Last night's penultimate Top Chef featured two enormously entertaining challenges. First, the cheftestants were whisked away to a river in Colorado, where they had to cook trout on tree stumps for Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin. Then they were called upon to cook elk for a rodeo. Brian's bombastic, revoltingly amateurish meal, and his interminable description of it, doomed him, but the real beauty of the episode lay in Hung's efforts to reposition himself as the dutiful son of immigrant parents, rather than a heartless technician. Once the show ended, these and other topics were much on the minds of Adam Platt and ourselves during our usual IM chat.
Ozersky: That was a good one!
Platt: It was good because it was so god-awful bad. Am I wrong in thinking the quality of cooking is actually getting worse as this show reaches its grim conclusion?
Ozersky: Youre not wrong. The Ripper looked like he was going to retch when he got Caseys raw elk.
Ozersky: Were you moved by Dales speech? I am not ashamed to say I was.
Platt: Dales disarmingly honest. He admitted that he was unemployed prior to the show. Hes frank about how disastrous his dishes are going to be. And he doesnt talk endlessly about the nobility of his craft like the tiresome Hung.
Ozersky: Hung was as on message as Mitt Romney tonight. Its like he heard everyone say how soulless his cooking was, whatever that means, and so tried to drag his old immigrant mom in. Tom looked like he was going to start laughing in the middle of Hungs speech.
Platt: I thought the last one was much, much better. I miss Andr Soltner. I miss cooking real food. I miss New York. What is this Kubrick-like Hotel Jerome?! And who were all those startled-looking cowpokes?! And who the hell eats elk anyway?!?!
Ozersky: Cool your jets there, Platty! The cowboys are who eats this kind of food. Theyre not Fifth Avenue feinshmeckers like you.
Platt: Theres a reason they dont eat elk on Fifth Avenue, Cutty. Its bad.
Ozersky: So? Whos winning next week?
Platt: They cant give Hung the mitten. Hes so obviously the best chef. Theyre setting him up for the fall, however. My moneys still on cuddly Casey. Dale, as he so readily admits, is a fluke.
Ozersky: Yes, but America is a nation of mediocrities, Platty. Caseys looks and Hungs knife skills will disqualify them from the love of the masses, which will inevitably devolve onto the biggest scrub.
Platt: So your moneys on Dale?
Ozersky: If I had to bet, maybe. Lets say a hamburger.
Platt: So to summarize: You bet Dale. I bet Casey or Hung.
The bet is a cheeseburger. And youll never pay.
Ozersky: Youre right, I wont.