Last week, on Top Chef: Gleeful trend-killer Dana Cowin, Creepy Michael being creepy and some truly loathsome interpretations of gumbo. What follows are the random thoughts that came to mind last night as I watched the show.
– Nick opens the show with a phone call to his wife. It’s boring, so they fill in with some background. What follows is a list of the most important Nick facts..
1. He owns a flip phone.
2. He owns a Tom Brady jersey.
3. He met his wife in Atlantic City.
– Elsewhere, three of the ladies were sitting next to the inflatable above-ground pool all natural like when Emeril saunters in, trying his best to look intimidating.
The eyes of the ladies tell us what they are thinking. “Man, is he not pulling that off” and “Hey, who is the hip Asian-American man walking behind Big Pussy?”
– That’s the guest judge Eddie Huang, chef and owner of Baohaus. For those of you who aren’t cultured, “bao” is a chinese word for PORK VESSEL. It is also Emeril’s Chinese nickname.
– Sarah calls Eddie a “food archaeologist,” which is disgusting. Nobody wants to eat food that you dug out of your yard, unless you have a Korean grandmother who makes her own kimchi, in which case we should hang out more.
– Emeril announces that there will be no quickfire challenge. Everybody seems bummed. It’s out of the frying pan and straight into the elimination frying pan, or something.
– Cheftestants will be in groups of five. Jesus, do they still have 15 people on this show? That’s insane. Eliminate five before the first commercial break. Ugh. Anyway, Emeril and Eddie are talking about Louisiana’s Vietnamese population, and their importance to the local shrimping industry. They’re either going to be making Vietnamese food, or shrimp dishes. Probably both.
– A bunch of the chefs nod their heads, because they are obviously comfortable with Vietnamese cuisine. Somewhere Brett is wondering if shrimp spring rolls are Vietnammy enough.
– Travis is thrilled. He’s a Vietnamese cook, and he is in a committed relationship with a Vietnamese man. That pretty much makes him Vietnamese, right? It’s kind of like the cheftestant behind him with the bird tattoos. She may not actually be from Portland, but the bird tattoos give her mad Portland cred.
– Oh, and if you are wondering why Janine looks so shocked, it’s because the Vietnamese are an urban legend in Perth. “Throw another shrimp on the barbie or a Vietnamese will eat ya” is what they say.
– They will in fact cook Vietnamese dishes, one of which has to feature shrimp. Also, they’re going to serve their traditional dishes to the judges, and people who know what it’s supposed to taste like. The first person who describes their dish as “a play on pho” is going to be dragged out to sea in a shrimp net.
– Emeril selects the group based on who is sitting close to who. What they don’t show is the 20 minutes the producers spent trying to figure who should sit where to make for the most compelling random groupings. Reality.
– Travis’ Green Team is happy to be on a team with Travis. Well, not Stephanie. She looks pissed. Probably because Bene just whispered “Orange is the New Black is a television show, not a fashion statement” in her ear.
Bene is such a bitch.
– “No offense to Eddie or Emeril, but I could probably give them a crash course in Vietnam.” -Travis, the Vietnamese but not really Vietnamese, could be a challenger challenger to Michael, the New Orleanian but not really New Orleanian, for most annoying cheftestant.
– They hop on a bus. Sorry a luxury bus. They’re supposed to be heading out to experience the local Vietnamese cuisine for inspiration. Instead, they’re already making their menus. Shirley to incorporate some daikon, or củ cải trắng, as Travis calls it at home.
– Michael spots a Vietnamese bakery outside of the bus and immediately declares it the best bakery ever. Then he gets Emeril’s attention and says, “Hey Emeril, isn’t this the best?” (not a direct quote) and Emeril’s like “Yeah, that’s why we’re here. Shut the f*ck up.” (not any kind of quote at all)
– “I think that Michael is so fake. Like, he’s such a kiss ass. I don’t think he has any talent. I think he’s faker than…Pamela Anderson’s breasts.” I like where you were going with that, Nina, but you blew it at the end. People actually want to be around Pamela Anderson’s breasts. You should have gone with something more universally reviled, like Donald Trump’s hair, teeth or tan.
– Oh god, they’re eating all of the food and it looks amazing. They have cha siu bao and bánh mì and everything else that makes me want to drive deep into the suburbs of Virginia.
[licks peanut butter spoon]
– Now it’s time to go shrimping. OK, shrimp boats aren’t as appetizing as a Vietnamese bakery, but at least we have Janine shoveling.
AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE, and all that.