Top Chef Recap: Spanish Fly

You are probably wondering what happened to your Top Chef recap last week. It is this: who on earth suspected Bravo would air a new Top Chef on New Year’s Day? We did not! We saw it in our DVR like six days later, and said “that cannot possibly be a new episode of Top Chef?” but then it was and it was a really good one too! Also, Carrie went home. We feel like we spent a lot of weeks in a row saying, “man, remember at the beginning when Carrie was really good?” so it was probably time.

Well here we are now, and Carrie is gone (you should go watch that one!), and Jacques Pepin makes them make artichokes. Some of their artichokes are good, and some of their artichokes are not as good, that is the takeaway from the artichoke challenge.

Shirley and Nicholas are tops for Jacques Pepin’s artichoke quickfire, and Nicholas wins!!! We are sure he will not be bossy and insufferable at all.

Main challenge! We are getting Creole up in it, but it is not Creole, it is French and it is Spanish but NOT TOGETHER. The guest people are Julian Serrano and Dominique Crenn. He’s so old fashioned, she’s so modern, it is like a sexy The Odd Couple, and they should probably have a show where they civilly bicker and then make love in front of the fire.

The challenge is a really interesting one: the judges are the chefs of them, Crenn for the French team and Serrano for the Spanish team. The chefs are having to be subservient again, cooking someone else’s dishes at someone else’s command. They’re all pretty humble about it, very good soldiers. They did not get where they were not knowing how to take orders.

Crenn is like, hello it is Crazy Modern Circus Time. Serrano is like, stop fucking around idiots, just make it like we made it in 1950 and none of this newfangled foolishness. If boeuf bourguignon were Spanish instead of French, he would make every one of them make that, topped with Oysters Rockefeller.

Nicholas has immunity because of his mad artichoke skills. He decides he will make chocolate game hens in a cornsilk nest. (The cornsilk nest is Crenn’s idea, because she is an insane person. But when it comes time for all the judges to hate and mock the cornsilk nest, like, Colicchio says it looks like a clump of hair fished out of the shower, she does not say, ‘oh you know what amis, that was my idea.’ SHE COULD HAVE. She did not. Still! Team Chef Dominique Crenn forever.)

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Hint, Nicholas is going to be the worst. Shirley and Stephanie are killin it on the liver mousse and chicken whatever and snapper crudo. They’re good teammates, efficient, no-drama, excellent at what they do.

Serrano is super hands on, showing them each cut. He’s micromanaging, which is awesome. Crenn is more of a “hey let’s have a glass of wine while these pissants work” kind of madamoiselle. I can’t wait until they marry (she will wear a red disco jumper and be “given away” by three of her former lovers) and as he grows older and older she will wheel him around and boss him and leave him in his wheelchair at the pier while spitting French love curses at him, and his loins will be ever on fire for her.

Nicholas: “Shirley and Stephanie are leaning on me. I need to lead them to the Promised Land.”

Sure you do Nicholas.

Serrano and Crenn are flirting at the dinner table. It is like Rosalind Russell and whoever Rosalind Russell flirted with. Oui oui they are so charmant.

Top Chef Recap: Spanish Fly

Nicholas and Carlos are our guides to the food, and Nicholas is NEVER going to get over the Accusation of the Stolen Oven, nor the (unrecapped, I’m fired) Travails of the Dirty Borrowed Knife. Carlos speaks in Spanish to introduce his Spanish food, and Nicholas rolls his eyes and yells “OH MAN” while he’s talking.

Nicholas is coming across quite poorly tonight.

Nick is bossing everybody. “Grab an egg grab a nest and I’ll show you where to put em on the plate. Everything’s fine, everything’s perfect, everything tastes good.” IS IT, NICK?


Serrano and Crenn start with compliments to the opposite team. Oh, this lovely Spanish olive oil, says the Frenchwoman. Oh, something nice about the French team, says the Spaniard. As the night moves on, they voice subtle underminings of the other. The Spanish chicken is safe and dry, says the Frenchwoman. The French mousse is too soft, says the Spaniard. Their knives are expertly sharpened, so the blade slips so easily in.

They will murder-suicide each other, on their 11th anniversary, after one last Virginia Woolf hatefuck, because of the affair Crenn was having with Jacques Pepin (pictured).

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When it comes to Nicholas and his chocolate game hen, Crenn murmurs “Impressive.” “You like that? You like that? You’re kidding me. Oh my God,” sneers Serrano. He will not even touch it. Colicchio and Emeril are cracking up at the two of them, like bad schoolkids.

It is everything Serrano hates about “the new cooking.” “You must ahmbrayss it and not be such a one-dimensional coot,” says Crenn. We will have to wait for the end of the movie for them to fall in love again.

Nicholas’s dessert is gorgeous, all curled petals of plum.

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Brian’s flan is hilarious, it has just appeared through the rip in the space time continuum that was the backseat of my 1981 Ford Escort (no, really, there was a rip in the space time continuum in the backseat of my 1981 Ford Escort), straight from 1960.

