Last night’s Top Chef episode showed how good storytelling can often overcome over-produced television fare. Instead of some gimmicky challenge or a manic running-around-the-kitchen montage we’re usually treated to, we got to see the remaining chefs use their skills to flat out cook. Now, I love watching the gang bang around pots and pans trying to put the finishing touches on their creations before the clock ticks down to zero, but I really enjoyed watching them during the Quickfire putting their kitchen skills to the test breaking down those sides of meat. While some of the shots seemed to imply some contestants were unceremoniously hacking and slashing their meat into submission, Spike put on a butchery clinic. Unfortunately for him winning a Quickfire at this point in the competition doesn’t win him immunity.
And what a treat watching Tom expediting dishes during the elimination challenge. We’re so used to watching him quiz the chefs on their preparations or discussing their dishes at the Judge’s Table, it was refreshing to hear him talk in restaurant speak getting those dishes from the kitchen to the tables. Again, there was no editorial flashiness in the kitchen. With the prospect of moving on as one of the final four contestants to Puerto Rico, the producers let us watch the chefs focus on working with the food, not dealing with their personalities. Yes, we kept coming back to Spike’s scallop choice, and Antonia almost incinerated poor Lisa, but, for the most part everyone seemed to keep their head down playing it safe trying to avoid elimination.
But in the end someone’s got to go, and unfortunately Spike packed his knives while Lisa packed her bags for PR. Throughout elimination you knew it was going to be one of these two, and I was hoping it would be Lisa. While Spike has occasionally surprised me with his skills and technique and certainly entertained me with his attitude, Lisa has always rubbed me the wrong way. I especially dislike the Lisa Look we always get when she’s on the chopping block-the squinty eyes along with the bulging neck. When she finally gets sent home, I hope their aren’t any sharp objects near the judges.
Even though he got sent packing (because of the meat emphasis of this episode, you could say he got the Tomahawk Chop), Spike got in one last shot reminding the judges the frozen scallops he chose were in the walk-in of this high-end restaurant. Classless as usual, but the very behavior and attitude we’ve come to expect from dear Spike.