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Top Chef recap: Sour Grapes

When the contestants serve 50 super-critical chefs who didn’t make it onto the show, some power through (Carla, Fabio, and Jamie), while others stumble (Hosea, Ariane, and Jill)

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Michael Lavine/Bravo

Top Chef

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
Tom Colicchio, Padma Lakshmi, Gail Simmons
Reality TV

Well, I don’t know about you, fellow Top Chef fans, but I thought Ariane would get the boot last night. Considering the chef was in the bottom two last week and Padma spit out her foodduring last night’s episode, it seemed fairly obvious that the underdog would be sent packing. But instead, poor Jill became the latest victim of Bravo’s “If you don’t have enough personality, you will go home” rule. But we’ll get to the elimination later. First off, dear friends, you’ll have to excuse me tonight: I was diagnosed with an eye infection today, and because I can’t wear contacts and don’t own a pair of glasses, I had to go into tonight’s episode a bit blind. I did, however, sit about two feet from the television and relied on my other senses to get me through the episode (well, pretty much only hearing, as I believe Wonkavision has sadly yet to be invented), but if I failed to see a priceless facial expression or something else worth mentioning, please do bring it up it in our comment board following this recap!

Now, with that out of the way, let’s get to last night’s episode. We began the show with a little eye candy — thanks to a shirtless shot of Dr. Chase — which provided a high that was quickly brought down by a morose Ariane, who was still struggling with being in the bottom two during last week’s panel. Stefan — the winner of last week’s challenge — on the other hand, thought he had the competition in the bag, and pointed to only one real competitor: his fellow European contestant, Fabio. But Fabio won’t let their friendship get in the way of the competition: “In Italian they say, it doesn’t matter how many dragon you kill, it’s who take home the princess. So I go for the princess.” Interestingly enough, I believe that’s also a popular saying in Mario’s Mushroom Kingdom, so I’m guessing this means Fabio will refuse to pack his knives and go until after he defeats Stefan and Bowser.

There wasn’t too much time to talk game, though. Our chefs were soon sent off to their quickfire challenge, where Padma told them they would be cooking one of New Yorkers’ favorite things. My first guess was a hot dog. My second guess was Purell. Well, I have to say I’m quite proud of myself, because my first inclination was the right one: The chefs were instructed to cook a hot dog for Padma and guest judge Donatella Arpaia that would be better than Angelina D’Angelo’s famed Dominick’s wiener. The chefs got right to work, and I found their ability to whip up handmade hot dogs so quickly impressive. Not only did most of them manage to infuse quite a bit of creativity into their quickfire dishes (sushi hot dogs!), but also, not one of them used pig anatomy, toxic waste, or pigeon poo — a.k.a. the real ingredients of a hot dog, I always thought — for their wieners. Fabio wowed the judges with his sausage and goat cheese, and Hosea’s wiener with bacon won high marks as well. But the quickfire champ was Radhika, who made a hot dog infused with Indian spices (props to her, but girl, I thought you wanted to prove you could break out of your Indian food shell?). Others didn’t perform quite so well: Jill didn’t even bother to make her own hot dog for her sushi dish, and Stefan took fusion to the extreme by trying to create an ill-advised “World Dog.” But in the end, how did our chefs’ dogs compare to Angelina’s? Hard to tell. Padma and Donatella picked up the famous Queens hot dog, took one bite, and placed it back on the table while smiling and nodding their heads like they were eating a piece of Ted Allen’s arm (how else can they justify his absence this season?). Whatever. Angelina, I’d eat one of your hot dogs in its entirety, pigeon poo or not.

NEXT: An ostrich egg, huh?