Top Chef Power Lunch
Credit: David Giesbrecht/Bravo
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For all his “alpha male” talk, Kenny really is just a cuddly teddy bear. Whether he’s scrunched up in bed, pondering his low rank in last week’s episode or strutting around the house in his cozy bathrobe, he’s just a big lug.

Angelo, on the other hand, is as deceiving as they get. I mean how can you expect us to believe you’re actually sad to see Tamesha gone when you’re wearing neon green?

And that’s how the episode pretty much opened, because the only interesting aspect of this season is watching Kenny and Angelo duke it out. (Though I’m also rooting for Kevin to pull through.)

Kelly, meanwhile, was sad she was losing roommates left and right, but obviously not really because she doesn’t mess around in a competition. I mean, she doesn’t even share salt! After all the moping, we got on with the Quickfire, brought to you by the House’s youngest congressman, Aaron Schock of Illinois.

What does the youngest Congressman have to do with it? Nothing. Snooze. Except I imagine all the older reps either a) don’t want to be associated with reality TV or b) have never heard of Top Chef.

Our young Aaron explains that they’ll be cooking a gourmet meal presented in a bite-size way because in the real world of politics, chefs can’t woo candidates with lavish meals. Stephen tried to wax theoretically on this subject, but it made me all the more bored. Is it just me, or has his level of dorkiness gone up?

This bite-size challenge completely perplexed Angelo, who was still reeling from the talk of ethics, of which, as we’ve seen, he’s clearly a master.

That being said, during the Quickfire we did see that he’s quite the chopper. He may think it’s sexy; I think it looked spastic. Speaking of, Amanda was totally lost yet again, and Ed played around with a party umbrella toothpick. I thought this was supposed to be gourmet?

Of all the dishes at the Quickfire, Andrea’s was the one that left me salivating. Buttermilk fried chicken + cheddar + waffle = key to my heart. Possibly key to a heart attack as well.

Hers didn’t leave as much of an impression on Padma and Aaron as did Ed’s tuna confit-grilled tuna pairing, Alex’s scallops with bacon, and Kelly’s scallops with watermelon. With both Alex and Kelly’s scallops, there were flavor problems (his too much; hers not enough) and Ed’s tuna got the bimbo response — that it looked better than it tasted — not without a corny joke by Aaron, who commented on Ed’s Asian flavorings: “I like Asia without the long plane flight…that’s a nice touch.” Aaron Schock: Keeping politicians unfunny since 2008.

What Aaron did like was Kevin’s pork kebab (he thought about it all Quickfire long), Stephen’s scallop and beef (“wow, there’s a lot on this stick”), and Angelo’s cucumber cup with shrimp and cashew (fireworks in Aaron’s mouth). Our Congressman was full of all sorts of commentary. Do I smell the scent of a returning guest judge? God, let’s hope not.

Angelo won $20,000 and immunity, making his hateability numbers skyrocket. Kevin’s “pissed off” look alone shot him up about 10,000 points.

I particularly loved how Angelo admitted in his confessional interview that he was embarrassed by such an uncreative dish. Clearly he said that, taped after the Quickfire, to make it seem like he can rock even the simplest of dishes. Ding ding ding, the hateability numbers continue to soar.

Considering how frantic the Quickfire was, it was fitting that for their elimination challenge, the cheftestants had to make a power lunch for D.C.’s movers and shakers, who are apparently Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski of Morning Joe. Also Luke Russert, who was all about the quippy one-liners, like this gem about Kenny’s peppered lamb needing some greens: “Oscar for best actor. Supporting cast is not there.” Ha!

Each cheftestant drew a knife to select their protein, pre-determined by the Palm restaurant, where they were cooking. Amanda got porterhouse steak and decided to completely change it into filet and strip steak. Tiffany, meanwhile, loved the opportunity to bust out her favorite swordfish recipe.

But none of that mattered, because this episode was all about pea puree. Yes, the stuff Linda Blair probably vomited out in The Exorcist took center stage last night when Ed’s pea puree went missing. Alex allegedly took it (true) and claimed he didn’t even know Ed was doing a pea puree (false).

It was surprising how relatively unperturbed Ed seemed by the whole thing. Obviously, he didn’t have much time to throw spiteful glances Alex’s way lest he wanted to serve an empty plate to Art Smith, chef and owner of D.C.’s Art and Soul restaurant.

But what was most unnerving was Alex’s almost non-attitude about the incident. It’s been unscientifically proven that whenever you’re guilty, you sometimes overcompensate when claiming innocence, thus making you all the more culpable. Did Alex know my unsubstantiated theory when he played it off that much? If so, he’s even more diabolical than Angelo. A scary thought, but maybe true.

Even while waiting in the backroom of judges’ table, he was so nonchalant I wanted to throw the remote at him — or peas at him. Poor Ed. Would he be sent home for the lack of green mush?

No, he wouldn’t! The judges picked his slow butter-poached lobster ballotine as one of the top three dishes, along with Tiffany’s swordfish and Alex’s applewood smoked salmon with the infamous pea puree, which, by the way, didn’t make Mika feel gross.

But as luck and evil would have it, Alex took home the win — his dish joining The Palm’s menu and his face forever emblazoned on the restaurant’s wall. I’m not sure what’s worse: his lying or his science lab glasses. What do you think?

Tiffany proclaimed a non-verbal “nu-uh” after Alex’s win and the rest of the cheftestants looked equally horrified. When time came for the bottom three, each was there for sloppy mistakes. Kelly copped to oversalting, Kevin stood behind his lamb, and Andrea explained that she had never cooked swordfish. I’m pretty sure Amanda has never cooked with skill, but she seems to get by.

Since Kelly and Kevin are clearly more talented, Andrea was the obvious choice to go home and off she went to expand her knowledge of fish and the perils of “goopy” couscous.

Next week, Alex gets even more unlikeable, and we get a dose of international flavor when the cheftestants cook for ambassadors, joined by Top Chef Masters winner Marcus Samuelsson — in a fancy fedora no less!

Episode Recaps

Top Chef
Tom, Padma, and Gail tell the cheftestants to pack their knives and go.
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