There isn’t much time for socializing as the second episode of “Top Chef Season 7” gets under way. Jacqueline makes butter for her breakfast of champions, everyone makes faces, and then the chefs are off to the Top Chef kitchen for their Quick Fire Challenge.
Padma, who is actually wearing something that doesn’t make my eyeballs bleed, introduces the 16 remaining cheftestants to guest judge Assistant White House Chef Sam Kass who Timothy tells us is “a pretty important person to feed the President of the United States.” We’re excited. He’s excited.
And then they announce the challenge...
Because a successful government must be bi-partisan, Padma tells the chefs they will be participating in a “Bi-Partisandwich Quick Fire” and will have 30 minutes to create a sandwich with a partner. Everyone’s like super stoked because it seems way easy, and Padma said, “Bi-Partisandwich” and that’s like so funny not really at all. Then they get hit with the kicker.
They’ll be competing in aprons that have been sewn together and will only have one hand (plus their partner’s) to complete the challenge.
Master K with the mad knife skills thinks it’s genius and asks, “Who got high and came up with this idea?” (All signs point to the dearly departed John who was booted off last week.)
Angry Tracey is actually really happy because she’s been paired with Golden Boy Angelo and that means she gets to fondle his ego for 30 minutes. He’s like so dreamy and has a sandwich shop in New York which makes him even dreamier because she can ride his coattails to immunity and doesn’t have to do anything but turn red and giggle maniacally. (She still really scares us.)
Tamesha is not happy to be paired with spastic Amanda, who sliced open her own hand the previous week during the potato peeling Quick Fire. She says, “Basically I don’t think I can trust her holding the knife and me holding the bread.” Ed is also terrified that Master K is going to hack up his hand like a chicken and then sous vide it for dinner, but Kenny laughs it off. “I’m not going to cut you… at least not yet.”
So much love, I tell you. So much love.
Tracey and Angelo ultimately win it for their (his) Asian-style fish sandwich with a “beautiful Japanese sauce” that Angelo likes to call “liquid love” to make Tracey giggle and blush so she’ll stop threatening to push people off buildings. He’s not surprised by their win. “Once again I feel the eyes on me.” he says with an evil laugh that sounds disturbingly like Tracey’s. Makes us wonder, maybe they really are identical twins separated at birth and reunited by the strings of a Bi-Partisandwich apron?
For the Elimination Challenge, each pair of chefs with be partnered off with another pair of chefs and charged with the task of creating a nutritious school lunch for 50 students. They will need to feed the students using the same restrictive budget that public schools have which works out to be $2.60 per student or $130 for all 50 kids. They must also provide the students with a main course, a couple side dishes consisting of fruit and vegetables, and dessert.
Arnold is like way freaked out by the challenge. He tells us, “When I go out I spent $130 on my self.” We’re not sure if he’s talking about his scarves, his hair gel or his dinner.
Because they won the Quick Fire, Angelo and Tracey get to select who they will be paired with. Angelo immediately zeroes in on Kenny and Ed because, as he whispers into blushing Tracey’s ear later, “I don’t like Kenny,” and he wants to metaphorically push him off a building. Tracey just laughs. She loves Angelo so much she could just squeeze him into little bits and then grind him up into a hamburger and eat him with her tarantula jaws. Instead, she just decides to make a “healthy” hamburger with chicken and imagine that the buns are Angelo’s. Golden Boy plays it Dr. Evil style with a celery and peanut butter mousse salad that will be the team’s “vegetable” – or, ideally, Master K’s downfall since Angelo has immunity.
There’s no love circulating on Kelly, Arnold, Lynne, and Tiffany’s team either. Arnold is getting really whiny because he hasn’t had a facial in a week, and Kelly is using the oatmeal he wants for his moisturizing body scrub to make tortillas for her carnitas tacos. She’s oblivious. She just wants to keep saying “carnitas” over and over again with a Spanish accent.
Tamesha who is with Amanda, Jacqueline and Stephen, still wants to kick Amanda’s ass and we kind of want to see her do it so she’ll stop talking about how much she loves braising things with Sherry. There’s no such drama with Andrea, Alex, Tim, and Kevin who are like four peas in a pod or four chefs in a bi-partisandwich apron. We sort of love Andrea because she has pretty blonde curly hair and doesn’t want chop anyone’s face off.
At least not yet.
The chefs head over to Alice Deal Middle School where they will finish preparing their meals and then serve them to the judges and room full of stampeding students. Sam Kass informs them that the kids will tell them if they don’t like their food – unlike Tom, Gail and Padma who will apparently just push it around their plates and pout?
The judges and kids go wild for Andrea Alex, Tim, and Kevin’s coleslaw with yogurt, grilled apple cider BBQ chicken, macaroni and cheese with a whole wheat crust, and fresh melon kebab with chantilly yogurt “cream.” They also like Kelly’s infamous carnitas, Arnold’s corn salad, Lynne’s black bean cake, and Lynne’s carmelized sweet potatoes and sherbert. One kid pipes up, “I really liked how they place the vegetable with the ice cream.” You and me both. You and me both. Kelly, who looks bizarrely like Claire Danes, ultimately takes the win for her carnitas because, as we learned earlier in the episode, “Kids f*cking love tacos.” They do not, as it turns out, like Stephen’s dish of “rice and all that nasty stuff.”
Angelo, Tracey, Ed and Kenny are the decided losers in the School Lunch battle due to the lack of nutrition in their menu. Amanda, Tamesha, Jacqueline, and Stephen are also called out for Amanda’s suspect Sherry-braised chicken and Jacqueline’s atrociously sugary banana pudding. (Apparently she uses the same style of measuring as she does for her butter saturated breakfast.) Judge’s table turns into a school yard game of pointing fingers as Amanda starts yelling about how much sugar is in processed peanut butter, and is then similarly reprimanded for serving kids Sherry just because she likes it. Gail says, “I love vodka but I’m not cooking with it.” You and me both. You and me both.
Despite Amanda’s Sherry chicken fail and Angelo’s team’s peanut butter flop, Jacqueline is ultimately singled out for her sad, sugary banana pudding that was unfairly sabotaged by Amanda’s decision to use all of her team’s budget to get the kids liquored up. Me thinks she was a fun one in college. But we might have to wait for the reunion show stew room clips to verify that one.