Someone was getting hitched and someone else went home on Wednesday’s Top Chef
after the cheftestants were split into teams along conventional gender lines and asked to cook for a bachelor and bachelorette party with the men serving up food for the ladies and vice versa. Equally conventional: the entire wedding setup! Where were the Elvis impersonator, the drive-thru chapel and the “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” approach to late-night, last minute nuptials? Clearly this wedding was planned!
Quickfire: Guest judge Todd English
sidled up to a craps table as Padma explained the chefs' task: They had to roll dice and cook a dish in 30 minutes using the number of ingredients that matched the number they rolled. The winner would receive $15,000 and immunity. Last week's elimination challenge victor Kevin
impressed with his plate, as did last week’s runner-up Jennifer Carroll
. But neither took the prize. Instead, the winner was Michael Voltaggio
-- one of the brothers -- who cooked up “nitro gazpacho and compressed cucumbers” with toast. Molecular gastronomy gets 'em every time.
Controversy: The die was cast and the chefs split up along gender lines. And not everybody was thrilled. "It doesn't mater if you’re a boy or a girl," Jennifer Carroll said, "and I’m a little bit pissed off about it.” Meanwhile, Ashley Merriman
and Preeti Mistry
, both lesbians, resented the challenge too, citing the inequality of having to cook for a wedding party when they cannot legally marry in Nevada.
Elimination: Ultimately, tempers cooled as the chefs got to work in the heat at a pool party. Then, split into smaller teams of four, they had to design their dishes to match signature shots picked by the bride and groom -- a Moscow mule (a gingery vodka concoction), a tequila shot and something called a "Golden Delicious," which New York-based chef Ash Fulk
called "sweet, gooey and disgusting."
Winners: Among the judges’ favorites: Jennifer Carroll’s octopus ceviche, which she curiously mispronounced yet again. (Jen, say this out loud 10 times: “cev-ee-chay!") Laurine Wickett
's lamb also earned raves, as did Michael Voltaggio’s apple sorbet and goat cheese cookie. But in the end, the judges crowned Voltaggio’s brother Bryan
their man for his sweet and sour macaroon.
Losers: Preeti’s cured tuna was deemed mealy by Tom Colicchio
and Ashley’s panna cotta was dissed. But according to the judges, the worst was Michigander Eve Aronoff
, whose shrimp ceviche dish was muddled and unbalanced in flavor. At least she pronounced “ceviche” properly! "I didn't feel like myself in this setting," she said as she packed up and bid farewell. --Brian OrloffTell us: What did you think of this week’s challenge? Who are your favorite chefs? Did Eve deserve to go home?