Sunday, June 10, 2007

Top Chef Special Recap: Seeing Stars!

Padma: "This will be an episode unlike any other."

Why is this night different from all other nights?

Padma: "Well, for starters, I'm dressed a little better."

Oh my god, you're right. I didn't even notice what you were wearing. And that's a good thing. Anything else?

Padma: "No one will be winning a Kenmore Pro kitchen?"

That's it? I thought this was supposed to be special.

Padma: "Well, we'll be bringing back the chefs who made it almost to the end on the first two seasons of Top Chef."

So it will be like watching the third to the last episode of the regular show. That does sound exciting. Oh, alright, it's pretty cool. Season One will be going up against Season Two and competing for $20,000 for Charity:

Charity: "Damn, y'all, I really wanted a new car."

Those are the breaks. So anyway, we have Dave, Tiffani, Stephen, and Harold from season one and Ilan, Sam, Elia, and Marcel from season two. Lee Anne works on the show now so she isn't participating in the challenge. The quickfire will determine the team leaders and which team will get an extra $100 to waste on wine. The chefs have to make an egg dish, something so easy they could do it gagged and blindfolded and chained to Samuel L. Jackson's radiator. And, Oh my god, that's exactly what the challenge is!

Samuel L. Jackson: "I'm only doing this because I care so deeply about eggs. You'll thank me later."

Well, it seems a little exploitative; for instance, I don't know why the chefs have to be half-naked. But I'm sure Mr. Jackson knows what he's doing. So, Stephen creates a boiled egg:

Tom: "It's a very simple idea but he executed it perfectly!"

Marcel creates egg foam:

Other Eric: "Fucking Foam!"

That's right: Fucking Foam. Stephen and Marcel are the team leaders.

Other chefs: "Would someone please kill us?"

I'm with the other chefs. Could there be worse team leaders? The charities they will be competing for are the Susan G. Komen Foundation for Breast Cancer Research (season one) and Share our Strength (season two).

Marcel: "I put saffron in my egg foam! Is that the biggest smackdown of all time, or what?!"

Yep, that's one for the record books.

My name's Marcel and I'm taking you on.
I'm making all my dishes with lots of saffron.
I'm hip and I'm cool and the kids call my homey.
I keep my raps real and make my food foamy.

Oh, god. Please make it stop.

Tom: "Ilan and Marcel, have you two buried the hatchet yet?"

Marcel: "Is that like hiding the the salami? Because, yeah, I think Ilan wanted to. He kept calling me up and saying we should get together and I was all, 'dude, that's really flattering but I'm not into guys.'"

Tom: "Um, no ... I was asking whether you two had made up or are still fighting."

Marcel: "Oh, right. Yeah, we're totally cool."

So, the chefs will be serving dueling courses of scallops, lobster, duck, and Kobe beef.

Marcel: "Ilan, since you know nothing about cooking duck, you can take that course."

Ilan: "Oh, sorry, I accidentally spilled your hair gel all over the floor."

Other than Dave, who is acting like everyone's bitch, nobody does anything very interesting. Tom decides to create some fake drama:

Tom: "Stephen, I hear you're serving wine."

Stephen: "That's right."

Tom: [just keeps staring at Stephen like a mental patient]

Stephen: "Did you have a point you were trying to make, Tom?"

Tom: "Both teams' dishes will be served together ..."

Stephen: "Uh-huh ..."

Tom: "What if the wine goes better with the other team's dishes?"

Stephen commits hara-kiri.

The chefs will be serving their dishes to the season three contestants.

Season one and two chefs: "What gives those little assholes the right to judge us? It's not like they've ever eaten food before. I remember when we were that young and innocent. Now that we are so mature and professional, it's embarrassing to think about."

So Ilan uses so much electricity shaving stupid shapes into the side of his head that he causes global temperatures to rise by five degrees, which melts Marcel's gelée and foam:

Marcel: "That bastard!"

Then Ilan drops Marcel's mango on the floor, causing Sam to slip and knock the refrigerator over, smashing into the work top and pushing all the duck onto the floor. This startles Tiffani, who accidentally changes the temperature on all the appliances and sets Elia's hair on fire. Sam is throwing olive oil everywhere trying to put out Elia's hair but she is finally put out with a canister of lobster foam. Dave sobs uncontrollably. Unfortunately the entire kitchen burns down and the only thing they can do is call Betty and see if she'll make some soup."

Ilan: "Oops."

Don't worry about it, Ilan. Accidents happen.

Ilan: "I didn't do it on purpose."

No one said you did. You seem a little defensive, though.

Anyway, season one wins, as predicted!

Susan G. Komen Foundation for Breast Cancer Research: "Woohoo! Suck it, Share our Strength!"


TheHoInMO said...

"Unfortunately the entire kitchen burns down and the only thing they can do is call Betty and see if she'll make some soup."

