Top Chef Goes to the Souper Bowl
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Contestants strapped on their helmets this week for the TOP CHEF Super Bowl Showdown challenge. Two, four, six, eight, who will they eliminate? “Not me,” prayed the remaining seven chefs. “There’s no room left for error,” chanted Hosea, warming up. He vowed to keep his head in the game (and his lips off the other contestants), Carla meditated to her wide-eyed spirit guides, and fabulous Fabio prayed he’d finally break out of the middle of the pack.

Then there was Stefan, the biggest ego ever to hit reality TV. The rest of the chefs, tired of his cocky attitude, secretly hoped to see him fail for once. It’s not just his inflated self worth that have the other cooks rooting for his demise; Stefan is pushy, judgmental, and a giant flirt. But that’s all part of his charm, I say!

Twelve contestant eyes rolled when the chef with the target on his back won the quick fire challenge again. “The head on Stefan just got an inch bigger,” smirked Hosea. Chef Jeff, a.k.a. The Hair, blocked himself from victory again with an overly complex dish and ended up at the bottom of the pileup. “Jeff is a really good cook,” offered Carla, “but he can’t reign in the creative monkeys.” Well put. Even Jeff had to agree that trying to do too much was getting in his way of his success. Would he learn his lesson and shine for the main event? Of course not.

On to the TOP CHEF Bowl: The opposition? Past season TOP CHEF All-Stars! Seven former TOP CHEF contestants cooked head-to-head against the remaining chefs of season five. Judges awarded the winner of each contest a seven-point touchdown with an additional three points available as a field goal to the chef who won the guest tasters’ votes.

Stefan picked an opponent he thought was a weak player to battle, quiet Andrea from season one. She barely made the first few rounds of challenges before getting the axe, and Stefan was counting on an easy defeat. The two joked and flirted in the kitchen during prep time, and by the beginning of the contest, Stefan was in love. Distracted by his hormones, Stefan’s gumbo fell short of a first down, and sparkly-eyed Andrea snagged the touchdown. Her victory sent a wave of shock, then applause, through the crowd.

Other fumbles on the field were Fabio’s overcooked venison and Jeff’s watery ceviche. At judge’s table, Fabio tried to explain his problems in the kitchen while chef Jeff pleaded his case. Jeff argued that he had worked harder than the other chef he was up against, listing all of the extra little chefy things he created. Stefan, who admittedly cooked an uninspired dish, was unusually quiet and humble.

In the end, Jeff’s overzealous food adventure was too much for one plate. He was asked to take his fabulous hair and leave. “I have a problem with keeping it simple,” he said shaking his blonde locks. Jeff finally learned that more isn’t better; it’s just more.

The play-of-the-day awards went to Hosea’s salmon roll, Leah’s NY strip steak, and tattooed Jamie’s crab cioppino, but nobody could top kooky Carla’s crawfish gumbo. Judge Toby even gushed for once (in a good way), “I could actually taste the love this time.”

It was the best news she’s ever heard—until she got her prize, that is. Carla walked away from the challenge with two seats to the real Super Bowl! The other chefs nearly fainted with jealousy, but they did get to see Stefan eat a giant plate of humble pie, which they all agreed was even better.

Meanwhile, in other reality TV news…

I’m keeping an eye on the American Idol contestants, and I can’t wait to see who makes the top 24! All the hopefuls who survive Hollywood Week will be featured here, where we’ll obsess together until they announce, “And the Winner is…”

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