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Top Chef Las Vegas Recap: Episode 7, The Dinner Party

DSC_0014 As our chefs begin the episode. It comes out that Jennifer is sick. We even get to see her run away to puke! If this were a drama or a sitcom I would think she was pregnant. Since this is reality tv I am going to guess H1N1. How trendy! Next week after she infects them all maybe we can have a scene like the pie eating contest in Stand By Me.

The Padma introduces our special judge for the quick fire. It is Tyler Florence.

Now I feel nauseous too.

I don't know if it is my distaste for Tyler's superior attitude, the fact that Florence always reminds me of Applebees and the thought of riblets makes me want to vomit or if I caught the swine flu through the television.

Dude, you never know with HD.

Anyway the quickfire is some corporate website for the home cook nonsense that requires the remaining chefs to use three keywords.

Their keywords for mood, taste and texture and what kind of cuisine were decided by slot machine.

Oh Bravo, you are really trying hard to tie in the Las Vegas theme, aren't you. Good effort, I suppose, but I am distracted by Padma's Frayne Fashion polyester jumpsuit.


Oooh! High stakes!

The rolls end up as follows:

  •  Laurine: (Is she still on this show?) She spins romantic, tart, Latin American. I guess Laurine has to cook Salma Hayek.
  •  Kevin: Stressed, Hot and Spicy, Asian. I don't know, Metro Dad?
  •  Mike I: Stresses, Umami, Asian: Okay, I have no idea what umami is. Also, I think he was copying Kevin.
  •  Jennifer: Adventurous, Nutty, American. Meh, the joke is too easy. I'll let you fill in the blank here.
  •  Eli: Stressed, umami, Latin America. They haven't even cooked yet and I'm bored with the stressed umami.
  •  Michael V.: Adventurous, tangy, Asian. Yawn. Mike could cook this with his eyes closed and one hand tied behind his back. If he doesn't win this challenge it is because he decided not to try.
  •  Robin: Stressed, umami, Middle Eastern.
  •  Bryan: Adventurous, Crispy, Asian.
  •  Ash: Tired, tart, Italian.
  •  Ashley: Blue, cheesy, Middle Eastern.

30 minutes later. Kevin was $15,000 richer. He had to choose between immunity and the cash and my boy Kevin chose the green.

And now we know Robin sucks at geography. No, curry is not Middle Eastern.

Then Padma sent the chefs home, not home as in Robin is going home soon home, but the Top Chef "dorm" home. This seems a bit odd since they are usually assigned their elimination challenge at the end of the Quick Fire.

These chefs, who have obviously never seen a reality show before think they get the afternoon off.

Ha ha! The joke is on them. Their kitchen is stocked.

Jennifer gets the joke, Ashley gets it, Dr. Scott gets it, and then Padma shows up in that same crazy get up that I am fairly certain my Barbie owned in 1979.


For our Elimination Challenge: The Dinner Party

Our chefs are required to draw knives to determine the team they are on to cook for a family-style dinner party for some famous chefs and the team sponsored by Macy's Culinary Council (did Macy's buy Bravo when I wasn't looking?) because that is what the common folks are doing these days in this down-trodden economy.


[rolls eyes like crazy]

The teams end up like this:

  • Team Armstrong: Ashley and Eli got some duck and beets in their bag.
  • Team Douglas: Jennifer and Kevin got a bag full of Asian condiments - oh, and Kobe beef ribs.
  • Team Florence: Laurine and Bryan were a mystery. I didn't find out until they served it.
  • Team Silverton: Ash and Michael V. got whatever you need to make fennel ravioli.
  • Team Yagihashi: Mike Isabella and Robin. See? This is Mike's karmic payback for acting like nobody else knew what risotto was. As a bonus he got a bag full of crap he didn't know what to do with.


I don't mean to come across as unbiased, but I am totally rooting for and expecting team Douglas to win. These are my top two picks for this season. I know Jennifer is sick, but I don't think she will let that get to her. I mean, remember when Mike had his tooth pulled in season 2 and he won that challenge where he made two kinds of fish?

Wow. I know far more about Top Chef than I do about math. That crap was off the top of my head. I don't know if I should be proud or ashamed.

Hey, look over there.

Picture 8

Heh. I totally Mattinrolled you.

Our chefs only have two and a half hours to make these dinners. They all rush in the house and literally fall all over each other to get to the kitchen. They complain that they don't have much space. While I understand that 10 chefs is too many cooks in the kitchen, I would seriously consider selling my soul to Rush Limbaugh for that much counter space.

What? Don't look at me like that. That kitchen is nice.

Mike Isabella says that when he found out that he was paired with Robin he was livid, angry, he was upset and he thought he was going home and I said Mike is redundant, he repeats himself, he says the same thing over and over. Mike also used the phrase "It's my way or the highway" making it impossible for me not to call him Mike the Douche again.

What is up with Robin's lip?


Ashley and Eli ended up making prawns with beets over gnocchi, Mike and Robin marinated a mushroom, pickled a pear roll and seared tuna and scallops, Bryan and Laurine made pan seared halibut and sherry-chorizo vinaigrette yellow corn cake and avocado mousse, Kevin and Jennifer did a barbecued kobe beef dish and Michael and Ash made a pancetta wrapped halibut with egg yolk ravioli, fennel and asparagus.