OMG, how freaken hilarious is that!


Ms. Place said...

Then Ilan drops Marcel's mango on the floor, causing Sam to slip and knock the refrigerator over, smashing into the work top and pushing all the duck onto the floor. This startles Tiffany, who accidentally changes the temperature on all the appliances and sets Elia's hair on fire. Sam is throwing olive oil everywhere trying to put out Elia's hair but she is finally put out with a canister of lobster foam

Yeah, that was kind of like a complex series of dominoes falling, each one affecting the other. Marcel chose Ilan to prepare duck, even though he knew Ilan was uncomfortable with this meat. And Ilan had a series of Freudian food slips. It's like these two chefs set out to lose the competition on purpose because they got caught up in their personal rivalry, leaving Sam and Elia out to dry.

Meanwhile, Team One set their differences aside. Good old Dave had his usual twitchy moments. ROFL.

Great recap!

kbryna said...

was it just because it was the World's Most Overdetermined Moment that none of y'all have commented on Ilan giving the immersion blender a blowjob during the quickfire?

Ilan's glasses pissed me off. so did elia's hair. and sam seemed incredibly sulky.

wtf? i'm sorry i never saw season one. i hope season three's cheftestants weren't pulled from a preschool, like season two's were.

Calady said...

Ah how I have missed my Eric fix. Knocked this one out of the park buddy! Thanks

Melanie said...

Ms. Place, Marcel chose the lobster, then Elia chose the scallops. Sam speaks up and picks out the Kobe beef for himself and assigns the duck to Ilan. (I confirmed this on a rewatch of the episode yesterday).

Marcel took the high road most of the time in S2, despite the abuse heaped upon him repeatedly, particularly by the other finalists. Who was looking out for him then or concerned about the fairness of the outcome? I give Marcel a full pass for however he wanted to handle himself on this reunion. Bravo was lucky he was willing to show up and play along at all. (Yes, I do understand that they probably all were contractually obligated to participate.) If I had to work in a team competition with people who, in an effort to defeat me, had resorted to cruelty, sabotage, cheating, and lying, I would certainly not have been as cheerful as Marcel was for the event.

Considering how badly the S2 team worked together during their season, their behavior during the 4 Star All Stars competition was much improved, don't you think?

On second viewing, I enjoyed watching the 'reunion' of these two seasons of finalists. All in all, it is meant as entertainment, and you have to admit there were moments...

Melanie said...

I want to give thanks, Eric, for your well-written review of the show. Are you recapping Season 3? I won't be watching, but I do want to read the blogs!

eric3000 said...


Thanks for explaining how Ilan got stuck with the duck. I wasn't quite clear on that. However, Marcel was the team leader and should have made sure the members of his team had the right assignments to create the best meal possible. He actually seemed happy about the fact that Ilan was going to have major problems with his dish.

I was a big supporter of Marcel during season two, just as I was a big supporter of Tiffany during season one; I like the underdog and hate to see people picked on by everyone. However, I have to admit I found Marcel to be unusually annoying during this special. But you're right, he had every reason to be defensive.


You'll find references to Ilan giving a blowjob to that blender on several blogs, including Blogging Top Chef. The image is just so hilarious there is nothing I could say that would improve it!

Mother Hubbard said...

Just a spelling FYI:

There may be no "i" in "team," but there is one at the end of "Tiffani."

eric3000 said...

Thanks, mother! Fixed it. I would be surprised if that were my only mistake!

Ms. Place said...

I agree with you, Eric. As team leader, Marcel should have looked after the well being of the team and assigned Ilan to another dish besides duck. A good leader would have persuaded the team to work with the ingredients that make them feel most comfortable. Having said that, Elia was the only winner on that team. Perhaps Marcel should have offered the lobster to Ilan, and taken on the Duck. Who knows? I found that he and Ilan were equally annoying. Yet I found Dave loveable in his quirky way. Now why is that?

eric3000 said...

Ms Place,

I have no idea why people love Dave! LOL! I'm just kidding; I'm sure he's fine. I just haven't forgiven him for his behavior during the season one finale, which I consider to have been highly unprofessional.

Marius said...

LMAO! Where do you come up with this stuff? I agree with you and Ms. Place; Marcel should have made assignments with the team's best interest in mind. As I've said before, it almost seems like season 2 did everything in their power to lose. What was Marcel thinking? Some of these people are just so immature.

I love your recaps!

Melanie said...

Ironic, isn't it, how unforgiving we can be of the contestants' transgressions on the show in our blogs and posts, and yet the person most victimized on S2, who actually had to live for weeks with people who belittled and ridiculed him and worse, possibly costing him a $100,000 win (and a Kenmore kitchen) because of unethical behavior during the finale, is expected to practice a neverending game of turn the other cheek with previous adversaries who showed him no mercy during the competition. Why should Marcel be expected to be Christ-like? Even Gandhi believed in nonviolent protest.

