This very quirky and very entertaining season of Top Chef motors along with one excellent challenge and one not so much. And we shall see how the show finishes up after having its two most charismatic contestants eliminated in back-to-back weeks.
Let’s talk first about the bad challenge because it severely affected the good one. It’s all well and good when the show brings in a celebrity to spice up challenges. It’s when that celebrity seems to be very involved that risks are taken. Some celebrities are surprisingly knowledgeable about food – think about recent appearances from Shaileen Woodley and P!nk. Their input during the judging process is quite welcome. However, it’s when the celebrity really seems to bring nothing to the table (pun intended), that we have problems. Especially during the Quickfire challenges where that celebrity and Padma are the only voices that matter.
What makes it worse? That celebrity has a huge say in immunity. And at the Final Six…this is HUGE.
Did I say huge?
I repeat this because huge is what describes Rob Gronkowski. The Patriots’ star tight end is the guest this week because he plays in New England and likes to eat. That’s all I was able to discern from this. He was also there to make Padma hot, and for that…I will always thank him and hate him. It’s not every week we get to see Padma swoon – she’s always the swoon-worthy. And it’s also not every week that we get to see Padma make jokes about wanting big sausages. That one still comes to me in my dreams.
Padma’s libido not withstanding, the problem with the Gronk challenge is that he had a big say in awarding George the Final Six immunity. George’s sausage burger may have been delicious but the skill level attached to it was so low compared to those – such as Zaphod – who actually made link sausage in the casing. This should have accounted for a lot in this challenge where the crux of the whole thing was to make something tasty and to actually try and make sausage in a short amount of time. True sausage. Kudos to George for nailing the first part but I believe he was the beneficiary of a judge who liked eating burgers that tasted like sausage.
Why did this matter? Because George took immunity and sat on it. Some chefs take big risks when they have immunity and often score Elimination Challenge wins with immunity in their pocket. George did not. I believe – based on the judges’ comments – that if he was exposed to elimination that he would have been sent to LCK. So, the bottom line – they wanted a football player on the show and as a result, had a key elimination influenced by his presence.
And it is quite the shame. Because I really liked the challenge. The chefs were presented with six famous writers who supposedly have a connection with New England. They had to select one and create a dish inspired by that writer. So cool. I love these interpretative challenges because they just open up these very creative chefs to the fullest levels of imagination. They had fun with this challenge – too much fun when you think about how the elimination unfolded.