Restaurant Reviews

Ron Duprat's Top Chef Recap Episode Two

OK, after our encore Ron Duprat recap of Top Chef Las Vegas episode one, it's time to move on to episode two. Maybe we'll see some more of Ron's jolly ways this time around? I'll settle for some more of him cooking. Now on with the show.

Episode two:

Episode two starts out with the appearance of celebrity chef and cyborg, Todd English. Man, he looks strange. He is, however, hosting another quick fire challenge, with the winning contestant netting a cool $15,000. Each of the chefs roll some dice at a craps table, and the resulting number is how many ingredients they are required to use on a plate. The don't even show Ron roll, and, of course, he's not even mentioned in the challenge. Why is Ron getting so little face time?

Well, it could be because Ron is squarely in the middle of the pack so far, and the show is tending to highlight those contestants who are either so good they can't be missed (Michael V., Kevin, Jennifer), who say clever things (Ash, Preeti, Ashley -- yes, all the gay chefs), or who are on the verge of being decapitated off the show by Tom and crew (Jesse and Eve, at this point).

Anyway, the chefs have 30 minutes to complete this challenge, and they all seem to want to roll a lower number, meaning less ingredients. Kevin rolls a 10 and looks discouraged, but he gets real close to winning. Michael V. takes that distinction, that Tony Hawk looking mofo. Again, no Ron yet, but we see Eve take a step closer to walking the plank.

Now for the elimination challenge: the chefs have to cook at a bachelor/bachelorette party for a happy couple who want food paired to shots. Yes, shots. Since most shots taste fucking dreadful, this should be an interesting challenge. Ash, who is hilarious despite his constant pandering for attention, notes that they taste "sweet, gooey, and disgusting." We like him. Anyway, the catch is the chefs will split up into men and women, and cook for the opposite sex only as sort of a Battle of the Sexes. A couple of the girls, led by Ashley, throw a hissy fit about how sexist the idea is or how it's disrespectful since three of the cast members are gay and can't get married themselves. I guess Ashley has never cooked for a heterosexual couple in her life, and isn't about to start now.

This time we're 35 minutes in and we finally get more than a passing shot of Ron! Ron has to pair his dish with a tequila shot, so he cooks up a lobster cocktail with spicy habanero tomato sauce. Sounds great in theory, but when the judges get to his table, they jump on it.

Tom chimes in first: "There's no salt at all here." Todd English is equally unimpressed. "When he said 'habanero,' I expected (oomph)!" The oomph is added, because Todd made a hulk smash motion with his hands instead of saying anything as if he was a cyborg smashing the head of a human. Just saying.

The other contestants seem to follow suit with what they've done so far: Michael V. rocks the house with a goat cheese gingerbread cookie and apple smoothie, Hector impresses, and so do Eli and Bryan. On the women's side, more seems to be going wrong, as Eve's dish earns her another big pan (she's so gone) and Ashley catches shit for doing two dishes instead of one, including a revolting sounding bay leaf panna cotta. Naturally, it's bitter and woodsy because she had like 40 fucking bay leafs in the custard. Gross.

After the judging, the boys decide to have some fun by jumping in the pool. I think some of the chefs, Ash and Ashley, are making cracks about "Big Ron's" weight. No one wants to see the fat guys swim, looks like. Then Ash chastises the guys for going swimming: "Are we really jumping in the pool? What are we 10?" Ah, he's such a cut up, that Ash.

The best of the group turn out to be Bryan, Hector, Eli, and Michael V. Ron has once again subsided into the background as the judges rave over Hector's tofu ceviche (interesting), Eli's tuna tartare with puffed rice, and Bryan's "chips and guacamole" meringue, which sounds very cool and inventive and sort of delicious. They send back Eve, Jesse, Preeti, and Ashley, and... wait for it... wait for it... YES! Our FIRST TEARS OF THE PROGRAM! Jesse starts crying as she realizes she's fucked up a good idea yet again. Obviously, the TV Gods show pity on those prone to tears, because drama queens make for good television. And Eve is sent home, because it's clear she doesn't belong here.

The female chefs are looking rather weak at this point, but Jennifer is going to turn that around soon, I bet. She's a damn fine cook by the looks of things so far, and she's got a ball busting temperament that will allow her to go toe-to-toe with asshats like Mike Isabella, who thankfully had less air time this episode. But so did Ron, who we've seen all of two minutes of in the first two eps. Show us some love, Ron!

Till next week.

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John Linn