Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Top Chef does the Super Bowl Shuffle,American Idol auditions and the most bizarre episode of Nip/Tuck ever

Another theme week on Top Chef,as the chefs were presented with some football related challenges to tie into the Super Bowl.

Padma and guest judge Scott Conant started the games off with a Quickfire Challenge that had the chefs choose blindly what main ingredient they could use with the catch being that their recipe had to incorporate Quaker Oats into the mix( Bravo is also having a Quaker Oats cook off contest for fans of the show to face off against the chefs in person).

That concept went over like gangbusters...not! See what I mean for yourself:

Stefan won the challenge(which annoyed Hosea to no end)for his banana oatmeal mousse with almond crisp but didn't receive immunity as a reward. Instead,he was granted first choice in the Elimination Round that had this season's chef go head to head against a team of Top Chef All-Stars. The All-Stars had in their line-up,Miguel and Andrea from Season 1, Nikki,Spike and Andrew from Season 4,Josie from Season 2 and Camille from Season Three.

Each set of chef had twenty minutes to cook a meal based on the regional foods of a major league NFL team and the food would not only be tasted and scored on by the regular judges but by a group of culinary students as well. If the judges all agreed on one dish,that chef would be given a "touchdown"(worth 7 points)and if the students favored one dish,that would give the chef a "field goal"(3 points). The team with the highest score would be declared the winner,with the chef that did badly in their showdown going up for elimination.

It was pretty close,but the current crop of chef managed to beat out the All-Stars,thanks to the efforts of Jamie,Leah,Hosea and Carla,who was chosen as the winner of this challenge for her andouille and crayfish gumbo. I've never had gumbo but was worried about her not having enough time to prepare it. Turns out that she had plenty of time,plus going up against Andrew gives her some extra bonus points.

Carla was given a special prize,two tickets to the Super Bowl. Her husband and stepson must have been thrilled,since she mentioned that they were the football fans in her household. Congrats,Carla and family!

Stefan had chosen to go up against Andrea,thinking that he would score an easy win by picking the infamous nuts n' grains girl. Alas,his Dallas Cowboys inspired duo of meats were no match for Andrea's Tex-Mex chili.

It was a close call,but Stefan just didn't have enough Texas style boldness of favor in his food. Good to see him get humbled for once,and he did take it well(especially when the judges called him out at the panel for thinking Andrea wouldn't be much of a threat).

Fabio,on the other hand,showed no humility about his overcooked venison. He kept insisting to the judges that if they had eaten his dish sooner,it would have tasted more medium rare. Dude,I don't care how fast you eat something,speed is not going to prevent overcooked food from tasting overcooked.

Jeff was the one sent to pack his knives and go,for his substandard rock shrimp ceviche. His competition was Josie and she made a hot ceviche that had more of a Miami Dolphins vibe to it than Jeff's and yet he whined about having to use plastic plates and that he made a more complicated version of the dish.

Jeff's whole problem is that he doesn't know how to focus on one or two elements of a dish,he has to keep several different things going on all at once. Plus,he had intended to make a warm ceviche but saw that Josie was going to do that and switched at the last minute,another thing he complained about. Buddy,most of the ceviches that I've seen on this show are served cold,so I don't know what your issue is other than you being a stubborn snob here.

Next week,Eric Ripert stops by and makes the chefs extra nervous about cooking for him. Good times,people,good times!

Most of the regular fans of Nip/Tuck expect some wackiness with this series,a main reason why it does so well. This week,however,had more than the usual share of strangeness added to it. Let's start with Christian picking up a hot chick at his breast cancer support group,a woman so afraid of following her mother and sister to the grave with the disease that she wanted her healthy breasts removed as a precaution.

Christian said yes at first but had doubts later and backed out of it. That lead to the distraught woman doing a little elective surgery in the McNamara/Troy waiting room in front of potential patients using a motorized meat saw(so not making this up,I swear).

For some comic relief,Jennifer Coolidge showed up to make a reappearance as bimbo actress Candy Richards,who now calls herself "Coco" and claims to have rediscovered her African American roots. She wanted a butt enlargement to be done in time for her rap video of "Yo Stank" from her new album. You got to see it to believe it,folks:

If that wasn't enough,Julia's lover Olivia died during a facelift being done by Sean(she neglected to mention the antidepressants she had been taking beforehand)and Eden showed up to claim her mother's ashes and frame her for Julia's shooting. Quite the friendly reunion there,with a not so tasteful memorial service:

To put the cherry on top of the crazy sundae,Christian and Liz decided to deal with Liz's sexual orientation conflict after their one night stand by becoming friends with benefits. It was actually a nice moment on the show,as the two of them spoke openly and honestly about how much they cared about each other.

How long that's going to last is the question,since the previews for next week seem to indicate that Christian still intends to see other people. Never a dull day at the office with this bunch!

American Idol is finishing up the auditions this week,with one more episode tonight that squeezes in New York and Puerto Rico.

Last night,they went to Utah and picked up an Osmond kid,plus listened to a goth girl sing a hideous version of "I'll Fly Away"(why did she have to ruin a Moulin Rouge song,why?)and meet up with a fella named Chris who brought a big bunny rabbit buddy along for luck.

Oddly enough,the bunny wasn't named Harvey. Perhaps he was just a really big fan of Christmas Story who didn't mind looking like a pink nightmare:


HELL'S KITCHEN: The new season starts off tonight,right after Idol and this motley crew looks to be a extra special bunch of screw-ups.

Judging not only by the promos(which have Gordon's lung capacity tested to their limits),these preview clips of Colleen( it's pronounced "COE-leen",according to her)and the lack of line experience girl who wants to bail out before dinner service even begins,we may be in for one hell of a ride. I can hardly wait for the madness to start:



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