Thursday, December 11, 2008

Top Chef, Season 5, Episode 5

Otherwise known as the "But I didn't even taste it" episode. I swear, I thought those words were going to be Carla's doom, right there. Just pack your knives, lady.

But I'm getting ahead of myself...

Fun quickfire. Each season they have done the test-your-palate thing, and this was a quirky spin to it. I liked the way they pitted the cheftestants against each other, and had elimination rounds. And I very much liked it that Stefan didn't win. Ha. I do still like him, and think he's a great chef, but the crossed arms and smug exterior can wear on a viewer... that and the admission that he'd married the same woman twice. I thought that was hilarious. You could tell he's not into the whole American "sharing" thing and he was very uncomfortable with the level of familiarity in that setting. Hee hee. I don't think I know anyone who's actually done that--married the same person twice. No thanks. But Hosea won the quickfire fair and square, yeah for him!

OK, moving on to the elimination... Quite fun to get to cater Gail's bridal shower. How very game of Gail... And, some good teams--cool to divide it up into something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue... I would have liked to work with the "old" team, I think. Or the borrowed. (Um, yes, both winning teams. What can I say?) And why "blue" didn't do something blueberry and desserty for the fourth course is a mystery to me. But for the "old" guys, that was such a grin of relief and pride on Jeff's face when they praised his heirloom tomato sorbet. He has been under the gun more often than not lately, and you could just see him brighten with their positive comments. So good for him. And for "borrowed," I thought it was clever to borrow a culure. I wouldn't have known where to start with that one.

Can I just say that I continue to believe that Ariane is NOT going to win Top Chef? I could go down on this one, but really, I just don't see it. I get that well-executed lamb (and meat in general) is a good thing. But sweet little Jamie had conceptualized the whole dish, seemed to lead out quite solidly, and did her rock-solid carrot puree (that doesn't sound like a big deal as I write it, but still...), and I couldn't believe they just handed it to Ariane. Unreal. And I felt for Jamie with the under-her-breath comment of "I so want to win," and WHAM they name Ariane. Double ouch with a bandaid. It didn't have the feel (that they usually do with their editing trickery) that the decision was discussed, debated, had some weight/thought to it.

And I kind of felt the same way about the decision on who should go home. I was actually very surprised to see Daniel get the ax. I mean, Eugene conceptualized the whole surf-n-turf sushi thing, and was the genius brains behind deconstructing it too. Huh? Deconstructed sushi? Those poor ladies at the bridal shower seemed so confused. So Eugene would have been my pick, hands down. (Although, judging from the site's poll on the topic, I am close to alone in that thought: 85% thought Danny should go; 15% thought Eugene deserved the chopping block. Hmmm. So maybe don't trust my judgement here? Nah. Everyone else is wrong.)

And what about Carla with that whiz-bang comment about not even tasting her dish? They have POUNDED that concept in over the years: do NOT serve food you haven't tasted. Period. (Alas, I have done that many times. Haven't had it bite bad, yet, but always make resolutions not to do it again... then too, I'm not usually conceiving on the fly like these guys.)

But Daniel, who has never been my favorite, rose on my list with his parting shot of some goofy jowly thing he did to make everyone laugh. A class act on the way out the door. And, at least no tears and wimpers like that last guy...

And it related Top Chef news, Season 4 winner Stephanie Izzard (above) was in Walla Walla this past weekend for the barrel tasting event that ran the entire weekend. Check out the video segment from our local newspaper. Down to earth girl. Oh, and I know one of the guys who was working the line at Saviah, but that shouldn't be too surprising, given that this IS still Walla Walla!

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