Top Chef D.C. Episode 2 Recap

Our girl Tiffany finishes strong this week.

It seems that things are finally starting to heat up on Top Chef D.C. Last night’s episode featured Siamese chefs and drunk middle school kids. Now that’s what I call reality TV! Jump for the recap.

Before we get into the Quick Fire Challenge, let’s talk about our guest judge, Sam Kass, and why my new life goal is to date/marry him. First of all, he cooks for the president. No big deal. Secondly, he’s hot. Need I say more? I think not.

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, let’s discuss the QFC. It seemed that this one was going to been even more boring than last week’s potato peeling contest. The cheftestants had 30 minutes to make one sandwich. Easy! So the chefs are all like, “Psshhh. I got this in the bag!” Until the judges showed them what they were supposed to wear: aprons attached at the hip. TWIST! Tim said, “This is genius! Who got high and came up with this idea?” Somewhere, a Bravo intern is high-fiving himself for this brilliant idea. All I have to say is keep smoking what you’re smoking, intern.

A knife pull determines the teams. Everyone is jealous when Tracey gets paired with Angelo, because everything the guy touches turns to gold. But Tracey isn’t excited that Angelo is her teammate because of his perfect record. No. She’s excited because she secretly has a crush on him. And she gets to hug him for a whole 30 minutes! Could an in-house romance bud? I think that’s unlikely but here’s to hoping. Anyways, my boyfriend Sam advised them to “leave their egos at the door” (I’m looking at you Kenny) and the “bipartisandwich” battle was underway.

It’s no surprise that the chefs were thrown off by their partners. Alex was paranoid that Tim was going cut him. Then, as Tim furiously sliced and diced, he lost control and chopped off Alex’s finger! Their dish was ruined! Panic ensued! Taking advantage of their newfound ingredient, they decided to serve finger sandwiches instead. The judges gave them thumbs up for their creative recovery. I wish.

Angelo called their creation “sex on a plate.” Tracey secretly wished they were having sex on a plate. I then spent the next five minutes trying to erase that mental picture from my brain. So, I apologize that my memory of the dishes is a bit spotty. I remember one sandwich had a tree growing out of it. The judges tasted the sandwiches and dubbed Angelo and Tracey the winners. Angelo is relieved because he no longer has to shut down his NY sandwich shop due to embarrassment. Thank goodness. But everyone else, including our girl Tiffany, is pissed because he won yet another challenge. That’s three in a row.

On to the Elimination Challenge. In support of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign to fight childhood obesity,  the chefs must take over a local cafeteria and create healthy, kid-friendly meals. Seems easy enough. Until they find out their budget. They can only spend $2.68 per child. No wonder the food in middle school was so gross. Now I understand why they served Frito pie in the bag! They couldn’t afford bowls! It’s all making sense now! Angelo got to pick his teammates/competitors first. He strategically chose Kenny, his biggest threat.

So the chefs headed to a warehouse to buy the cheapest stuff they can find. Everyone except Amanda, that is. She was running around screaming, “Where’s the sherry? I need alcohol!” Okay, what in her right mind makes her think that serving a sherry-based dish to a bunch of middle schoolers is a good idea? First of all, it’s inappropriate. She might as well serve it with an ice-cold glass of Mike’s Hard Lemonade. And there’s no way they’re going to like that. All I wanted to eat at that age were cheese sandwiches and chicken nuggets. Come on!

So they head back to the kitchen and drama ensued. Arnold (who spends $130 on a meal when he eats out – really?) was mad at Kelly because she kept saying “I” too much. Amanda was bossing her team around, too. You could say she was drunk on power. Lots of bleeping was used. The drama continued at the house later that night when Arnold called Kelly out for being self-centered all day. Ironically, they sound a little like they’ve reverted back to middle school.

The next day, the drama seemed to have subsided when team Arnold/Kelly lied to Tom and told him they all really helped each other. BS! Tom didn’t buy it. The chefs prepared their meals for the kiddos and everyone chowed down. Overall, the kids seem pretty pleased with their lunches. I think it’s because they were drunk from that sherry chicken. After everyone’s full and they’ve gotten their hug from Padma, they stumble off to their next class: Alcoholics Anonymous.

The chefs headed to the dungeon storage closet lounge to await the judges’ decision. Although I was a little distracted by Sam’s attractiveness, I’ll do my best to summarize their thoughts. They liked our girl Tiffany’s team the best (carnitas, black bean cakes, and caramelized sweet potatos). In the end, Kelly’s carnitas won the challenge. Tiffany’s sweet potatoes finished second. Close, but no cigar.

The judges weren’t big fans of team Angelo/Kenny because they lacked veggies and felt that Kenny and Ed should have been more assertive. They also called Angelo out for trying to throw the challenge. He denied it, but there’s not doubt he picked Kenny to try to knock him out of the competition.

In the end, it came down to Jacqueline’s sugary pudding and Amanda’s expensive sherry chicken. And this was when the best comments of the night occurred. Tom said the chicken looked like a turd. Then Gail chimed in with, “I love vodka but I don’t cook with it!” Right on.

Jacqueline’s pudding must have tasted worse than a turd because they sent her packing. I wanted Amanda to go home because she was pretty annoying this week, but this was Jacqueline’s second time in the bottom two. All in all, the decision wasn’t very surprising.

And that’s it for this week!

P.S. Sam, if you’re reading this feel free to click on my name up there and send me an email. We’ll talk.


  • TLS

    Considering that Tracey spoke about helping raise her GIRLFRIEND’s daughter I don’t see an Angelo/Tracey showmance any time soon.

  • @TLS I knew I was forgetting something! My bad.

