Top Chef: Palm Power Lunch

M: We’re going to skip to formalities this week and get right down to the question at hand after a very strange episode in which unusual people ended up at the top and bottom in the elimination challenge.  If you have to ask what the question is, you clearly didn’t watch the episode.  However, for the sake of proper etiquette, I’ll say it.  Did Alex steal Ed’s English Pea puree?

M: The truth of the answer is…  we’ll never know.

E: But probably yes.

M: The only person that truly knows for sure is Alex, and so far he’s not saying.

E: Ah, you’re being so even-handed and reasonable.  How is it that with all those cameras, and with Tom in the blasted kitchen, no one saw anything?

M: Well, it didn’t look like Tom was right in the middle of everything the whole time, and with the size and angles of the kitchen, I’m not sure they had more than one, maybe two cameras in there.  That said, Ed didn’t directly challenge Alex on it, though he did ask Alex if he had seen it, and the moment has passed.  However, to say “we’ll never know” not only doesn’t make for good blogging, it doesn’t tell the whole story.  True, we won’t know, however it is going to impact the people involved greatly, especially in how they interact with each other.

E: Yeah.  You really feel like this has turned the whole house against Alex.

M: If not the whole house (why do I think Angelo is secretly pleased with it?), then at least most of it.  I’m kind of hoping it blows up next week.  Now, we know that Alex won the challenge, for which Ed was also in the top three, and won largely for the puree, while Ed lost largely because his replacement peas weren’t up to the quality of the rest of his dish.  So, if Alex stole it, then he won a challenge he didn’t deserve, which included a lasting reward (getting his picture hung on the wall of the Palm restaurant for all eternity, much like Kermit the Frog tried to pull off in The Muppets Take Manhattan), not on his own merit, but on deception.

E: Does that mean that if I think the worst of Alex, he has something in common with Kermit the Frog?  I’m just not comfortable with that.

M: Well, he does bear a slight resemblance to Kermit, but no, because Kermit was just following a script, and not acting of his own volition.

E: Har har.

M: Moving on, we know that Ed made a pea puree during the prep time the day before the challenge, while Alex did not.

E: Yes we do.

M: We know that Ed’s puree ended up missing, but that he didn’t cry foul to the judges, or even make an excuse of not being able to find his own puree.  That earns him some points in my book.

E: Does it?  On the one hand, I don’t want him to whine either, and on the other hand, don’t you feel like the judges needed to know that information?  I don’t know how Ed sat there while Art Smith waxed poetic about the perfect pea puree and how he could eat whole bowl of it and feed it to the President and install a large vat of it in his house.

M: That had to be really tough, but where he gets points from me is that he didn’t know, so he took responsibility for his own dish.  He asked Alex if he saw his puree, and Alex said no, so if he went in guns blazing he’d look like a poor sport.  Like Angelo in the quickfire, who had something go wrong mid-dish and had to scramble, but still put out something really good, Ed took responsibility for what he did and didn’t go crying about what could have been.  That’s what got him points with me.  However, we do know that after the fact, in their little interviews,  many of the contestants questioned whether or not Alex even had time to make his own puree, and whether or not he stole Ed’s puree.

E: That’s the thing that seems the most incriminating, even more than the fact that Ed had a puree that went missing and Alex hadn’t planned on making a puree, which is damning enough circumstantial evidence.

M: Which is why, if I had to venture a guess, I’d say he stole it.

E: Yep, me too. But maybe that’s because I already dislike him for saying he’d use prize money on a hooker?

M: As we mentioned when he made the comment about spending potential quickfire winnings on hookers… or was it strippers?

E: I could have sworn he said a hooker.

M: You may be right.  Either way, Alex doesn’t appear to be a beacon of morality, so I wouldn’t put it past him in that regard.  From the comments people like Kenny were making, and from the fact that Ed didn’t have time to make his replacement peas into a puree, I’m thinking Alex didn’t have enough time to make a puree on the spot, either.  Plus, Ed’s puree never turned up.

E: And no one found the puree in the trash, or the bowl, or anything.

M: Which leaves the option of Alex stealing it as the most likely scenario.

