Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Top Chef raises the steaks,Louross loses out in Hell's Kitchen and what else is on TV this summer

It was down to the Final Five on Top Chef this week,and the Quickfire Challenge was a literally tough one. Each chef had to butcher their own meat,being careful to "french" their cut(which means scraping the meat off of the bone,making it look like a big beefy lollipop)and then take the steaks back to the TC kitchen where Padma and famed steakhouse owner Rick Tramonto had them cook one of the "tomahawk" steaks and get the rest of their meat inspected.

The challenge wasn't about flavor and taste;it was more about technique. Rick asked the chefs to cook a steak medium rare and the only one who did that the best was Spike. Turns out that Spike's grandfather and father were butchers,so he had a little advantage in this round and now would be granted another for the Elimination Challenge.

The Elim challenge was for the chefs to take over Rick Tramonto's restaurant for an evening and create an appetizer and an entree,using whatever was in the restaurant's walk in kitchen.

Giving the judges some extra imput on the meal were the last three winners of Top Chef:Harold(YAH!),Ilan(BOO!) and Hung. The fellas spoke to the current contestants beforehand to give them some advice;guess what Ilan's suggestion was? "Don't shave anyone's head tonight!" Again,I say,BOO!

Spike had first choice of protein for his dishes and he went with the tomahawk steak for the entree and scallops for the ap. Unfortunately,the scallops were frozen and falling apart. I'm not a scallop person,so I consulted with my mom(who loves them)and apparently,scallops are like sponges that can soak up too much water and practically burst apart when filled to the brim. Spike should've dumped those suckers but he didn't,which didn't help him out with the judges.

Stephanie's sweetbreads won the night,making her the first one to be announced as one of the Final Four,yes! Also,she received a autographed cookbook from Rick Tramonto,plus a full set of Kenmore kitchen appliances. Congrats to Stephanie,and to Richard and Antonia who will be joining her in the finale.

Remaining on the chopping block were Lisa and Spike. Lisa,for her chilled shrimp that was Bland City,and Spike for the scallops. It was close but Spike sealed his doom by mouthing off to Rick Tramonto,who told him that the scallops should not have been used. Spike snapped him at him "Well,they were in YOUR walk-in!" Yeah,but that didn't mean YOU had to use them,dummy! Plenty of chefs get ingredients that turn out to be not right for cooking and have to dump a dish at the last minute. That's something every real top chef knows,Spike!

So,Lisa squeaked under the wire and will be joining the others in Puerto Rico,while Spike had to pack his knives and go. Hopefully,we will have a Richard/Stephanie showdown to cap this season off just right.

Louross's downfall was complete,as he was booted from Hell's Kitchen. First,he was bullied into sitting out on the relay race challenge(which surprised Ramsey)and that Jen wound up losing for her team by forgetting to sauce two of the three dishes made.

He got some payback when Ramsey reviewed the Blue Team menu that was to go up against the Red Team's for dinner service,which sounded godawful,and Louross pointed out that it was all Jen's ideas. She was mad about that,but,hey,that's the price of insisting that everyone listen to you and refusing to let them get a word in edgewise.

Louross was pretty frustrated and it showed in the meat station,as his entrees kept coming back raw. I felt sorry for him,but he did screw up,bigtime:

Matt was a mess,sweating so much that the pasta he was cooking became extra salty(ewww!)and Jen wasn't much better at the desserts,plus she doesn't know when to shut up,ever! Ramsey teased us with nearly a triple elimination,but instead he simply had Jen and Matt go back to their old teams.

I wish that both of them had left,since Matt pouts and gets useless when things don't go his way and Jen loves to trash talk but refuses to take either criticism or direction from anyone. Funny,on TC,I'm rooting for at least two people but here,there isn't anyone for me to cheer for. However,I'm still going to watch.

Funny thing is,Petrozza has been showing a bit of good character and judgement lately,especially when articulating his reasons for picking Louross and Jen for elimination. Who would have thought it from the hen in a pumpkin guy?:


Since plenty of our regular shows are done for now, let's look at what is store for our viewing pleasure this long,hot summer:

Shear Genius will be back for season two,beginning on June 23. If you didn't catch the first season of this hair raising hairstylist competition,don't worry. There's a brand new set of contestants to watch as they curl up and dye,plus Bravo is bound to have a Season One marathon before the premiere.

Another favorite reality show competition of mine will have it's third season start on June 8:yes,folks,Design Star is back! This time,they'll be in Nashville and no doubt some form of country music challenge will appear:

I may also check out The Next Food Network Star,which debuts on June 1. I swear,one of the contestants was also on the first season of Last Comic Standing(Corey Kahane). Guess she wants to serve up more than laughs:

Another June 1 arrival is In Plain Sight,a quirky new series about a US Marshall who tries to balance her work and private life with some degree of harmony. It might be worth a shot(too bad we're not getting another season of the 4400!, Oh,well):

Mad Men is due to present their second season in July. While I didn't watch the show when it first began,I did catch it during Sunday night replays and got seriously hooked on it. My favorite character is Peggy and I hope that things go well for her but if that were so,where would the drama be? Check out some of these prime Peggy Clips:






Ladytink_534 said...

I started watching Top Chef this season and then went back and watched all of season 1 & 2 (couldn’t find all of season 3) online. It’s a really great show! The drama is a bit too much sometimes but I’d imagine it would be hard to be stuck with someone you hated for a long period of time. I’m hoping either Richard, Stephanie, or Antonia wins (but I’d really like to see Richard and Stephanie go head to head the most).

I just stumbled across Hell’s Kitchen last week and I like it too. He may be a little nuts but he’s an incredible chef and he’s always doing something new. Can’t say there is anyone on the show other than Chef Ramsey that I like though so far I wouldn’t mind if the Red Team won as Jen leaves soon and hopefully the super sweaty guy (that made me so sick with pasta thing) too.

There are just too many bad reality shows to tell which ones are actually good so I’ve never even heard of half of the others on your list. Quite a few sound like they could be interesting though so we’ll see. I do hope Burn Notice comes back this year though!

lady t said...

Burn Notice is definitely returning(haven't watched it but my mom and sister really like that show) this June,LadyTink.

As to reality shows, I try to steer clear of the ones involving any form of alleged romance(Bachelor/ette,Shot of Love,Flavor of Love,etc),overly thought out "schemes"(The Mole,The Apprentice,Survivor)and just plain sleaze(Moment of Truth). I prefer competitions that showcase folks who love doing what they do(Project Runway,Top Chef,Designstar) or interesting challenges(The Amazing Race)and of course,the ultimate juggernaut that is American Idol:)

Oh,and Gordon Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares is a great series as well(you can catch season one on Hulu,along with past seasons of Top Chef)and it's coming back in the fall.