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Last week, on Top Chef: A trip to a farm, followed by farm to table challenge with cream cheese (seriously) that doomed Bene. This week, on Top Chef: Kermit Ruffins joins the party. Everyone loves Kermit Ruffins, right? Right. So how are they going to ruin this? Maybe this week they’ll cut the crap and make the cheftestants cook dirt. “Food comes from dirt, now food is going to come with dirt. And it better taste good!” -Padma, probably.
What follows are the random thoughts that came to mind last night as I watched the show.
– Nina misses Bene, but nobody wants to hear her whine because she’s winning everything and they hate her now. Meanwhile, Nick is sick. They even brought in someone from urgent care to feel his glands.
-They have diagnosed him with strep, but I’m not buying it. In my day they’d test for strep by gagging you with a piece of kindling then making you wait three days for the results, and that’s the way we liked it.
-The cheftestants head to their quickfire challenge while Nick buries his sickness beneath blankets.
-Kermit is there. You know it’s Kermit because he’s wearing a hat and holding a trombone. It’s like when an athlete who who isn’t universally known shows up in a Subway ad alongside a balance beam. Oh, Nastia Liukin. I think I remember her.
-Kermit looks so happy though. Obviously no one told him about Nick. Seriously, #Pray4Nick, you guys.
-“Hopefully he’ll feel better for the elimination challenge, or he’ll have to forfeit.” Jesus, Padma. At least try to hide your cold-hearted delight.
-Padma reminds everyone that New Orleans is a “jazz Mecca,” which is funny, because I’m pretty sure jazz is illegal in Mecca. Also illegal in Mecca? Padma’s ex-husband.
-The cheftestants will have to “improv” (jazz word) by cooking a dish using ingredients and cooking tools selected by Kermit.
-Kermit should immediately apologize to whoever gets stuck with bacon, tofu and a microwave. Dick move, Kermit/producer.
-Cheftestants will start at one section, but when Kermit starts tootin’ on his horn, it’s musical chairs time and god I hope everyone watching this is drinking.
-After two rounds people are back to their original stations. Everyone hates what everyone else did with their dishes. No worries, because Kermit is blowing again. Say what you want about this quickfire, but it definitely blows.
-Brian got the win for doing almost nothing. And now he has immunity. Because he seasoned a sauce and plated somebody else’s dish. Congratulations, Brian. Sara hasn’t been this jealous since Chuck Klosterman showed up at her restaurant with a date. Which was really weird, because Sara works at the airport (and is in love with Chuck Klosterman, for the purposes of this joke).
-The theme of the elimination challenge is collaboration. The cheftestants will work in teams to create a pot luck style menu. Which is another way of saying “family style” which is what they did last week. If anybody breaks out the cream cheese I’m leaving.
-Patty is not familiar with the pot luck concept. “Is it a pot full of luck? Is that what it is?” Yes! No one correct her. Maybe she’ll make a braise of rabbit feet, served in a horseshoe and garnished with four leaf clovers. It will still be better than whatever Sara makes.
-Remember, Nick could crash the party as long as he’s cleared by doctors. And if the doctor is James Andrews, he’ll get cleared only to promptly die just as he is plating.
-Travis, Brian and Patty are the team without a fourth member for now.
-Each team will cook in the Top Chef kitchen for two hours, then spend 30 minutes getting their dishes finished at Kermit’s restaurant.
-Nick is contributing shopping tips via cellphone. Nick tells Justin to touch and smell the fish before he buys it. Justin says “uh-huh, yeah” before shoving it in the cart. Let’s all hope that it’s rancid.
-Everyone is excited to go out to Kermit’s gig, where all of the cheftestants will dance around like people who just watched Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby. Sara says she goes out to see live music in Minneapolis two or three times a week. Yeah, she definitely pleasures herself to some Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs.
-As soon as everyone leaves, Nick licks all of their pillows. It wasn’t actually shown, but the implication was there.
-No fever for Nick, so he’s good to go. This is the kind of misdiagnosis you get when you don’t shove a tongue depressor and a cotton swab down a guy’s throat. “Drink plenty of fluids,” says the doctor, who is obligated to give this advice per the Hippocratic Oath.
-Travis just took some ribs off of the grill and dipped them in caramel. Travis must high as balls right now. Elsewhere, Nina is making gnocchi again. This is Top Chef, not Top
-All of Kermit’s musician friends are showing up for this special pot luck. It’s a veritable who’s who of people I think I saw on Treme this one time.
-The Blue Team is up first. Justin made shrimp and grits with roasted okra, fava beans and bacon. Louis is very proud of his French Laundry-inspired grilled and pickled vegetable salad, and it does look good. Shirley and Sara collaborated on dish of glazed beef with charred onions, melon pickles and a pickled vinaigrette.
-The grits possessed adequate levels of butter, but lacked seasoning. Tom all but confirmed that Louis’s salad was Thomas Keller worthy. Most people like the beef, even if it was a bit dry.
-Nick’s sickly Gray team is next. Brian and Travis made a togarashi fried chicken with bee pollen and ponzu. Patty’s tomato and watermelon salad with goat cheese espuma is missing the all-important chili threads that they were all yammering about five minutes ago. Also, it’s tomato and watermelon salad. Didn’t we decide that this was lazy and boring last week? Nick’s dish is barramundi and red drum fricassee with zucchini, truffle and yuzu kosho. Just like Kermit’s mom used to make, if Kermit’s mom were a Franco-Japanese foodie. Oh, and Brian and Travis teamed up once more for those caramel glazed pork ribs with dehydrated potatoes and peanut gremolata.