E: Yep.

M: So, that’s my take on that.  What else happened and what did we learn?  Well, we learned that when he has immunity, Angelo checks out.

E: I thought we’d learned that with the school lunch challenge and his idea of doing a peanut butter mousse as a vegetable.

M: That was a total game play thing, where as this week was different.  I mean, it still could be a game-play thing, trying to save himself for the challenges that are important, but this isn’t like a stage of the Tour De France, where not going all out on a small slope in the Alps one day will help you have enough energy to climb Mount Ventoux the next.  And he didn’t have the carrot this time of trying to get Kenny kicked out, since there were no teams.  No, I think he’s like a closer in baseball who can’t handle non-save situations.  Put him in with the game on the line, he’s great.  But stick him in a meaningless game with a six run lead and he’s just can’t muster up the same kind of performance.

E: Nice metaphor, bro.

M: Gratzie.  Anyway, he did win the quickfire, but at least this week there was nothing that reminded me of his bestiality issues.

E: I really hated that he won the money.  I can’t find anything good to say about that.

M: Me neither, so lets move on.  My guy Stephen did manage to get into the top three for the quickfire, but did not impress once again in the elimination challenge, and continues to make me wonder why he’s still hanging around.

E: Oh, I so wanted him to beat Angelo and win the money!  So disappointing.

M: True enough, but seriously, Arnold was definitely better than him, as was Lynne and all of this week’s bottom contestants.

E: I guess Stephen’s best efforts come at the right time, then.  You have to admit, his seminar on being at judges table was pretty darn funny.  He’s not just clever, he’s got good timing in comedy as well as in the game.

M: Ok, that was REALLY funny.  Amanda said she almost peed her pants, and even in the quick clip we saw I felt the same way.  However, speaking of the bottom, this week’s included last week’s winner, Kevin.  With him were overall contender Kelly, and Andrea.  Through the episode we had gotten more tidbits about Andrea’s life (running her own restaurant for seven years, lots of debt, etc), so I was pretty sure she was on her way out.

E: Poor Andrea.  I really feel like she can cook, but vanilla bean and mustard?  Eek.  I will say, I had no idea from the dinners’ comments (Luke Russert!  John Podesta!  MSBC’s Washington team) who the top and bottom would be.

M: I feel the same way.  Now Kevin, who they criticized a few weeks ago for having bland Puerto Rican food, was criticized for having an overly spicy sauce on his lamb.  Kelly, who had been criticized for not having enough salt on a dish in the past, massively over-salted her porterhouse.  Andrea didn’t overcompensate for a past mistake, she simply overused vanilla, and overwhelmed her swordfish.  She admitted to the judges that she doesn’t like swordfish, and doesn’t cook it often, which struck me as odd, since she has a seafood restaurant in Miami.  I would think swordfish would be a big request.

E: Maybe her husband cooks it?

M: Could be, but still, you’d think she’d at least know how.  In the end, maybe she needs to rethink her swordfish bias, as she got the boot.  Though, it wasn’t necessarily the swordfish that did her in, but the vanilla.  Now, here’s hoping for a big Ed vs Alex explosion in the house for next week’s episode!

One comment on “Top Chef: Palm Power Lunch

  1. Krizzzz says:

    “Plus, Ed’s puree never turned up.

    E: And no one found the puree in the trash, or the bowl, or anything.”

    EXACTLY. I was just thinking, “Hey, shouldn’t there be a random pea puree floating around? Shouldn’t there have, at some point, been two pea purees?” It’s like that episode of “Moonlighting” years ago:

    Dave and Maddie are morosely heading home after a terrible horrible explosion that seems to have killed whoever might have been the victim and/or prime suspect (they hadn’t figured that out yet), when suddenly, out of a glum silence, Dave yells, “Bits of guy!”


    Bits of guy! Bits of guy! If the guy blew up, there should be bits of guy! Did you see any bits of guy? etc.

    So. Pea Puree! Shouldn’t there be another pea puree? Pea Puree!

    Hrmph. Doesn’t sound the same without Bruce Willis.

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