Thursday, December 16, 2010

Top Chef: Getting serious!

Interesting how they're beginning each episode with an extra little elimination recap from the past week. I guess there's more interest since we already know these people and theoretically every elimination should be a shocker since these are the All-Stars?

After some silliness last week, Top Chef gets down to business. This week had the kind of challenges that are usually reserved for later in the season. The Quickfire was the a twist on the now-class mise en place relay race: each team of 4 prepped 3 ingredients simultaneously, then had to create a dish with the ingredients, but time expired for all the teams 15 minutes after the first team finished their mise en place. Superstar NYC chef David Chang was the judge, who I'd been waiting to come on the show (especially since he and Bourdain seem to be pretty chummy), but I thought he was kind of wasted here. At least he was part of the Elimination too. Anyway, two teams elected to do carpaccio since they didn't have enough time to actually cook the lamb, but the team with most time ended up on the bottom. No immunity.

The Elimination challenge was kind of awesome but definitely tough. The chefs were split up and sent to 4 top NYC restaurants: Marea (Italian), WD-50 (molecular gastronomy), Ma Peche (French Vietnamese), and Townhouse (eclectic American, emphasis on eclectic). They sat down for a special meal, then had to create their own dishes that would fit in with their assigned restaurants' menus.

On top: Dale T, Antonia, Angelo, and Tre. Asian Dale capitalizes on Wylie Dufresne's obsession with eggs and wins despite not using any of WD-50's crazy techniques or equipment. Very smart. Nice to see Tre starting to break out a little bit, and man, Angelo is kind of killing this competition so far.

On the bottom: Fabio, Tiffani, Dale L. and Stephen. All of them were pretty aware that they messed up, so no Jen-like outbursts. Two were eliminated this week, so bye-bye to Dale L. and Stephen. I can't say I'm all that upset--while I like Dale as a person, I never really saw him as having as much competitive drive as some of the others. I hear that he and Sara Nguyen from his season have a new restaurant in Chicago that's doing extremely well, so good for him. As for Stephen, he's obviously more of a front-of-house guy now. Nothing wrong with that, but this is a cooking competition.

I'm thinking Fabio's days are numbered, but obviously anything can happen, especially as it seems we're returning to the world of catering next week. But really, he's been on the bottom 2 of 3 eliminations and he's not even saying that many amusing things anymore!

Random observations:
- I can't stand how Angelo must describe all his food as "beautiful." Let the people eating decide if it's beautiful or not, ok?
- The green team's aprons did not look particularly green to me.
- Why am I not surprised that Jamie made soup?
- I can't remember a single Bourdain quote! There's something wrong with that.
- 6 night trip to New Zealand is pretty sweet...but not nearly long enough!

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