“Top Chef: California” recap (13.5): Big Fat Gay Weddings

Padma introduces guest judge Art Smith and explains this week’s Elimination Challenge: the chefs will all work together to cater a wedding reception for 25 same-sex couples. And there’s more, Padma got ordained so she can officiate! And she’s super excited about it!

img2Look at this adorable nerd.

Art and his husband are also going to be renewing their vows at the ceremony, and he talks a little bit about marriage equality. Karen tears up at this, thinking about her spouse. She never thought she’d be able to get married when she was younger, but her one year wedding anniversary is coming up! She got to have the wedding (and the dress) of her dreams.

img3MORE adorableness!

The chefs do their menu planning and shopping, which mostly gets off without a—hitchexcept there seems to be some tension between Giselle and everyone else. The next morning, Padma sends an instructor over to the chefs to lead them in some yoga by the pool. Sure, why not? After the chefs get centered, they head to the kitchen to cook. Y’all, I’m a little nervous about Karen. Giselle seems all over the place and they are working on a dish together. Keep your fingers crossed.

At the ceremony, there are just loads and loads of adorable queers in love. Padma looks absolutely stunning as she officiates, leading the couples through their vows and then, ultimately, declaring everyone married. I don’t really have anything snarky to add, because I think someone has been chopping onions in my living room.


After the ceremony, everyone heads over to where the chefs have set up a buffet. They’ve coursed their dishes out and, thanks to Jason, cleverly tied in romantic references. (“Just One Look” is the name of the first course, GET IT? Because LOVE!) The judges really love pretty much everything in the first two courses, so by the time they get to Karen I’m extra nervous. They do not love Karen and Giselle’s asparagus. Damnit. They also really don’t like Bunhead’s potatoes, but Kwame’s chutney on top of the steak might have saved him.

At Judges’ Table, the judges rave about the majority of the food. The best dish is Kwame and Wesley’s shrimp, and Kwame wins the challenge! On the bottom are Karen and Giselle’s asparagus salad and Bunhead and Kwame’s steak and potatoes. Bunhead starts rambling about his dish, and Jason chimes in to tell the judges that Bunhead certainly did not describe it that way to the rest of the chefs. Oh, snap. Jason has zero fucks left to give.

The judges ask about Karen and Giselle’s dish, and Giselle claims that it really wasn’t her thing and she was just helping. Karen calls her out, being like, “Hey, dude—at least I attempted to make a dish and compete.” Giselle’s like, “Yeah okay, maybe we didn’t collaborate or cook well today, but can you believe Bunhead over there? Thinking his potatoes were good?” It’s totally out of left field, but, whatever, I’m glad she did it. Get out of here, Bunhead.

The judges deliberate and it sounds like they’re thinking of sending Karen home until Gail saves the goddamn day by reminding everyone that, yeah, Karen made some mistakes, but what did Giselle even actually do? The chefs come to Judges’ Table and Tom does his usual little intro to the elimination by tying the in the challenge theme (marriage) to the flaws in their dishes. Classic Tom. Anyway, Giselle is sent home. I don’t really have strong feelings either way except to say that I wish it had been Bunhead.

Next week on Top Chef: we’re heading to San Diego!