'Top Chef Vegas' Recap: A Depressing Dish

Last night’s episode was a little bit... depressing. The challenge didn’t seem very inspired, there wasn’t a whole lot of drama, and someone got sent home a little earlier than she should have. Alas. Can next week’s episode bounce back?

Things that stood out in this episode:

1. Michael Voltaggio has two little girls? Cute! Though I’m sure all the ladies tuned in to Top Chef every week were devastated to learn that he might not be single.

2. Using the slot machine to draw descriptive words for the Quickfire was a nice touch. That might have been the most entertaining part of this otherwise bland episode.

3. Tyler Florence says he puts Jen on the bottom three because putting caviar on scallops isn’t “adventurous,” which was one of her mood words. Um... I didn’t really see a lot of the other chefs coming up with brilliant ways of representing moods like “depressed” or “stressed.” And I’m sure her dish tasted great. C’mon, Tyler, don’t pick on the sick girl!

4. Kevin wins, naturally, and chooses $15,000 over the immunity. A very classy, very confident move – he knows he’s good enough to keep himself in the competition and doesn’t need the guaranteed immunity. Plus, he’s a competitor – if he fails, he wants to face the consequences, and not slip by with a free pass. Go, Kevin!

5. How random was the elimination? Ok, so Macy’s is a big sponsor, but couldn’t they have come up with a more cohesive, interesting challenge? The assortment of chefs was random, the ingredients in their bags didn’t make sense, and having them cook the meal in their own home just seemed silly. Boooring.

6. The Robin bashing continues, and Mike I. gets paired with her for the Elimination. Ha! Mike says he’s “livid, angry and upset,” and I say, he deserves it.

7. Kevin + Jennifer = the strongest team there. And naturally, their Korean-inspired beef dish is one of the judges’ favorites.

8. Despite being sick, Jen wins an Elimination, finally! She also snags a $10,000 Macy’s gift card – not too shabby. This win is long overdue for her, so I’m ecstatic.

9. Ash pretty much sells himself out after practically getting down on his knees and worshipping his partner, Mike V. Cooking with Mike "was like washing brushes for Picasso," he says. He might as well have just packed up his knives and walked out right then.

10. At the end, it’s clear that both Mike and Ashley are held responsible for their teams’ failures. There’s absolutely no way the judges would send Mike home, so Ashley is the one to go. It’s a shame – she showed some real promise, and Eli definitely let her take the heat for the salty, tough gnocchi and undercooked prawns – but as we already know, we’re just whittling down the competition until we get to the Dream Team Final Four (that’s the Voltaggio brothers, Kevin and Jen, in case it wasn’t completely obvious).

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