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Top Chef All Stars S17 E4 Recap: Trolling Thunder

“ARGHHHHH, KELLY CLARKSON!”

Top Chef - Season 17 Photo by: Nicole Weingart/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

In these times of uncertainty, chaos, and misinformation, I think it’s really important for me, as a trained journalist and person that was raised on the Disney Channel, to be honest with you, the faithful audience of The Busby Babe.

I get it. This is the fourth week you’re seeing a recap of a cooking show on a football blog, and you’re probably like, “so, they’re seriously pursuing this and it’s not just a bit.” And you would be correct to make that assumption. Top Chef is one of my favorite shows, and I want to take it as seriously as possible because its a competition and that’s something we at The Busby Babe crave — especially with football being out of the question for the next however many months.

I’ve been tweaking how I want to approach the weekly recaps with each episode, and I was really leaning towards transitioning to a quick and dirty recap and a power ranking as opposed to the feature-length recaps I’ve written thus far. Then I would think, “no, be a GD professional and provide the silent majority the epic Top Chef content they deserve. They are hanging on every word and need that sweet sweet content.” So, I went into the fourth episode mentally prepared to bust out another mini-dissertation on the intricacies of preparing a progressive six-course menu and why you don’t start that six-course menu with back-to-back raw vegetable dishes.

HOWEVER, four minutes into the episode, my eyes and intelligence were assaulted by a level of product placement I simply could not tolerate. Yes, NBC Universal’s Bravo Network opened the show with a Quickfire Challenge designed around Universal Studio’s newest animated film, Trolls World Tour.

Top Chef - Season 17
WTF, fam
Photo by: Nicole Weingart/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

As Grammy award winning singer and star of Trolls World Tour, Kelly Clarkson walked into the kitchen to guest judge the Quickfire, my right eye started to twitch, then I saw red, then I blacked out. When I finally came to, the credits were rolling and my phone was unlocked with my notes app opened. A stream of inane consciousness stared back at me from my notes app as it was evident that somebody watched Top Chef, but that person was not me, or, at least, not the person I perceive myself to be.

I’m going to suggest you watch this episode instead of solely relying on my usually on-point recaps. As a second-screen experience, use this text below that appears to be a series of live tweets written by someone on a combination of MDMA and mushrooms.

