It’s always a little strange when holidays come to reality-television shows, since you know it had to have been taped, well, beforehand, and so everyone is just faking that it’s Thanksgiving. Such was the case when the Top Chef crew headed up to a downright balmy Rochester, N.Y. (they cooked outside for the elimination challenge) to cook Thanksgiving dinner for the rock band, Foo Fighters.
Why? Well, Bravo’s reality shows excel at presenting contestants with dumb challenges made slightly less dumb by involving some amount of cool (see also the drag queen challenge on the last season of Project Runway). So we have the genial, feel-good Foo Fighters, a band it seems is almost impossible to hate. Some dislike Dave Grohl for having a good time after the suicide of former bandmate Kurt Cobain of Nirvana, and especially for being successful, and rock nerds like to point out he wasn’t the original drummer anyway, maaan, but those types hate everything. Oh the other reason is that, according to Dave Grohl, the band members are "fans of Top Chef… we watch it a lot!"
Moving on, wait! This dumb challenge has dumb twists! After a preliminary Quickfire challenge that was notable only for its use of double product placement (Top Chef cookbooks and Swanson broth), "the Foos" appeared (via TV screen) to lay out the challenge: Cook for the band and its crew, paying attention to the official show rider for likes and dislikes (likes include such culinary oddities as "bacon"), and deal with the unrelenting crapitude of the fake privated kitchen the show set up to mess with the chefs. The winner gets to see the Foos play their awesome rockin’ show, and the losers have to clean up all the dishes (one wonders who cleans up on every other episode).
As a Spoon song played (is that ironic somehow?), Team Sexy Pants and Team Cougar (yes, in reference to the team’s hot older woman: she’s 41) faced off to see who would make something totally crummy. The guy making s’mores kept complaining about how tough this challenge was. I wonder if his s’mores turned out bad? The Foos showed up, and someone noted they "look like rock stars," which must have made the band sigh in relief, though another contestant called Tom "Tom-bear-hottie-icon-Colicchio," which is arguably greater praise.
As the band ate and made comments, we learned (again) that Dave Grohl loves bacon, and is also (sorry) quite a ham. His goofy sidekick Taylor Hawkins shared such crits as "I just don’t like figs and stuff in my stuffing" and "I don’t like pumpkin foam" and "I don’t usually even order dessert," while Grohl ruled the night with the simple summation "no more BARFAITS!" Meanwhile the guy who used to be in Sunny Day Real Estate made more serious comments and loved the vegan stuffing (typical!), while Padma put on a kind of devil-may-care burnout act clearly in an attempt to look cool for the band.
The big drama last week was when Padma spit up some overly sweet bit of glop, and this week spit made another cameo, first when Padma made a face a lot like the spit up face, but then managed to not spit, and then when Grohl noted that the vanilla cream on his s’more looked a lot like spit. Next week? more spitting in preview!
Anyway, Team Cougar barfait-ed and spat their way to cleanup duty, and s’mores dude (Richard) packed his knives and went, in tears. Sad, especially when he mentioned he’d tried out three times to be on the show. The Foos won the dumb cel phone poll asking who viewers dumb enough to vote in a Top Chef poll would most want to cook them Thanksgiving dinner. Duh, those guys are famous. In other news, the band recently announced it was taking a long break from touring. Related?
Follow J. Gabriel Boylan via RSS.