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For dessert, the judges actually criticize their own team. This is a first for the evening.

France (Nicholas, Shirley and Stephanie) loses due to Nicholas’s chocolate game hen, but he has immunity dun dun dun.

Nina wins for potato salad, which everyone loved. My sister makes bomb potato salad. It has hardboiled eggs and pickle juice. That is all I know.

Judges: Let’s talk for 20 minutes about how great Stephanie and Shirley’s dishes were, and how one of them will be going home because STUPID NICHOLAS has IMMUNITY.

Judges: Let’s yell at Nicholas that his chocolate game hen was AWFUL and his dessert was WORSE.

Judges: Let’s make mad faces at Nicholas and tell him he should kill himself for the HONOR of his NATION.

“Cooking is a team effort. Do you think that your team should be penalized for you? Or do you think you should resign?”

And that is the sound of Nicholas committing suicide. But later. Not now. He’s got immunity, fair enough.

They are having to really get into the nitty gritty to find anything wrong with any of Stephanie or Shirley’s dishes: “the foam made some of the croutons a little soggy” is about as much as they can muster.

Both women claim they would have fallen on their sword. Would they? I do not believe they would. I believe they believe they would though.

Aw, Stephanie and Shirley both cry when Stephanie is cut. She hugs Nicholas because she’s really nice. She is also funny and modest and apparently a really good cook. Maybe she and Shirley can cater the Serrano-Crenn nuptials. They will fight about every dish and then make passionate French Spanish amour/amore. You know those kinky bitches are both into foodplay too.

I am thinking a tub full of bouillabaisse.

TV Show: Top Chef

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  • Gratuitous World

    Nicholas has all the integrity of a cockfighter. A cockfighter who defeathers his slain cockpetitor and then cooks it with Hershey’s syrup and hair-of-Scot, all the while ignoring the pleas of his “teammates” that, ‘hey nick – this sucks so don’t do it, man. We’re going to lose our post-fight dead cock cookoff too!’ Says Nick – “nah biscuits, lay off. This is my dead cock. I got it.”If you’re going to play the immunity card, the vulnerable teammates need to have final say over his dishes. They expressed themselves as firmly and respectfully as possible according to the not-manipulative-at-all !Bravo! editing. Maybe if he would’ve sullied Carlos’ knife he would’ve recused himself because he’s such a douchenozzle of integrity. Though I doubt it. And thus ends my longest reality tv rant of all time. But he makes me so mad! Harumph!

    • rebecca

      He fucked up as exec chef of Restaurant Wars too, don’t forget, all while thinking he was perfectly perfect man of perfection.

      • TheLifeSilica

        Did he? I don’t remember him fucking Restaurant Wars up. All I remember is Beardy McBeardyton demanding paper tickets be sacrificed to his fire gods and Sarah’s tongue lathing the turgid members of the Chase Diners Sapphire Balls club, and Travis being superfab.

        • rebecca

          You’re absolutely right. I just assumed he fucked up Restaurant Wars, because he has absorbed all my latent hate that I can no longer throw at all the people who are gone.

          • TheLifeSilica

            A fair point. My wife and I have made Carlos our hate buffer.

  • Homestar

    This is probably the best recap I’ve ever read, of anything. It helps that the episode was so good. I totally missed the reason for the challenge:”Main challenge! We are getting Creole up in it, but it is not Creole, it is French and it is Spanish but NOT TOGETHER.”So thank you for enlightening me. I really liked Stephanie, but I didn’t see her winning. She’s no Kristen from last season, if you know what I’m sayin. But I never liked Nick and I like him less now. Yes, he deserved immunity (even though it’s pretty late to be handing that shit out), and yes, he probably did the crazy bad food because of immunity–he is not as good as he thinks he is, he is petulant, and he is boring. And he is not a good leader. My money has been on Nina from day one, but I wouldn’t mind if Shirely or Louis takes it home.

    • rebecca

      It just got so boring watching Nina win *every single week.*

      • Homestar

        Agreed. I don’t necessarily want her to win it all, I just think she will.

  • Jason M

    I mosied over to the facebook page for Top Chef and people are going apeshit; “OH THE HUMANITY” style that the judges “HAD THE AUDACITY” to suggest Nick should self-bounce. It was that Frenchy that brought it up, but then I think Padma et al were all like, “yeah, we hate him and his crap food so let’s lay it on him because no way is he winning this thing anyway.” This season has pretty much blown, so anything to get the ol’ blood racing is okay by me. I really liked the French references in this recap, Rebecca, made me feel so worldly and stuff.

    • rebecca

      Oooh, perhaps I shall go over there myself. Do you read Hugh Acheson’s blogs? He’s really funny and good!

      • Jason M

        No, I’m gonna have to check that out. I dig that guy’s salty mix of bitchy professionalism!

  • torontomeridith

    Don’t forget that Nicholas used to be the executive chef of a “huge fine dining restaurant”, and was let go by the owners along with the rest of the staff. The new owners then offered everybody else their job back except for our friend Nicholas. Nick, maybe it’s you, sweetheart.