Top Chef – First Impressions

Well, it’s that time again. Against my better judgment, I watched Top Chef. We’ll see if it is the show or if it was just last year’s cast that made the show so unenjoyable. It looks like Kenmore didn’t like that the chefs went to chow.com and bashed their appliances… it’s now called the Top Chef Kitchen rather than the Kenmore Kitchen. One less tired product placement, yay! It looks like Glad has taken over as the big sponsor. Plenty of shots of the chefs riding around in the Toyota Rav4s too. Rav4 count: 7 , Continental Airlines:1, Moet champagne:7, GE Monogram:1, Fresh Market:1 First impressions: Sara… one of two. What’s up with her shirt sleeves? I like that she introduced herself as a fromagier, and then said, “that’s a fancy way to say a cheese maker.” Seems down to earth. Clay… Mr. Southern Man. No culinary school, thinks he’s the dark horse. Mia made it pretty far last year with her southern cooking, but the judges like sophisticated stuff. All I can think of when I hear his name is Clay Gayken. joey.jpgJoey tries to set himself up as a teddy bear, saying that he’ll give the money to his mother if he wins. Whatever. He comes off as a bully to me. And what’s up with the collar being up like that? Is that coming back into style now, because it just looks like you’re trying to hide a hickey when you do that, IMO. He moves his head around in a funny way too. He seems like an odd man. He’s like a caricature of a little New Yorker pizza maker or hot dog vendor… no? Next up, dude with the mohawk. At first, I thought he’d be the attitude, but he seems sensitive and possibly gay. Every so often, I think I see him swish. Although, later he says, “Fantastic!” instead of “Fabulous!” He’s throwing me off! Is his name Dale or Dell? I think it’s Dale, but Tom keeps calling him Dell. Tre seems pretty serious and determined. I like him, although I’ll never understand tattoos on the forearms. More power to ya, bud. What I like? He enjoys people’s reactions to eating something good. It goes something like this. treeat.jpgtrewow.jpg Next up, Sara, two of two. Heck, I think the initial intro is the only time they even really touch on her. They go to Gianni Versace’s old mansion. Creepy considering its history, especially when they show the front steps. Hung. Introduces himself as a CPA. Certified Professional A-hole. Nice and classy. Micah walks in like a celebrity in disguise, but she seems nice. Kind of a hippy. More mohawks… or… I guess maybe fauxhawks. Really, when does one become the other and why do people wear them? Lots of lesbians sporting a fauxhawk these days and it’s especially odd when older lesbians do it, Sandee. It’s the new mullet. Lia seems like a nice sweet Midwestern girl. She’s living in Brooklyn right now. Hey Joey, you can live in New York and not be obnoxious! Check it out. Next up is CJ, from Orange County. Dude’s tall! And… he tells us he has a false testicle. I’m glad you’re in remission dude, but you could spare us some of the details! They aren’t even done with the introductions before giving the cheftestants an unexpected quickfire challenge while they’re all dressed up and unprepared. Sneaky. Tom wastes no time in reminding the chefs that he is not their mentor, he is head judge of the show. Get over yourself dude. amuse.jpgQuickfire: make an amuse bouche from the leftovers of the hors dourves they’ve been munching on for a half hour. It’s quite a spread of food, but they only get ten minutes, they have to use plastic utensils to prepare the food, and the food should tell the judges “who you really are”. Mad scramble. Lots of people using oysters. Clay basically made a fruit cup out of an apple. Wha? I didn’t go to culinary school either, but what the heck? In watching this show only one season, you should know that an amuse bouche is a small taste of food, one bite, to whet your appetite. Micah wins with this pretty little dish. I love the pretty little food shots. Those people know how to light and shoot food to make it look nice. And it does seem to reflect her personality. I don’t know why. I guess it’s a little like those commercials where the food matches the outfit they’re wearing. Micah looks a little like her Tuscan Sushi Revisited, but she just needs a furrier hat… Padma dismisses them after the challenge. They get the night off and now they can go promote the hotel where they are staying. The editors throw in a little crazy Padma look in at the end of the quickfire. Eek!

padma.jpg

So they all go back to the hotel and bond. Nice digs there. Would someone please tell me, is this chick wearing a bedsheet or is that some sort of nightgown?

bedsheet.jpg

We continue on with the introductions now. Howie. He gives the standard I’m-not-here-to-make-friends bit. He seems like he’s from New York. Hung gets in on that action and gives the same spiel in his interview. Oop! Looks like Top Chef has gone with GE ovens this time. We move on to the elimination challenge. There is the knife block and they’re walking in to see a table full of “proteins” but all I can see is slimy looking food and a boar’s head. Gross. Clay look scared. Sara One of Two looks relaxed… just another day in the kitchen. Micah has her hair pulled back and looks completely different. Where’d my hippy go? Time to create a surf and turf dish using exotic ingredients. There are only two portions of each gross ingredient and they’ll draw knives to see in which order they get to choose what to take. People start taking the easier ingredients first. Tre decides to take risks, Brian takes a snake and an eel, Sara One of Two takes geoduck. What the heck is that? They pronounce it “gooey duck” but I want to say “gee oh duck.” No? Anyway, it looks… well… wrong. Hung says it is shellfish. It is a fish or fowl?