Marcel didn't deliberately sabotage the dinner and definitely came off as a cheerleader for his team that night. When his dish of mango was spilled onto the floor, he didn't get angry or criticize Ilan. Who can fault Marcel for allowing Ilan to prove his general culinary incompetence to the world at large and demonstrate that his winning 'Top Chef' for Season 2 was a farce? It's sweet justice, IMO, and well deserved.

Anonymous said...

Love your comment Melanie, I agree, Marcel had to put up with 3 of the people who did knowing but show hate to him, and hey isn't Ilan top chef, thought he should know how to cook duck? He looked and acted like a ass on this show, and sorry I think Marcel was funny on this, I think he got his chance to get alittle even with those 3, too bad he wasn't on the other team
And Eric this was the best recap, if not the funniest, thanks for the great laugh, I will be reading your blog, i forgot how much I missed all of this, and I said I wouldn't watch top chef again. LOL

Anonymous said...

I felt that Marcel made an ass out himself with all his "smackdown" talk. His use of saffron and comments regarding it just showed how immature he is.

Ilan seemed intimidated by the season 1 chefs but at least he shut up and did his job. OK, OK, his hair was terrible!

Marcel will grow up one day and move on, I hope. Im not sure Marcel sabotaged anything but it was a poor leadership decision to allow Ilan to go forward with a dish he let others know he was not comfortable cooking.

It was great to see all the chefs again.


Anonymous said...

Sorry Eric, I forgot to say how awesome your recap was. It Rocked! Your recaps are one of the highlights of the TC season.

Eric Rulz!


eric3000 said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone! Glad you're going to be watching again, Karen. Yeah, last season was so uncomfortable at the end, I wasn't sure I wanted to watch anymore, either. But to answer Melanie's earlier question, yes, I will definitely be recapping season three!

Melanie, I don't think anyone is suggesting Marcel needs to act like Christ! LOL! Again, I completely agree with you that his teammates treated him horribly and he was not obligated to be nice to any of them. In fact, he's free to behave any way he wants.

But I don't think people are actually concerned about how he treated his teammates. They just found his behavior a little immature. For the sake of his own career, he should try to come off as a little more professional. That goes for all the chefs; not just him.

And he was competing for a charity I think he chose. Ultimately it doesn't matter because the money went to a good cause, anyway. By the way, Bravo could only cough up 20 grand? Cheap bastards. LOL!

Melanie said...

So glad you will be recapping for TC3, Eric! (Your announcement is followed by much rejoicing by all TC fans.)

Even though Bravo's pockets are probably deep enough to fork over more dough, $20,000 for charity is better than $0--definitely a good idea that someone at Bravo came up with for bringing the finalists together again.

I'll admit Marcel comes across as very young on this episode (I was cringing the first viewing through), but he's got a lot of bounce and spunk, as well as a sense of humor, to go along with his enthusiasm for his craft. I'm sure he will mellow out into a more seasoned, mature individual with time and experience.

My husband saw Marcel for the first time during the 4 Star All Stars and remarked, "He's just a baby" (meaning as in a very young person, not a whiner). Recognizing that the young thrive better with encouragement and proper guidance, let's hope that Marcel will be lucky enough to continue to have culinary mentors and an environment that will allow him to be himself and develop at his own individual pace, and reach his full potential.

I found it funny/strange that Harold was laughing while Dave was being insulting to the wait staff in a professional situation and yet had no patience for Marcel talking smack in their private quarters. I suspect if Harold was still in the competition for the title of Top Chef, instead of owning it, he wouldn't have lashed out at Marcel that way.

I also think that alcohol does not have a good influence on Marcel. His levels of maturity and professionalism seem to drop when he's had a few or more (remember the after-show following S2's finale? And then more recently at the hotel during the charity competition).

It's obvious that I'm a supporter of Marcel and plan to be in his corner for a long time to come. He earned my admiration from how he handled the S2 gang's abuse and continued on in the competition in a professional and polite manner. I never would have been able to do that, not in a million years. And I'm old enough to be his mother. (We can learn something from everyone, no matter how young or old they are.)

Melanie said...

Sorry for being so wordy and serious on the comments page for a light and funny recap. I was recently banned from TWoP for lightweight 'board on boards' activity on the Top Chef forum, so where's a girl without a blog to go to air her TC opinions? lol

I hope people will keep commenting here without worrying I'll respond to each every comment. I'm done! Really, truly!

eric3000 said...


I welcome serious comments and people defending their favorites. All I ask is that people try not to be too hard on other viewers who may have differing oppinions.


BigAssBelle said...

may i just say that i really, really, really do not have any fond feelings for padma.

every time i see and hear her, all i can think is VALIUM OVERDOSE!!