It’s been what feels like a whole year since Top Chef sent its last loser packing, so let’s move right to the new action in this cooking extravaganz—wait, is that Chrissy Teigen making date puns? Oh, this episode is going to be good.

The Cheftestants started the show by going to the date capital of the United States to harvest dates and learn how to use a—HOLY CRAP, THAT’S WHAT THEY USE TO HARVEST DATES?


This is how the first 20 minutes of the show went in one line: “Oh, my god, that John Legend’s wife.”


Hey, Kwame, how do you feel about meeting Chrissy Teigen?


Teigen makes a bunch of jokes because she’s funny and pretty and what do you do when someone funny and pretty makes a bunch of jokes but laugh hilariously because you don’t want to be the one not laughing hilariously when the pretty lady who is funny makes jokes.


(It’s funny because she’s pretty.)



(More laughing.)


“Dates are sweet and succulent and sticky.”

“Like you,” Padma quips.


(It’s funny because they are BOTH pretty.)



Seriously, none of this was funny.

Teigen likes a good date, “both the edible and the romantic kind” so the chefs have to make a date dish that reminds them of the best date they ever had.


The chefs fight over dates and then talk about how sweet dates are and how they have to balanced. There’s talk of ballets and milkshakes and private dinners and some really probably phony stories about dates because, honestly, who among us can remember our favorite dates?

(Okay, quick date story: When I was in high school, I wanted to take a girl to the movies and we went to see Desperado but it wasn’t showing at the time, so instead I took her to see Clockers. We were the first ones there, so I sat one seat away from her to talk, and when the movie started, I was too nervous to move, so there was a seat between us the whole time. Also, I took a girl to see Clockers. Also, she ended up marrying me.)

Back to the cooking. Holy hell, Isaac, is that you peeking out behind some chicken skin or that ham-faced dog everyone got upset over last week?


Jeremy yells about other people touching his burners. That sounds like a horrible date.

Jason’s favorite date was with his partner going to a restaurant that was looking to hire him. He made carrots with cumin, lime and dates.


Giselle went on a blind date recently. She’s using all the dates because you don’t know what you’re going to get on a blind date. She said she was a lady on her date. “Maybe PG-13, we softly made out, what do you want from me?”


Chad goes on “daddy dates” with his kids, which is probably not something you should say on TV. But kind of sweet. Hey, like the dates!

Phillip used to go on dates with his now wife in the restaurant he worked in at 1:30 in the morning, creating a tasting menu for her. BUT DID YOU TAKE HER TO SEE CLOCKERS? I bet not, Phillip.


The rest of the chefs talk about their romance, cook their food and have five minutes left to go. Isaac’s chicken is raw. IT’S RAW. (Wait, wrong show.)


Time’s up, utensils down and hey look, the ladies are back. Isaac is first. His chicken is not raw, and Chrissy asks if he and his wife did it on their 10th anniversary. Clearly she wasn’t listening, because he said “10th anniversary,” which by that point in a marriage is code for “one of the four days a year we get to do it. The other three, of course, being Valentine’s Day, your birthday and Christmas Eve. (What, everybody needs a little Christmas goose.)

Amar’s dish is good. Chad’s dish, the one about his daughters, is a piece of fish. He says, “the froth represents my daughters, you know, how bubbly they are.” Okay, Chad, pack your damn knives now and go.


Chrissy asks what makes it bitter and Chad almost dies before making something up about orange peel. Padma asks if the date is only in the froth. “Yes, ma’am.” She does not look pleased, Chad.


We get a judging montage of the chefs who haven’t gotten much air time today before we hit Jason’s carrot dish. “And did you want this much char on all the vegetables and the dates.” He did. Okay.

Kwame is VERY distracted with his presentation. One can only wonder why.


The blind-date date and the date-in-a-restaurant date with peaches that Chrissy said makes her feel like a little baby were next.


Judging time and Chad’s bitter dish about his daughters was on the bottom. Phillip’s crudo with peaches and Carl’s milkshake were on the bottom too.

