Top Chef recap: Carrot Top Chef

Nicholas goes cuckoo for carrots; Roy Choi doles out tough love
Ep. 14 | Aired Jan 15, 2014

BUBBA NICK CARROTS Nicholas' motto this season seems to be, "Rage first. Reason later."

Bravo

I felt like Roy was trying a little too hard to be the "inspirational teacher," like Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society, leaving them with words of wisdom like, "You gotta find your soul right now," and, "Take this as a challenge to find your flavor." Let's all jump up on our desks right now and scream at the top of our lungs.

Luckily, Jon Favreau, director of Elf (can we go ahead and call it a genuine Christmas classic now? Best use of Zooey Deschanel ever), arrived to take some of the self-seriousness out of the kitchen. As the director of the upcoming film Chef, starring Robert Downey, Jr. as a chef who's lost his voice, Favreau challenged the chefs to create a dish that represented a turning point in their careers that led them to discover their voice.

Yet another cooking-as-psychotherapy Elimination Challenge -- and fittingly, it would happen in a place called Café Reconcile, a nonprofit restaurant that assists young people from at-risk communities.

As it did last week, the pressure got to some of the chefs, especially Nicholas. Nina noted -- very accurately, might I add -- that Nicholas, in addition to over-thinking things, also has a short fuse, which makes for an ugly combination. Nicholas barked at Carlos like an animal over minor territorial issues. "Don't move my f---ing pots! Do you understand me?!" (Let's not forget that Nicholas has been showing his narcissistic jerk side since the very beginning of the season. I bet if his arrogant friend Jason were around longer, we'd have seen more of it). It was even more disturbing how emotional Nicholas was getting -- his voice was quivering even as he was screaming at Carlos, and he got more and more irrational, accusing him of deliberately moving his pots as some act of sabotage.

Okay, maybe Carlos was being a slob in the kitchen, but maybe Nicholas was taking up a disproportionate amount of space because he was trying to do too much. While others were cooking from the heart, Nicholas planned a ridiculously elaborate dish that presented carrots five ways. Carrots five ways? He started listing a bunch of different incarnations of carrot like Bubba Nick Carrot. (Carrot cake, carrot brioche, carrot salad, carrot steak, carrot pudding, carrot ramen, carronut...)

NEXT: Orange may be the new black, but carrots just aren't very cool.


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