Image credit: David Moir/Bravo
IT'S HER PARTY And she can eat cheese if she wants to.
And now to introduce the Elimination Challenge: our guest judge Lea Michele! I love how the camera immediately closed in on Travis, the resident gay guy, for the biggest "SQUEE!" reaction, even though Stephanie seemed to be gazing upon Lea most dreamily and Carlos saw her as the sex symbol some people believe her to be. If you've ever read an interview with Lea, the fact that she made this entire challenge about her own specific whims and preferences should not come as a surprise. Basically, the chefs had to make Halloween-themed dishes for a costume party, but really, it was a challenge to test how well they could take Lea's directions. She explained that she's a vegan who sometimes likes to give herself a break. She likes cheese, pasta, pizza, fried things, cheese, all vegetables except beets, Mexican food, spice, cheese, and smelly cheese. Oh, and foods that are spooky.
You know, if the chefs didn't have to cater to all of Lea's restrictions, this challenge could have rivaled the Charlize Theron challenge from two seasons ago, which inspired some of the coolest dishes in Top Chef history. (And one of my best recaps, if I do say so myself).
Not to mention, it was another team challenge, this time with seven teams of two. Of course, Nina and Michael were paired together, as they've had some friction in the past, ever since Michael rudely swept Nina's ingredients from his counter space. Nina never forgets. Even though Nina is clearly one of the frontrunners and Michael is extremely irritating, it didn't look like Nina was giving Michael a chance as a teammate. But Michael should learn there are some women you can't casually call "booboo."
Some teams dove into the "spooky" theme with aplomb. There wasn't anything particularly ghoulish about Carrie and Stephanie's dishes, but their rhyming names went a long way: Doomed Shrooms and Freaky Leeky. Yay, puns! Louis came up with a "severed thumb" dish made of braised quinoa, potato puree, and "dehydrated blood." Lea thought it was all too greasy. Shirley made a "worm salad" out of tasty hand-cut noodles; Lea liked the dish, too. There were two competing eyeball-themed dishes: Michael's arancini eyeball, which looked like a fried boob with a black olive nipple, and Sara's "evil eye," which was a risotto and green olive ball.
NEXT: The Orange Team is a team divided...