Thursday, March 27, 2008

"Top Chef - Block Party" - Where everyone wears douche-y hats

At first, I thought this was going to be the inevitable, ubiquitous, let-the-women-complain-about-the-kitchen-being-a-boy's-club episode. Come on, guys, you thought it was, too. All the ladies complaining in the beginning about two women being sent home in a row. How hard it is for a woman in a kitchen. How rare it is to have more than one woman in a restaurant kitchen. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to be anti-women in restaurant kitchens, I think people should get to work wherever they want, without prejudice. But, that said, if you're going to work in a restaurant, you have to be aware going in as a woman, that it will be difficult. Don't complain about it. You're on "Top Chef." Clearly, you're doing something right.

Anyway, onto the episode. The Quickfire was good, I really like Rick Bayless and, having eaten at Frontera Grill, I know his food is really tasty. His choice in shirts, however...

As soon as Erik went off on his rant about Mexican food and fine dining not going together, I knew we were in for a treat (plus, douche-y hat of the night #1 made an appearance). At first, I was like, "Yo, douche bag, why are you talking smack about Mexican food? Do you really think there are NO fine dining restaurants in Mexico? Or fine dining establishments that serve Mexican food?" But was still slightly amused at his inappropriate and borderline racist comment. But, when he said Rick Bayless could go screw himself (or whatever he said), I actually got a little mad, as evidenced in my notes from last night, in which I wrote in response to that statement: "I'll cut you." I think that sums up my feelings for him, and the entire Red Team, during the Elimination Challenge. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

As far as the actual Quickfire Challenge food goes, I liked Richard's jicama taco shell idea. Apparently, I'm one of the few people that likes him, even though he is a little Season 1 Stephen-esque, I'll give his haters that. I thought Spike's pork taco taco looked good, too, albeit not fine-dining good, although I was kind of annoyed at his, "I'm not going to be someone I'm not." What does that even mean? Of course you're who you are...if you weren't you'd be someone else. Plus, he was wearing that stupid hat too (douche-y hat #2 alert), so, apparently, he was trying to be someone else. Namely, Ashlee Simpson. Andrew's taco looked good (duck, in a taco shell, what's NOT to like?), too but he's still freaking me out, what with his twitching and excessive blinking and mood swings. I think Manuel got screwed there - his chorizo taco looked awesome. I bet it was delicious, too, I thought for sure he would get a top mention, since we're still at the stage where the editors only show the best and worst of the Quickfire.

Elimination Challenge:
My overall thoughts can be summed up in one important sentence from my notes: "I really hate Erik - I hope he goes home." Although, I guess I should replace "Erik" with "the whole Red Team." They were acting all cocky and D-baggy from the start. Even Hot!Ryan. Spike (I think) telling the other team that the one house was cleaned out was low,too. I can't believe that was the last we heard of it. I definitely though someone would bring it up during Judge's Table. I will say that the producers MUST have sent people into the neighborhood ahead of time to let those poor people know random chefs would be busting into their houses and taking their food. They all had way too much nice food laying around, even with block party cooking going on. I would definitely NOT have let anyone in my house to take my food. Ever. Except Hot!Ryan. But I would force him to stay in my house and cook for me. Also, that one woman who let them take her wine - wow. Bitch is crazy. I would NEVER let anyone take my wine. Unless it was Hot!Ryan and he stayed and drank it with me.

Onto the Sniff n' Sneer! My favorite part was Tom C. making fun of the "Sexy Drink" by being surprised that lavender is "sexy" now. Also, did anyone else find the drink name somewhat inappropriate for an event with a lot of children? My second favorite part was Tom's sneer at Erik when Erik said his team would win because of the "heart" they're putting into everything. Also, it was quite foreboding to see him ask about the breading on the corn dog and predict the sogginess that would transpire. Nikki, too, though, she really has no business being there. That mac and cheese was a mistake from the beginning, how is pasta ever good after it sits and is reheated? And, am I wrong, or did I hear her say she added salt to the mac and cheese to help moisten it? Because, I'm not going to lie to you, if she really added salt, she has no business even being a chef. Salt draws moisture OUT of products. It doesn't provide moisture TO the product.

