Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Thursday, April 15, 2010

TC Masters get into a stew,A TAR team takes a sour U-Turn and Idol's double Elvis elimination

On deck for this round of Top Chef Masters was former TC guest judge Marcus Samuelson and new to the series chefs Monica Pope,Thierry Rautureau,David Burke and Carmen Gonzalez who started things off with a grilled cheese Quickfire. These were not your standard toasted bread and Kraft singles,folks;a vast variety of gourmet styles were on display here.

Hostess Kelly Choi was the only judge for the QF and she choose Monica Pope's Moroccan style of sandwich,with feta cheese on raisin nut bread and a basil,cilantro mint salad on the side. Monica not only won five grand for her charity but received an advantage for the Elimination Challenge as well.

I like some of these new changes to TC Masters,such as picking contenders for the Championship round two at a time and handing out the charity cash so quickly. This is supposed to be all about earning money for each chef's cause(most of them are food related,no surprise)but the competition vibe did rear it's ugly head at one point in the game.

The Elimination challenge was to cater actor Mekhi Phifer's birthday party by cooking fine dining versions of soul food. Carmen Gonzalez planned on having an oyster and sausage stew with a bacon and yucca mash but when everyone got to the serving venue,it soon became clear that she forgot to pack her stew up with the rest of the prep items from the previous day.

With only two and a half hours until the party,Carmen had to go all the way back to the TC kitchen to retrieve her stew or she would have nothing to serve. While she was gone,Monica Pope and David Burke got her yucca peeled and cooked while getting their own dishes ready.

Unfortunately,the yucca wound up being burned and Carmen only served up the stew. The best bit of luck she did have was that it was good enough to stand on it's own and Carmen earned a spot in the Championship round. Monica had been given first choice of protein but her shrimp was underdone and her accompanying cheesy grits didn't make up for that. David had many tasty components to his plate(hush puppies,pickled watermelon rind)but the overall combo just didn't click.

Part of the reason that Monica and David's dishes sunk here,in my opinion,was that they took time out to help Carmen while guys like Marcus and Thierry felt it was more important to focus on their own food because 'it's a competition!" Yeah,fellas but this is a charity competition and your attitudes were not in the spirit of that sentiment.

Marcus was the second chef to win here,for his BBQ chicken with mac & cheese and collard greens. His plate was very popular at the party so his victory was well deserved but his overly competitive comments when Carmen needed help still left a bad taste in my mouth.

Next week should be interesting as six chefs who went head to head in Season One of TC Masters face off against each other again. Drama in the kitchen is fine with me but I hope it doesn't overshadow the real star of the show,which is the food:

Another U-Turn popped up on The Amazing Race and this time,it wasn't given anonymously so Carol and Brandy were filled to the brim with wrath at Caite and Brent(Team Tiara)for marking the two of them with that additional delay.

The ladies gave it a go but wound up coming in last and were eliminated. They then proceeded to spend their final time at the mat with Phil ripping on how stupid Caite is and how much they hate her and Brent. Gee,it's hard to imagine why those two would be so eager to tag you girls out with such sunny dispositions and warm friendly natures that you both possess!

Don't get me wrong,folks;Brent and Caite are not the sharpest tools in the shed but other than referring to Carol and Brandy as "the lesbians" one too many times(yes,they're a gay couple),the main reason that Team Tiara did what they did is due to the open scorn that Carol and Brandy showed towards them and others in the race along the way.

You may be school smart,ladies,but you're people dumb,especially in wasting your last time with Phil bitching about Caite instead of reflecting on the positive aspects of this experience. That's like school on Saturday,no class:

The theme on American Idol this week was Elvis songs and Adam Lambert was the mentor,who gave all the contenders some very good advice,I must say. Michael Lynche wowed the crowd with a lovely rendition of "In the Ghetto" and even tho the judges weren't crazy about Casey's "Lawdy,Miss Clawdy",I think he did a decent job.

The best of the bunch was once again Crystal Bowersox with her down home energy and funky music vibe for "Saved". As much as I enjoy listening to Crystal,I am getting worried for Siobhan who really seems to be struggling to find her groove lately and stumbled a bit with "Suspicious Minds." I like the both of them but wish that Siobhan could find some steady footing on stage as Crystal has appeared to achieve so far:

Since Big Mike got the Judges' Save last time,this was a double elimination so Katie Stevens and Andrew Garcia had to hit the road on Results Night. While Katie did her best but just didn't quite fit in,we have to hand Andrew a Sanjaya award as a parting gift for his horrible version of the classic "Hound Dog."

Andrew's a nice enough guy but constantly trying to recapture that offbeat sparkle from his reworking of "Straight Up" ultimately did him in here. Sorry to say this,Andrew but it was like watching someone audition for a dinner theater version of Jersey Boys,oh so wrong that it couldn't be right:




PRIVATE CHEFS OF BEVERLY HILLS: The newest Food Network series has chefs for hire dealing with high paying clients who have them cater events like dinner parties for dogs and Botox treatments in private homes. Since the focus of the sympathy seems to be for the chefs who are given last minute changes and having to deal with picky clientele,this show should be amusing to watch for us simple supper folk:

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