Top Chef recap: Touchdown! |

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Top Chef recap: Touchdown!

All-stars from season's past come to rumble in this Super Bowl-themed episode, and though the New York contestants finally show their stuff, not everyone's a winner

Fabio Top Chef

FABIO FUMBLES The Italian Stallion misses with his overcooked venison, but manages to stay in the game to charm us for another episode.

Top Chef

Season 5, Ep. 10 | Aired Jan 28

Do you hear that sound? That distant wailing noise coming from Brooklyn? That sad sound belongs to Dr. Jeff’s former bench press, which, as of last night, has likely been relegated to an abandoned corner of the Top Chef apartment, only to be of use in Hosea’s mind when he’s imagining where he could make-out with Leah. Yes, thanks to an uninspired, watery ceviche, it seems the time has come for our ab-licious chef to bring his knives home to Miami — or at least back to Princeton-Plainsboro, where House & Co., lovingly await his return.

But how strange that our muscle-y contestant has left us after an episode that was based on competitive strength. Our final seven had to show their prowess against a handful of Top Chef alums, and surprisingly, our current crop came out on top in the head-to-head elimination challenge…not that I’m too impressed, mind you.

Had the producers really wanted to prove the strength of this season’s contestants, they should have paired them alongside Top Chef’s real, bona fide all-stars, like season one’s Harold, or even season four’s Richard. Not the contestants who were known for being pretty (Nikki) or being voted out twice during their season (Andrea). That being said, the producers did bring back two alums who were more than welcome. Of course, I’m talking about season 4’s Andrew and Spike. Between Andrew’s killer Stefan impression and Spike’s juggling, I nearly hugged my TV and screamed, ”Don’t go! Season 5 needs people with more personality than a lampshade! Carla and Fabio can’t carry that weight by themselves!” Really, could Spike have hit the nail on the head more with this quote: ”I just want to prove to the season 5 chefs that they’re just not worth it. You know what I mean? It’s like, it should have just ended with season 4, and that’s it. Top Chef should have been over.” Oh Spike. So much wisdom you have under all those silly hats. Though I do love watching my Top Chef every Wednesday night, I can’t help but be nostalgic for the old days of crazy-cool cooking and shaved-head shenanigans. The fact that the producers are trying to make Carla seem like she’s one nose scrunch away from the mental hospital proves that it’s a slow season (Yes, she meditates. But c’mon, at least she’s not spitting on fabric or, you know, defecating on staircases).

Anyhoo, I’ll get off my soapbox and onto the show. Last night we were treated to yet another super-size episode (Because, really, Kate doesn’t need her sleep. And doggone-it, she keeps forgetting every two seconds when Millionaire Matchmaker is premiering). How’d it begin? Carla talked about dodging a bullet last week, Hosea bitched about the cocky juggernaut that is Stefan, and Leah took time out of scratching out ”Mrs. Leah Rosenberg” in her notebook to eat her feelings. But there wasn’t much time for talk: Padma brought our cheftestants to the kitchen, where she told them they would be competing in a quickfire challenge inspired by the upcoming Super Bowl. To which Dr. Jeff responded by staring at Padma with a look that said: ”I’m sorry, I was just thinking about what I look like without my shirt, but did you say the Super Bowl?” Our poor Top Chef contestants. They’ve been time-warping more than Lost’s Daniel Faraday throughout this season — spending their summer celebrating Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the Super Bowl. Right now, they’re probably so confused about when it is that they’re walking around in mid-16th century armor asking when the Yom Kippur fast begins.

NEXT: Oatmeal, the new halftime snack?