Thursday, February 17, 2011

Top Chef: Brought to you by the letter T

Was that not the cutest Quickfire challenge ever or what? For some reason I don't have many memories of watching Sesame Street growing up but those muppets sure are adorable. Elmo especially brought it, declaring "TMI" to Padma's cinnamon-cardamom sidebar, giving an "Elmo loves you" shout out to Richard's daughter Riley. and yelling "cow chips" to describe Antonia's cookie. The challenge itself yielded pretty pedestrian results (as is generally the case when the chefs have to make desserts) but the commentary and judging by Elmo, Cookie Monster, and Telly was just fantastic. Dale took the win with a no-bake sweet-and-salty potato chip, pretzel, caramel and chocolate creation that sounded kind of amazing.

When I saw the preview for this week's elimination challenge, I wrongly assumed it was going to be a junk food challenge or something like that. But actually it turned out to be more a test of endurance. The chefs were dumped at a huge Target at midnight and given three hours to produce a dish for 100 employees. This Target appeared to have a pretty extensive grocery including meats and produce so it's not so much about the ingredients but the fact that they have to run around and get EVERYTHING they need from the store shelves, including tables, utensils, appliances, dishes, even decor.

I guess because the only burners available are pretty weak electric ones, most of the chefs decided to make soups, even though all of them talked about soups needing time for the flavors to develop and that was something they didn't have a lot of once they got everything they needed set up. Carla for some reason got completely discombobulated and lagged way behind the others looking for...tablecloths? Her soup was deemed underdeveloped and needing a protein or some more substance and landed her in the bottom. She was joined by Tiffany, whose jambalaya was mushy and Angelo, whose baked potato soup was inedibly salty.

In the end Angelo was sent home. I wasn't necessarily a fan of his--he can be annoyingly arrogant but is also just plain weird--but it is pretty crazy that he (and Tiffany) did these two seasons pretty much back to back. Last week I named him as a frontrunner so his elimination was definitely a bit of a shock.

On top were Richard, Antonia, and Dale. Dale won for his steam-ironed grilled cheese and spicy tomato soup, though I might have given the win to Antonia just because she successfully cooked 100 over-easy eggs. Are these three now the frontrunners? Richard has been extremely consistent, Antonia is getting better and better every week and Dale appears to have gotten his groove back (along with $25,000 in winnings  in a single episode). I still can't see Mike or Tiffany making it to the end, but I am still rooting for Carla to stick around. Only a few weeks left...

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