Top Chef recap: There's the Rub

With Heather out of the picture, Sarah stepped up as the resident insufferable drama queen. Nathan Myhrvold made for one of the best, most legit guest judges ever
Ep. 09 | Aired Jan 4, 2012

LIFE IN PLASTIC, IT'S FANTASTIC!: "Malibu" Chris (ugh, can't stand that nickname) couldn't be saved by his Ken doll good looks.

Vivian Zink/Bravo

Heather may have been eliminated moments earlier for her "Bigfoot" Stroganoff (Patti, you're already missed), but the drama was still far from over. Beverly and Grayson meekly celebrated Heather's departure. Ed brought up the fact that she won twice by using his recipes, and of course Sarah, this season's second most irritating contestant, jumped to Heather's defense. Neither Ed nor Sarah was in the right, really, since it was Ed's choice to hand over his recipes to Heather. This minor drama was only interesting in that it signaled upcoming tension later in the episode.

Much more interesting was this week's Quickfire Challenge, inspired by the extremely limited edition five-volume cookbook Modernist Cuisine. Nathan Myhrvold, former Microsoft Chief Technology Officer and all-around super-genius, wrote the coveted book and served as guest judge. I had the chance to flip through the tomes when they arrived at the EW offices, and they really are full of fascinating facts that combine food and science. Nathan explained that molecular gastronomy is only a small part of modernist cooking -- hear that, Marcel?

Some chef-testants were more thrilled about the unconventional challenge than others, but none more than Chris Jones, of course. He went as far as to say that he had pioneered some of the techniques from Modernist Cuisine before the books had come out. I don't think Nathan included a sweet potato chain-link fence or cumin-filled cigar in any of the 2200 pages of his cookbook, but I can't be sure.

Landing in the bottom group was Beverly for steamed clams and mussels with curry whipped cream and mango chili. When spraying the curry cream out of an aerosol can, Beverly got the stuff all over Padma's dress and Nathan's crotchal area and then got so flustered she knocked a whole bunch of noisy items off the table. Lindsay made no effort to hide her laughter. Beverly explained that she's socially awkward because he parents didn't let her go to sleepovers as a child -- hear that, Tiger Mom? Nathan also put frontrunner Paul in the bottom for his endive salad with egg yolks and truffle powder, and he wasn't impressed either with Grayson's overly simple trout sashimi (or huge slab of raw fish) with dill caviar and pickled watermelon. There's a lot of messing with watermelon this season.

NEXT: Chris Jones, shouldn't the top-knot be a sometimes thing? For when you're sumo-wrestling or washing off a pore-refining mask?

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