Fall TV

'Top Chef' Food Porn: Enough With the Kale!

Fall TV

View gallery

.

TOP CHEF -- 'Commander's Palace' Episode 1103 -- Pictured: (l-r) Padma Lakshmi, Emeril Lagasse, Dana Cowin, Janine …

This week's "Top Chef" starts off with an Elimination Quickfire! The chefs are given one of three "fad" ingredients that Food & Wine editor-in-chief Dana Cowin feels is "over": kale, bacon, and egg (as in burger with an egg on top, salad with an egg on top, omelet with a... well, you get the idea).

Shirley takes the Quickfire and immunity with her rice congee (which is just a fancy word for porridge) with shirred egg (which, apparently, is a fancy word for "pile of egg yolk chunks"). If something this dumpy-looking wins the challenge, the flavors must be off the charts.

 

View gallery

.

undefined

Dana's full of useful advice if you pay close attention. For example, sometimes she'll say something veiled and cryptic like, "Don't make a kale salad." Did you catch the subtext there? About not making a kale salad? Because Bret didn't.

 

View gallery

.

undefined

The salad might be kind of hard to spot — it's the enormous heap of kale on the right-hand side. Or you could just look at the name of his dish — it's near the bottom. See the part where it says, "With kale salad"? And if your defense, when Padma calls you out on it, is "Well, I did elements of kale salad" while she has a mouthful of your kale salad, you should probably expect to go home. Unless, of course, one of your opponents makes something inedible.

 

View gallery

.

undefined

Aaron knew it was too salty. Dana makes the too-salty grimace, Emeril says it was too salty to finish, and Padma says, "It was a little salty," which is code for "Please pack your knives and go." Aaron's all mopey afterward. "It was one mistake," he whines. Yes, technically, making a dish that's too salty for the judges to finish is just one mistake.

Elimination Challenge

Now, we're into the nitty-gritty. Everybody heads to the Commander's Palace, which some of New Orleans' finest chefs have passed through. The owner, Ti Martin, tells the judges about their history as a "discreet" establishment where ship captains could take their mistresses, which sounds suspiciously like she's hitting on Tom.

The chefs sample dishes originated by Paul Prudhomme and Emeril and have an hour to re-create them. Re-creating dishes isn't something "Top Chef" usually does, is it? That seems more up the "Hell's Kitchen" alley, which is definitely not somewhere they should be heading.

 

View gallery

.

undefined

They're asked to recreate four dishes: The Shrimp and Tasso Henican.

 

View gallery

.

undefined

The Black Skillet Seared Trout.

 

View gallery

.

undefined

The Veal Chop Tchoupitoulas.

 

View gallery

.

undefined

And a Strawberry Trio.

 

View gallery

.

undefined

Which turns out to be the winning dish. Are you happy now, Justin? Can we please stop hearing "I live here, so it would be real embarrassing if I lost this challenge"? We get it: Every challenge would be real embarrassing if you lose. Stop trying to make yourself the underdog when, so far, every dish you've had to make has been lobbed at you like a slow-pitch softball.

 

View gallery

.

undefined

All right, enough smirking. Let's see some soul-crushing despair.

 

View gallery

.

undefined

Hey, is that Bret, the guy from before who didn't listen? It certainly is. Not only does he not listen, but he's also got issues with "time management," which is code for "YOU LAZY #$@%!" Sorry, that's the "Hell's Kitchen" translator — in "Top Chef," it just means overcooked with sloppy plating.

At least Bret owns up to his failings. Good luck in Last Chance Kitchen, brown-haired guy whose name I've already forgotten. You'll always be "Kale Salad" in our hearts.

"Top Chef" airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on Bravo.

View Comments