  • Good recap, Kellyn. Boy, at Judge’s Table it really turned into Throw Each Under The Bus Theater, didn’t it? Also loved the reaction when Kenny was reminded that tomatoes are in fact, fruit. Needed the classic Gong of Stupidity from The Amazing Race for that moment.

    I wanted to give Angelo the benefit of the doubt on the whole sabotage thing, but seriously, PB on celery? That team was a mess all over. Also, I don’t think they should allow immunity on team challenges.

    The sherry girl should have gotten PYKAG’d this week. Her dish was underwhelming, and she likely used so much of her team’s budget that everyone else’s dishes suffered (for example, the one with bananas and milk and that’s it).

    Definitely rooting for Tiffany so far. Looking forward to next week!

  • stephanie

    I heard that Tiffany made the sauce that Kelly’s Pork was tossed in and helped the other teamates finish there dishes. that Kelly girl was to much of I I I I and the word on the street was she couldn’t finish her dishes and thats why her team was a little heated. I am team Tiff all the way!!!!

  • GuynDallas

    Sam is gorgeous. We need more of him this season.

  • Wes Mantooth

    First off, great recap Kellyn. My notes:

    1. “The lovely & delightful Gail Simmons.” I like it when she goes into enforcer mode. I’ll back Padma up on this, Gail is lovely and delightful, and I didn’t always think that about her. She has seemed too harpy at times in the past for me, but those days are gone.
    2. Very glad that they dumped Toby as a judge. Just never clicked. Perhaps it’s because his accent always kind of reminded me of Aldous Snow.
    3. If “bipartisandwich” is the kind of “clever” punnery we can look forward to this season, it’s going to be a long, dry season. What’s next, Barney Frank-furter quickfire? Make us your most Supreme Ruth Bader Gins-Burger? Oy.
    4. “This is our play on” blah blah blah. It’s such a tired phrase, but worse, if you have to explain what it’s a play on, then the dish is about as successful as when you have to explain the premise for the punchline. “This is my take on…” goes too, Roget. And to make the natural triple in the Cliched Cooking Terms Apartment in the Sky, “flavor profile” is also dead to me.
    5. YOu know what makes cooking shows more fun? Pedantic public service lectures about the importance of the school lunch program! Yea! I can’t wait for more politics in my cooking shows! Can we maybe get the head of the EPA to reprise “Boy Meets Grill” just so there can be a discussion about green grilling tips? Maybe Secretary Ken Salazar can join Emeril on his Planet Green show for a segment on using oil-killed crab and oyster in a delictable paella? So much fun to be had with this new genre of politico-cooking show. Not. (Too soon to revive “Friends”-based colloquialisms? As if.)
    6. What was the midget from Ohio thinking? Don’t mouth off about the failures of the other team? At least half of surviving the first half of a series of Top Chef is keeping your head down and not wearing a bullseye. Not smart, dude.
    7. I don’t know why but I just am not engaging with the show this season like usual. It kind of remids me of the Averett Bros. song “I and Love and You,” only in this situation, I’m the band and the show is the audience.
    8. This Myint dude, he’s annoying. Don’t know why. But something about his manner makes me think that he’s going to be all team-team-team right up to the minute that it’s his turn to under-bus-throw somebody. I’d bet that the Germans have a pithy word for that expression, but I’m limited by my native tongue. Kelly’s lucky she got the nod because he had that Greyhound warmed up and ready to roll right over her and those chorizo tacos.
    9. No freaking way that you could serve sweet potato puree to kids at lunch. Personally, I love sweet potatoes, but that puree just looked like baby poo. That’s appetizing to a rat terrier, sure, but not to me. Surprised the judges gave them a pass on this.
    10. Gail shows at the end why she’s my early season MVP: “I love lots of things. I love vodka, but I’m not cooking for kids with it.” Ka-pow! FWIW, I’m not surprised that Gail loves vodka. I suspect she’s fond of many distilled spirits.
    11. As soon as Amanda said “sherry braised chicken” when they were planning the menu, I typed out “WTF. No kid will want to eat that.” So when Tom said that it waS like a turd on the table because the kids wouldn’t touch it, it was no great surprise. Also no surprise that Tom has a potty mouth. It comes naturally with the douchey facial hair.
    12. Last year at this time in the season, I already felt like there were about 5 folks who could contend for the title, and I was really pulling for Jen, although she faded down the stretch. At this point of this season, I don’t have a horse yet.
    13. I felt bad for Jacqueline, but I didn’t think the judges were wrong, either. So much of Top Chef is about the timing. Most of the time in prior seasons, so long as you didn’t screw the pooch in the first half of the season, you could make it into the top half of cheftestants. It’s kind of like the Nascar playoffs, a third of the starting field is going to make it into the tournament. But then you’ve gotta bring your “A” game if you want to win the Cup. Same thing is true with the cellar dwellars. You can be not great and survive for weeks on end, but rarely can you be in the bottom two for two weeks in a row early in the contest and manage to make it out alive. Jacqueline was, unfortunately, a start and park-er in Nascar terms.
    14. I was bummed that Ripert wasn’t on. Somehow I’d gotten it into my head that he wasn’t just guesting but was going to be judging all season. Can’t wait for the return of Bourdain.
    15. I’m already ready for some of the dry rot chefs to go. I think that we could easily cut 6 of them in one night and only be better for it, but of course that would ruin the series’ production sked, so that will never happen. Too bad.

  • Tinkerbell

    Again, I chant humbly and reverently, “Wes,Wes,Wes!!!”

  • CookMr

    Wes you and Kellyn are doing an awesome job. Very fun to read. You guys should watch together and do a report.

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