Top Chef recap: The Italian Job

The chefs try to out-fashion and out-Italian each other, with some devastating results
Ep. 08 | Aired Feb 2, 2011

LA CUCINA ITALIANA For the Italian challenge, Tre tried to resurrect his winning risotto

David Giesbrecht/Bravo

Last night's episode of Top Chef started, as they all do, with an obituary for the recently departed. Marcel is no longer among us. It's easy to complain about the guy, but I'd rather applaud him. As Tre points out, Marcel is a good chef. He also rapped, which made for stellar TV. We'll probably forget all about him until he pops up in some future spin-off (Top Chef: Just Foam). But until then, he rapped! And nothing our next villain does can possibly compete.

Our next villain: Mike Isabella. To judge from last night's episode, Mike has one main personality problem: he talks constantly about all the wrong things. We see him chat nonstop about how Marcel was rightly kicked off. It's not a smart move since we all saw the footage, and Mike didn't come off any better. Mike talks A LOT about being Italian, which good for him, but Fabio's Italian and you don't see him bragging about it. Generally, Mike talks about things no one cares about nearly as much as he does. Unsurprisingly, before the opening credits rolled, Antonia the Black Hammer puts him on top of her enemies' list.

When the chefs enter the kitchen there is someone mysterious standing next to Padma. He is not the normal rotund scruffy-faced chef du jour. No, this is Isaac Mizrahi, overseer of the fancy clothes in Target. Fabio is "picturing already him telling us, 'Chef, you gotta make-a great dish and then. I hafta wear it.'" We learn that, fortuitously, Angelo's two loves are food and fashion. So either he's about to win this challenge or the TC editors are making his eventual missteps more tragic.

And now: Padma has a jewelry line? Isaac Mizrahi is unveiling some sort of Xerox machine-inspired runway wear? It's Fashion Week? I don't know. Mizrahi says something about how Xerox machines trick your eye, and everyone nods. Even Mizrahi looks concerned about the strength of the concept, but they're all nodding furiously. Yes, Emperor, your clothes are stunning! Padma's dubbed voice hastily adds that Mizrahi is co-host of a clothing show. I like to imagine Mizrahi standing with a taser pointed at the base of Padma's spine as she mouthed that line into a mic. How dare you forget my co-hosting of that clothing show!

The Quickfire Challenge is a true fashion world idea: prepare food that's meant to be looked at, not eaten. (Eating makes you fat!) Mizrahi is judging purely on visual aesthetics. We learn our chefs' respective advantages. Carla was a model in Paris. This makes complete sense. Have you seen her neck? It is wonderfully long. And not that it matters, but she's soooooo nice. I bet she was the nicest model in the world.

Blais has this idea about black. Mizrahi, he's noticed, wears black all the time, so Blais is gonna do it that way. Black ice cream, that's his game. Dale is inspired by some picture he bought his girlfriend, which is very Dale-ish, being moved by his own art selection. Angelo tells us he always wanted to be a "food stylist." Go figure. Fabio says he's sorry, but Angelo, your dish looks like a bag of vomit.

Next: Angelo sticks both feet in his big mouth

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