Overall EC food notes: When Padma dropped her marshmallow onto Ted's shoe, I nearly lost it. I love Ted Allen and his, "you're going to get the bill for that" was awse. You know he's wearing some fancy-ass shoes, even to a block party. Plus, Ted wins with the comment of the night, "Thank God we got some sausage in there." All together now: THAT'S WHAT SHE SAID!

I think, overall, the Blue Team's food was better. Nikki should be thanking the "Top Chef" gods that she was on the winning team, because that bought her an extra week. I'll call it right now. She's going home in the next three weeks. Probably next week. Dale's pork skewers looked really tasty, as did the not-a-paella. Thinking about it now, I guess the Blue Team did go a little more upscale, which is what (I think) the judges were hoping to see after the Quickfire. The Red Team really thought they were going to win, the poor bastards. Nope. Pork skewers and sliders can't save you now...

I will say, though, that this was a tough challenge because they did have to cook for kids, adults, and the judges, and I can see how the would have struggled to balance food that appeals to kids and also appeals to the judges, who've eaten all over the world. But, having said that, it seemed more like the food they made was just bad in general, not inappropriate for the setting. If you make a macaroni and cheese, using Velveeta, make it good. Not just passable, you know, good enough for kids and "Middle America" with their "unrefined palates." Pasta salad can be delicious and very inventive. Don't complain about being stuck with it, then not say anything about it to the rest of your team, and make a crappy one to boot. It always shocks me (maybe that says something about me, I should have learned by now) when the chefs try to make just "OK" food and expect to win. You should be balls to the wall each challenge. You're on TV for God's sake! Try your hardest! Make the best street food you can!

I think the judges made the right call. The Blue Team did seem to do better, and I'm really glad Stephanie won. She really has a great way of just slightly changing a dish, to keep it familiar, yet reinvent it as something different and tasty! As far as the Red Team, I don't know what to say. On the message boards and blogs, some people seem to think their pissy reaction was due to the judges being overly harsh. I actually didn't get that at all. I think the judges were just upset because the quality of the food was so bad. I thought it was completely out of left field when the men-folk on the Red Team started talking back to the judges. Especially Spike. And, clearly, Andrew, but I expected that from his crazy-ass. The best part of that scene was Tom covering his mouth to prevent us from seeing his smirk in reaction to Andrew ranting about having to be dragged out by security. It narrowly beat out Ted Allen summing up my thoughts, by telling them they were "condescending to the crowd."

And, as I had hoped for earlier, Erik was sent home. Good riddance. Crappy attitude. Stupid hat. Overly angry expression in all "Top Chef" related promotional materials. I also enjoyed how he had to clarify that his career wasn't over now that he'd been kicked off the show. As if anyone would assume so. Whatever dude. take your hat and go back to SF. I will go eat your lobster corndog if I'm ever there, though. It does sound delicious.

Assorted random thoughts:
Did Andrew cursing in front of the children after he threw that ball at the dunk tank?
Nikki, why would you ad SALT to moisten the Mac and Cheese?
Hot!Ryan has cute dimples, but he's kind of a DB.
And, here are a few more takes on the episode:
This one, I agree with.
This is more amusing than anything else.
Another one.

Next week - Daniel Boulud! Hot!Ryan makes fun of cracked-out Andrew! More lesbian drama!

1 comment:

Beth said...

Come on - have some balls. Stick with the idea that Nikki is going home NEXT week.

I was so hungry watching that block party... so tasty. And I, too, LOVED Ted and his marshmallow shoe.

I would eat a corn dog anything... lobster, beef, veggie product, chicken... oooo... chicken corn dog... yum!