I know. Terrible pun. It was between that and “Space Foodity.” David Bowie? Anyone? But, given that no stakes in Top Chef are too high for terrible puns (they titled this episode “gastro-nauts”), I figured I had to go there.
Now since this episode had tons of SPOILERS, which included a much-debated elimination, I will start my recap after the jump. Let’s launch into orbit, shall we?
Quickfire: Wine Pairings
As you may have guessed, the quickfire had nothing to do with space. The cheftestants had to make a dish paired with wine, which would be then judged by Dana Cowin from Food & Wine magazine. Straightforward enough. Padma also appeared to be the new guitarist for Franz Ferdinand:
Yikes. So the quickfire ends up being pretty boring. Angelo says he is well-versed in wine, which makes sense because he is elitist, but then redeems himself by actually winning, while Kevin loses over a meek roast quail. Highlight? The Top Chef finale is in Singapore! Cool locale, but goodbye Top Chef DC. More important question, should I still do recaps?
Elimination Challenge: Gastro-nauts
For the elimination challenge, the cheftestants go to NASA headquarters. Their challenge is to create a meal that will be ultimately freeze-dried and served to astronauts, a requirement that virtually all of them ignore when creating their dishes. Upon arrival, they are introduced to OH MY GOD its mankind’s supervillain:
Nope. Turns out it’s only Nasa’s food scientist, made to look nefarious through ridiculous lighting and Independence Day music. We are introduced to the judges, who include 2 astronauts, Buzz Aldrin, Anthony Bordain (adore), and Eric Ripert. Unlike his WWE Raw appearance, Buzz Aldrin does not ramble about the President and Canada. Damn shame. However, the cheftestants dishes are as follows: Kevin (steak), Kelly (halibut w/ artichokes), Ed (Moroccan lamb), Tiffany (halibut w/ curry), and Angelo (short ribs). Seemed like fish was the way to go for intergalactic travel:
Anyways, Tiffany gets into trouble early when her mussels freeze and she is forced to carry on without them. Other than that, it is pretty drama-less. The chefs find out the winner gets a Toyota Avalon, while Kevin wisely reflects that astronauts would want food that is “warm, comforting and down to earth.” Well said, Kevin.
JUDGES TABLE: The Galactic Senate
So this judges table was arguably the best one of the season, mostly because for the first time in recent memory, the judges thought all the dishes were pretty damn good. Oh, that and Anthony Bordain. I mean, when Angelo was talking about “being submissive” to his ribs and making love to them, and Anthony said he had no idea what Angelo was taking about, I think all of America thought FINALLY, JESUS. No Russian-girlfriend-of-Angelo, it’s not a language barrier.
Anyways, the lack of really poor dishes ultimately led to an OUT OF THIS WORLD controversy. Namely, Angelo won for his short ribs, while Tiffany was sent home. I know. I was surprised and upset too. Tiffany had dominated many of the challenges up to this point, while others (notably Kevin) had barely hung on. I also just liked her. The rationale was that Tiffany cooked the worst dish. Her lack of mussels left her with a flavorful sauce that, according to Eric Ripert, lacked acidity, in addition to a weak fish. Kevin on the other hand, cooked simple food but executed it well and had an eloquent argument for why he went that route.
Many people are checking out now that Tiffany’s gone, but what do you think? Did her dish warrant her being sent home? Or should factors like previous performance take precedent??? OH and as a final thought, how Gollum did Angelo look stroking his Avalon key and whispering to Jesus? ”MY PRECIOUS.” No words Angelo.