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While shopping, Joey works himself into a tizzy because Micah is trying to help calm down Clay who’s running around like a chicken with his head cut off. Says Joey, “I hope she don’t tell me what to do. I’ll tell her to f*** herself.” Insert odd head bobbing. You’re a sweet boy, Joey. The chefs are split into two groups so there is more room in the kitchen, I guess. Howie talks about taking time out to make sure everything is prepped so he can put out the best food possible. Cue the wasting precious time music. Sandee injects her frog legs with some cajun spices. Clay’s sweating it up. Lia says her food isn’t going to be beautiful and Tom encourages her to take the time to make it beautiful. She looks at the clock and agrees. She’s kind of cute in a girl next door sort of way. Time starts to run out and everyone starts to hurry. Howie runs out of time and starts pacing around. With no other options, he takes what he has and all the chefs line up to take their food out to present to the judges. They like most of what they eat. They are quick to poo poo Clay’s dish. Group two is up. Hung is full throttle. Brian the eel boy is butchering his stuff. Sara One of Two is laid back. She seems to know a lot. We meet Camille, who likes simple food done right. She’s making kangaroo. Gross! Tre and Tom talk about Tre not wanting to lose. Tre tries some of Hung’s stuff and it rolls his socks up and down. So Hung can cook, but he doesn’t have to be such a jerk! Time starts to run down and people start running around. Brian runs out of time and didn’t get to do everything he wanted. The judges like Tre’s dish and they like Hung’s as well. Dale’s alligator is “super tough” and Brian’s dish would be good if Anthony Bourdain was drunk. What does that mean? How is eel and rattlesnake bar food? Judges table. They think that, on average, the performances were very good. They like Sara One of Two, Hung and Tre. The only “tiny criticism” of Hung is that his plate didn’t have any contrasting color. It looked pretty beige, but Bourdain called it “pretty flawless.” They give good comments about Tre’s dish too. They only call out Hung and Tre to come to see the judges. Tre says he knew Hung would be in the finals with him after he had tasted his food. It’s nice to see one chef complement another rather than knocking the other guy to try to build himself up (Ilan, I’m looking at you). Hung defends the beigeness, but we know how that goes, don’t we? Despite saying his dish was a bit conservative, they select Tre as the winner and he gets a stack of Bourdain’s books and a night on the town in New York with Bourdain. If you’ve ever read “Kitchen Confidential” you know… that man can drink. Good luck to you, Tre. They ask them to send in Howie, Brian, Clay, and Dale. Is it odd that they had two at the winner’s table and four at the loser’s? floods.jpg Oh, Dale, you can’t be gay with that outfit. Brian explains that he made his dishes far too complicated for the time alloted. They criticize him for frying the food. Padma gets a little attitude and says “anything will hold up well against frying. You could fry my toe and batter it well and it would taste good.” Ouch. Dale’s food was chewy and he gives some excuse, but the judges call him on trying to play it safe. Howie tries to explain why he ran out of time, but explains that he was trying to make sure that everything was perfect and kisses up to Bourdain. Someone finally gets away with not serving something and giving the excuse that it wasn’t ready to be served. The judges have long said, “If it’s not right don’t serve it” and by golly, they meant it, although they did give him a hard time and rightly so. His risotto was good enough to keep him there. I think the judges knew that Howie was talented enough to move on, so they let him slide on this one. I think that was the right call… because now we come to Clay. Clay doesn’t know why he’s been called to the judge’s table. He stands behind his dish but says in the same breath, “It could have been better, obviously.” He par-cooked his food for no good reason. celine.jpgceline1.jpgThe judges beat the man down, pile on and then tell him to pack his knives and go. You know the food is bad if you get kicked off instead of the guy that didn’t complete the challenge. Inedible, “Economy class of Air Cambodia,” lack of fundamentals. Eh, I’m not sorry to see Clay go. He was a little annoying. When they show clips of what’s to come on the rest of the season, you get a feel for who stays for a while. Looks like Sandee isn’t going to last too long and Joey is. There’s some chick who looks like Celine Dion. Plenty of the people who they introduced. Not so much of the handful that they didn’t really cover. Plenty of yelling and crying going on… and some issue with big Joey. It should be interesting and/or painful. Here’s to hoping less pain and more interesting.

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2 Responses to “Top Chef – First Impressions”


  1. 1 geoduck September 5, 2007 at 7:06 pm

    I love eating gooey ducks. My mother loves to make it with rice, tastes great! Though I do think you have to get used to the texture.

    Geoducks are prized foods in food markets worldwide and are a highly valued fishery for the state (Puget Sound) , estimated at $40 million annually.

    Check out geoduck for info.

  2. 2 appliances Toronto June 6, 2014 at 12:04 am

    I like what you guys are up too. Such clever work and reporting!
    Keep up the fantastic works guys I’ve incorporated you guys to our blogroll.


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