Sweet nothings: The Top Chef franchise may have jumped the shark (pie) with the ham-fisted (if I may mix my metaphors this morning) cross-promotion with Top Chef: Just Desserts, hosted by Gail Simmons and Elvis. Sorry, I mean Jean Georges poser/pastry chef Johnny Iuzzini.

Always a good time to pie: The quick-fire challenge to bake a pie was the best one yet, causing a bunch of savory, CIA-trained chefs to whine like Redskins fans after a loss. Uber whiner Amanda even received a smack-down from Elvis when she complained that she wasn’t a pastry chef: “That’s kind of a cop out. My grandma isn’t a pastry chef and she can make a pie.” Oh, Elvis, do be cruel!

Cover that pie with a paper bag: Tracey should have eliminated herself after her “blueberry almond crumble” pie. As Serious Eats noted, it looked more like “wet, runny blueberry snot.”

Where in the world was Timothy Dean: Was it my imagination or was Dean totally snubbed during the quick fire? Maybe he had to skip out mid-way through for a court date?

Intern-al problems: The elimination challenge called for the contestants to grill a picnic lunch for 150 “interns” at Mount Vernon. Or 150 warm bodies plucked from somewhere in the District. I’m surprised the producers didn’t ask them to wear red, white, and blue bikinis and Speedos. (BTW, Capital Spice has a ton more info on those “interns.”)

Flaming issues: Arnold complained that he hates working a grill because the high heat opens his pores. I feel for Arnold. The show makes him seem like a walking cliche. I suspect the producers instructed him to set his own grill on high flame.

Grill magic: Somebody check me on this. The contestants had one hour to light their charcoal and grill their meats for the picnic, right? How does one grill pork ribs in less than an hour?

Rib-sticking good: I appreciated the moment when Angelo, the dedicated “egomaniac” this season, totally fawned over Amanda‘s spare ribs, declaring them better than his dish. So why didn’t Amanda win? I suspect it’s because chef judges don’t think barbecue ribs are sophisticated enough to claim victory.

Snap! judgment: Guest judge Jonathan Waxman needs to rethink his stateside Gordon Ramsay shtick. Dumping on Tracey’s Italian sausage slider, he noted, “My 10-year-old could have made that patty.” Yeah, Waxman, out of mud and dead beetles.

Photo illustration courtesy of Serious Eats