Thursday, October 15, 2009
Top Chef pairs up some pigs,TAR loses a good team and Sylar's back..or is he?
The theme of Top Chef this week was pairings and the Quickfire challenge had everyone chose a bag of snack chips and make a dish that would go well with it. Most of them went for the onion flavored,including Eli who won this round with a potato clam salad.
For the Elimination challenge,the chefs had to cook 150 tasting portions of a pork dish paired with a Pinot Noir for restaurateur Charlie Palmer's annual "Pigs and Pinot" festival. Both of the Brothers Voltaggio have worked with him in the past,so the tension between those two was even higher than usual.
A knife pull determined which part of the pig that the chefs would cook but Jennifer wound up with the "wild card",so she was allowed to choose her portion of the pig. She went with pork belly(which Eli had dibs on already)and her braised rendition of it was good enough to land her in the winner's circle.
Joining her were the Brothers Voltaggio-Bryan for his braised pork rib with parsnip puree and Michael with his root beer braised pork cheek(a lot of braising this week,but it seems to be the way to go here). Since Charlie Palmer wasn't trying to play favorites as guest judge,the boys really didn't have a chance at winning this time out.
That doesn't mean that Kevin didn't deserve to win this challenge. His pork leg pate wowed everyone and Palmer particularly liked how well it went with the wine. Kevin's prize was to be a guest chef at next year's Pigs and Pinot fest,which pleased him to no end. This is a guy who loves pork so much that he has a pig tattooed on his arm,which is quite a high level of commitment there,folks!
On the bottom was Robin,whose brined center cut chop was too thinly sliced and her coffee cherry sauce was considered to be "slimy"(Toby Young compared it to the dredge at the bottom of a cup of instant coffee). The other chefs were hoping for her to be kicked off,since they all decided to dislike her,rather openly in some cases. More on that in a moment.
I really thought Laurine was going to sent home on this one. Not only was her pork butt rillettes bad enough to be called "cat food" by Dana Cowin from Food & Wine Magazine but after a few pointed questions from Charlie Palmer,it turns out that Laurine botched the whole recipe by using chicken stock,a big no-no.
Instead it was Ash,who had to pack his knives and go. That was due not only to his chilled pork tenderloin which was bland beyond belief but to the fact that he once again let self doubt cloud his culinary judgement. On the advice of Mikey I,Ash changed his dish from smoked to chilled and dropped the polenta off of his plate. Confidence is key when it comes to being a Top Chef and by second guessing himself,Ash lost this race on his own merits.
Next week is Restaurant Wars,a real fan favorite. What I'm not liking this season is the continuing hate-on for Robin,which flared up this week with Eli and looks like Michael Voltaggio is going to add some of his own fuel to the fire. Look,guys,I know she's a Chatty Cathy and perhaps a tad overly sensitive but your snotty attitudes towards her are appetite killing,to say the least.
Some of this hostility comes across as ageist,with wisecracks about "Grandma needs to go" and snobbery because some of you think she's not on your cooking level(yeah,I'm talking to you,Eli and Mikey I).
Plenty of you so-called "better" chefs have been on the bottom of one challenge or another already,so I wouldn't talk if I were you(you know who you are). Plus,Robin may not be easy to live but she doesn't strike me as a nasty person or someone who keeps asking for trouble there. And,no,I don't think her bouts of cancer being mentioned are plays for sympathy-shame on you if you do!
I just hope things get better instead of worse with Robin and the rest of the gang. There's enough heat in the kitchen without fanning the flames:
A team that everyone liked on The Amazing Race this season was Zev and Justin,who have been best friends since they meet at a summer camp where they were both counselors. Zev has Asperger's syndrome,which didn't slow him down at all during the last couple of legs. He and Justin even arrived first at the Pit Stop for this stint in Cambodia and it looked like smooth sailing for them.
Unfortunately,after checking in,Zev realized that he lost his passport. He and Justin reported it to Phil,who had no choice but to forfeit their early arrival and give them time to retrace their steps and find it or they would be eliminated. The extra time didn't help and the fellas had to leave the race. A real shame,since there are other teams I'd like to see go home instead(like Lance and his pointless karate kicks):
On Heroes,Sylar woke up from his Nathan stupor(due to being shot,buried and left for dead by a hired hitman sent by Angela's old girlfriend as payback for the death of her daughter who she was lead to believe ran away from home years ago)and was picked up by the cops in a dazed and confused state of mind.
A shrink was called in to see if his memory could be revived,but no such luck. Sylar did manage to connect with her and gain some of her trust before the cops figured out who he was and decided to beat a confession out of him. It might have been a better idea to let the lady handle things there,buddy. Sylar is not the kind of guy who responds well to threats:
The mysterious circus folks rescued him from the cops and next week,it looks like the head man,Samuel,is going to try to "waking the sleeping lion" that is the true Sylar. That might be a development that Samuel may later regret:
TABATHA'S SALON TAKEOVER: A new season starts up on November 3 and it's good to see her saddle up and head out to straighten up these sorry excuses for hair salons. Tabatha is to beauty parlors what Gordon Ramsey is to restaurants ala Kitchen Nightmares. Especially in hard economic times like these,Tabatha's tough talk is sorely needed(and entertaining to boot):
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