'Top Chef Recap: Piggin' Out' -- In Which Top Chef Finally Gets Its Chit Together
In last week’s Top Chef recap, which we gave you all of yesterday afternoon because JESUS Top Chef Season Eleven has been putting us into a non-diabetic coma, and we have hated it SO, SO MUCH, Patty went home, and Nina was sad that Bene had gone home the week before, and Brian was a lazy douche. But what the hell? Last night’s episode of Top Chef, Piggin’ Out, actually was great! Interesting challenges! Beautiful food from competent cooks who probably deserve to actually be there for the most part! Happy judges what cain’t stop smiling! The men sewing their balls back on and surging for a comeback! You guys, it is a Christmas miracle!
They are in the stewroom, watching the ending from last week. Patty was only cooking for three years? That is great, taking a young nice person with no ‘sperience and just stone cold setting her up to fail. Nice job, casting. You are not A Ally for young people’s self-esteem!
Here comes a crazy man in all the pimp clothes and it is Dr. John and he is the hotness, he is so fancy in his natty hat with ALL THE FEATHERS IN IT. Now whenever we see or hear Dr. John we will not be able to not think of Frances Conroy getting burned at the stake (spoiler) in this amazing scene from Coven.
Somewhat appropriately (BECAUSE BURNING), it is a hot sauce challenge! Dr. John, despite his sartorial greatness, is being kind of unbearably twee and purposely opaque, basically scat-singing his way through his explanation of what hot sauce should be when it is served to Dr. John. He is all like “you gotta get the scooby of the hizooby diddleydowhatsaywhatyeah” or something, to the point where Padma has to interpret.
I do not know what flavornosity and tangosity are, and I am too high to try to puzzle it out, and I am fairly annoyed with Dr. John at the moment. Stop acting like you don’t actually speak English. I KNOW YOU SPEAK ENGLISH DR. JOHN. OK, so they are making bottled hot sauce in 45 minutes. THAT IS A COOL PROJECT! Carlos says it’s an “easy win for me.” Why do they say that? Does each of them have to say it in every episode so the editors have their choice of ironic overconfidence when they’re in the bay?
Carrie, cute pixie-faced white girl from Seattle by way of Iowa, is making her mother-in-law’s Trinidadian pepper sauce. Please win, Carrie! It was so much more interesting when you were good at making food.
Stephanie’s never made hot sauce before; there seem to be a lot of things Stephanie has never made before. Justin’s putting in anchovy, and I feel like that unctuousness might be the perfect base to hold it all together? Like, that might be really smart? Also, for some reason, I am now trying to remember everything I learned about ambergris in Jitterbug Perfume?
(Also, fave Tom Robbins quote EVAR: “Some people might call it brain damage. I call it pruning.” Right Dr. John, sizzlabopaswoofboomyeah?)
Brian is a saucier. I would like to see him step up and contend instead of being a lazy grasshopper jackhole. I would like to see them ALL contend instead of saying things like “maybe we should have put more effort into the watermelon salad,” when IT WAS YOUR ONLY DISH, PATTY.
Brian is doing jalapeno and serrano, lime and yuzu. Shirley is whipping up some habanero, serrano, ginger and pineapple. Dr. John wonders if Carrie has tang, or tangosity, or tangalangdingdang. Shut up Dr. John.
Stephanie is doing peach vinegar and habanero, and that sounds awful, but who knows! I wish John Waters would hurry up and invent Tastovision already.
Carrie’s is too hot. Nina’s is too hot. They are so mad! Like, sometimes hot sauce is TOO HOT, ladies, it doesn’t mean Dr. John prefers his Miracle Whip sandwiches lightly toasted.
Justin and Brian and Carlos are top, which is absolutely the first time there’s been a top tranche this season without women, and maybe even the first time there was more than one man? We can’t possibly look it up, but seriously, the men have been pathetic this season, so we are just going to to go with “yes.”
Brian has expensive highlights, which we guess we noticed before but it is sort of hitting us in the face now as far as Let Us List All The Many Things That Are Wrong With Brian. What are you doing dude. Oh, winning, I guess. Okay, good on you! Let’s see more cooking and less douching pls!
A giant pig is on its back, split open and drained almost white. It’s feet are all sticking straight up in the air like when you are six and pretend to be dead. This really does look like Coven! Donald Link is guest judge, Toby Rodriguez is a cute dude with a boucherie apparently. Toby tells us teamwork is as essential as the chopping. Uh oh. As soon as he says this, did every one of you start giggling about how Sara was going to try to boss them? Yes you did.
Who will take her down this time, Nina or Shirley? Or will the men try to assert their dominance? (Yes, the men will try to assert their dominance. Butchering is men’s work, obviously, serious Hunter Man Primal Shit, and they aren’t gonna let no vagina-American tell them how to hack up a dead thing. Also, they seem to finally be getting the idea in their pretty little manheads that maybe they should be trying harder not to lose.)
So the very next second after we all think this to ourselves, there is Sara is trying to boss the planning, and the men are just not having it. “Part of this challenge is that we have a cohesive menu … across the board” but before she can even get the second part of that sentence in, Justin has already jumped in, for the sole sake of disagreeing, on record, that he does not agree because she is not the leader of them. “Actually I think it’s more of a diverse menu!” For real, stop letting Sara boss you, she is in the bottom every time.
All of a sudden the men have very strong opinions. They all wave their dicks around about who has chopped more pigs. But you KNOW Shirley has chopped up some pigs, because China. Travis has hunted many pigs with his rural family. He struggles so much with that side of him, he still hasn’t even told his father about the gayness and the Asian boyfriend because it’s so much more sensitive to let your dad find out on national teevee.
