Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Thursday, August 06, 2009

TC Masters go vegan,more True Blood troubles and the Next Food Network Star is...

For round two of the Top Chef Masters Championships,the Quickfire Challenge was to make a gourmet hamburger with a side to match. Amongst the judging panel for this QF was Morgan Spurlock(Super Size Me)and former TC contender Spike. Anita Lo took an out of the box approach,with a cheddar cheese soup that had grilled burger,ketchup crouton and some bacon fried onion rings.

It didn't go over well with the panel at all;Spike's assessment was that it tasted like "boiled meat." Not of the good there!

Michael Chiarello wowed the group with his "hamburger enorme",basically a huge burger made with chuck ground(which does make it juicy)and some truffle potato chips as the side. It sure looked like a tasty meal to me.

The Elimination Challenge was particularly hard this time,due to the dietary restrictions set by Zooey Deschanel who was the hostess of the lunch party that the chefs would be cooking for. Zooey is a major vegan(no dairy,meat,eggs),plus she has a gluten allergy so no wheat and on of top,no soy! Art Smith was freaking out,big time.

Hubert Keller did very well here,starting the meal off with a white gazpacho that rocked Zooey's palate. He had a little difficulty with service,due to a couple of dropped shooter glasses but like the Boys Scouts,Hubert was prepared for just such a dilemma.

The dish that pleased everyone was a quinoa pasta(quinoa is a plant that's used as a gluten free substitute for flour and wheat)with salsa verde and cherry tomatoes made by Michael Chiarello. Even though the pasta was store bought,it was acceptable to the judges and praised for it's flavorful taste.

Art Smith,however,had some explaining to do about his dud of a dessert. He brought some frozen rice milk and mixed it with fresh strawberries,which was not much of a cooking performance. Also,the rice milk had a grainy aftertaste,which bummed out the lunch guests and the judges were wondering why Art didn't make a sorbet instead.

While Art did get some credit for his almond brittle,he wound up having to pack his knives and go. Sorry,buddy,but you got a little too flustered here.

Round three is next week,and the remaining chefs will have a few extra helping hands for the Elimination Challenge that are real old pros:

Congratulations to Melissa D'Arabian,the winner of this season's Next Food Network Star! She really deserved to win,having shown that she did have the chops in the kitchen,plus her four step chicken recipe that was demonstrated in the pilot for her potential TV show looked absolutely delicious.

Jeffrey would've been a good winner here,too,but perhaps the FN folk felt that his exotic ingredient idea might not have been as relatable as Melissa's homemaker approach. I wouldn't be surprised if he did get his own show,anyway-it's happened before on FN. The two of them acted like adults during the whole competition,which makes them both winners,in my opinion:

On True Blood,Eric seems rather despondent about Godric and willing to lash out at any available target or theory regarding his disappearance.

You really have to give it up to Alexander Skarsgard here;the man beautifully balances the cold cruel wrath of the character that is slowly simmering into a roaring boil and brings out the inner pain at such a major loss in his long road in life. He's the most compelling TV series vampire with a bad boy edge since William the Bloody and that's a high compliment,my friends:

Bill is on the opposite side of the sire coin here,trying to untangle himself from Lorena in order to save Sookie. Hope he can get a move on before things get worse for our Miss Stackhouse:

Back in Bon Temps,Sam got away from Maryann and her band of mindless sex slaves,with a little unexpected help from Andy. Since this subplot is vastly different from what it was in the books,I'm not too sure about where this is going but it does look as if Sam and Andy might be able to team up to save the townspeople from being burnt out by Maryann and her mad maenad ways:


Designstar: Tashica had a golden opportunity to strut her stuff in the White Room challenge this week,but alas,her take on the space was a copy of a design from Season Two of the series. She did do a lovely job with the sofa,which may have saved her from elimination this time.

Lucky for Tashica,Jen and her "eco Japanese" space turned out to be an unfocused and clumsy looking room that had the judges send her packing. Lonni was in the weeds with her plastic cup design crashing and burning there,but kudos to Antonio and Torie for giving her some last minute help. Team spirit is a good thing to see,even on a solo challenge:

On a final note,we here at LRG are sorry to see Paula Abdul leave American Idol. While her input on the show was of the wacky,most of us would take wacky over smugly obnoxious(*cough*Kara*cough)any day. While Eve Harrington takes over the middle spot of the AI Judges table next season,perhaps a slight reworking of this hit song of Paula's might be the best seat warming gift to await her:

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