Chef Tell: Oh, the Lame Bahama Drama

For the first round in a Top Chef final, this week left much to be desired. Due to that -- and a crippling stomach bug that had me wishing the show was not about food, but rather a blanket fort competition -- this is a truncated and belated recap. Apologies for that.

The cheftestants arrived in the Bahamas where they were challenged to go head-to-head against the winning chef from their previous season. They were given a protein to share, and as the judges (Padma, Tom and Eric [swoon] Ripert) visited each station, they determined the winner...and recipient of $10K. Sorta boring. Made me realize the chefs who won past seasons, for the most part, aren't really the ones I give a shit about seeing again.

Our Dallas girl Tiffany Derry whupped champion Kevin Sbraga with her pork stew, giving her a much-needed confidence boost on to the Elimination Challenge...which sucked. Richard Blais -- and this should shock no one -- beat his season's champ Stephanie Izard, but felt like he didn't do his best...or sucks at life...or something. He definitely got a new hairstyle, but I'll refrain from comments until next week as humidity may have been a factor.

The Elimination Challenge consisted of cooking for Bahamanian "royalty" in a questionably wired Bahamanian restaurant. Turned out the royalty was the King of Junkanoo, a street parade and celebration that resembles Mardi Gras with the feathered headdresses of Carnivale, which resulted in a really strange reaction from a couple of the cheftestants. Apparently, if you aren't "actual" royalty, you might not deserve the high-end dishes they'd planned. A pretty shitty and la-di-da reaction, if you ask me.

But our Tiffany didn't change her dish for anyone...even after a deep fryer caught  fire and the kitchen had to be washed clean of all chemical fire-retardants, giving the chefs yet another opportunity to rethink their offerings. Though, it might have been a good idea if she had since she ended up in the bottom three at Judges' Table.

The Junkanoo King? Well, he seemed to enjoy all the dishes, but the big-food-big-love chef Carla was sent knives packing for inconsistently cooked pork (yikes). Mike Isabella won the challenge with sous vide chicken in lobster sauce with lobster hash and Tiffany took the loss in stride, though the loss of her roommate Carla weighed more heavily. Blais may or may not have self-flagellated until judge Gail Simmons helped his self-loathing by posting on her blog that she thinks it's time he sees a therapist.

Next week: There better be Bourdain. I need more Bourdain.
In the meantime, check out locals Tre and Casey on the Top Chef All-Star Road Trip, here.

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Merritt Martin
Contact: Merritt Martin

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