Mmmm. Pancetta.

For the first time ever Michael Voltaggio doesn't think he is perfect. He is convinced that his fish is overcooked and he is going home.

I think he only thinks that because he can't hear Tom Colicchio talking about the gnocchi.

Judges' Table

Jennifer and Kevin and Laurine and Bryan's teams came out on top. Jennifer won for her sauce (see? I told you they would win) and Jennifer scored a $10,000 gift card to Macy's.

Dude. I didn't even know you could put that much money on a gift card. She never needs to worry about buying underpants again. 

Michael V., Ash, Eli and Ashley were sent to the losers table.

Big brother Bryan's claws come out when Kevin tries to discuss Michael's dish. He gets pissy and won't talk about it.

When the judges attack Michael's dish, Ash grovels and kisses Michael's butt all up and down the stage. When the judges asked if he minded playing second fiddle to Voltaggio he said "Would you mind washing paint brushes for Picasso?"

Whoops. I don't think there is a prize for Top Sous Chef this season. Like Coach Jimmy McGinty says "Winners always want the ball when the game's on the line."


Yes, I just quoted The Replacements. You want to make something of it?

Michael was very gracious about Ash's (Ashes?) ass kissing. I just gained some respect for him.

In the end Ashely got sent home. That kind of sucks, but I think that she is only 23 years old. I think Ashley will end up being a very successful chef.


1) If you get sick on Top Chef, you win the challenge.

2) We have to put up with Mike I. and Robin for another week.

3) Tyler Florence still comes off like a jerk wad.

4) Ash got really lucky that Ashley made some big mistakes.

5) I miss Mattin.


Most of these pictures were taken by me, Sarah. Yes, I spent the entire morning taking pictures of my television. Yes, I should get a real job.

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I haven't read the recap. I just scrolled to the end to see... and then I may have tinkled just a little bit.


The jumpsuit was just...My first reaction was "Why is Padma wearing Kermit the Frog's pelt?"

I want to get Mattin-rolled in every article.


My husband was completely distracted by the pantsuit. He actually paused the show to say something about it, but couldn't physically form the words. All he got out was, "Well, now we know THAT about Padma." Which could have meant so many things, all of them correct.


i noticed robin's lip, too. weird.

Fairly Odd Mother

"I guess Laurine has to cook Salma Hayek" made me bark/laugh. I haven't watched the past few weeks, but love this recap.


Sarah, this is getting ridiculous. Seriously, I think I enjoy your recap more than the actual show these days.

I fell asleep watching it last night. Truly. They need a bit more drama. Cooking at home on woks is not exciting. I can do that. I mean, I don't, but I can.

Also, my husband and I kept trying to figure out if Padma was trying to hide her baby belly in that jumper thingy.


First, that pantsuit/crotch enhancer was BANANAS.

Second, did anyone notice that when Tyler Florence came in to the Top Chef kitchen, nobody looked even a little bit excited?

Third, They spent all that camera time on Mike the Douche and Robin and they were middled? WTF Bravo!


dude. forget the replacements, how about the rocky horror reference?

you are my new favorite.

Rebecca (Bearca)

The best part was how when they revealed Tyler Florence was the guest judge, the only comment they showed amounted to "Yeah. I've heard of him." Whereas usually they say the chefly equivalent of "OMG SQUEEEEEEEEE" when it's someone legit in the culinary world.


Padma, please pack your pants and go.


I was also waiting for Padma to say "Chef's you may wonder why I am dressed like Gumby. Let me introduce our guest judge for the evening, Eddie Murphy." But that never happened and I was left with a terribly uneasy feeling for the rest of the episode. If I were dressed in that outfit I COULD NOT stop myself from repeating "I'm Gumby damn-it!" So I guess I've just underscored another reason why I won't be invited to be a guest judge on Top Chef.


I really wanted Ash to go home for his crush/hero worship of Michael V. I mean, yes, he and his brother do make me want to join the Salivation Army, but dude? Save your fawning for Tyler Florence...erm Michael Boloud/Tony Bourdain/Eric Ripert. I guess compared to Tyler Florence Mike V is a pretty amazing chef though... I could have been happy if Eli went home too, for abusing the gnocchi.


It's so funny, I had the thought about Jennifer being pregnant, especially when she emphasized that she had only felt sick during the morning.

And that was nothing like any home dinner party I've ever hosted, most of which I use less than three hours to prepare for anyway.


I'm still giggling over "I'm Gumby, damnit!" Thanks, ParentopiaDevra.


Gumby? Snort at ParentopiaDevra.


Was anybody else disgusted that Tyler Florence was bashing Mike V. for the power failing, last time I checked Mike V. was chef not an electrician. BTW Tyler if you had a problem like that you would have either served it and told people that it was good they just had bad taste or remade the friggin dish. Seriously that guy is not even in the ball park as Mike V., Bryan, Jennifer and Kevin. Those guys are serious chefs while Tyler Florence can sell you a hamburger. BTW, when I saw Padma I thought this weeks challenge was to use Jolly Green Giant frozen veggies, ho ho ho Green Padma.

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