Young and Hungry

The Best and Worst of ‘Top Chef’ D.C., Episode 4

padma and lemon

Cooking for babies: So Tom and Padma both have infants. Tom and Padma are both judges on Top Chef. Tom and Padma are busy, flying here and there to run restaurants or write cookbooks or get pregnant. Tom and Padma don't have time for babies. Tom and Padma don't want to be turned into Child Protective Services. Tom and Padma ask the cheftestants during the Quickfire Challenge to cook a meal for them and their babies. Tom and Padma look like sensitive, caring parents. CPS pounds its fists in frustration.

The ghosts of spouses past: Earlier we learned that Timothy Dean still grieves for his wife who died three years ago from cancer. In Episode 4, we learned that Kenny Gilbert's first wife died, too. This is the most gruesome Top Chef in more ways than one.

Infant terrible: I don't know anything about baby food, other than it's usually bland. Babies are sensitive, even when it comes to their taste buds. Just as you wouldn't have your infant son strap on a batting helmet and face Stephen Strasburg before working his way through the minors, you don't serve your baby's developing palate a mush of penang-curry chicken. Or maybe you do? Padma picked Kenny's curry as her favorite. Tom, meanwhile, selected Tamesha Warren's vegetable chowder with grilled salmon and licorice oil. Licorice oil? Really? I'd hate to clean that diaper.

Luling calling: If this whole Top Chef gig doesn't work out, Padma might have a calling as a seed spitter. (See the Serious Eats picture above.) Too bad the Luling Watermelon Thump has just passed.

Judge snub?: The elimination round was a reach-around to the Hilton hotel chain, which no doubt needed some free help to devise a new dish for its menus. Of course, at this stage of the game, it's hard to summon much outrage for Top Chef's street-walkerlike ability to sell its program content for a few corporate shekels. The bigger head scratcher was the guest judges' table, where three D.C. TC alumni were asked to puzzle over dishes, including Spike Mendelsohn, Mike Isabella, and Bryan Voltaggio. So where was Carla Hall?

Tamesha the lioness: Angelo Sosa has the hots for Tamesha, the sous chef at the Oval Room, whom he mumbled something about her inner lion. Angelo clearly wants to roam her Serengeti. But Tamesha has a strong inner game warden. "There is no way it’s gonna happen," she told the camera.

The winner was the best of the losers: Let me see if I have this right. The "winner" of the elimination round was the team of two chefs, Kelly Liken and Andrea Curto-Randazzo, which wasn't good enough to impress the judges in the first two challenges? Their reward for their semi-competency was tickets to Italy and Spain. I wonder how the chefs felt who, you know, actually cooked well enough to earn immunity in the first two rounds? They got a one-way ticket to kitchen pantry to drink beer.

Double your pleasure: The best part of Wednesday's show? That two chefs got the boot. The sooner we wrap this yawner of a season, the better.

Photo illustration courtesy of Serious Eats

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