Top Chef

Bev tries to get her barbecue meats under control. Also, she thinks it's a good idea to flambé with bourbon inside a camper van. (Vivian Zink/Bravo)

Happy New Year, Top Cheffers! If you are anything like me, you are almost fully recovered from a two-week holiday bender. Since it is the new year, I made the same resolution to exercise and eat more healthfully that I am sure everyone else out there made. Because I am trying to be less gluttonous, I need “Top Chef” in my life because it is my favorite source of food porn.

Speaking of porn! This week’s episode started with Padma sending over the complete set of "Modernist Cuisine" by Nathan Myhrvold to the chefs’ hotel room. Delivering this set to the cheftestants is the equivalent of Hugh Hefner sending six months worth of Playboy to the Delta House in "Animal House."

The chefs are told to study the culinary encyclopedia during the night, leaving everyone to believe the Quickfire Challenge the next day will include some twist involving "Modernist Cuisine."

Quickfire Challenge

What’s that, you say? As well as winning immunity at this Quickfire, the chefs will receive your entire $625 five-volume set? Seriously, it costs $625 for this book set, which is pocket change to a billionaire like Myhrvold, but to us plebes that is an intense amount for an encyclopedia.

This week’s Quickfire has the chefs cooking classic dishes in a modernist fashion. There is a lot of molecular gastronomy, vapor, fog and foams getting thrown around the “Top Chef” kitchen. Somewhere, Chef Richard Blais and Chef Marcel Vigneron are wetting themselves.

Overall, the chefs do well. They all have at least one modernist style dish in their pocket that they are able to execute.

The only fantastic thing that happens in this Quickfire is the peek at Handsome Chris’ casting video.  Seeing as the theme of this recap seems to be porn, Handsome Chris’ house is filled with “modern art” that looks like stills from the Red Light district in Amsterdam. I’m not going to judge him (well, actually I am), but it seems like a little much, no? Alas, this is the subject for a completely different type of blog post.

Back to the challenge, Chris J. really wants to win this one because he is such a fan of Myhrvold, but he is no match for Ty-Lör’s simplified watermelon and tapioca olive oil dust.

Elimination Challenge

After a Quickfire Challenge that explores modernist cuisine, I expect a weird elimination challenge and maybe a guest appearance by Wylie Dufresne; however, that is not the case. It turns out that Myhrold, on top of being the author and expert behind Modernist Cuisine, oh and the former Chief Technology Officer at Microsoft worth over $1 billion, has won first place in the world championship of barbecue in Memphis, Tenn.

The chefs split into three groups of their own choosing. We have: Chris J, Handsome Chris and Bev representing Team White; Grayson, Lindsay and Paul rocking Team Blue; and Ty, Ed and Sarah holding down Team Red.

This Elimination Challenge again tests the cheftestants' endurance. The chefs are given all night to prepare and cook three meats — chicken, brisket and ribs — and two sides, to serve on one plate the next day to 300 hungry Texans.

If the previous all-night chili challenge is any indication as to how the chefs will act once delirium hits, we are in for quite the crazy banter.

A few of the greatest hits:

Bev thinks it is a good idea to flambé with bourbon inside a camper van. Hint: It’s not.

Grayson tells Tom their food will “be like sex in your mouth.”

Lindsay: Malibu, are you wearing a wife beater?

Handsome Chris: I know, I’m sorry. It doesn’t match my shoes.

Back to cooking

As the chefs are cooking, they are all using the same secret ingredient: sweat. Not only are they standing in front of fire pits all night, but soon that Texas sun rises and the heat just escalates that much more. Dehydration and heat stroke are serious worries.