoyed it.
After several hours of prep, during which time Mustache is making pork to "redeem" himself from last week's tenderloin debacle, the chefs wrap up their goods and head over to the party venue, Chihuly Garden & Glass. The place is gorgeous, btw, and the Web site is worth a visit.
The chefs set up and the guests arrive, most of whom seem to be shrill women. "Hiiiiiii! How are YOUuuuuu?!!??!" is heard over and over again as the guests greet each other. Ack. I don't know how anyone can concentrate with that noise around them. It's like being in the monkey cage at the zoo, only with better perfume. Some of the chefs aren't doing so well. Micah is having issues with his celery root puree, and both Danyele and Eliza are experiencing toughness issues with their meat. There's probably a dirty joke in there, but I'm too tired to come up with one.
Danyele has been given a loser edit through much of the episode. It's clear that she's nervous and not performing to her potential. Her wild boar chops were bland and boring. Micah's puree was fibrous, and Mustache most definitely did not redeem himself through pork. But it was Eliza's elk that was most disliked, and resulted in her being sent home. When she gets the verdict, she tells the judges that she won't shake hands with them because she's got a cold. But she cooked for them. And then back in the stew room, she gives everyone else a hearty hug and kiss.
Next week: everyone has the flu.
Posted on Minxeats.com.