Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Top Chef, Season 5, Episode 2

OK, here we are at Episode 2 and I'm already talking at the TV and fast-forwarding through the commercials at warp speed. Sometimes I'm venting in frustration, sometimes in incredulity, and of course, at times out of sheer jealousy.

The jealousy: They got to cook in the kitchen at craft? How amazing would that be? And to be expedited by Colicchio? Wow. Nerves of steel, that's what you'd need. This whole season is going to kill me, what with the NYC setting...

Needed nerves of steel aside, the frustration tonight came out of the fact that the contestants were given essentially free reign on a three-course New American cuisine menu and they, for the most part, choked. So what are they doing with their spare time between being chosen for Top Chef and appearing on the show? They should be flippin' memorizing and practicing to PERFECTION at least (bare minimum) a half dozen recipes for every course (with variations, planning for those special twists of "use only organ meats" or "only cook with a ingredients from Bulgaria," which could happen).

For once, I was glad to see people actually step up and offer to make the dessert course. In past seasons it's been frustrating to see dessert getting the shaft from chefs like it's not really cooking. On which planet exactly do you need to have specific pastry instruction to "get" the basics of dessert? Argh. There were some decent attempts tonight, but one of them was NOT the Lemon Meringue Martini with a "Cherry Surprise?" Sounds like something out of a college cafeteria. Well, not any college I went to, but any dish with a "surprise" in it's title is NOT Top Chef material. I was very pleased that Carla's apple tart made it into the top 3. Very nice!

The mild incredulity tonight was the lack of foundation garments during the elimination challenge on Padma. I think she's stunning; her goddess-ness is not lost on me. And I don't believe she's given birth, so nature has been kind to the "girls." But I don't know what kind of stylist would send her on television in a satin halter and NOT instruct on a little help for said girls... 'nuff said. She's still stunning. Even when she's spitting the aforementioned lemon dessert into her napkin. Yep, that bad.

Not too sad to see the Geena Davis look-alike booted; it's so early that there really aren't too many hard and fast loyalties. And she was quite inarticulate about why on earth she would choose something as unique as an ostrich egg for an ingredient, then proceed to hide it in a quiche... seriously? I was just dying for her to somehow use those gorgeous egg shells for something. They were huge and beautiful. Anyway... I am intriuged to see where it goes with the two European candidates. Both seem to have potential for both great cooking and some drama, but if you've watched as pathetically ritualistically as I have, you know that you're really only one truly bad dish away from the good old "pack your knives and go" line from the goddess herself. (However, as was pointed out in Episode 1: except for one season, the winner of the first elimination challenge has gone on to win the whole thing. So all eyes on Stefan.)

OK, I promise I won't inflict this on you every week. But tonight it was just good action. Chop chop.

Whole other topic: Today was my big Christmas and Thanksgiving photo shoot and I think I left my camera at the home where we were shooting... so I will post on that later. Also, I have been obsessing about another cheese craving and tonight I made a riff on a fried egg sandwich and a quesadilla--I have no idea what you'd call it... other than heaven! It was so very, very good... When I have my camera back, I will make it again (and again, and again) and take pictures and post. Major Yum.


  1. I am with you on agreeing that the series seems to have gotten off to a good start re: drama/challenge/etc.. loved one of the comments re: quickfire - "one hour? I can't get my knives and station organized in an hour let alone cook something!!" I think that was last week - missed most of last nite as I was chatting with the folks on Mayne.. thank goodness for my PVR!

  2. Sher, You really should be a permanent TC commentator. That was wonderful. And yes, please post the the quesa-sandilly thingie.

  3. MJ--you'll have to let me know your thoughts once you're caught up on TC.

    And Susan, don't tempt me. Apparently, no shortage of opinions here...

  4. Finally got to watch the second episode.. well, well!
    at least the cherry bomb was right that she didn't deserve it - however, I'm thinking that miss ostrich was emulating the bird a little too much to make it thru. It looked like others were looking at the ostrich eggs (at the grocers)and she then picked one up and put it in her basket - kind of "ooh, someone else thought these were kind a'cool - maybe the judges will think they are cool too!" oh well - 2 weeks and 3 down. please don't make me watch Fabio and Stefan play with each other all season.. and I din't even mention the "canned????" crab.
    oh well - looking forward to #3.


Blogger Template By Designer Blogs