  • Holy Shiitake Mushrooms, is that Kelly Clarkson?
  • This Trolls trailer might actually induce a seizure.
  • Pray for the loved ones in your life that have to take their kids to this pile of shite. JFC.
  • Padma Lakshmi doesn’t pull punches when it comes to food criticism but wow did she just lie to everyone to keep holding on to that Universal bag.
  • The chefs’ faces watching that trailer were amazing, now they know what it’s like to taste some of their food. OH, DID ME?!
  • The winner(?) of the Quickfire is rewarded with tickets to the Trolls red carpet premiere. Guess it’s about the journey and not the destination.
  • Clearly the Trolls trailer melted the brains of some of these very accomplished chefs. Malarkey is making curry ice cream that looks like how it would come out and not go in, if you know what I’m saying...
  • Gregory Gourdet is a hell of a chef and absolutely deserved that Quickfire win. But mans should’ve dropped an extra pinch of salt to tank his dish from the top to the middle so he wasn’t stuck claiming those red carpet tickets on his taxes.
Top Chef - Season 17 Photo by: Nicole Weingart/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
  • I know — no free ads. But this Stouffer’s Lasagna commercial is hittin’ different. By the way... did you know that there is a player for Udinese Calcio named Kevin Lasagna? See, I can relate this cooking show to football.
  • A vegetarian themed Elimination Challenge between two teams featuring the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market sounds dope.
  • Chefs are drawing knives to see who’s on the red team and blue team. Drawing knives seems unnecessarily dangerous. If anyone knows a Top Chef producer, please ask them if any contestant has dropped a knife on their foot during this medieval process of decision-making.
  • Malarkey is shooketh seeing who’s on the blue team, and he should be.
  • Voltaggio wants mushrooms but the mushroom guy didn’t show up to the farmer’s market. ONE OF US.
  • The teams are making a progressive six-course menu, but Bernie Sanders isn’t the guest judge. Feels like a missed opportunity.
  • Malarkey... baby... I know your name is Malarkey but you could probably tone it down with the hat choice my guy.
The giant red fuzzy ball seems to be missing from the hat.
  • Tom Colicchio looks so annoyed that Malarkey made a basic ass tomato and mozzarella dish as the first course.
  • When the guest judge is eating your dish and asks you what temperature you wanted your food to be, you’re gonna have a bad time.
  • I’m not crazy about beets, but Voltaggio’s dish is changing my mind.
  • There are a lot of things I need in my life, such as better financial security, student-loan forgiveness, people thinking that this is a legitimate stream of consciousness from a real blackout and not the insane ramblings from someone too lazy to write a proper recap during his second viewing of the fourth episode, an alleviation of all the anxieties associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, but the thing I need most in my life is Nini’s peaches and cream dessert.
  • Okay. Maybe that last one was a little melodramatic. I’ll seek out the peaches and cream after the other things happen first.
  • Blue team crushed the challenge. Of course, they’re the winners. Malarkey called that one.
  • Melissa King wins her second straight challenge. King in the castle, am I right?
  • If I’m Lee Anne, I’m definitely asking Malarkey, “what’s the capital of Thailand?” after throwing me under the bus like that in front of the judges.
  • Chef Lisa Fernandes was just asked to pack her knives and go for serving undercooked Brussel sprouts. Guess that’s one Fernandes that can’t do it on a rainy night in Stoke.

You know, if I recover from this real-time trolling employed by the Bravo Network in time for the upcoming episode, I will consider returning to the old format. Or, perhaps, the Trolls saved me from a gross error of turning something that I use as an escape into a job. Only time will tell...

Pour one out for this week’s eliminated chef: Chef Lisa Fernandes

Alleged (by literally no one) relative of Bruno, please pack your knives and go.

Top Chef - Season 17 Photo by: Smallz & Raskind/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Really? You’re still here after all this self-serving rambling? Alright. Here’s the post-episode four power rankings:

Power Rankings after Episode 4

1. Chef Melissa

Top Chef - Season 17 Photo by: Smallz & Raskind/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

2. Chef Gregory

Top Chef - Season 17 Photo by: Smallz & Raskind/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

3. Chef Kevin

Top Chef - Season 17 Photo by: Smallz & Raskind/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

4. Chef Eric

Top Chef - Season 17 Photo by: Smallz & Raskind/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

5. Chef Bryan

Top Chef - Season 17 Photo by: Smallz & Raskind/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

6. Chef Karen

Top Chef - Season 17 Photo by: Smallz & Raskind/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

7. Chef Jennifer

Top Chef - Season 17 Photo by: Smallz & Raskind/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

8. Chef Nini

Top Chef - Season 17 Photo by: Smallz & Raskind/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

9. Chef Stephanie

Top Chef - Season 17 Photo by: Smallz & Raskind/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

10. Chef Lee Anne

Top Chef - Season 17 Photo by: Smallz & Raskind/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

11. Chef Brian

Top Chef - Season 17 Photo by: Smallz & Raskind/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Last Chance Kitchen

All of those that made it to this point organically and not because you’re quickly scrolling down to roast me in the comments, you the real MVP.

In-form chef, Joe Sasto awaited the arrival of newly-relegated Chef Lisa Fernandes in Last Chance Kitchen. After fluffing her deep fried Brussel sprouts in the last elimination challenge, Host Tom Colicchio declared that the challenge between Fernandes and Sasto would be a deep fryer only challenge.

Moving on to Round 3 of Last Chance Kitchen: Chef Lisa Fernandes

Top Chef - Season 17 Photo by: Smallz & Raskind/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images