Thursday, August 23, 2007
Design Star lose it's Sparkle(Josh,that is),moral dilemmas abound for The 4400 and Top Chef goes into round two of Restaurant Wars
Since the Elimination Challenge for this episode was a do-over from the last time,Top Chef decided to take it up a notch to make things more interesting,starting with the Quickfire. Tom and Padma announced that the teams would have a "Mise En Place Relay Race"(a fancy way of saying that they would go head to head in kitchen prep line stuff). The teams were given two minutes to decide which of their members would compete against each other to do the following:shuck oysters,chop onions,dismantle whole chickens and beat eggs into a firm foam.
The prize for the winning team was the use of a sommelier(guess who?)and extra money for wine,so everyone was geared up to take the win. Team April got a good start with Brian kicking Howie's butt at oyster shucking(it was pretty close,tho-Howie did his best there)but when it came to onion chopping,Sara M was hell on heels with those wicked blade skills of hers. Casey took forever and a New Year's Day to get her onions done(they were big onions,but still!)which slowed things down,since your team couldn't move on to the next bit until your member was finished with theirs first.
Team Garage won and got Season One's Stephen(I knew it,I knew it!)to help them choose wines and even served them up at their renamed restaurant,Quatre. Both teams were also given interior design makeover tips from Christopher Ciccone,Madonna's brother,who had been a guest at the restaurants during round one and was not shy about his opinion of the food and service. There was a new guest judge,Zachary Zakarian,who ate with Padma and Ted Allen while Judge Tom hung out in the kitchen this time out,to see how both were run.
Team Quatre really took the criticisms they recieved(especially after reading a print out of Andrea Strong's comments given to both groups)and made serious changes to their menus,which had to have a choice of two items per course this time out. Howie's risotto was wisely taken off and lighter dishes like Dale's poussin and mint gnocchi were a big hit with the judges. Former contestants Joey and Sara N stopped in for a bite and seemed to like everything(even tho Joey felt his lamb,made by Howie,was undercooked). Dale not only ran the front of the house well,he even was confident enough to ask Stephen to take his usual rapidfire chatter towards the customers down abit(in a very nice way,I might add).
Team April suffered from overconfidence and it showed in the food. Tre cooked most of the dishes and while his potatoes were not oversmoked this time,his salmon dish was so bad that it was called a "car wreck in Times Square". Casey's monkfish was so overcooked that at Judges' Table, Zachary told her"when you buy the fish,it's already dead. you don't need to kill it." OUCH! Team April also had a couple of former competitors stop by (Camile and Lia)but I don't know if they liked the bread pudding that Tre whipped up that was said to be very soggy and flat.
Judge Tom asked if anyone else knew about making that kind of dessert and CJ(who only made a salty lobster salad)said that he knew and tasted the dish but thought "Tre could handle it." Zachary took him to task,asking him"Why didn't you watch his back?". It was a good question,especially since Judge Tom pointed out that CJ had picked this team and then took a backseat in terms of leadership. Not cool,CJ,not cool at all.
As you can probaly tell,Team Quatre won and Sara M was selected as the individual winner,since she was executive chef. I haven't been crazy about her during most of this competition but between her lighting fast knife skills and tight quality control in the kitchen(Gordon Ramsey would've been proud),she really was impressive here. Good going there,Sara!
Since exec chefs were the ones considered to make or break their restaurant here,Tre was chosen to pack his knives and go. I was surprised that we didn't get a double elimination here but maybe they're saving that for next time.
Brian really should've been taken off the front of the house duty,since he wasn't much better than he was last time and didn't even contribute a dish to the menu(unlike Dale,who was picked on by Ted Allen for wearing a polo shirt during service. Come on,dude,it's hot! If Dale had been wearing a wife beater,I would've understood the complaint better). CJ's lack of leadership and not giving Tre some real help with that bread pudding was certainly grounds for dismissal,in my book.
Poor Tre,I really thought he would make it to the Finals. He took it well,atleast. We'll have to wait until September to see what happens next,since Bravo wants to stretch this season out and will be rerunning the Top Chef Season One vs. Season Two cook-off next week.
Design Star did their double dip in elimination early,starting with Christina getting kicked to the curb for creating a design for a wedding reception that was more about the bride wanted than the groom(even the bride thought Christina's design was way too girly!). Robb is very obnoxious but he had the right idea about creating an equal decor to please both the bride and groom here. The couple wanted a "rockabilly meets traditional" kind of look and they got it,I guess.
Sparkle Josh had his show cancelled,mainly because he didn't seem very confident,particularly after the judges asked each designer"Who is your biggest competition?" and Josh wasn't able to name anybody. Will and Robb came to verbal blows,since Robb told the judges that Will was the "weakest link" on the team.
That was so not true,Will worked hard to get this reception done right and on time. He even pointed out that the poker chip towers flanking the entranceway had colors which clashed with the whole color scheme that Robb promised the couple,in plenty of time for Robb to fix the probelm,I might add! Robb was just mad that when asked,at the Judge's panel,Will said he didn't like the way the floor plan had been set up.If anyone wasted time,it was surfer dude Todd,who kept bouncing off the walls during the early part of the reception room set-up,even knocking a big table over as he leaped on it. Hey,bozo,this is Design Star,not Jackass!
Things are hopping on The 4400,as Richard got a visit from Lily(who turned out to be an illusion sent by a Original Recipe person,courtesy of Kyle)and managed to get some closure there,along with returning Isabelle to her current adult self,Tom was fully possessed by the Marked and Shawn went to Jordan for an endorsement of his test for folks to see if they should take Promicin or not.
Jordan was vehemently opposed to pre-testing for Promicin takers,saying that a "generation of sacrifice" was needed to have peace on earth,since people with powers and those without would just fight each other and that a "fully evolved species" would be the best to run the world. Gee,I think I heard of someone else with that idea and he had some buddies in brownshirts to help him there,too.
I've been conflicted about whether or not Jordan is a bad guy in this series but with this stance on Promicin use,he's set himself squarely in the villian's camp. True, P-postive and P-negative people would have trouble getting along but in the grand scheme of things,balance is neccessary to maintain the flow of the universe. Up needs down,black needs white and special abilities are only useful if they can be used to help those who need special help,otherwise what is the point of it? Not to mention that there's nothing to prevent super powered folk from fighting each other for dominance-maybe Sylar should stop by and show Jordan a thing or about that!
Tom's new Marked Man status will be dealt with more on the next episode and it should be something to see him go all full tilt boogie evil:
Random Notes/Fall Preview Edition:
Heroes: The DVD set for season one will be out soon,with plenty of extras like this scene from the unaired pilot episode where Issac Mendez tried to one-up Van Gogh in the self destructive artist cliche contest:
More new cast members have been announce,such as Nichelle Nichol(aka Lt. Uhura from old school Star Trek)and Veronica Mars herself,Kristen Bell. Bell is signed on for about 13 episodes and is said to have a "pivotal" role this season,along with an undisclosed super power,yes! NBC is starting to give us some promos for the new season and I,for one,am pretty darn jazzed up about it:
Ugly Betty: Speaking of promos,ABC got Mika to rework his song"Big Girl(You Are Beautiful)" as a tie-in to UB,pushing both the new season and the first season DVD set,released this week. Smart move,guys-Mika's sound fits in like a glove to the show's style and sass. Check out both versions and you'll see what I mean:
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