Thursday, April 03, 2008
Dolly on American Idol,Hell's Kitchen re-opens it's fiery gates and Top Chef's at the movies menu
For the Top Chef Quickfire this week,Daniel Boulud and Padma challenged the chefs to whip up a veggie plate using at least three cooking techniques that showcased their skills. Dale hit one out of the ballpark with his daikon and tournee of avocado and cucumber on a bed of ice. I have no idea what any of that is supposed to taste like but it certainly looked impressive.
After Dale received his immunity,there was another knife pull to split everyone up into teams of two(Dale was the odd man out,so there was one team of three)for the Elimination Challenge,which was to cook a movie based dinner for Chicago film critic Richard Roeper and friends. Each team would pick a favorite movie of theirs and based their dish on that film.
I have to tell you that I LOVE this entire concept,and tried to think of a few creative dishes based on favorite films(the most that I came up with was apple soup for Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and spaghetti and meatballs served separately for Big Night myself).
The first course was created by Richard,Dale and Andrew and based on Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. That sounds like a movie that lends itself to a dessert but the guys made a smoked salmon with faux cavier(tapioca beads)with a white chocolate wasabi sauce that everyone loved. It was good enough to earn them a win and Richard in particular for daring to go all out with this concept.
Stephanie and Lisa did very well with their Top Secret! dish of braised steak with apple fritters. That gave them second place. I also thought that Ryan and Mark's A Christmas Story themed dish was cool(even if they had to use quail instead of duck)and Jen and Nikki's Il Postino plate wasn't too shabby.
What divebombed was Spike and Manuel's Good Morning,Vietnam platter that was so boring and bland that Judge Tom compared to an "$8 appetizer" that any Vietnamese restaurant has to offer and the guys were even asked if they spent their full budget,since their choice of spring roll fillings tasted cheap.
Zoi and Antonia's Talk To Her serving of two lamb shanks with cauliflower saffron puree also had a poor box office return. Frankly,I didn't get what they were going for;I haven't seen the movie but I do know it's an Almodovar film and except for the saffron,nothing in that dish seemed Spanish to me.
Manuel was the one sent home,due to his following Spike's lead on the disastrous dish. I would've had Spike pack his knives instead,since all he seems to be able to serve up is attitude.
Hell's Kitchen returned for it's fourth season and I just love it when both TC and HK are on the air around the same time. The direct compare and contrast between these two shows is a prime example of extreme polar opposites working on the same concept.
There's plenty of ego on hand here,and having Gordon Ramsey in disguise traveling with the contestants was such a fun and funky twist. The over the topness started off very nicely as the opening credits were insanely campy(loved it when Ramsey was referred to as "The Dark Lord"-guess that makes him the Voldemort of cuisine!) and one of my favorite parts of the opener:
So far,the most obnoxious contestants are Jason,with his sexist comments and his general uselessness in the kitchen(Dude,picking your toes before you head in to cook is beyond nasty!),Bobby who claims to be the "black Gordon Ramsey"(you would've been better off walking in with a target sign on your back,buddy)and was a lousy Blue Team captain on the first dinner service and Jen,who was peeved that Ramsey didn't think she could cook and that "he needs to read some books".
Jen,first of all,he's written quite a few books that you might want to look at and second,you served the man raw rice and find it strange that he has doubts about your cooking abilities? On the plus side,at least your signature dish didn't make him throw up:
The only ones who seem to have their act together were Rosann and Louross,both of whom took over as team captains during the dinner service(which is the most entertaining part of HK,seeing the mealtime madness). Louross had to pick two guys to go home and he went with Bobby(who everyone can't stand)and Dominic,who was dismissed for his total cluelessness at the fish station.
I would've chosen Jason but I suspect that he'll be on the chopping block soon enough(also,Louross didn't see him clean his toes before entering the kitchen). It may not be March but Ramsey certainly roared in like a lion here.
American Idol went to Dollywood this week,with all of the songs performed being from Ms. Parton's playbook. Dolly Parton has always been one of my all time favorite divas from my childhood and it was nice to see her again(go easy on the Botox,tho,Dolly. You don't want to wind up like Priscilla Presley,a total living waxwork there).
Carly was again on top of her game with "Here You Come Again",an excellent version of that song. I'm glad to see Randy give her some props but Simon just had to find something to pick on Carly about,didn't he? Lay off,Cowell! She doesn't have wardrobe control here,okay? Geez!:
It was hard for me to pick a Sanjaya award winner this week,since no one was out and out bad,just sort of bland. In the end,I split the difference between Brooke and Michael Johns,since their performances backhandedly complimented one another.
Brooke has been way too mellow with very dark tunes over the past few weeks and it finally caught up with her,landing her a spot in the Bottom Three with Kristy and Ramiele(bye-bye,Ramiele!). Her version of "Jolene" was passionless and as my sister pointed out,"Why is she smiling?" This is a plea to another woman to stay away from your lover and it sounded more like you were asking a cashier for the correct change:
A JUICELESS JOLENE
PLEASE TAKE A LISTEN JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN
Michael Johns gets his share of the Sanjaya for totally over emoting "It's All Wrong but It's All Right." To start with,that ascot he was wearing looked very Austin Powers and his whole demeanor onstage suggested Michael Ian Black imitating Tom Jones. That would be fine,if it was meant to be funny but clearly it wasn't.
Since Michael was the first one declared "safe" from elimination this round,I'm sure
he'll do fine for awhile. Still,I'm not that impressed with him and this herky jerky number just puts the cherry on top of my nonplussed sundae:
IT'S ALL WRONG,I AGREE
NOW THIS SOUNDS RIGHT
The Riches: Things are really getting heated up,with Doug trying to keep Cael in school,Dale trying to muscle in on the Bayou Hills land deal and Dahlia's daring decision to turn herself in for parole violation. It would be a little easier for Doug to juggle a few more balls in the air if Hugh would just get over his lame ass ego trip troubles and go to work already!:
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