Oh, guess who is bragging, Sara is bragging! “I’ve taken down quite a few hogs,” she brags. “Why’d you take the belly out first?” she bosses. “You’re gonna have to hold down this side and push down here.” Oh man, she is being AWFUL. She is being JUST LIKE ME.
Nina is braising the pigs head for a ragout. Justin is doing a pork breast taco. Pork breast? Did any of you know porks have breasts? Just what have I been missing out on?
Oh, Travis. “I wanna kinda play it a little safer” he says, and BUY DRY NOODLES FOR YOUR RAMEN? If Tom Colicchio is not going to make his resting bitchface, we will let Britney Spears do it for him.
Also, btw, shout out to Silver Lake Ramen, which is ridiculous and which simmers its pig broth for 16 hours and it is so rich and thick and perfect and better than any we have ever had, and we have had some ramen. Just saying. Hiiiiii Silver Lake Ramen. Hiiiiii!
So this hot boucherie guy is back, and he is cooking cracklings and trotters and rillettes and whatnot for all the tired chefs back at their place, and where is he from? Is he French? Italian? Nashvillian? His accent keeps wandering here and there, tramping and hoboing across continents. Still cute though.
They’re at the Bayou Barn, and it is as pretty as the farm from the tomato challenge (these are really great tomatoes) and the Philadelphia cream cheese challenge (this is really great cream cheese). The New Orleans location scouts did a really good job.
Justin is very upset about his grill, which HE built the fire on and then EVERYONE USED UP ALL HIS GRILL SPACE. Nina comes in with a very calm “suck a dick man,” before telling the camera “This guy’s gonna choke somebody out.” Oooh, Lady Passive Aggressiva is getting Aggressive Aggressiva! And you know mama likes it.
Say hello to the alligator, everybody! Everybody except Stephanie who points out, accurately, that the alligator would probably come up and eat Stephanie’s face in, because if anybody would randomly have their face eaten in by an alligator, it would be Stephanie, the saddest sack in Sacktown.
After all the tsuris with the grill, and the yelling at the people what are using Justin’s grill, and the readiness to choke a bitch for using Justin’s grill, Justin’s pork is on fire. He is the saddest man in the world. Brian’s got immunity again but this time he’s using it to actually go out on a limb instead of using it to be lazy and not help his team, so good for him, and “growth” and whatnot.
All the food looks beautiful — beautiful — there is no bitchface anywhere. We do not understand a Top Chef episode (at least in Season Eleven) with no Tom Colicchio Resting Bitchface. Things have obviously taken a turn for the great.
Padma is high as fuck, for a change, she loves one dish more than the next. Padma says pozol instead of posol-ay, like she is Italian ordering up a mozzarell or a carbonar.
Hugh and Tom enjoy the ramen. EVEN THOUGH TRAVIS DID NOT MAKE HIS OWN NOODLES. What the fuck is this show coming to? Usually they would scream about store-bought noodles for WEEKS!
Carrie: Crispy trotters. Isn’t that the balls? No, the Fount of all Knowledge informs me it is just the feet. Tom loves. Tom says every single thing is delicious. Hugh’s all “shrug, it’s pretty good!” Padma got Tom so high. SO HIGH.
Tom says this big pigfest is some of the best food he’s had in 11 seasons, with lots of multiethnic chefs, all coming from authentic places.
Tops are Shirley with her disgusting kidney, Nina with her stew, and Carlos’s pozole and chorizo.
Justin’s meat was dry, DOH. Travis’s ramen. Flavorwise it was good. And Stephanie’s pork belly isn’t packed with flavor, and somebody else I already forget. Oh, Louis.
The fact that all the top chefs are foreigners really speaks ill of the vaunted hipster ability to get all artisan and back to the earth and whatnot. What was that beardo hipster chef’s name from Portland? Or was it Austin? Oh right, that is half the people every season. The judges say Nina’s dish should be a national dish somewhere. They would travel for three days to eat Shirley’s kidney dumplings or whatever, and even just her crispy pork fat salad would have kept her safe because hell yeah.
Carlos wins for his mother’s outstanding pozole. Is that the first man win, besides a quickfire? Back in the stewroom, Nina whispers, “they said it was a close call.” Nick: “Don’t be mad tht you lost one Nina. Let us get one once in awhile.” Nick is correct. You don’t have to be fake humble when you win your 17th in a row — oh, what, me? — but zip it when someone else does.
The men are FEELING IT. They have had enough of being pansy-ass losers under the chef’s Croc of all womankind, society grinding them down beneath women’s unquestioned hegemonic rule of all restaurants and such. They shall let their testosterone flow and their body odor waft!
Justin is surprised to be in the bottom; he is defensive, arms crossed. None of the dishes were bad, Colicchio says smiling, and Padma jumps in like FOR SERIOUS THEY WERE NOT BAD! “They were all delicious actually!” she says emphatically, and Colicchio SMILES: “Dynamite food today!” He is fat and happy as a cat full of cream.
So all the food was great. Somebody, they say, is going home for a good dish. It’s about time!
OK this is crazy right? How did you cook the pork Stephanie?
“Cured it, grilled it, braised it, glazed it, and grilled it again.”
Tom snickers. Nicely! He snickers nicely. Nice Tom! Happy Tom! Just got laid Tom, or the culinary equivalent!
Louis’s popcorn was one too many ideas, it took away from “treasuring that pig.” Acheson doesn’t even sound like a dick when he says it, that is how cool Hugh Acheson is.
OK bye Louis, they hated your popcorn and then there was also mushrooms and scallions or something apparently, that does not sound very delicious, they are right.