One of my favorite parts of Top Chef has always been the show's music: the weird tribal beats in the background that sound sort of like a samurai movie score performed by the cast of Stomp. But for this episode, I couldn't help wishing that Bravo had sprung for the licensing rights to a track that would've made a great theme song for the night's events, namely ''Sabotage,'' by the Beastie Boys. Either that or the theme fromPolice Academy. Your call.
After being up for more than 40 hours straight for last week's challenges, the contestants were less than bright eyed at the beginning of this week's show. Stephanie was grappling with Nikki's departure, Richard was exhausted, and Spike was still mad at Dale (who was busy coiffing himself with something that looked a little too much like an Elmer's glue stick). Only Andrew claimed to be fine. Better than fine, in fact. ''I woke up today with a f---ing fire in my stomach,'' he said. ''Either I'm going to stab somebody, or I'm going to make some amazing food.'' I'd say it's about even money on that one, Andy.
The contestants headed to the kitchen, where they were fully shocked out of their slumber by the appearance of a ghost from Top Chef past: Sam Talbot, that hunk of diabetic man candy who made it to the finals in season 2. The challenge, according to Sam, was to ''put a little sexy back in the salad.'' I had no idea that greens needed to get their groove back, but if Padma and Sam say it's true, it's true. With 45 minutes to throw together their dishes, the chefs had plenty of time to pull off something above and beyond the usual lettuce-tomato-cheese mix, so they all went for interesting ingredients. Lisa opted for bananas, Andrew went for Thai-themed fruits, and Spike grabbed a massive hunk of beef, which he claimed would make a person exclaim, ''Let's have sex after we eat this salad!'' (While I've personally never heard — or used — that line before, I have no doubt it's served Spike well over the years). At this point, Lisa took a moment to point out that some of the remaining chefs didn't deserve to be in the competition because they lacked talent and had personalities that ''suck a--.'' Hmm. Sounds like a little case of the anodized skillet calling the nonstick saucier black to me, wouldn't you say?
But even with three quarters of an hour to execute their dishes, mistakes were made. Most notably, Stephanie forgot to put an all-important artichoke chip on her plate, and then admitted it. Are you kidding? When will these people learn to just keep quiet? Time after time, chefs on the show have felt the need to tell the judges about ingredients that were left out, as if honesty were going to win them points. But guess what, Steph — nobody would've missed an artichoke chip because nobody even knows what an artichoke chip is. Keep it to yourself!
NEXT: Spike gets quickfired up