Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
especially welcome to extensive readers

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Design Star is down to two,Top Chef hits some stormy seas and Tim Gunn is seriously styling

The contestants on Top Chef this week really had some hardballs lobbed at them during this round,starting with the "Aisle Trial" Quickfire challenge. Padma and guest judge Michael Schwartz explained the rules;each chef drew a knife and the number on the blade was to indicate what aisle of the supermarket they were allowed to shop in for their ingrediants. They had ten minutes to shop and a budget of $10,with a 20 minute time limit to whip something up,using only what they bought,plus a few pre-selected items from the TC pantry.

The judges were given some interesting results;Hung got the cereal section and made this total bizarre creation that Dale dubbed a "Smurf Village" and it was like that,with huge tower like lumps of cream and powdered cereal streams(he even added a glass of milk to go along with it!).

CJ mixed up salt and sugar for his dish,Brian avoided the temptation to use seafood and scored big with a Spam and hash plate(I found it off-putting that the guest judge seemed shocked at being served Spam and declaring that he had never tasted it before. Dude,please-Spam is not that bad or unusual a dish. They make Spam cook books,for pity's sake!)and Howie's fruit dish was so bad that he threw it out and told the judges that it wasn't good enough to serve.

Brian won the QF and as his prize,he was allowed to chose the "team leader"(I'm highlighting that term for a reason)for the Elimination Challenge. Brian selected himself to be in charge,naturally. The chefs were given a budget of $350 to make food for a boating party of 60 people being hosted by designer Esteban Cortazar. They had two hours to cook onboard and instead of either rotating judges Gail Simmons or Ted Allen,Dana Cowan of Food & Wine Magazine took the end spot of the Judges' panel here.

The Judges' Table really ticked me off this week-they had totally snotty attitudes about nearly everything that was served(which the folks at the party didn't seem to have a probelm with,since there was a moment when they nearly ran out of food!) and made comments like Dana Cowan's complaint about the food being"80% bread". Um,I may not be a big foodie here,Dana,but isn't the vast majority of hor d'oeurves based on bread or pastry? Also,$350 is not alot of money to make snacks for 60 people and if each chef had only made one dish(instead of some of them making two or three),the big bitch would've been about lack of variety. As it was,the judges griped about the food not looking pretty and being very basic,like Hung's salmon mousse on cucumber.

Hung is a major twit at times but his ardent defense of his food was amusing,especially when he started to recite historical presidences for the "classic" dishes he prepared. I have no idea if he's right about what was served 300 years ago but his spirited arguments were admirable,just for the entertainment value alone.

Judge Tom was very unfair to Brian,saying that he really didn't take charge and wasn't acting like an "executive chef". Brian responded with"I was supposed to be team leader..they(the other contestants)were not my line chefs,or my sous chefs." Brian was told that he was to be a team leader and his idea of that was to get everyone's plans for the menu together and keep on budget,plus taste testing ,which he did do. In fact,a dessert plate was planned by Sara and Casey and chucked at the last minute due to it becoming a mess(why these folks have such trouble with desserts is totally beyond me). Just the other week,there was talk at the Judges' table about not putting out food that was substandard and when that was done here,Brian was totally hosed for it.

This lead to Howie throwing down the gauntlet and telling the judges that he wanted to withdraw from the competition so that Brian wouldn't be kicked off there. Howie was already in the weeds from the QF and both of his snacks from the party didn't go over too well with the judges so it was just a matter of saving face with him.

Padma,however,seemed to be put offcourse by his statement and scolded"That's not your decision,Howie-it's the judges!" Oh,please-you guys let Mia quit last season,don't give me that! Howie was sent packing,in a pointlessly post JT discussion way. Howie was a tough customer but I respect him for sticking to his guns and trying to be a real team player towards the end,which is what a Top Chef is supposed to do. Next week, we get Anthony Bourdain as guest judge, which should be fun.

Tim Gunn's Guide to Style had a special airing last night and will be in it's regular timeslot at ten o'clock tonight. I've been a fan of TLC's What Not To Wear and compared to Clinton and Stacey(who I totally adore),Tim is insanely generous with his makeover subjects. In the first episode alone,he gives this very cranky woman a designer handbag,a necklace made of Tahitian black pearls and a Bill Blass dress for her and her daughter,along with a bunch of new clothes and a hair/makeup restyling to boot!

Veronica Webb makes for a good co-host,especially since Tim can be a tad reluctant to tell folks the harsh reality about their wardrobes choices. Veronica is not afraid to let a gal know that she looks slutty in tight pants and a crop top,regardless of her age. I don't know if I will be a regular viewer of Tim Gunn's GTS,but it does seem to have gotten off to a good start.

Design Star went from the Final Three to the Final Two,as the remaining designers were given the chance to re-do rooms for folks in need. Will was assigned to create a modern teen bedroom for a girl with a bone density disorder that keeps her wheelchair bound and sometimes bedridden,to heal from various breakages. Will gave her the studio apartment look that she want while keeping in mind the special needs that were required here and it was pretty damn successful,in my opinion.

Kim was sent to West Virginia,to make over the living room for a coal mining family
in a double wide trailer. The folks wanted a rustic log cabin type of space and Kim also redid the dining room area as a bonus. I thought she did a great job,especially since getting around in that part of the country is no easy task,unlike California(where Will was) or even Indiana(where Todd was sent),plus it rained quite abit and the mud was fierce.

Todd had to pull together a family room for a fire fighting couple with six kids and while they seemed to like it,that room was just too damn red for me. Also,Todd whined during the remodel about how the big beam in the center of the room was in his way(it couldn't be removed because it was a support beam)and tried to do too much at once,which nearly slowed him down there.

Will wound up having his show cancelled,mainly due to his lack of oncamera charisma. That's a shame,since I really believe he was much better than Todd,who is too overblown Surfer Dude for my taste. Kim not only has great presence onscreen,her design skills are superb as well. Next week,she and Todd will recieve their final challenge and then America gets to vote for the winner. I can hardly wait:

Random Notes/Fall Preview Edition

What is about immortal men and crime fighting? Sure,a guy would want to test out his skills at surviving dangerous challenges for awhile but wouldn't the thrill wear off after a couple of decades there? Maybe it's just me but I would be more concerned about having some do-ri-me to tide me over for a century,which may be a reason for these fellas to go on the good guy circuit.

Two shows with just such eternal do-gooders are popping up this fall and one of them already has caught some flak. Let's take a look see,shall we?

NEW AMSTERDAM: Like Kid Nation,this show hasn't even aired yet and folks are buzzing about the series' premise which is eerily similar to Pete Hamill's 2002 novel,Forever. Both of them have leading men who are granted immortality after a noble act of self sacrifice in New York and will only become human again when they find the woman of their dreams. Hamill's book doesn't have his protagonist become a cop,however, and the author is not interested in suing Fox,so we're going to get to see this show and decide for ourselves here:

MOONLIGHT: This CBS vampire detective show looks tasty and should tide me over until Blood Ties is back on Lifetime(soon,I hope!). It may seem like a combo of Forever Knight and Angel but let's give it a chance,folks. Here to explain the vampire mythos of the show is Mick St. John himself:


Pop Culture Diva said...

I totally miss the Tim Gunn show. I adore him. He's so upright and tasteful. Veronica Webb has always been bitchy to me. Maybe that's what made her a top model for a few years. I'll have to ctach it in reruns. I am a devotee of What Not To Wear too.

lady t said...

Yeah,Webb did seem very comfy with the bitch mode there,but not too strident,which will work well with Tim,I think.