Sunday, March 23, 2008

Food reality roundup

Top Chef: At first I thought that the zoo animal themed challenge was really random and bizarre but as it got going I kind of liked it. It gave the chefs guidelines rather than restrictions and they came up with some pretty interesting combinations, much better than the very basic canap├ęs that were put out during last season's yacht catering challenge. I thought that the Gorilla team was going to be called out for not adhering to the vegetarian diet of their animal, but I guess they had enough problems otherwise. It's still too early for me to really have any favorites (there are only handful of people whose names I even remember at this point) but I was glad to see Mark pick himself back up after being in the bottom last week and I was kind of relieved Stephanie didn't get sent home after such a great start. Nikki and Dale are starting to annoy me though...

Last Restaurant Standing: I started watching this show on BBC America on a recommendation from Televisionary, and I've really been enjoying it. I missed the first couple of episodes but I'm hoping they rerun in a marathon or something at some point. The premise is a sort of competitive version of Kitchen Nightmares minus Gordon Ramsay. Raymond Blanc, who's apparently some famous British chef I've never heard of before, gives each of 9 teams of two with little or no restaurant experience (they're married or engaged or siblings or mother-son) a small restaurant in the English countryside, and the winner of the show gets to "go into business" with Raymond and keep their restaurant.

Each week has the teams running their restaurants according to a challenge from Raymond such as marketing to families or serving certain ingredients, and they're judged on their performance in that challenge in addition to their profits. Then the three worst teams must compete in a challenge to determine which restaurant gets closed that week. The judging takes place in a very Donald-Trump-Apprentice-esque board room which kind of cracks me up, but overall the show is pretty entertaining. Though food is obviously important, the focus is less on specific chef skills and more about the whole business of running a small restaurant, which is really just as hard as I think it would be. It originally aired last year in the UK so you can already look up who wins, but definitely check it out if you get BBC America.


Mira said...

i must say i liked the first two challenges for top chef this season. instead of a big 2 team challenge, i liked the pick your competitor and pick a dish aspect of week 1. and the animal theme was clever!

oakling said...

I loved that theme too, and I think they tried to make it seem like that team would get in trouble for all the meat. I loved the cute animal shots :)