The best were Jason’s carrots—Padma loved the char—with Isaac’s balantine—”I’m a chicken skin girl” says Chrissy— as well as Giselle’s blind date dish.

The winner is Jason’s charred carrots!


On to the elimination challenge, where Chrissy leaves and guest judge Art Smith comes in! Let’s count the Oprah and Obama references! (So far, one each.)


The group has to cater a “big fat gay wedding” for 25 gay couples. Padma is going to officiate the weddings! Art is going to renew his vows! And we get a nice touching montage about gay weddings with testimony from Karen, who got married a year ago.


The chefs get three hours to prep and cook for all the guests. They start arguing over the menu, which is going to be a total disaster for someone and I can’t wait to find out who.


Steak and potatoes with a tomato and eggplant chutney. A cabbage roll. A dessert. High fives. Shopping. Shrimp. Asparagus. I’m just naming food now.

Everyone hates Giselle because she’s erratic. That upsets her, as she says to the camera, “I’m like the nicest person here, and I’m having a hard time f**king making friends. Like, go f**k off everyone. I don’t give a f**k anymore.”


And she probably IS the nicest person there. F**k these people seem miserable on this show.

After shopping they go back to their hotel where Carl calls his wife because it’s their anniversary. Oh, damn, Carl. He also says, “today is my wife and I’s anniversary,” which cannot be proper grammatical English, so me feels less bad for Carl now.


Carl met his wife when he was 10 years old, at a dude ranch. Dude.

“Padma” sent some guy to do yoga with the chefs by the pool. Because nothing says big fat gay wedding like… oh, come to think of it, yeah. Wesley and Isaac want nothing to do with the yoga. “Hey guys, you want to come do some yoga?”

“Namaste right here, if that’s okay.”



COOKING TIME! (That’s code for run like hell.)


Teams are working together and some work well and others don’t, which is basically like how all humans work together only this is for a huge wedding and all of these people are high-intensity and kind of jerks to each other.


Wesley says his dish with Angelina is a “really beautiful, precise dish” when the camera zooms in on a bucket of this. Come on, man. Angelina is freaking out. “We’ll get it there, baby.” Note: gay guys are allowed to call 20-something women baby. Nobody else is.


Cut to Phillip, who said he was making mashed potatoes. This is not mashed. By definition, it isn’t mashed. He, of course, loves it. Kwame thinks it’s getting gummy. Let’s take a guess who is right.

“Phillip said mashed potatoes. And this isn’t mashed potatoes. Even if that is what you are trying to make, that is not good.” Kwame wishes Chrissy Teigen would come back.


More cooking and more cooking and dirty rice and relish and vinegar and Jason and Angelina are fighting and that means their dish is either going to win or lose, and with immunity for Jason, it probably means lose.


It’s gay wedding time! The chefs arrive and have 30 minutes to prep while all the gay weddings are—hey, wait, that’s not a gay couple.


“We gather here today to celebrate the triumph of love.” – Padma locks up 50 people with a few nice words before a really wonderful moment where a lot of people finally got to get married to each other.


Now back to the food.

For the appetizers, there was sherry-glazed pork belly from Amar and Chad. Jeremy worked solo and made carrots. And Wesley and Kwame made pickled shrimp with cucumbers.


The judges like Wesley and Kwame’s dish, and like Jeremy’s artfulness of the carrots. The pork belly is also good. They’re all safe, for sure, as Tom wants more.


Onto the main courses, where Jason is just awful.


He’s awful. He’s an awful person who is awful. Even if he’s right, he’s awful.

“Don’t say that, it’s completely different,” he says about Angelina’s comment. This is my dish, I know how it’s supposed to be. Don’t you f**king tell me what you don’t know.”

Awful. I hope they revoke his immunity so he can go home.


Isaac makes dirty rice with smoked chicken and jalapeño sausage. He also officiates weddings, so Padma is happy with him.

Tom is VERY happy with the dirty rice. Very. They all love it. And while I expected them to hate the rolled dish from Jason and Angelina, they absolutely love it too.


