Top Chef D.C. Week Two Recap: Yes, We Have Alcohol

Top Chef started out with a “Bipartisandwich” for the quick fire round – make a sandwich in half an hour. The catch? Two chefs had to work in pairs attached to one another. The main problem with the challenge was that the chefs presented too many open-faced/”knife and fork” sandwiches.


The most unappealing sandwich came from Jaqueline and Stephen (big surprise). They made a chicken and avocado BLT sandwich on – gasp! – white bread. It probably tasted okay, but it was big-time lazy and uninspired.

Angelo and Tracey’s flounder sandwich won, open-faceness be damned. As such, they won immunity, and Angelo’s “Survivor”-esque strategy and cunning was in full effect.


No one seems particularly likeable—there are chefs who appear out of nowhere, some who seem entirely forgettable. Who was this woman on the winning team who made sweet potatoes?
 I think this was the first time I’ve seen her.

The elimination challenge was a good one – serve lunch at a middle school using a very limited budget. Angelo picked his main rival Kenny to be on his team. This is a big deal because if their team was in the bottom (which they were), Kenny had a 50% chance of going home, not 25% thanks to his teammates’ immunity. Sneaky!

The school/backstabbing theme continued at Judge’s Table, where verbal warfare broke out between the two losing teams—exactly like a flashback to middle school! 

Jacqueline is the same chef who served Eric Ripert, one of the most distinguished chefs in the world, a “light” pate that was grainy and
inedible. That decision takes a serious brain fart moment. For the second week in a row she served mush. Yum.

While Jacqueline’s pudding may have sent her packing, but Amanda’s chicken with sherry au jus was a terrible idea from the start. Amanda argued that because she likes the dish the students would enjoy it too. Braised chicken thighs are a good idea for school lunches, but with sherry to middle schoolers? At least the kids can make drunk jokes after lunch.

Also, if a chef as distinguished as Tom Colicchio uses the word “turd” when describing your dish, you know you’re screwed. There was enough money for sherry but not chocolate. One of the highlights was Amanda screaming, “Do you have alcohol?” while shopping for ingredients.

Kelly’s team won with tacos, as every kid likes tacos. Tacos are the Prom Queens of school lunches. There were still some internal problems within the team, as Kelly went out of her way to claim dishes and ideas. “I came up with this,” “This was MY idea.” Kelly may be self-involved but at least she took the challenge seriously—she made her own tortillas from oatmeal and roasted the pork, a healthy and delicious way of preparing it.

Preview for next week: One of the chefs expressed his hatred for chocolate. How can a chef hate chocolate? Immediately untrustworthy!

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