The night began next to a drunken Atlanta business man named David to whom the premise needed to be explained. He made a lot of jokes about his wife being in the bathroom giving birth. Later he showed me that he had texted her, "Watching Top Chef with a bunch of freaks at bar. Plot difficult 2 follow." For the practiced eye, however, it wasn't.
Like Spanish moss, victim politics swathed last night's episode. At this point the producers are courting it, like a Freudian psychologist eager to bring out the deeper issues of leaving the toilet seat up (anger at mother, fear of abandonment, etc). For the Quickfire, the chefs were challenged to produce a dish embodying the dichotomy between good and bad, or as Jung might say the anima and the shadow. Clearly someone in the producer's booth is a Manichean. Bryan Voltaggio did something smart, a play on darkness and light. Michael made salmon two ways. Kevin put down some fat bacon which turned guest judge Michelle Bernstein into an orchard of desire. But, all was for naught. You see, Robin Leventhal had lymphoma. Little Robin Leventhal had lymphoma and so let no lack of talent, no logorrhea nor the fruits of competition stand in her way. It's like she said, "My mother died," in the middle of a Snaps competition; it's an automatic win but a dirty one. For just as Yo' Mama jokes don't take literal aim at one's mother—Do you really think I think when your mother wears a Malcolm X t-shirt helicopters try to land on her? Do I have that low esteem of helicopter pilots? Have I even seen an X t-shirt for years? Why aren't any on eBay?—neither should the challenge have occasioned such a visceral and weighty response.
Eli's well-directed anger, as well as my own, I suppose, isn't so much because Robin had cancer, though we all hate cancer, but because she's profane enough to capitalize on it for an ultimately petty goal. It's really a matter of cynical and disproportionate use of force. It's just like Sabra and Shatila. See? I'm allowed to deploy that because I'm Jewish.
On to the elimination challenge—what a relief. Escaping that last graf was as hard as getting out of Treblinka!—to deconstruct a well-known dish. By the way, at this point the drunk business man David next to my wife and I were fully enthralled in the show, so much so that he spilled wine all over his penis area trying to unmute the television at the end of a commercial break.
Another great challenge, I'd say, for it truly is a technical one and useful for separating the wheat—the Voltaggio's, Jen Carroll, Kevin Gillespie—from the chaff. Chaff like gash mouth face fuck Isabella who didn't know what Eggs Florentine is. "They're Eggs Foreigntome," he says and feels real clever; Laurine, whose cachet briefly rose when she talked smack on RobinWon'tShutUpCancerTit, but royally fucked up making potato chips and Papa Ron didn't know what either paella or deconstruction meant. Ashley was poor growing up and didn't eat pot roast. ["That boy is pretty," said David.] On the wheatier side of things, Jennifer Carroll deconstructed meat lasagna though it was well beyond her ken but not of her ability. Kevin Gillespie from nearby Atlanta—in fact, during the show, one of the chefs from the Avia Hotel stopped by to tell us he had done his stage under Gillespie and that he had been a consummate intense and very talented chef under whom to work—was selected to (de)make Chicken Molé Negro, a task as difficult as unravelling a black belt Gordian knot made of X'chatik chilis, chocolate and bloodsugarsexmagic. Amazingly he did it which means Ron was finally voted off this island which means we no longer have to be made to feel uncomfortable by his hulking hapless presence and that, finally, we can discuss Toby Young.
Toby Young may be a friend of Gawker somehow but he is no friend of mine. As soon as he stops acting like a twat-for-forehead, beads-for-eyes, mulch-for-brains asshole, perhaps then we can found a truth and reconciliation committee. But until then, don't fucking mispronounce paella, per CC "pa-eya", as, per CC and linguistic British imperialism coupled with ignorance, "pay-ella." Furthermore, when Tom Colicchio, who actually is a chef, calls you out on it, hang your dickball head and silently assent to his superiority. Finally, learn about food. You knew you were coming back on the show which is still, in some small way, about food. Didn't your, "This fennel tastes like anise," comment humiliate you enough last season? Apparently not, for one must have pride before it can be wounded. Maybe if you had had cancer or if your balls were as big as Salman Rushdie's, you might know. Also, your mother is so fat when she wears a Malcolm X t-shirt, helicopters try to land on her and I mean that.
Video by Michael Byhoff.