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Top Chef: Deja View

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So. Here we are. Top Chef...the repeat. Someone is seriously going
home this week! Seriously! I'm watching by myself this week because my
friend Travis thinks I would "shush" him. True!

It's a bit hard to get excited about a challenge repeat. I am also
severely disheartened by the fact that Hung opens an envelope slipped
under the door at the start of the episode to read some comments
from.....Andrea Strong. Will this blogger never leave? Hmm? This
ambassador of zing? Who is she and how did she ingratiate herself into
the show? (and how can I do this next season? Do I need a zing
makeover?)

Speaking of makeovers and bloggers that talk too much, I did give
myself a makeover...again. Makeover? More like mistake-over! I was
going for the curly bob -- like this .
However, forgetting I had curly hair, I wound up with this. Since
this child-like look was exacerbated by my wearing a white frilly
dress today, I decided to look a little grown up by wearing makeup.
Now I can tell you exactly what happened to Baby Jane.
Honestly don't cut your own hair drunk. Or ever!

But anyway! Andrea De La Zing's comments are read aloud again, so that
the chefs can take her bon mots to heart for this challenge.

Padma, at the quickfire, attempts to make it more exciting by
announcing that the teams for the restaurant challenge will now have
to offer two (count 'em!) options for each course. Tom says that they
have someone to help one of the teams out, a consultant that will go
to the team winning this week's quickfire challenge: a relay race!

Our teams (from last week) are:

CJ, Malarkey-pants, Casey and Tre: or, as Dale calls them, "The Dream Team."

Howie, Hung, Sarah and Dale: or as Dale calls them, "The Bad-News Bears."

The race is composed of four legs: shucking oysters, chopping onions,
breaking down chickens (and by that I do not mean breaking down their
spirits, but rather breaking down their carcasses), and separating
eggs and then beating the egg whites until the bowl can be turned over
and the egg whites not fall out.

Everyone on team bad news bears is grateful to have the speed demon,
Hung -- even Howie acknowledges this. Howie does not annoy me this
episode at all. Are the producers making him a little more appealing
since they have sneaky plans to keep him in until the top three?

First off it's Howie verse Malarky for the oyster shuck. Malarks, who
is a chef at a seafood restaurant, beats Howie (who actually does well
against him) by five oysters. Then, it's Sarah vs. Casey on the onion
cut. Sarah is ahead by a mile, cutting onions like a
short-order chef at... an onion shack... and Casey deliberately and
slowly cuts, and cuts. She is the Leonardo Da Vinci of onion cutting.
Dale, (who really should just take over my job here) says something
about needing "a speed queen."

Malarkey is staring at Casey and wishing for a "tap out rule." Even
Hung, who is on the other team, is staring at Casey and voice-overs,
"She's playing with, massaging the onions!" But soon Hung is
distracted by his own turn, or as he says, "It's chicken time!" I
actually imagine that he says this, just in his own life. E.g, "It's
shower time!" "It's coffee time!" Hung is, of course, incredibly fast.
Even Tom stares as chicken parts fly around the kitchen.

Hung finishes. Casey is STILL chopping onion! Dale whips ups a storm
and poof! -- the challenge is finished. Bad News Bears, victorious.
They cheer, they clap, they hug -- I feel like they should turn over
the watercooler on the coach (or may I suggest Tre?) but they don't.

Anyway, back to our tedious challenge. Yawn.

Apparently the restaurant patron who was such a jerk last time is -- of
course -- a guest this week: his name is Christopher Ciccone (Madonna's
brother!!!) and he is here this week to help them make their
restaurants look better, or, "fine-tune their concept and design."
Dale, who I really want to be my bgb (best gay boyfriend) says that
Christopher is "Definitely one of the most annoying people I've ever
met in my life." But, ultimately the chefs are happy to have his help.

Cut to the house. It's work-out time! Let's get physical! Tre is on
the balcony, clad in a tight tight tanktop and shorts, jumping rope.
He makes some comments that have me believe that he's out there every
day (but of course) and the producers have been HOLDING OUT on us.
Why? I can't think of a reason so I abandon that theory.

The opposing team decides to go out on the balcony to have some
brainstorming session (or to leer at Tre, along with the rest of
America), clearly assuming that Tre, who has a "brain for business and
a bod for sin" won't listen. But readers, Tre is a Renaissance man. He
manages to spy on the other team AND do some tantalizing work-out
moves, such as pushups with his legs over his head and his hands
resting on WEIGHTS! Then, Tre struts around the balcony. Strut, you
dish you! Work it!

