'Top Chef D.C.' Recap: BBQ Challenge Gets Everyone Hot and Bothered!

Kim Conte

top chef judgesJust in time for July 4th, the Top Chef contestants took to the grills in Episode 3, cooking up tasty BBQ in the nation's capital. But charcoal wasn't the only thing heating up last night: The judges, particularly Gail Simmons, got a little hot under the collar as well.


The first sign that tempers were flaring hotter than usual occurred during the quickfire challenge, in which the contestants were asked to make a pie from scratch. When whiny Amanda complained to the judges that this challenge was difficult because she wasn't a professional pastry chef, pastry genius and guest judge Johnny Iuzzini shot back with:

That's kind of a cop-out. My grandma isn't a pastry chef and she can make a pie.

Oh, snap!

Iuzzini is going to be hosting Bravo's Top Chef: Just Desserts with Simmons, and after a fiery comment like that, you can bet I'll be tuning in to that show!

Later, around the judges' table, Simmons lashed out at Kevin for cooking "safe" Puerto Rican food. She snapped:

... show us great Puerto Rican food that a chef would make. Step it up!

But the ultimate burn came at the end of the show, when guest judge Jonathan Waxman criticized Tracy's Italian sausage and fennel patties:

My 10-year-old could have made that patty ... it didn't look like a professional chef made that.

Admittedly, Tracy's patties looked like something my dog chewed up and spat back out again, so I wasn't surprised at all that she was sent packing. Still, the judges were way harsh -- so much so that I cringed for most of the show. (Yet another reason why I adore Eric Ripert: He manages to give constructive feedback without going over the boiling point. Come back, Eric!)

Do you think the judges were overly harsh last night?

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