Friday, April 25, 2008

Top Chef and tofu

You know, I think it's a shame that tofu has kind of a bad reputation here in the US. And I can kind of see why...Americans seem to treat it as this bland, vegetarian meat substitute. I myself would probably never order it in a non-Asian restaurant. But being Korean, I've always loved tofu. In many Asian cuisines tofu isn't seen so much as a meat substitute but just as a different kind of protein. Tofu dishes often have meat in them or are served alongside meat dishes. That said, I was really happy to see that Richard and Dale didn't get all bummed by getting tofu and incorporated a beef flavor into their dish! Also, I loooove green curry and I'm happy to see that Dale's been bringing a lot of his Southeast Asian roots into his dishes (something Hung kind of got dinged for last season).

Dale in general has kind of been growing on me...I was a little bewildered by his whole crotch-grab outburst at Lisa a couple of weeks ago but since then I've realized that he wasn't totally in the wrong. Lisa IS negative. In fact, I think she's one of the most unpleasant contestants we've had in a long time. And so far she hasn't really shown that she has much talent behind her constant bitching. This is the FOURTH season. The cheftestants should know that 1) they should know how to make a dessert, and 2) they'll be forced to work with ingredients and cuisines and clients that they might not like or be comfortable with. So stop bitching!

So I mean, I was pretty surprised that she or Antonia didn't get eliminated. I guess the judges felt that their dish ultimately tasted better even though it didn't follow the rules of the challenge, but I feel like there have been plenty of other challenges where not adhering to the rules was the ultimate mistake. I think maybe that's the problem with these more nebulous "inspiration" challenges. Maybe I'm making this up but I feel like we've had way more of those this season than the ingredient or client focused ones. It has required the chefs to be more creative and has produced some really great dishes, but the judging seems so arbitrary.

I'm relieved that Stephanie wasn't axed though...she's one of my favorites. And I can't say that I'm that bummed that Jennifer is gone...I was getting pretty tired of all her "I'm doing it for Zoi" statements.

This week's tally:
Nikki and Mark - probably should be gone already
Lisa - needs to go immediately
Spike - can't stand him but have to give him kudos this week
Antonia - questionable
Andrew - think he's hilarious, is definitely still in it
Stephanie, Dale, Richard - my picks for the final three

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