So it's simple right? Healthy school lunch for 50 kids at $2.60 a kid. Each chef is responsible for an element of the meal. Shopping somewhere other than Whole Foods because we all know how laughable it was the last time they cheated their way around cooking a family meal for $10 at Whole Foods during Season 4. Restaurant Depot will be the shopping grounds this time around. However that's not the only twistiness to this challenge. Not when you've got this guy Playing The Game.
Angelo. It's only the middle of the second episode and he's already scoped out his closest competition and devised a plan on how to eliminate said competition. How? By winning the Quickfire, gaining Immunity, and given the chance to pick the other two members of his team for the Elimination Round. Because he and Tracy have immunity, if his team is the worst, only the other two members will be up for elimination. Interesting because this really only works if Angelo's team loses and they only pick one team for elimination. No mention is made at the challenge's explanation by Padma how they will pick the loser but it makes sense to pick a losing team to auf a chef just like picking a winning team to pick a winner. Here's the tricky part for Angelo, he's picked the second best chef (in his mind) to try to put on the losers block. He's got to put up just enough effort to look like he's trying but influence the rest of the team enough to put them in the losing position. Can he and will he?
Not that he has to do much with Kenny totally getting outmaneuvered. Kenny fails to step up and take control or lead the team in the decision making process. Letting Angelo make celery and peanut butter? As his only contribution? Kenny may be fast with his knife skills but Angelo is smoking him in the game playing aspects of Top Chef.
However all of Angelo's carefully laid planned could be ruined by the Chef Known as Sherry. Yes, this fame whore wanna be came up with the brilliant idea of braising chicken in sherry for her part of the meal.
The rest of her team, Winken, Blinken and Nod, put a weak defense but Sherry will not be denied her sherry chicken. Nod decides to do dessert. Sherry thinks she a doofus for picking dessert, confident that her sherry chicken will rock the lunch kids world. Winken and Blinken hope to hide somewhere in the middle.
Team 4 gets a lot of screen time because they understand that bitching and sniping at each other is the best way to get a lot of screen time. Team 3 gets very little screen time so they must know what they are doing and working well as a team.
Now after 6 seasons of Top Chef and 2 of Masters, I will, for the most part, be skipping over the shopping segment of Top Chef. It's an old dried up piece of meat that not even the dogs will chew on so we will all just assume that shopping happens without incident for the rest of the season. However this shopping was important if only for the fact that if you don't fight for your dish it will more than likely bite you in the ass later on. Above Nod shops for chocolate for her pudding.
...and here is the first subtotal before they start cutting down what they think they don't need.
Perhaps she thinks she's cooking for the children of the French Ambassador and she's a French Lunch Lady.
Not that any of the other teams are doing any better. They all come up heavy the first time at the register and end up doing a lot of creative product trimming which is kinda perplexing. Don't these folks know how to put down a budget before they get to the Depot? Don't they have an idea how much a jug of sherry costs? A bag of rice? Some of them may have worked OK together as teams but I didn't really see anyone step up and take control of their team.
Before I cut to the end, only one food picture of the vegetable dish for Angelo's team.
I'm pretty sure at this very moment Kenny wanted to go back to cutting chickens. He could learn from Angelo who decides to take the fifth when asked if he would make what he made if he didn't have immunity. And really, isn't that the chickenshit way out? As much as he bragged in the One on One interviews about being the One that everyone was supposed to chase, he's just another chickenshit coward who, in my humble opinion, threw this challenge in the hopes of getting Kenny auffed. But that was just part of a GREAT judges table. This is what we as audience members want to see. Blinken decides that he needs to jump in and help Kenny get auffed by criticizing Kenny's lack of vegetables. Considering that Blinken's rice was not exactly stellar, and seriously, if you can't make rice perhaps your silence would be golden. Kenny doesn't mind putting Nod's pudding in the line of fire with it's two pounds of sugar while his own apple bread pudding was well down the ladder for sugar content. Sherry suddenly finds her voice as she attacks the sugar content of Angelo's bizarre vegetable contribution. She's deep into her anti peanut butter rant before Ed points the stupidity of using sherry for a kids lunch meal. Oh silly man, I'm not having the kids drink that expensive sherry is the best she can muster before Gail breaks in with her own question as to why she used it. "Because I like it" Oh Sherry, Sherry, Sherry. Still she set Gail up for the best line of the night: " I like it too, there's a lot of things I like, like vodka but I'm not cooking with it."
Damn it, don't you know you're spoiling all of Angelo's best laid plans? So they let the losers stew some more in the stew room while they bring in the winning team and announce a winner.
Despite putting up with an amazing amount of bitching from her teammates Kelly wins with her Pork Carnitas Tacos with pickled onion and handmade oatmeal soft taco shells. Now onto the loser's team. But wait?
That's not a complete team? Suddenly Kenny and Ed's chances of going home are back at 25%. Did the producers make a sudden adjustment to keep a better chef in the game? Or maybe to screw Angelo because it looks like he threw the challenge? Not sure but it's not Kenny who is going home, it's Nod.
Not that it matters because I suspect Sherry will soon follow. One last word on Angelo. If you noticed in the post by Tom he ends with his thoughts on whether Angelo threw this particular challenge, saying that it appeared that way. Please keep in mind that Tom writes his blog posts after the show airs so he may be giving us a little foreshadowing of what might be ahead concerning Angelo and his game playing. It could be very interesting.