Thursday, September 16, 2010
Top Chef D.C. hangs up it's hat as Top Chef:Just Desserts starts serving up the sweets plus a few last drops of True Blood
For the final challenge on Top Chef D.C.,the three finalists were given former TC winners as their sous chefs;Angelo had Hung,Kevin was paired with Michael Voltaggio and Ed wound up with Ilan(for which I pity him greatly). Their big meal was to be four courses-veg,fish,meat and the dreaded dessert-with Judge Tom and Eric Ripert picking out the proteins for all of them to work with.
Angelo had a setback early on,as he came down with a nasty illness that made him unable to do any shopping or prep work. Hung took care of that and consulted Angelo by phone on what to buy and how things needed to be done. Lucky for Angelo that Hung happens to be a natural speed demon in the kitchen,he really saved the guy's bacon there.
Angelo did make a good showing with his dishes,including his "Thai Jewel" dessert,but the duck course had a mixed reception.
The tart cherry shooter on the dish was supposed to be a palate cleanser but Padma said it really overwhelmed hers. Angelo tried to explain that she needed to eat the daikon ginger salad afterward and then work her way back. Judge Tom thought that was nonsense,saying that food"doesn't need an instruction manual."
Ed's food went over well,especially the summer corn soup with fried black cockles,but his dessert was deemed rather bland. He let Ilan make the whole thing( a date pudding with salty sweet cream)and yes,it tasted okay but that was a pretty middle of the road choice that Judge Tom called him out on.
Ed defended him by saying that he could've done a lemon curd but didn't want to screw it up-as opposed to screwing up any of the other dishes you planned to make,Ed? No one was buying that argument.
So,the winner of this season's Top Chef turned out to be Kevin and I think ironically enough,that his dessert course is what won the day for him.
Everyone flipped out for Kevin's take on Singapore Sling that had a hidden layer of coconut panna cotta at the bottom. The rest of his dishes were good(altho his veg plate was considered a little too plain)but that sweet treat at the end knocked the whole table of regular and guest judges alike out of their chairs.
Congrats to Kevin,he was a decent competitor this season and seems like a nice guy,so good on him here. Next week,we'll be getting a Top Chef reunion special(it's been awhile since they've done one of these)and perhaps we'll get to the bottom of that pea puree mystery once and for all.
Right after the regular Top Chef finale,we were treated to the premiere of Top Chef:Just Desserts which gives pastry chefs their chance at the Bravo big time. The show is hosted by TC judge Gail Simmons with Johnny Iuzzini taking the Tom Colicchio role and occasionally joined by Hubert Keller and Dannielle Kyrillos.
For their first Quickfire challenge,the chefs were asked to make their signature desserts. In a classic TC twist,midway into the prep they were told to take whatever they were making and put it into cupcake form.
The winner was Seth,for his strawberries with basil and brioche cupcake. It was nicely done but this guy has a chip of self entitlement on his shoulder due to the fact that he's the pastry chef at the restaurant that TC's season one winner Harold once worked at,so he believes that winning TC:JD is his destiny. Dude,manifest destiny didn't work out for our ancestors and it doesn't hold true for competitive reality shows either,trust me on this one.
For the elimination challenge,everyone had to create an amazing chocolate themed dish for fifty people,including reowned chocolate chef Jacques Torre,aka "Mr. Chocolate." Zac impressed the judges' panel with his chocolate fondant brownie sundae but Mr. Chocolate wasn't thrilled with Zac blowing edible "disco dust" onto the dish. A tad unhygienic there,I do agree.
Heather H(yes,there are two Heathers in this competition)was the winner for this round with her dark chocolate mousse with Grand Marnier sauce. That seemed to irk Seth,who also made it to the Top Three,but he needs to deal with the notion that this is not going to be a simple cakewalk for him,the sooner the better.
Our first departing dessert contestant was Tania,for a flourless chocolate torte that had a terrible texture to the mousse. Judge Gail issued the chosen dismissal phrase for this show-"Your dessert did not measure up. Please pack your tools and go." I would've gone with "pack your kit and go",since it was a kit that we saw Tania collect her cooking utensils with,plus "pack your kit" just rolls off the tongue better,in my opinion.
Well,this sweet spin-off has gotten off to a good beginning and based on the promos,should be serving up some not too sugary drama with their fiercely frosted creations-we shall see!:
The third season of True Blood wrapped up on Sunday,setting up a few dangling plot points for next time such as Sam shooting at his younger brother for ripping him off(some of which is Sam's fault for being a late in the game jerk,if you ask me),Tara cutting her hair and heading off for the hills and Lafayette finding out that his new boyfriend is literally a magic man.
The main thrust of the story line clean-up on aisle five is,of course,the Sookie situation and I have to admit that things felt a tad rushed there. Burying a burnt crazy King Russell in cement was a good idea to keep his wacky self in storage for future plot developments but for Bill to shove Eric in as well(plus siccing a hitman on Pam)seemed to be slightly off kilter for the character there.
Trying to protect Sookie from all vamps who know of her magic blood,including the Queen of Louisiana now out of hiding,is right in keeping with Bill's persona but things are getting way too off the mark here.
While I can't blame Sookie for taking a trip to Fairy Land after the craziness that she's been through,hopefully next season more of the book based plot lines will strengthen the spine of the series and let a more even keel take control of the creative reins:
Speaking of next season,I hope that Hoyt and Jessica's relationship can thrive despite the sinisterly sad manipulations of his mother. Hoyt has really grown as a character,going from dutiful whipped son to a man not afraid to say what he means or hide the fact that he loves a vampire,particularly with the backlash against them due to Russell's media madness.
He's a real stand-up guy that anyone would be lucky enough to be involved with and I wish the best for him but in the interest of drama,he and Jessica will probably shed a few more bloody tears before all is said and done:
MAD MEN: Sexism is nothing new to this show or it's time period but this past episode,Joan was on the receiving end of some rather nasty displays of it from a younger member of the agency's creative team. Peggy put a stop to it(after getting marching orders from Don to handle it alone)but made the mistake of excepting Joan to thank her for that.
While Joan did have a point about the after affects of the situation,Peggy did appear to be sincerely offended on Joan's behalf as well as her own. It's a matter of which method you prefer-the subtle approach or direct action. A small step for feminism was taken but not every woman wishes to follow in another's wake:
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