Thursday, November 20, 2008

Season 5 Elimination 2

The producers of the show wasted no time at all thrusting the contestants into hostile territory and a professional kitchen. I can appreciate Tom’s charitable nature to allow them to use the kitchen of his flagship restaurant to serve a meal to pissed of runners-up. But at some point he had to be gritting his teeth thinking “I can’t believe I let this go out of my kitchen!” They say no press is bad press, but considering Craft as a corporation has already enjoyed success, not to mention everyone who’s seen more than one episode of Top Chef knows that Tom owns Craft, he probably could’ve done without crappy food leaving his kitchen.

Touching briefly on the Quickfire, everyone was asked to make a hot dog. Some hit, and some missed, but Radhika ends up winning the immunity. And what did she make? After professing several times in the first episode that she didn’t want to be typecast as the chef that only makes Indian food because she’s Indian, what does she do? She draws on her roots to make a hot dog inspired by Indian cuisine! Go ahead and email your thoughts on the topic to And no, that’s not a real link.

On to the elimination challenge, I was yet again confused by a number of people’s choices? Every single time there has been a dessert-oriented challenge in Top Chef history, everyone rolls their eyes or grinds their teeth, because by the chef’s own admissions, they don’t like doing desserts in general. Yet, as soon as the challenge was presented, a bunch of people jumped all over doing desserts. Why? Do they think that doing one now will prohibit them or win them favor when they will have to make one later? Or are they unsure about their confectionary prowess and figure they will take their chances now with more people around them thinking that they will hope someone else screws up and their dish can slide by being marginal? I’m thinking it’s the latter because as they are in the kitchen, a number of them kept reiterating in the confessionals that they didn’t like doing desserts. So why then did you volunteer for it?!

The challenge was to make dishes that were consistent with “New American Cuisine”. Read the blogs posted by the judges or Tom himself, and they will all admit that is a pretty nebulous idea. And unfortunately, a lot of the contestants fell short on meeting the judge’s expectations. Now, I can understand how they can be confused by the concept. But that’s no excuse to make food that just doesn’t taste good.

Fabio make a very impressive-looking carpaccio with olives, and won the challenge. Oddly enough, he didn’t win anything additional for winning the day? Didn’t they used to get stuff?

Crazy Carla made an apple pie with a piece of cheddar that seemed to go over really well too. But I just can’t get on board with cheese on apple pie?

Good thing Radhika had immunity because an avacado dessert? Essentially sweet guacamole with chocolate chips? Well, and least you didn't do two Indian-inspired dishes in one episode.

Ariane yet again found herself in the bottom of the group serving a dish they she knew and freely admitted was too sweet before serving. She had time to manipulate it and didn’t. She sobbed in the back room saying she didn’t think she deserved to be there…and she’s probably right. She’s not long for the competition.

My boy Hosea… he’s still my pick but dude, canned crab? I mean, did he really think he was going to sneak that by the palates of the judges? Props though, on the line up. He took the judges comments. He didn’t piss and moan and woe is me. He didn’t make excuses. He just took it well.

Unlike Jill, who when put on the spot couldn’t remember her own name. Her ostrich egg quiche just didn’t seem to make sense. It seemed like she decided to shop for an ingredient and make the dish around it instead of putting a meal together then doing the shopping. And when asked “how would you go about doing better next time?” she may have well responded by saying “well, ya wanna play good…and ya hope ya play good. And ya just gotta go out and give 110% when the chips fall where they may.” Actually, when it came right down to it, her complete lack of coherent thought in her response may well have talked her right out the door.

1 comment:

David Dust said...

Hey Topher -

Excellent thoughts/synopsis of this week's episode.

Miss "Don't Put Me In An Indian Box" Radhika annoys me to no end. I almost emailed to the (fake) link - just from spite.

And I forgot about the winners winning "prizes". You are right, last year they got wine and cookbooks and trips and stuff. I'd be a little pissed if I was Stefan and Fabio right about now.

CLICK HERE for DavidDust's Top Chef New York recap.

Thanks for stopping by last week!