Friday, November 28, 2008

Top Chef Season 5: Episodes 2 and 3

So, I just got around to watching Episode 3 today, you know, with Thanksgiving and partying and, I figured I'd join the two episodes together into one, delicious post. Speaking of delicious:

Episode 2:
OK, I'm not going to lie, I really hate that Donatella girl. Like a lot. I don't know why. Every time I see her face on "Iron Chef: America" this huge wave of irrational anger rises up inside me. I mean, I respect her. I like her restaurants. I think it's awesome that she's so young, yet so successful. Maybe I'm pissy because I want to be her? Maybe I think her face is stupid-looking? I don't know...whatever, it's not really important, other than to explain my anger at the Quickfire. Why is Donatella there judging hot dogs? Does she have the perfect palate for judging hot dogs? Is she a hot dog expert? DOes she have some secret knowledge of hot dogs everyone in the world was previously unaware of? I don't really think so.

Also, the Quickfire confused me. If the challenge was to make a hot dog that was better than the hot dog lady's, why did (almost) everyone make their OWN hot dogs? The hot dog lady doesn't make her own. Shouldn't the challenge been more clear, like, use this hot dog we provided and make it good? And, didn't Fabio, with his chorizo hot dog, really just grind up some chorizo and then reform it back into a, you know, CHORIZO? Stupid Quickfire aside, I wanted to eat Radhika's lamb kebab thingy. SO delicious looking. She clearly deserved the win.

Elimination Challenge - cooking at Craft? Awse. I can't believe Tom C. let them take over his restaurant like that. It must have been like a Monday morning or something. Or, Bravo paid him an ass-load of money. The second awse? Having the not-chosen for "Top Chef", New York City chefs come to judge them. Ha! Brilliance! I think that was probably the pissiest group of people they could have chosen EVER to come and judge the food. That includes when they brought the future Season 3 contestants on to judge the food of the Season 2 chefs and Hung bitched everyone out.

As far as the food went, I'm with Tom, not so great. Not that I could do any better, but I'm not a chef competing on "Top Chef." I thought Jamie's soup was brilliant in its simplicity and delicious looking. And Fabio's carpaccio? Oh mother of God, I want to just roll around in it. It looked so good. What's not to like? Beef. Arugula. Lemon. Parmesan. Probably the best food combination ever. I want to make a raft out of the carpaccio and paddle around on a sea of Jamie's soup.

As for the losers, yeah, I don't really know what to say. Ariane clearly has no business being there (and I say that still, after having watched the most recent episode), but Jill deserved to go home. Ostrich egg? Really? That might be the most ridiculous idea ever. I know you want to do something to stand out, but why choose an ingredient that you've never used before? This is not the time to experiment - this is the time to pull out a tried and true recipe you've bee refining over the past year, specifically for the show. If they give you an opportunity to basically cook whatever you want, you absolutely do not use it to make something retard-O. Plus, her defense of the dish was one of the most pathetic things I've ever heard on TV. I know chefs aren't generally that well-spoken, but come on. At least answer the question they asked without rambling on unintelligibly, as if you just smoked a fat one in the stew room with Hosea.

Moving on to Episode 3:

The Quickfire was good, until Padma yelled at them to make soup. I thought the idea of reinventing a recipe from the cookbook was actually good, even if it was also a blatant attempt to plug the "Top Chef" cookbook, just in time for the start of holiday shopping season. When she came in all dramatically, as if the kitchen was burning down, I kind of wanted to punch her in the face. That said, Grant Achatz is made of awesome(one of my life goal's is to eat at Alinea), so, because he was there, I got over it quickly. And, the chefs did pretty good jobs, too. Or, maybe I just think they did because the producers chose not to show Grant chewing out the bottom three? The top 3 all had really nice looking and inventive dishes, but I'm glad Leah won. Jamie seemed a little cocky about her soup (wouldn't chick pea soup taste kind of like thin hummus?) and the ham and egg soup didn't seem refined enough for the challenge (although I'm sure it was delicious, what's not to like?). Leah's was the nicest looking of the three and (in my opinion) the most soup-like. If that's even a thing.

For the Elimination Challenge, I think it's awesome that they made the poor Foo Fighters celebrate Thanksgiving in, let's say July, just for the show. I wonder if they really watch "Top Chef" or if they were the only band in the area. Also, what's up with them driving to Rochester? That's a long-ass trip from NYC, and even longer when driving them all back after a concert. Did they really all go back to NYC for the elimination that night, after the show? Or did they film it the next day and pretend like it was the same night? The real question is why am I trying to apply logic to "Top Chef?"

I did like the Thanksgiving challenge, but I kind of wish they had given them a real kitchen in which to cook. Imagine the awesome stuff they could have turned out if they had been given more than one burner? Although, I'm still sticking with my initial love of Eugene. He built a smoker and grill? Brilliant! I can't remember which Foo Fighter said he MacGyver-ed that pork loin, but that was great...and the pork loin looked tasty, too. I actually kind of felt bad for Team Cougar, they didn't really do that badly. Aside from their dessert, I really thought they pulled it off well. I'll even give my most-hate Ariane her props, cooking turkey breast perfectly in a toaster oven? She clearly has some skills. They just all looked so depressed when they were cleaning up, with the music from the concert in the background. As for Team Sexy Pants (stupid name aside), they did really well, too. I think the vegan stuffing was a great idea and the cobbler looked great (go Hosea, you're my boy!).

Elimination-wise, Richard deserved to go home. You should never make a dish that needs last-minute preparation when doing a buffet. You need food that can sit and still be good, even I know that. I'm really glad they let Jeff stay, he clearly took too much on, but he was a great leader, especially evidenced by the fact that the team stood up for him, and each other, during Judge's Table and that says a lot. Normally there's a lot of what we refer to as "under the bus throwing" when a team loses, particularly when they have a crappy leader. I will miss Richard and his adorable crush on Tom, though. He was adorable when he said he got nervous when Tom came into the room with the Foo Fighter, then the camera panned to Tom in slow-mo, walking into the room. Pure awesome.

Overall, I'm really liking this season. I think just about everyone deserves to be there and they all seem to genuinely like each other and, probably more importantly, respect each other. I hope this trend continues throughout the season, I'm totally over everyone yelling at each other in the stew room and trying to save their ass at Judge's Table by belittling the other contestants. Just cook your food and deal with it if you go home. You already got much farther than a bunch of other very talented chefs - feel lucky.

That said, WTF is up with Padma's voiceovers? I feel like they're all shoe-horned in there, and really shoe-horned in quite poorly. It's like an episode of Semi-Homemade every Wednesday night. Also, why do they shove in a little 30-second clip of footage in between Judge's Table and the knifing? Last week it was the clip of Hosea and Leah semi-making out, this week Jamie and Danny fighting. Is this a new trend to keep us from tuning out before the elimination? Do people really change the channel before seeing who get eliminated? Is it a way to wedge more commercials into the hour? I mean, the whole show if already a commercial for Glad, Toyota Sequoias, and Swanson broth, do we really need even more ads?

OK, rant over. I think I'll actually be able to watch the shows and post shortly thereafter from now on. I know you're all excited. I know I can't wait...

1 comment:

David Dust said...

Call me shallow, but I am sorta missing all the Douchebag vs. Lesbian screaming matches in the Stew Room!

CLICK HERE for David Dust's Top Chef New York recap.