Before getting into tonight's Christmas-themed episode of Top Chef, I'd like to welcome my friend Kara to the blogosphere. If you like Zandervision but wish it was a little bitchier, used bigger words, and spent more time on reality TV, Film Noix is the blog for you.
Now on to another super-sized edition of Top Chef. What I loved about tonight's episode was how well it followed the formula for a cheesy Christmas special (hey, we Jews love Christmas movies as much as everyone else). Everything was happy in Top Chef Land at Christmastime, complete with celebrities (Martha Stewart) and joyous Christmas music (courtesy of the Harlem Gospel Choir). BUT THEN, something very Grinch-like occurred. Some unnamed person (Top Chef producers?) left Hosea and Radhika a big chunk of coal in the form of an open fridge, spoiling their food. Would Christmas dinner go on?
Just as Radhika was looking over the Bedford Falls bridge, Clarence showed her just how many friends she and Hosea had in that kitchen. No room for bah-humbugs like contestants past (Hung, Marcel), everyone joined in on the Christmas Spirit and lent a hand. Suddenly every chef was cutting duck and washing pork, like a group of hard-working elves set on making up that toy shortage. Not only did their contributions save Christmas, but they got Hosea and Radhika to the final four. With Hosea's victory, it was a true Christmas miracle - achieved through friendship and kindness.
But unlike most Christmas movies, here the miracle required sacrifice. Some of those chefs should have saved time for themselves, causing Tom to declare the dinner a huge disappointment. Indeed, the letdowns extended beyond the bottom three, encompassing Ariane's safe deviled eggs and Fabio's crab cakes. Even Hosea and Jeff seemed to score higher from flirting with the guests than for their actual food. But rather than sending anyone out into the snow, Tom played Santa and handed everyone the gift of another week on the show. Christmas miracles may have a price, but they still need to end happily.
There have been some interesting shifts in how various contestants have been doing. Top contender Jamie nearly lost tonight. By the look of next episode's promo, she has not learned from her scallopy ways. Maybe she's just bitter about her double loss to Ariane, who went from bottom of the list to a massive rebound. Her quickfire this week was to be expected, given that her home-style cooking approach is most similar to that of Martha Stewart. But coming off of two big wins, she can't be ignored. Lastly, comic relief Fabio may need to spend less time monopolizing the confessionals and more time on food. He's a talented chef, but this marks the second week in a row he was called out. My predicted final four are still Stefan, Fabio, Leah, and Jamie. But Hosea, Jeff, Radhika, and Ariane catch up more with each passing week.