It's Hot in the Kitchen
Dallas chefs tussle on '50s-inspired episode of Top Chef Seattle
Officially, Episode 4 of Top Chef Seattle covered "food from the '50s" and "the art of butchery." But the show climaxed in the first five minutes, with an insult throwdown between Dallas chef John Tesar and Dallas-by-way-of-Oklahoma chef Joshua Valentine.
Goaded by very tall dullard chef CJ, the episode picks right up where Episode 3 left off: in the "stew room," where Tesar observes that it does not take five hours to bake a potato.
"There's a thing called tact, and obviously you don't have any," Valentine says tactlessly.
"And Oklahoma has a lot of tact," Tesar retorts.
"You're an asshole. Don't say another word to me," Valentine says. "There's a reason you're the most hated chef in Dallas: It's because you're a prick."
"I'm not a prick, I'm honest," Tesar says. "You pretend to have balls. But you have no balls."
Is Nancy Nichols a diabolical genius? That D Magazine cover story has gotten flogged every week since Top Chef Seattle started.
The fact that Valentine's waxed mustache makes him look like a villain straight out of a silent movie does not do him any favors. It's enough to make you wish "talkies" hadn't come along.
The entire episode feels like a throwback, with strange, rampant sexism, like in the quickfire challenge when the chefs must butcher their own cuts of beef, and they show chefs Josie and Carla struggling with a massive carcass. Haha, dumb girls.
Then German chef Stefan gripes about Carla being noisy — right after he's seen giving tall, willowy Asian chef Kristin a footrub.
Tesar wins the quickfire for making tough oxtail tender; given immunity, he volunteers to expedite, i.e. get the dishes out on time. But no good deed goes unpunished. We're talking about you, Josh Valentine!
They must re-create dishes from the '50s, an era well known for its culinary excellence — not. There is steak, salad, lamb and squab. Nobody wants squab, so Stefan assigns it to that noisy Carla, who has never cooked squab. All night, customers send the squab back. Carla's clock begins to tick.
But on this episode, two chefs will be sent home, so the only question is, who would the other chef be?
- Would it be Valentine, whose onion soup was salty and cold, with a crouton so hard that HeadJudgeTomColicchio said it needed a saw to cut through it? Valentine instantly throws Tesar under the bus, blaming his expediting and calling him a "monkey."
- Would it be CJ, who cooked his lamb sous vide — so '50s! not. CJ said these words: "I'm worried about none of the [other chefs]. I think I'm the best chef here."
- Or would it be Chrissy, whose salad was overdressed?
If you guessed the lady, you would be right.