Like fois gras with a fine Sauternes, online chatting and watching Top Chef go naturally well together. So why not join our open thread tonight? I can personally guarantee that no ducks were tortured in the creation of this feature. It's a guilt-free pleasure!

Here's how it works: Just watch tonight's episode — which Bravo will air (and stream online) at 10 pm Eastern — and join in as we all post witty observations about the show in the comments section below this post. (I've collected a few of my favorite comments from last week's open thread here.)

Speaking of foie gras ... last week, some of us wondered if the bad karma associated with that dish contributed to the surprising ouster of Doug — a one of this season's frontrunners — over perennially weaker performers George and Melissa. Commenters' reactions included "shocked," "flabbergasted" and "gobsmacked." Another inciter of strong commenter reactions was the odd array of apparel-item choices on display in the hosting/judging ranks — including Padma's groovy white knee-high boots, and Andy Cohen's oddly striped rugby shirt, reminiscent of a 1970s-era Houston Astros jersey. To commemorate the latter, commenter carlinemom created this artistic photo-collage (which I suggest titling, "Toke Me Out to the Ballgame"):


Here's a rundown a few things to expect on tonight's episode, based on what Bravo has revealed in preview clips:

  • In the elimination challenge, the chefs will be joined by family members, who will serve as their sous-chefs. Fortunately (for our entertainment purposes), at least one of these family relationships — that of Mei Lin and her brother (pictured above) — appears to be a rather dysfunctional one.
  • The chefs and their kin will board boats and head out on a bay to harvest oysters, while lustily singing "The Oyster Is Our Friend." Actually, they won't be singing that song — but click here and listen to it anyway, because it's an awesome tune. ("There's nothing moister/Than an oyster from the shell/When your hunger he dispels/Or a malady he quells ...")
  • At one point, in the course of bullying her brother around, Mei Lin will say: "Get a cutting board. Get a cutting board. Get a cutting board. Get a cutting board. Get a cutting board." So I suggest we add "get a cutting board" to our list of drinking-game phrases.

OK, showtime approaches — time for some guilt-free pleasure. I'll see you down in the comments!