Thursday, December 4, 2008

Top Chef, Season 5, Episode 4

So I got to pace and talk to the TV again this week... life is good! Well, actually I ironed (a very rare occasion these days) and puttered around cleaning the basement while watching this installment of As The Chefs Stew. Don't you like how everyone has to sit in the "stew room" together while we know that it's down to 3 potential knife-packers? Looking for drama, methinks.

Speaking of, this is a bit of an aside, but the first 500 times I heard the phrase "thrown under the bus," I thought it was funny and clever if used appropriately, more or less. But now, I'm over it. Really. Figure out a new way to say it, chefs. You're not being thrown under a bus, you're... being hacked by Henkels? being gored by Globals? I don't know. Someone is fighting to stay while you get sent home... yeah, that's called competition. But no more under-bus-throwing.

I would have very much enjoyed both sides of the quickfire--fun to make/conceptualize a breakfast amuse bouche, and so so so much fun to eat! And, I like Rocco DeSpirito well enough--he has weathered some pretty sorry flops (anyone remember The Restaurant? What I remember was that the product placement made Top Chef look tame by comparison.) Anyway, not my favorite chef of all time, but I don't suppose we can have Anthony Bourdain every week, right?

But breakfast in a bite? Great idea. Reminded me of my pondering re: the perfect bite combining all the flavors of Thanksgiving on a fork. (Next year we'll just do Thanksgiving amuse-bouche style! Ha. I think there would be protests.) It was nice to see Leah do well again (though she quite predictably tanked in the elimination challenge, as seems to be the curse of the "immune"). And I loved what Stefan did with the egg shell and heuvos rancheros concept.

From there we moved on to the idea of a 2.5 minute live television segment. This would not have been my favorite area to compete in. I do that "freeze" thing in front of a video camera and get all stiff. (Not as stiff and cross-armed as Jamie and her undercooked egg, though. Just over-poised and all wide-eyed. Not comfortable.) They ran through the contestants pretty quickly in this segment--it was hard to get a sense of what each made, other than the chefs at either end of the spectrum. I felt bad for those who couldn't get it together enough to actually finish the dish, and found it interesting that the judges decided to judge based on the food they got to eat, since the competition's all about food/taste. I get they had to draw the line somewhere, but not completing the task? That's pretty big.

The idea that Danny (Daniel) is charming is rather lost on me... I was in agreement with Tom that Danny's hamminess isn't really all that appealing on air. But Danny's kind of lost on me most of the time anyway. I'm all for cuddly chefs, but cuddly chefs with strange sideburns and a Brooklyn accent? I feel like we see this "character" every season, and they are virtually indistinguishable from each other. Oh dear, now I fear I've gone too far. Hate emails from Danny's mom... yeah, right.

Now about the creme brulee. What was the loser sentence Alex said as he was concieving that dish--"It's like a free pass making dessert because they'll expect you to not do well." So what did he do? Not well. Dork. Make and cool and brulee a custard in an hour? Double dork. At this point I'm taking the whole dessert thing personally. Do it right or go home. Which is what happened in this case! Justice. Sweet justice.

Fabio performed very well for someone who was nervous about his English and didn't really relish the whole live-TV thing. I've never been super-charmed by Italian men (most of the ones I've had personal interaction with were Italians living in Sydney, while waiting tables at an Italian restaurant... so put the two cultures together and I'll just leave it at that...). But, Fabio is charming. I really think he's got some good potential, is laid back enough, and a good chef... his dishes are usually simple but look like they taste good (other than his breakfast in the quickfire!).

Jeff's dish(es) didn't really do it for me this week--either in the quickfire or the elimination. Maybe trying a bit too hard? Just a thought. He seems to be having some difficulty settling in. Like there's some substance there, but it's not focused. My perception, anyway.

Major kudos to Ariane for that salad. As soon as I heard watermelon-tomato-feta-olive salad I thought she would at least be able to pull off something flavorful. While it's not exactly menu-stretching material, I don't think she deserved any flak for choosing something "easy." Pfffft. As if. The whole idea is to do something well, and do it in 2.5 mintues. Now granted, those Today show ladies didn't have a clue how long it took her to make it, they just voted based on taste. But still, that was the stated goal, right? The taste. A great win for Ariane. May have to eat my earlier she's-not-here-for-the-long-haul words, but my gut says that she's in a lull, and will come back under fire sooner rather than later. But we won't dwell on that, we'll just wish her well. Next week will come soon enough.

I have discovered a fun blog about Top Chef. I thought they'd have last night's already up, but the link is for Episode 3... I'm sure the next one will be up soon. It's a fun blow-by-blow. And, from Bravo, I'm now following Spike and Andrew (Season 4) on Twitter, as they tweet during the show. What a hoot that should be.

1 comment:

  1. Wow---I've missed a LOT of posts. And now I have to get ready for Mom. We're making wreaths over here today. I see I'm going to have to curl up with the lap top upsatairs later on when the house gets quiet. The egg quesadilla looks good. I'm ALL about quesadillas! Pretty photos, too...and wonderful TC commenting, as usual!


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