Top Chef: Who Got High and Came Up With This Idea?
Having made it through Episode 1 of Top Chef without being scarred by its trademark egregious puns, viewers had almost started to relax. But the show's close proximity to our nation's government proved far too alluring for its writers, and five minutes into last night's episode, we were blindsided with the sheer horror of the "Bi-partisandwich."
When Padma announced that the abomination would be the subject of this week's Quickfire Challenge, all of the contestants laughed, presumably to mask their great pain. Sam Kass, who had been lured away from the White House kitchen to serve as the episode's guest judge, smiled gamely, the glare from his handsome bald head helping to deflect the Bi-partisandwich's worst ravages.
Not as lucky were the contestants. Having been told they'd have 30 minutes, working in pairs, to make a sandwich, they were feeling pretty good about themselves. Especially Angelo, who reminded us that he owns a sandwich shop and always seems to feel pretty good about himself.
But then Padma whipped out a conjoined apron, which she announced that the teams would be wearing while they made their sandwiches. Tim, speaking for reality TV viewers everywhere, asked, "Who got high and came up with this idea?" Everyone grumbled and groaned, except for Tracey, who was paired with Angelo. "I have a secret crush on him," she confided coquettishly. "I get to have my arm around him for 30 minutes. It couldn't be any better." For his part, Angelo seemed enamored of the Asian fish sandwich he would make with a sauce he called "liquid love" that was like "sex on a plate." He also described Tracey as his "twin sister," presumably dashing her hopes even as he further convinced us that his greatest love affair is with his mirror.
But Sam was apparently feeling the liquid love, and he awarded Angelo and Tracey both the victory and immunity. Not as lucky were Jacqueline and Stephen, whose avocado and chicken sandwich tasted like "plain white bread," and Tiffany and Lynne, who made a sloppy saltimbocca. Both, Sam read from his cue card, demonstrated that "it's hard to form consensus and work in a cooperative way."
Mercifully, it was time to move on to the Elimination Challenge. Sam Kass being Sam Kass, the challenge would be to make a school lunch for 50 students, using a budget of only $2.60 per child, which is about the same amount allotted to children in the real, scary school-lunch world. That meant a total budget of $130, which Arnold told us he spends on himself when he goes out to dinner.
The contestants were split into four teams: Angelo and Tracey hooked up with Kenny and Ed; Andrea and Kevin joined forces with Tim and Alex; Tiffany and Lynne partnered with Kelly and Arnold; and Jacqueline and Amanda teamed up with Tamesha and Stephen. Friction arose early on when Tamesha told us that she tries to stay away from bossy Amanda, while Amanda refused to make dessert because "take one for the team is not in my vocabulary." What was in her vocabulary was alcohol, an ingredient regularly associated with children's meals: Never mind the $130 budget, Amanda was bound and determined to make braised chicken with a sherry jus!
Over at Team Angelo, the gang made the dubious decision to make celery with peanut butter their one vegetable; elsewhere, Arnold told us he wasn't happy working with Kelly because she was "trying to take control" of everything with her pork carnitas.