Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Thursday, June 18, 2009

TC Masters get Lost,more trouble brewing for The Next Food Network Star and a fresh taste of True Blood

On deck for round two of Top Chef Masters were Elizabeth Falkner,Suzanne Tracht, Graham Elliot Bowles and Wylie Dufresne,who has been a frequent guest judge for the regular TC seasons. The first challenge handed to this quartet was the infamous Vending Machine Amuse Bouche that had three former TC contenders as the taste testers(Betty,Michael and Ilan from Season Two).

While they did like Graham's tuna salad with lime and shallots,it was Suzanne's onion rings with Dr. Pepper ailoi that took the early win here. For the Elimination challenge,the chefs were asked to make a meal for the creators and writers of Lost,using only a select set of fresh ingredients and canned items that they were allowed to purchase from a master list.

Wild boar was one of the meats offered up and Elizabeth Falkner chose to make a duet of it,one with a coffee poach and the other braised. Unfortunately,time was up before she got a chance to add sauce to the plates,which made the meats a tad dry despite being tasty. Also,the yam pudding on the side was compared to baby food by Gael Greene(Ouch!).

Wylie did a witty play on the whole chicken and egg question with a specially poached egg served up with his roast chicken pieces and a banana mustard that everyone adored. The only slight misstep was that one of the judges received a plate sans chicken but that dilemma was quickly solved(his nearest table companion had been given the extra portion by mistake)and made for a good laugh had by all.

In the end,Suzanne won the whole shooting match,thanks to her idea of a "holiday" style meal for folks trapped on an island. That overflowing plate,which served up an uni risotto,mango salad and boar strip loin amongst other edible items,seemed to be a mess at first sight but everyone agreed that all of the items blended together amazingly well.

So Suzanne takes the second slot in the Championship round and gets ten grand for her charity, the VOVA food bank. Next week should be fun,as the new batch of chefs have to recreate another tricky TC challenge from the past,street food:

This week on The Next Food Network Star,Jamika did very well as her choice of food fit for New Year's Eve won the Good Housekeeping Holiday Recipe challenge. The corn bread and collard greens combo not only tasted great but had a lovely back story tied into it,which pleased both the magazine folks but the Food Network execs as well.

While Debbie was on good behavior this time out,Brett picked up the bad sportsmanship ball and ran with it,much to his deficit. He and Teddy both offered to help Melissa(a stay at home mom who's not quite used to the fast pace of competitive cooking just yet)with the plating of her Mother's Day breakfast in bed,which she accepted.

However,Brett felt the need to point that out during the judges' table and try to make her look bad in front of everyone. Teddy stayed out of it as much as he could,but he appeared to agree with Brett in spirit. Talk about having no class;maybe it's just me but if you offer to help someone out,it's poor form to be resentful later on when that person does well. Brett wound up being sent home and good riddance,I say:

True Blood made it's second season premiere(finally!)and delivered up some expected delights as well as some sweet surprises(which are not so sweet for those involved)with Sookie trying to come to terms with Bill's bloodthirsty notions of chivalry and his duties toward bratty new vampirella Jessica,Jason diving headfirst into the lemming pool known as the Fellowship of the Sun and Tara's connection with Mary Ann getting way too close for comfort.

While I know that Mary Ann is most definitely up to no good,her take down of Tara's selfish bitch of a mother was brilliantly brief and well deserved:

While I am happy to see Lafayette is still alive and kicking on this show,his imprisonment by the local vamp authorities is chilling to see. Some may be less than thrilled with this major departure from the Charlaine Harris books,but so far I haven't heard any complaints from her about this and if she's fine with it,so am I.

Bonus points for continuity should be given to the writers for having Lafayette meet up with an old adversary from Merlotte's during his time on the chain gang and hopefully,our favorite cook will not be in such dire straits for long:

SCARY SPOILER ALERT!(if you haven't seen the S2 premiere,that is)

The next episode looks to be even more intense,as the tensions between Sam and Mary Ann heat up and Sookie makes a major league mistake by letting Jessica near her human family,setting the stage for one hell of a reunion. Yeah,not a good idea,Sookie,not at all:


THE VAMPIRE DIARIES: Another bloodsucker themed show is heading our way this fall,courtesy of the CW. I'm not familiar with the YA series of books that this is based on,but comparisons to Twilight will be made regardless and whether those will be fair or not remain to be seen:

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