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Top Chef: Seattle – Episode 9 – Monkeying Around With Pickles

Yes, I know that is a really strange combination of four words. However, I went with it. Because, this episode was all about Monkey. And pickles. It was also about extremely sharp knives. And rancid scallops. It was also about Top Chef nostalgia – which is always a good thing.

But the big, big thing is that Monkey is as dead as the old monkey in “Project X.” Look it up, that scene resonates. And, of course, Monkey went out with class and respect. Oh wait, this is Monkey. He doesn’t do that. He blamed the Show and the unexpected twist which admittedly did not benefit him at all. And then he praised himself for not hoarding all of the ingredients and sabotaging Lizzie in their last minute battle to avoid elimination. One would hope that if he did that he would be instantly disqualified for preventing his opponent from accessing the required ingredients.

This is clearly a grand day in the history of Top Chef – the elimination of the season’s main villain. And he wasn’t even a fun villain, he was just mean. And now, spoiler alert…he’s done and gone. Except for that dumb “Save a Chef” contest – in which case, he is just a couple of days away from being done and gone. When I get into LCK a little bit later on, double spoiler alert…CJ beats him. Done. Most Hated Chef in Dallas is now the 9th place finisher on Top Chef. He lost to OTV, which should make Josh happy. He lost to Josie, which should make all fans of poetic justice happy.

In addition to losing Monkey from the show, we also got to do so in one of the coolest challenges in recent memory. Nine chefs remained in Season 10…a perfect moment to bring in the show’s history. The nine chefs are randomly given a past season and a clip of a memorable moment from each one. They must make the dish in the question, with their own twist on it. There is a twist…Season 10. Padma says that she is holding on to it. It comes in to play at the end when we awkwardly get five chefs appearing at the Judges Table – three at the top and two at the bottom. Instantly, I thought it meant a final duel between the two since the Show has fallen in love with the LCK concept. Monkey and Lizzie fell to the bottom and between the two of them; Lizzie was clearly the worst one. She would have been out without the twist.

That’s because, for some reason, Lizzie had bad scallops. It’s not Top Chef, I guess it is Top Bad Scallop. How did this happen? How could the store sell rancid scallops to a customer on this high profile cooking show? Man, that is just awful advertisement. Lizzie chose to plate the dish with the bad scallops – and honestly, she was damned if she did and damned if she didn’t. She had to have a protein on the plate, or else she would have been on the bottom anyway. I guess it would have been bold to cook Jamie’s scallops with different seafood, but she may not have had ample time to pull that off.

But she plated the scallops – and we have learned from the Jamie Experience that, well, you know, Top Scallop. There are only two Top Chef dishes which would cause worse problems – desserts and risotto. And since there were no desserts listed in the nine moments, the only thing which could get in the way would be if anyone would be stupid enough to make risotto. Even if the dish is risotto. Just…stop…making…risotto, Chefs. Monkey got the Season 3 Howie moment where he and Bourdain got into it over risotto. He claims to have not had a proper flat surfaced vessel to make it and thus made a crappy risotto. OTV got a final jab in where he disagreed about the good pots and pans, but it wasn’t necessary.

Monkey and Lizzie had to compete by using the Season 10 moment – CJ’s crappy hamburger and pickles. Monkey grabbed the jar of pickles and implied that he was going to keep the whole thing and not share with Lizzie. He then swiped all of her dill. The tight quarters almost seem to lead to some sort of fisticuffs and an indignant Monkey confessional where he thinks not being a gigantic dick excuses just being a regular dick. As soon as the dishes are unveiled, it becomes obvious who won. The Elimination Challenge and special cook-off had to be healthy. And Monkey put a fried egg on his burger. A. Fried. Egg. Really?

So, Monkey is gone, gone, gone. And we have eight chefs left. My ranking of the Final Eight, from bottom to top…(of course, there is Save a Chef and LCK which will lead to potentially CJ, Monkey or Yagi Bear rejoining)…Josie, OTV, Lizzie, Micah, Papa Bear, Thumb, Brooke and Kish. That’s right – four of the eight left are women, and two of the favorites to win the season are women. Could it be?

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