Tom Colicchio—oh, hey Tom—says, “I’m starting to get a little nervous here, because everything has been really good.”

Karen and Giselle do asparagus, which is like the one thing on every wedding plate nobody ever eats because asparagus is terrible and then your pee smells horrible for days and days.


Phillip and Kwame made the steak and potato glue with eggplant tomato relish.


This episode is sponsored by Elmers, it seems.

The asparagus is undercooked and under-seasoned. “It’s not wedding food,” says Art. “It’s not elegant enough.” Yeesh. Onto the meat. “There’s something about the potatoes. It has a raw taste to it.” At least Art didn’t say it tastes like glue. Gail says it’s gummy, and they agree that the relish by Kwame saved Phillip’s dish.


They take a break from judging to hear a story about Tom’s wedding rings. He wears two, one of which is engraved with a saying “don’t postpone joy.” He and his wife got married just days after 9/11 and contemplated postponing, but they were convinced not to. Tom lost his ring a year ago, so his wife got him another one, not engraved. Last year while in Boston, presumably taping Top Chef, he found his ring in a coat pocket, so he wears both now.

I really love Tom. That is the damn sweetest thing ever. Speaking of sweet, dessert time!


They love Carl and Marjorie’s fruit dish. Then they have rainbow cake.

Judges’ table time. There are clearly two dishes up for elimination, the asparagus and the potato glue. My guess for the winner is between Kwame, who made two great sauces, or Jeremy, who made a carrot dish they liked and carrots won already so why not make it a double-carrot day?


Tom rolls through the best dishes, and Padma announces that Wesley and Kwame won for their shrimp dish, and then Art picks the overall winner, which was Kwame, who Art says he may want to hire.


Dude met Chrissy Teigen and Art Smith wants to hire him in the course of two days. Not bad, man.


And now, the losers.


Phillip defends his “steak and potatoes” by lying to the judges, suggesting he was going to think of his potatoes “as a sauce.” Jason, who is safe, goes full on egomaniac by interjecting Phillip’s defense by throwing him under the bus.

Jason is right, but man that guy is awful. He’s like a cable movie villain awful at this point.


Marjorie steps in to correct Phillip’s lies and Tom stops the back and forth by saying the dish, no matter what it was supposed to be, was bad. “You got steak and some cream.”


Tom destroyed the asparagus dish and the two chefs bickered back and forth about who did or didn’t do what before Giselle stops and backs the asparagus truck up on Phillip, saying that at least she and Karen know what they did wrong, but Phillip still thinks what he made was good.

Phillip admits that Kwame told him the potatoes were gummy but “that’s what I’m looking for.”

Wesley: “You’re looking for improper technique.”


BURN. (Not literally, that can be dangerous.)

“So I don’t know if that’s necessarily a flaw. That’s what I was going for.”

Tom: “Okay, you were going for something we didn’t care for.”

The chefs wait, and Jason and Phillip get into a spat over the lies. Jason, can you show us in one face how you feel about Phillip?


The judges bury Phillip’s dish. Tom blames Karen for a lot, while Gail tries to figure out what “Giselle actually did,” suggesting that Giselle will skate by for doing basically nothing.

Cut to commercial and Giselle has to be going home, yes? The Jason and Phillip rivalry is just getting started and Giselle already had her “everyone hates me” moment, so from a drama standpoint, there’s no reason to keep her around.


Tom pontificates about marriage before Padma sends Giselle off to pack her knives and go.


Giselle says everyone hated her and didn’t want to be friends with her. Because it’s a cooking competition! Not a friendship circle. At least now people can start hating someone else. Like Jason, obviously.


Up next, the chefs head to San Diego to cook at Richard Blais’ Juniper & Ivy. Who stole Wesley’s lobster? Find out next week, as Top Chef is back!

About Dan Levy

Dan Levy has written a lot of words in a lot of places, most recently as the National Lead Writer for Bleacher Report. He was host of The Morning B/Reakaway on Sirius XM's Bleacher Report Radio for the past year, and previously worked at Sporting News and Rutgers University, with a concentration on sports, media and public relations.