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The Squid and the Whale's Senior Editor makes an embarrassing confession.

My little curators, I have a confession to make: I've seen Camp Rock. Both of them. And not ironically I might add. Sure, Nick Jonas won me over in the sequal, but Joe's dark features have always made him my favorite. Then, I find out he's a foodie?! And he answered my Burning Questions this week. So, basically Joe Jonas is perfect. There, I've said it!

The chefs, of course, barely had a clue who Joe is, but that's OK -- I'm sure he'll get over it. Joe kind of hilariously introduces this week's Quickfire Challenge telling the chefs that not only do they have to produce "midnight snacks" for kids staying overnight at the Museum of Natural History, but they have 30 seconds to do it. Oh Joe. The chefs seemed to believe him, which was the funniest part. (I swear that's my last Jonas gush for the rest of the blog.) Also amusing and a little bit sad actually was most of the chefs' disdain for children, although it didn't really surprise me.

How to Watch

Watch Top Chef Season 21 Wednesdays at 9/8c on Bravo and next day on Peacock.

As the chefs tried to figure out what to make, many of them scrambled for sugar, which Dale Talde seemed to be hoarding. Eh, I didn't think it was as big a deal as the other chefs seemed to think it was, but it certainly didn't make Dale any friends. Many of the dish choices seemed fairly odd to me. I actually think watcing Top Chef: Just Desserts helped me a lot with understanding what would be successful in this challenge because those chefs had to create bake sale items for children in one challenge. Although the All-Stars' dishes didn't have to be sweet, I could instantly tell which sweet creations might be sucessful with the children. And Tiffani's sounded like it would be. It just sounded like something Eric Wolitzsky might make on Desserts, and if you remember, Eric won the Bake Sale challenge with his crispy treat. Spike tied Tiffani for the win at first with his carrot chips and yogurt dipping sauce. I thought this dish was pretty brilliant. Thinking about it now, I probably would've made popcorn. Despite the obvious digestion issues with serving corn products, which maybe everyone would want to avoid, popcorn is pretty healthy, even with kettle-corn-like sugar additions. So the kids would get something sweet AND salty without being completely wired. I"m sure I would have won the challenge.
Since Tiffani and Spike tied, it was up to the kids to decide the Quickfire winner, and sure enough, Tiffani's was the resounding choice. As the winner she got an advantage in the Elimination Challenge. For the Elimination Challenge, the chefs would stay in their two groups to cook breakfast for the kids and the museum adults. One group would only be able to use meats and animal by-products. The other only produce and grains. Tiffani thought choosing the carniverous team was an advantage, but as Marcel so calmly and astutely mentions later in the Stew Room the advantage was having the choice at all. Although Tiffany didn't necessarily choose incorrectly, she presumed she would have access to an omnivore's diet. Wrong. Her team struggled with creating dishes out of meat exclusively. Dale's and Tiffani's was the only one that the judges seemed to actually like. And while all of the other chefs could've potentially gone home it was Jen that did. Not only did she go home but she sort of did it in a blaze of (un)glory. She spoke back to the judges, then later threw a bit of a tantrum while her microphone was still on as she walked out the Top Chef door. I have to say I've always liked Jen and was surprised to see her react the way she did, but I'm not surprised she was angry. She is a very talented chef and maybe rightly assumed she would go much further in the competition. I, like most, hoped perhaps she would maintain her calm, but I also kind of liked seeing her get so emotional. It's something we usually don't see from her. I was most curious to hear her boss', Eric Ripert's take on the entire thing. Here's what he had to say:

Now some people might think -- like Eric suggests -- that someone on Team Fritata should've gone home or even Jamie for not sucking it up and cooking through her cut. I honestly don't know what I think about this one -- as much as I liked Jen, if the judges decided she had the worst dish, and she was responsible for making that dish, then, yes, she deserved to go home.

The winning team wasn't without their share of in-fighting as Marcel seemed to question Angelo's alteration of their mise en place. The only thing I would say to Marcel is that although I think he has a right to be skeptical about accepting "help" from Angelo -- it was Angelo's dish too. Angelo wouldn't sabotage himself -- it just doesn't make any sense. I would be interested in seeing what would have happened if the plums were kept their original size. Would the judges have had a problem with that? Also, I would eat gnocchi for brunch, but not breakfast, so I will condede that Team T-Rex had a point on that. What they didn't have a point on was that Tiffani got so upset about her choice of carnivores. The only person she has to be mad at is herself. Tom explained exactly what would be availlable.

This episode was insane, but it had its moments of lightness, like the entire sleepover. I thought it was so amusing to see a group choose to tour the museum with flashlights rather than sleep. The whole scenario just brought me back to middle school where there would always be the kids who shushed everyone and wanted to sleep, and the others who just wanted to stay up talking all night. I guess that never changes as you get older. Also, Tre's whole thing about sleeping naked was pretty entertaining -- I guess he had to settle for just going shirtless.

Anyway, I want to know: Do you think Jennifer deserved to go home, and if not, who would you have sent home instead? Also, did Joe's Quickfire joke make you gigle like a little girl too, or was it just me?

Until next week, Happy Noshing!

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