This brings me to a conversation I had at work recently. My work
friend commented that she doesn't see the appeal in Tre. We were in
the elevator. I was aghast. "Really? You don't?" I decided that maybe
she has to actually WATCH the show to see his appeal? Hear his dreamy
smooth baritone? Watch his muscles gently (oh so gently... with the
coiled restraint of a Tiger yawning or a Lion playing with a mouse)
flex as he scrambles eggs in the morning?

But anyway! Brainstorming. The dream team is in the kitchen talking
about menu: Tre cockily volunteers to do dessert, saying, "I can do
bread pudding in my sleep." Casey, who has blood in her veins and is
therefore attracted to Tre, tries to justify it by talking about how
"they have started leaning on each other like brother and sister."
(ha!)

It is the next day and Tre is in a dove-grey, silky V-neck sweater.
Just saying! The teams are off to get wine. The Bad News Bears have an
extra $200 bucks for wine and the help of a consultant who is, of
course, Steven from season one. Steven gives them some long-winded,
bombastic wine advice that is actually probably very good. Even Hung
says, "He may come off as arrogant but he knows his stuff."

The restaurants, with the help of Madonna's Brother, have been
redecorated. Dale likes the change but says with all the deep red
it's, "kind of like valentines day threw up all over it."

Our guest judge tonight is Geoffrey Zakarian, owner/chef of
Town and apparently one of the
beautiful people.
Ted Allen is also here, (does anyone know where Gail Simmons is? I'm
seriously upset about this.) and of course we have Padma and Tom. Tom
will be in the kitchens tonight, observing, which I think is an
interesting twist. He'll also be eating of course, but in the kitchen.
Anything to be closer to Tre!

Let's get to it, shall we? Dale is in a short-sleeved shirt and jeans,
which I think works but Ted Allen, clearly thinking he needs to give
some snark to seem Top Cheffy-like, says "he looks like he's working
at Dennys." (Haven't we already had a Denny's crack this season?) Some
old chefs show up -- Joey (at one point wearing sunglasses inside) and
Sarah and Camille and Leah -- for dinner, and when Dale mentions this,
Hung says, "Who?" I love Hung! I'm on team Hung.

We have an assortment of dishes paraded out; the dream team actually
has some losers that the judges hate. Mostly two dishes from Tre (head
chef) get the most vitriol: a sugar cured salmon dish (our guest judge
says it's like "a car wreck in Times Square) with pesto, and his bread
pudding that is called "dry".

The Bad News Bears are beating them on the food front, which I think
is due to Hung being in the kitchen (who, I really do think is
technically the best) and Sarah, who is kind of snappy and mean but
seems to be holding them all to very high standards. Howie is bitter
when Sarah makes him redo the lamb, which did look seriously
undercooked.

Tre is a much more mellow executive chef, and I think the dishes are
going out a little sloppier. However, people are really liking the
"table-side" service from Tre.

"HI TRE!" shouts Ted Allen, like a groupie. Later when the judges are
discussing the meals, (and the fact that the Dream Team's restaurant
April had some truly bad dishes) Ted Allen remarks wistfully, "...but
I loved how Tre came around and poured the creme anglaise over our
desserts..." which for a second I mishear and think he said, "poured
the cream anglaise over our shirts." Either way, it sounds dirty and
delicious.

The Dream Team loses. Sarah, Executive Chef of the Bad News Bears, wins.

The losers have to go stand before the judging panel, and there isn't
any fighting at all. The judges talk about how bad the food was, and
for the first time (kill me) I can kind of see Jamie Lee's point; It's
kind of horrible to watch. Here they are, Chefs, getting totally
reamed by people they consider culinary idols. The flip side is that
sometimes they get compliments... But watching them now, all sad, it's
hard.

CJ, as the head of the team (since he picked teams) and also as a sous
chef, is called out for letting his exec chef send out that disastrous
bread pudding. Tom says the team, "Suffered from overconfidence."

The judges talk in private, clearly trying to find a way not to send
Tre home, but ultimately they can't avoid it.

Tre, please pack your knives and go.

Farewell! Farewell my love. Farewell. Now, readers, you see why I've
gone on especially about Tre this week. It's not because I'm a
desperate blogger with bad hair. That's incidental. It's because this
is goodbye!

Farewell to flexing muscles, silky baritones, cool-cat delivery and
tight (so tight!) white tanks.

Farewell to balcony workouts and charged moments with Tom.

Farewell to real culinary talent.

See you in my dreams!