Thursday, July 22, 2010
Top Chef D.C. takes a chill,Design Star fires up and love is stranger on True Blood
To start things off on Top Chef this week,the Quickfire Challenge had the contenders select an exotic protein(rattlesnake,crocodile and duck white kidneys,aka duck testicles,were among the options)to work with. They were given forty-five minutes to cook but like a M. Knight Shyamalan movie,a twist was forth coming.
Fifteen minutes into their cooking time,Padma walked in and told everyone to take over the dish on their left. That was tricky for some but Kelly managed to land on her feet with the emu egg she inherited from Amanda. The omelet she whipped up gave her the win and immunity for the Elimination round.
For the Elim,a "cold war" was declared,meaning that two teams would face off on each other by preparing food meant to be served cold. Each team would have the other eating and critiquing their plates,along with the judges(Kelly's immunity allowed her to sample all of the dishes without having to compete herself)and each team had to choose one winner and loser from the bunch.
The chefs were given a boat ride to plan out their strategies and fret about what their fellow competitors were going to say. It didn't really add much to the challenge there,in my opinion,and they should have just gone straight to food shopping instead.
In the winner's circle was Tiffany,for her spice encrusted ahi tuna in gazpacho sauce that everyone seemed to adore. Even the regular batch of judges swooned over her food,with all of them agreeing that it was the one dish folks kept wanting to eat and it looked like she might take the big win here.
It was Kevin,however,who won for his tuna and veal slices served with Mediterranean seasonings and his big prize was a vacation to Hawaii. Not bad and congrats to him,but I was still hoping that Tiffany would win this one. Oh,well,at least she's still in the game for awhile.
On the chopping block was Kenny,who felt that his dish was chosen more as a way to get rid of him rather than the merits of the dish. While his lamb duo sounded like a dining room dud,he may have a point. Competing directly against him was Amanda,whose chicken gallentine had pieces of cartilage in several of the portions. Bland meat vs bone material in every other bite,I'd know who I would want out after that!
Tamesha had to pack her knives and go,due to the scallops she served with pickled rhubarb and rhubarb jus with basil which really turned everyone off. She seared only part of the scallops and with the raw side of the fish floating in that sauce,it felt like "putting a tongue on your tongue"( guest judge Michelle Bernstein's description of the texture there). Sad to see her go,Tamesha seemed like a nice young lady. Then again,she's young enough to bounce back from this just fine.
Next week,some political big wigs and newsfolk are going to be the special guests for the Elimination and hopefully they'll cast their votes for the dishes that keep some of our favorite contenders cooking for the ultimate victory here.
More of what fans like best about Design Star was on display this week,with the boys vs. girls bit being over and done with. The two teams were more evenly mixed and given the task of making over rec rooms for a pair of NYC firehouses.
Alex really stepped up this time,not only having his design signature become a significant part of the room(he did a nice cityscape mural on one of the walls as a focal point)but when one of his team members had an accident with a nail gun that sent him to the hospital,Alex made sure that Michael's project was completed along with the rest of the work that needed to be done.
Casey may have taken the solo win for her team here(her silhouette painting of a fireman turned out better than I expected)but Alex was the real champion for this challenge.
Going home finally was the obnoxious Nina,who once again fell back on creating pointless art projects as decor. This time around,she chose to cut up a cork board and write out in Braille the fireman's motto of commitment and service.
Why in Braille,you may ask? Nina felt it was a way to showcase the "unseen" qualities of being a fireman-hon,you do know that you're not on Work of Art,right? It was totally impractical and looked like something even a kindergartner could do much better.
The design choices from that whole team were bizarre,from painting a tin paneled ceiling black to making a shoddy entertainment center with wood stained dark enough to look singed. Hello,maybe the last thing firemen want to see after work is a burnt out space! No wonder that Vern and the other judges got so ticked off at them:
With the numerous subplots running in and out of Bon Temps these days,my main concern is still for Tara's plight on True Blood. Her options for getting away from her demented vampire lover Franklin on are getting very limited.
After being snubbed by Bill at the Vampire King of Mississippi's mansion and a daring daylight escape that had her dragged back by a werewolf guard,Tara resorts to psychological placating in order to calm Franklin down and keep herself reasonably intact.
That seems to be working,but Franklin is planning on making their "love" truly eternal and if she doesn't get some serious help soon,Tara will have more on her plate to deal with than day lilies for dinner:
Meanwhile,Bill and Sookie have finally reunited,only to be hunted down by King Russell and his were crew. Alcide may be on hand to help save Sookie but her magical microwave fingers might be more useful here,if only she could rev up that mysterious fire power faster on command:
THE NEXT FOOD NETWORK STAR: Brad really blossomed this week,stirring up some swagger from his classic dish reinvention at a former home of Frank Sinatra's. He was struggling for quite some time and nearly went home on the last challenge,so it was great to see him recover to take the win.
Brianna's time was up,however,and it was long overdue there. From her misguided tips for a five year old's birthday party to the lackluster approach taken with tuna noodle casserole to liven up, Brianna's initial charms failed to entice the judges into keeping her in the competition. I am worried about Aarti,whose worse enemy is her nerves-fight the good fight,you can do it!:
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