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Top Chef Season 5, Episode 5 — Gail’s Bridal Shower



George Carlin once delivered a routine on how there is no such thing as blue food. (The comedian noted blueberries are actually purple.)

But that maxim was put to the test in the latest episode of “Top Chef.”

The Elimination Challenge paired three chefs in four teams, each based around the idea of the wedding adage “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.” Thus, an unlucky group got stuck with trying to put together a dish inspired by “something blue.”

The occasion was “Top Chef” judge Gail Simmons’ bridal shower, which gathered 50 of her closest friends and co-workers and put them at a table large enough to seat the New England Patriots.

Head judge Tom Colicchio described this as a “foody group,” considering Simmons is a special projects manager of Food & Wine magazine and about half the gang seemed to be staffers of the publication.

With the bar set this high, the chefs did what they usually do in such situations: squabble.

The under-the-radar Radhika claimed, “I would rather be on Satan’s team than Stephan’s.” She got her wish, ending up on the Something Borrowed gang with Jamie and Ariane. Their dish was a lamb shank mixed with carrot puree that featured vadouvan (an Indian spice blend) from Jamie’s personal “secret ingredient” stash.

The increasingly arrogant Stefan partnered with Jeff and Hosea, who had earlier bested the Finn in a Quickfire ingredient tasting challenge and earned immunity. The team picked heirloom tomatoes as their unifying ingredient in a trio of Something Old delights.

Each of these teams were deemed a success.


Meanwhile, the Something Blue group — led by Fabio — seemingly solved the color conundrum with a Chilean sea bass (from the deep blue ocean) coated in blue cornmeal.

Team Something New could have easily been dubbed Something Ill-Fated. The best Danny, Carla and Eugene could come up with was a mishmash of sushi, tempura, mushrooms, salad and wontons. Eugene initiated the oddball concept (hey, it’s supposed to be “new”) of providing the culinary tools without assembling them. He also forgot to add the instructions during his introduction to Gail’s party, leaving the swanky bridal posse fumbling with their food like tikes in a high chair.

At Judges Table, Colicchio rightly expressed this dish was “conceptually a disaster.” He left out the fact it looked like a mental patient had plated it.

Only one person thought it was a good product: Danny. And the gruff chef subsequently ended up getting booted. At least it was a short trip home for him to Long Island.

In a surprise move, Ariane scored a back-to-back win for properly nailing the yummy lamb dish.

The decision seemed to genuinely stun Jamie, who had finished in the top three repeatedly but never scored a victory.

Jamie summed it up perfectly: “always the bridesmaid, never the bride.”


Sarah Henning 9 years, 4 months ago

Poor Jamie! She totally should have won! I am anti-Ariane, but everyone knows that. Can't wait to see what Martha Stewart does as a guest chef next week ...

booklover 9 years, 4 months ago

All time funniest Top Chef scene ever? Hootie Hoo! Hootie?..... Hootie?.....

schula 9 years, 4 months ago

I, too, am anti-Ariane -- she should have been sent home after the first or second episode. I think Jamie should have won -- it was her idea and her secret stash ingredient made the dish. I am glad that Danny was sent home -- I was tired of his arrogant attitude.

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