Thursday, November 27, 2008

Top Chef, Season 5, Episode 3

Finally wrenched the laptop away from the 12-year-old clutches and can comment on the episode last night. I was planning to catch up via dvr over the weekend, but we clicked on Bravo at the right time and had all been sufficiently Mythbusted or Time Warp-ed out, and everyone was game. So I didn't get to pace and talk to the TV, but I did get commentary from the peanut gallery, so it all evened out.

We were a couple of minutes late to the show so I didn't see the name of the guest judge, and didn't immediately recognize him. I've read more about Grant Achatz than seen him, especially in regards to his cancer fight a year or so ago. But, major chops in the culinary world, and great to see him on Top Chef for the first time. We started watching just as the quickfire started, and I thought, "This seems really weird. Since when do they ever just cook a recipe?" And then. The twist. Happy me. I did also like that the winner of the quickfire wasn't in love with her ingredient... it's easy to cook when you adore an ingredient, but when you have to wrap your brain around something you're not so fond of, it's definitely more challenging. So kudos to Leah, who hasn't been one of my faves so far.

I liked the way the teams split--I would have picked just about everyone Leah did for her team! And nice name, too, with the Sexy Pants. But the Cougars had some strong contestants too. It was good to see Ariane redeem herself with the turkey. I thought they were setting her up for a total fall when she made that comment about not needing much time for the turkey since it was just a breast... I always underestimate the amount of time for just a turkey breast (as I did, indeedy do, once again today!). So my thought was she would bomb... but that is for a future show, I guess. (Can you tell I don't really see her in it for the long haul?)

I liked all the nasty situations that came their way, with the tiny ovens and microwaves, cooking outside and then the rain. (Kind of like real life in the catering world...) But poor little Jeff and his whineing about the terrible conditions that they had to cook in... Ha. I liked it, very much, when Tom just cut him off and said, you know, everyone had the same conditions, and go figure, they still won. Backing up to the decision of which team won, as the judges and the Foo Fighters were sitting around talking about it, the editors did a good job of cutting it to make it seem like it could have been either team. I wanted it to be Sexy Pants, but with the turkey being so good on the Cougar team... it was hard to call. And who knew vegan stuffing could get such rave reviews? I'll have to check that recipe out if they post it online, just to see their tricks.

Sad to see that it came down to dessert again. Not sure exactly what Jeff was thinking with layered pumpkin "foam" and berries; that just sounds bad. When the one Foo Fighter called it a "barfait" instead of a "parfait," we had a good little chuckle. And while the idea of the s'mores didn't sound too bad to me (although I'm hard pressed to name a dessert with bananas I like), it appeared to come down to execution, again. The Foo Fighters were just brutal with some of their judgements--was the vanilla foam on the s'mores like spit? Really? Just honest rocker folk, giving opinions.

I was disappointed that the judges didn't declare a winner on the winning team--usually when they have a team challenge, they still declare someone as most golden, winner of the winners. Not sure why that didn't happen. As for the losers, wasn't too surprised who it came down to. See, it really can end over that one bad dish. To go home over s'mores, really? How sad. But that sad, really? To cry? Hmmm. Other than Ariane and her tears of unworthiness last week, I don't think we've seen that much boo-hooing since our sweet crier in season 1, Dave...

And then there were 13. Still kind of early to put hard money down, but I'm quite fond of our two Europeans and Carla and Jamie... also, I really like Gene's spunk--how about that homemade grill for his pork? But for the long haul, I'm not sure he has it. Time will tell. And I'm happy to watch, every step of the way!

Future related topic: Top Chef's ever-expanding world of endorsements... I wouldn't have an opinion about that, would I?

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