'Top Chef' recap: Snakes on a Plate

As much as I didn't hate the two qualifying round episodes, it feels good to finally start thetrue first episode with the top 16 in place. At the beginning of last night's episode, we were reintroduced to cheftestants we already knew. Yes, we knew Keith the James Beard Rising Star went to prison before cooking saved him, and yes, we knew Beverly the 32-year-old mom believes that writing generic mantras on tattered crumples of paper makes good stuff happen. Last week, she wrote, "I can, I must, I will." This week, she quasi-quoted R. Kelly: "If I believe it, I'm gonna achieve it."

With the rehash out of the way, the real season kicked off with a "stunt" Quickfire challenge. The chefs entered the spacious San Antonio kitchen to be greeted by an aquarium full of slithering rattlesnakes and one seductive viperess named Padma. I wonder if one of the producers tried to convince Padma to drape an albino python over her shoulders a la Britney 2001 (I would have) -- but instead, she was dressed like a Stepford Wife and attempted to shock us all by intoning, "get some motherf--ing snakes on some motherf--ing plates." While she was cursing, she somehow managed to come across even more robotic than usual. Read More...



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