Elimination Challenge Time! In the Vegas tradition, the chefs will be creating a buffet. Groans galore. The chefs are divided into two teams.
Chris Cosentino whips out, "I didn't come here to make bulls---" which is the Top Chef equivalent to "I didn’t come here to make friends."
Whole Foods to shop. Thierry orders 22 pounds of salmon, screwing over Takashi. Gentlemanly joshing occurs, but you know they'll be seriously at each other's throats later.
Quotes No. 1 and 2 of the episode, both from Art Smith while shopping:
1: "There's no f------ brioche."
2: "I cook for billionaires. I don't have budgets, I just buy."
As the Chefs return and commence prep in comes Curtis, with the now-really-not-surprising mid-challenge twist: Each must scratch off a lotto type ticket to determine a prize or setback, such as immunity, losing 30 minutes of cooking time, or a bonus 1K for their charity.
At the end he hands one golden ticket to each team and they reveal their culinary mission: The red team must create a Mexican buffet, the blue team must create an Indian buffet.
This is madness. They've already done their shopping!
Each team can choose to send back a chef to pick up additional ingredients, only the red team does and sends Art Smith back for lots and lots of cilantro.
Exactly 23 minutes into the episode, we've got our first bleeder. Poor Missy was chopping zucchini (!) and lopped off a portion of her pinky. She wants to just wrap it up and keep going, but the producers call in an EMT and she begrudgingly heads off to the ER.
Such a difference between the lily-livered chefs of regular"Top Chef,"who leave when they get paper cuts. Props to Missy for being so hard-ass.
Quote No. 3 of the episode, from Thierry:
"I'm serving beef at an Indian buffet. It's kind of like serving vodka at an AA meeting."
The red team steps up and tries to fill in the space that Missy left. Chris is cranky. Art tries to help. Time's up -- prep is on and buffet dinner is served. To a bunch of mimes and pirates.
They called in an army of Las Vegas showpeople to try the food and I am genuinely frightened by the mimes in quazi-scream masks and Kanga hats.
The dishes do well, though, I question the logic of a ceviche in a buffet. Really? Lots of oddballs and the judges eat each dish. Joining the judges is Krista Simmons from the LA Times.
Meanwhile, Missy is in the ER and they basically tell her she is lucky to have her finger intact (the word "graft" was used and I tried to block the rest out). Needless to say, she is out.
Dishes are served. Lorena's includes "Leche de Tigre" which I am pretty sure is a Charlie Sheen trademark.
The judges are overwhelmingly impressed with the Mexican (red) team's dishes, and bummed at the lack of authentic Indian flavor in the blue team's dishes.
Cut to the stew room interstitial: Art Smith wants to cook on the costumed pirates' booty. Shocker. Missy re-enters, all bandaged, and owns up to the fact that she's gone. It's a bummer. She wishes she could have been eliminated by cooking a "s----- dish."
[Note: I would like to thank Bravo for their correct use of an apostrophe in the plural possessive. Very few get this right.]
Missy, "pinky-less" and trembling, bows out. Curtis guarantees her a spot in next season. Classy move, Bravo. Heal up, Missy! We'll see you in Season 5.
Note to the judges: You can't have something be "pretty unanimous." It's like being "sort of pregnant."
Without much surprise, team Mexico wins the challenge. Chris Cosentino takes the competition and 10K for the Michael J. Fox Foundation. He shares that his Uncle had Parkinsons so the winning is that much more important.
In the end, team Blue/Indian did not win, and Sue goes home. A rather unexpected twist as it seemed like Debbie's dessert was the least favorite dish.
All the judges agree: If only she'd marinated her chicken in yogurt, it would have been more succulent. Lesson learned. It's an extra bittersweet loss for Sue, as she cooked Mexican for years. Had she been on the other team she knows she would have done way better.
Sue packs her knives and we are given a sneak peek into the upcoming season: Cursing! Yelling! More Injuries! The B52s! Playboy Bunny Holly, screaming about garlic!
And the inevitable melted, squished wedding cake (which gives me a particular serious anxiety). Stay tuned for episode two and all of Season 4's madness.