Elia, hon, we didn’t think we’d have to talk to you again so soon.
It was only two weeks ago that we sat you down, agua de jamaica in hand, because we were quite worried about you during that week’s episode, when Joker-lipped neurotic guest chef Michelle Bernstein criticized your kidney dish for tasting too much like kidneys, and you responded with Marcel-inspired eye-rolling and essentialist arguments about the nature of ingredients. While we understood your reaction, we were concerned that after spending too much time with Marcel, you were developing a little bit of a Jekyll-and-Hyde thing.
To tell you the truth, there was something else in that episode that really worried us, but we didn’t want to mention it, just in case we were wrong. What set off alarm bells was the portion of the Elimination Challenge where you and Carlitos were plating your desserts. You said that you didn’t really like to have people helping you because “too many hands freak me out.”
We immediately thought of that Roman Polanski movie, Repulsion, where Catherine Deneuve is left in her sister’s apartment and goes stark raving mad, walking around in her nightgown, and at one point hallucinating that she is walking through a hallway with rows of hands protruding from the walls and trying to catch her.
We thought to ourselves, Oh no, are we going to see our Elia in the next episode walking through the loft in her nightgown and going stark raving mad in heavily accented English?
Well, we weren’t far wrong, for on the Thanksgiving episode, we had to witness you doing the loca-motion. We understood why you were upset. Tom Colicchio did send you mixed signals during the Quickfire Challenge. He told you that the meat hash and the fruit salad were great and wonderful, and yet he named you one of the losers. (By the way, this combination of hash and fruit salad for Christmas—is this just your family, or this is a Lebanese thing, or a Mexico City thing? We always had tamales and champurrado for Christmas, but perhaps that’s just us.) And Cliff was one of the winners, even though you tasted his food and “speet eet out.”
Unlike others, we don’t think you were just whining. You strike us as far too tough-minded for that sort of thing. As Chef Colicchio so understandingly put it in his blog, you “couldn’t handle losing faith in someone [you] had respected.” That strikes us as rather touching, and we think it struck him the same way, and that he was flattered by it. You can only lose faith if you had it to begin with.
As we say, we understand, and are touched by it. But tell us, was it like when the PRI lost the elections in Mexico for the first time in 60 years? Was it that kind of devastating, upending loss of faith? Because we don’t know how else to explain the moment when you pulled a Deneuve.
You were standing in the kitchen, whisking melted chocolate (presumably to help that ungrateful bitch Spice Rack with her thankless pseudo-crèmes brûlées), and then you suddenly announced, as if you were about to storm the Bastille, “At my school, they taught us never to leeck the wheesk,” which you then proceeded to do.
We have to tell you, for a second there, we thought we had gone from the Deneuve of Repulsion to the Deneuve of Belle de Jour. (First of all, “licking the whisk”? We chose it, right then and there, as our favorite euphemism for certain acts inconceivable to Queen Victoria and legalized by the Supreme Court only three years ago, thus replacing our previous favorite euphemism, “tipping the velvet.”)
And then, as the madness took hold, you proceeded to smear your face with chocolate, and then did an art project in chocolate on your chef’s whites, as if Yves Klein had been raised in Hershey, Pennsylvania.
Do you realize, Elia, that an attractive woman with an accent smearing chocolate all over herself is the reason people went to artsy European films in the 60s? It’s a foodie’s Cinemax, softcore pure and simple, I Am Curious—Chocolate. Can you see why people are Googling “elia aboumrad bikini shot”?
We’re glad that you eventually sorted things out with Chef Colicchio and came to your senses, but Elia, really, we can’t let this happen again. Or if you’re going to pull another Deneuve, at least give the people what they want and wear a bikini while you are having your chocolate-smeared crisis of faith. ¿De acuerdo? It'll make our job a lot easier.