There comes a time in every season where one has to wonder if the producers have a sense of what the audience wants to see. In the case of this week’s Top Chef episode, the magical elves decided that the foodie crowd wanted to see Pee-wee Herman.

I repeat: the guest judge this week was not someone who has any food expertise but some kind of has-been TV personality who’s persona is that of a small child. How does that compute with Top Chef‘s claim to fame? It doesn’t.

Best Pancake I’ve Ever Had

The quickfire challenge had the contestants cook pancakes for food expert Pee-wee Herman. It was the least interesting and quickest quickfire of the season. Grayson made Mini Mouse pancakes, Sara dabbled in confetti pancakes, Lindsay threw in some ricotta, and Ed threw in some fruit and marshmallow, but at the end of the day it was a waste of the chefs’ talent and a waste of our time.

Padma always seemed mildly embarrassed as soon as Pee-wee opened his mouth to make an impertinent and unfunny remark. And the chefs didn’t know how to react at all, except to smile awkwardy every time Pee-wee would invariably say that he just ate the best pancake he’s every tasted.

Silliness Ensues

Ed wins the challenge. The elimination challenge has the cheftestants cook a lunch for Pee-wee. The twist? They have to embark on a bike ride and find spots to buy food and places to cook it.

If one contestant has found a kitchen somewhere, a second contestant can’t cook there but must find another spot. It’s kind of a fun concept, but again it’s also very silly.

Chicken and Ketchup

Except for chicken and ketchup, Pee-wee doesn’t seem to like anything, so almost every cheftestant cooks with chicken. Sara makes a soft-boiled egg with summer salad and chicken skin vinegrette. Grayson concocts a spinach-and-gorgonzola-stuffed chicken breast with roasted butternut squash.

Ed goes even simpler and makes chicken and grits. Only Lindsay with her stuffed zucchini with braised beef cheeks and Paul’s red curry gastrique broke the pattern. After last week’s superior dinner it was definitely a let-down.

A Let-Down

To be honest, the entire episode was a let-down. Instead of showcasing the skill of the remaining chefs, we got gimmicks and a silly guest judge who had not a single intelligent thing to say about the food served.

Lindsay won the challenge with a dish that Pee-wee couldn’t have liked based on his food preferences. Grayson was eliminated on a dish that took Pee-wee’s food likes and put a twist on them. The entire episode was just a mess. Let’s hope that next week will be more about the chefs’ skills and less about the marketing opportunities.

What did you think? Was Pee-wee a fun guest judge, or just a chore to sit through? Discuss away!

Jan Cee
Contributing Writer

(Image courtesy of Bravo)


Contributing Writer, BuddyTV