Aaron's Behavior: Rating Chef Aaron Grissom's performance on Top Chef, Episode 3

By Steph DeRosa on October 30, 2014

Aaron Grissom, of Bravo TV's competition reality show Top Chef, reigns from a little town that spells itself with a big-ass T: Tacoma, Washington. Chef Aaron Grissom ran the kitchen at Dirty Oscar's Annex on Tacoma's Sixth Avenue, before leaving to cook in L.A. Anyone who has worked with Chef Aaron knows his moments - his good days and his bad days. They've seen him at his most inappropriate, when he's trying really hard to not blow shit up, and when he's just simply had it with whatever server/line cook/manager is in his face. These tell-all personality traits are interesting to watch on an obviously well edited reality television program. Every Thursday, I recap Bravo TV's Top Chef and rate Chef Aaron's behavior on the previous night's episode. I call the series "Aaron's Behavior." I've also turned the show into a drinking game (natch). I call the game the Grissom Gulp. Viewers must take one sip for every profanity word uttered out of Aaron's mouth, and two shots for that "eat shit" grin.

Top Chef, Season 12, Episode 3

Opening scene - chefs in the stew room - and right off the bat Bravo TV highlights an interaction between our very own Tacoma asshole, Chef Aaron Grisson, and good ol' Chef Ron Eyester. Whether it was taken out of context or not, the television "Editing Gods" (let's call them Laverne & Shirley) make it appear as though Ron Eyester is blaming Aaron for the departure of Chef Joy Crump at last week's elimination.

Aw, hell, it wasn't editing at all; Eyester actually implies that last week's immature spat between Chef Keriann VonRaesfeld and Grissom was the reason Crump went home. Rightfully so, Chef Aaron defends himself and calls bullshit on Crump's accusations. I love how these people are quick to say Aaron is "blowing up" at people when in actuality they have NO IDEA what excellent behavior Aaron has been exhibiting. Good job, Aaron.

After the Top Chef opening bumper, Chef Aaron gets a sweet little bio highlight that lets you peek into a window of why he comes off as such an asshole. In the bio, Aaron states that he is working with Bow & Truss in L.A. This is false. Currently Chef Aaron is looking to return back up toward Seattle and would love to meet a sexy restaurant wanting to hook up with a great, creative chef. So, to all Tacoma/Seattle area restaurants: Holla!

The first quick-fire is a sudden death elimination, and the Editing Gods (L&S) prepare us for Aaron's miserable monkfish cheek display by showcasing his lack of monkfish knowledge and ultimately his panicked cooking style. Aaron's competitors are caught on film voicing their disdain for Chef Aaron and wishes for him to be sent home.

Well, the masses got their wish - sort of.

Chef Aaron loses the quick-fire challenge and immediately picks Chef Katie Weinner to compete head-to-head against in another challenge, all in order to save his life. If Katie wins, Aaron goes home. If Aaron wins, they both stay.

Grissom Gulp tally: Three drinks for foul language, six drinks for that eat-shit Aaron Grissom smirk.

In a tense battle, Chef Katie Weinner chooses to cook a predictable, boring tomato pasta dish while Chef Aaron steps it up and gets creative with a puréed shrimp noodle. My guess is since Chef Katie looks like the rat from the movie Ratatouille, that she was inspired to cook something Euro with a tomato base. 

New Grissom Gulp rule: Let's just go ahead and say that for the rest of the season, whenever Chef Katie cooks something with a tomato base we all have to drink. If she cooks the actual ratatouille dish, we all do 30-second keg stands - because we're mature like that.

Chef Katie tells the camera that she thinks Chef Aaron is immature and that she would hate to lose to him. More competitors speak about rooting for Katie, and most would love to see Aaron pack his bags. Dude, Aaron, they don't like you. What the hell did you do to these people?

For the main elimination challenge, Top Chef contestants must create a dish using either peanuts, popcorn, fried dough, cotton candy or pretzels. They will then serve the judges on the field of Boston's Fenway Park. Chef Aaron chooses pretzels and does a play on hot dogs by crushing the pretzels and creating a "bun" while filling it with meat. Chef Aaron receives mostly positive reviews and fans are relieved that he appears to be in the safe zone as there are chefs with worse criticism for their dishes. Part of that made me smile: Chef Keriann gets blasted and becomes one of the bottom three chefs up for elimination.

Back in the stew room, before the judges make their elimination decision, Chef Aaron is asked to reflect on his meal by one of the other chefs. As Aaron answers the question, Chef Katsuji Tanabe is a disrespectful turd who consistently mutters under his breath while interrupting Chef Aaron as he speaks. Again, Aaron sticks up for himself and all of the sudden he's the bad guy.

During this brief, yet heated exchange between Katsuji and Aaron, Grissom Gulp participants should have counted FIVE times Aaron saying the "F word". Wow. That was an impressive amount of profanity and I, for one, am impressed. Grissom Gulp tally: At least 10.

Ultimately, good ol' Chef Ron gets the boot and is sent packing his knives for an odd popcorn soup accented with a fish ball.

After this week's episode, I've noticed a few things. First, I am reminded of Top Chef Season Two's Chef Marcel Vigneron. Much like Chef Aaron, Marcel is also from the Seattle area (Bainbridge Island), a chef who is cutting edge with cooking techniques, height-challenged and was also hated by his peers while often being deemed an "asshole".  Not sure what to make of this coincidence just yet;l we shall see what happens as the season goes on. Maybe Chef Aaron will get his head shaved by the other chefs and come in at second place.

Also, it's apparent that anyone who has conflict with Chef Aaron receives the kiss of death to some degree. All who butted heads with Aaron were in the bottom three this episode including Katsuji, Ron and Keriann (twice). I think I'm on to something with that theory, and with that I'd like to say, "Drink!"

Score of Aaron's Behavior, Episode 3: A-.  I feel as though Chef Aaron has struggled with a lot of hatred from his peers and is doing a good job keeping his cool, minus the one blow up at Katsuji, but that was well deserved. I no longer want him to make me tacos.

Top Chef, Season 12, Episodes 1 and 2 recap