Thursday, February 5, 2009

Top Chef - the impossible one.

Sorry, I know I've missed a few episodes, but Lost coming back has kinda messed me up a bit. You could even say I've been out of the loop! There's 2 people laughing at that joke. Anyway, the past two episodes have seen Radhika left during Restaurant Wars and Jeff against the "all stars" from seasons' past (of the all stars, i recognized maybe 3 of them. Why the name all stars? Just call them former contestants and get out of there). That leaves us with 6 chefs:

Stefan - Goose stepping through the competition
Fabio - Pretty sure his accent got him through last week
Jamie - Lone survivor of the Rainbow coalition
Leah - Seems to be shooting heroin before speaking to the camera
Hosea - Has some bizarre obsession with Stefan
Carla - Reminds me of a Fraggle

This week's celebrity chef - Eric Ripert, widely known as one of the best seafood chefs out there.

Quickfire Challenge

Fillet sea creatures, in homage to Ripert's wheelhouse. First up was sardines, which seemed to throw all the chefs for a loop, based on their small size. Carla and Leah butchered theirs, and were out in the first round. Next up was Atlantic Char, which looked like salmon to me, which is why I'm not a world renowned seafood chef. Fabio cut too much off with the head, and Leah...well Leah kinda just gave up in the middle, which suggests to me she's pretty much fried in this competition. I mean, I'm sure she realized once she started she wasn't going to win, but still - she came up lame.

That left 2: Hosea and Stefan. Hosea wanted to win badly because Stefan has apparently been crowing about winning so many recent challenges, annoying Hosea in the process. Which - really? You're complaining because he reminds everyone he keeps winning? Alright...

The third thing to fillet is eel. In a fortuitous stroke of luck, Stefan apparently grew up on an eel farm, with the specific occupation of filleting eel, because seriously he owned this. He even said he had been filleting eels since he was three Meanwhile, Hosea didn't look at though he could spell eel he was so lost. Stefan wins going away, which of course caused Hosea to complain about it some more.

The chefs are then told they will all be enjoying lunch at Ripert's famous New York restaurant, Le Bernardin. I smell something fishy though. Hopefully the chefs do too.

The meal starts off nice, minus the contestants' attire coming to eat at a swanky NYC eatery. I've seen nicer garb at rodeos. Would it kill them to throw a blazer on? Anyway, 6 dishes are brought out one by one, for everyone to enjoy before the elimination challenge is revealed - the chefs will have to recreate Ripert's signature dishes.

One, this is cool because I think this might be the first time this season it seems the celebrity chef has more to do than walk around with Padma during the Quickfire. At least Ripert is getting to put his stamp on this episode.

Two, this has to be difficult for a chef. Cooking someone else's dish on the fly almost seems like forgery (which is even brought up later on) and seems to test the palate just as much as the cooking skill. Jamie for one doesn't seem to thrilled with the whole thing.

Stefan, for winning the QF, gets to pick what dish he wants to cook. The others will be randomly assigned theirs. Stefan seems to pick the easiest one, and of course Hosea complains about that. Really? You think Stefan was going to go with something harder? This is a competition after all, with money involved.

Leah seemingly does more heroin...Carla's eyes bulge...Stefan walks around smug and sure of himself...I'm sensing a pattern when they're all in the kitchen. End of the day, Stefan wins, coming closest to matching Ripert's lobster dish. Fabio and Carla are the other winners.

Bottom three are Leah, Jamie and Hosea, and I thought for sure Leah would be packing her knives. Even when she does well it doesn't seem like she gets too excited. She says she wants to be there when the judges question her, but I just don't buy it.

Mild surprise to see Jamie go, though her braised celery appeared to really irk the judges. And so goes the Rainbow coalition. I ran hot and cold on Jamie; I think she's talented but also a little too full of herself. A chef certainly should be confident, but also must realize he/she is, at the end of the day, a servant of the customer. I'm not sure Jamie realizes that. But I think she's smart and talented enough to figure it out one day.

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