Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Top Chef TX and Work of Art split a double elimination while TAR finishes it's latest run

The Quickfire on this week's Top Chef Texas allowed the contenders to get a little liquored up,as Padma and special guest judge Tim Love(a previous contestant on Top Chef Masters)had everyone taste different brands of tequila.

Each of them were to make a dish that went well with one of the tequilas and while immunity was not on the table,the chance to win five grand was.

Ty-Lor was still bummed about his steaks from the last challenge,so winning this Quickfire was the perfect pick-me-up for his spirits. He went with steamed clams with a Thai style of caramel fish sauce that hit the spot for Tim Love.

After that,the chefs were paired off into teams of two for the Elimination Challenge,which was to cook a "game dinner" for Tim Love and the judges,plus several prominent chefs. The game in question referred to certain wildlife proteins,such as boar,duck and elk.

The winning team was selected by the judges and awarded ten thousand dollars to divide up,while the losing teams would be chosen by the contestants(who ate in the kitchen)and the judges would decide which couple would be sent home.

There was only one team that the judges unanimously agreed was the best of the bunch and that was Ty-Lor and Edward. They had quail as their meat and serving it with pickled cherries and eggplant allowed the bird to be the star of the dish.

It was nice to see Ty-Lor bag a double win in this round,after that whole hassle with the steak and the decency that he showed in refusing to throw anyone under the bus for that mess. Too bad one of his other competitors didn't take a cue from him on that front.

Yes,Heather,I'm looking at you here. The main reason that your duck dish with Beverley wound up in the Bottom Three was your inability to let past grievances go and learn to work with someone rather than insist on being in charge.

You were the one who dictated how the duck should be cooked and the judges were disappointed in the lack of crispy skin,plus the pickled cherries with the polenta was just a real mess on the plate. Furthermore,your accusing Beverly of a "poor work ethic" and resentment over how long it took her to get the shrimp ready for the last challenge was ridiculous-why are you still upset over a challenge that you WON?! That was badly done,Heather-badly done indeed!

Meanwhile,Grayson and Chris C. had plenty to worry about with their elk. The meat was decently seasoned with juniper but most of the other elements were pretty bland.

Chris had tried to make the sweet potatoes fancy by cutting them in a chain link fence manner but the execution was sorely lacking. Substance over style was more important for the judges this round.

Speaking of substance,it was the crucial element that had Dakota and Nyesha packing their knives to go home(with a pit stop at Last Chance Kitchen). Dakota had more experience with venison,so Nyesha left that part of the meal under her control.

Unfortunately,the meat was served raw,a major no-no. Since I've already seen Nyesha on the new Food Network series Chef Hunter,I'm sure that she's doing well at her new job but it would be great if she also made it back into the TC competition. We shall see.

It was a night of double eliminations on Bravo as Work of Art sent their Top Five to Cold Springs,NY for their next to last challenge. They had to find a local resident who would let them be the focus of a portrait done in that artist's special style.

Two people were sent home while the remaining three would head onward to the finale and a major gallery show to determine the winner. It was interesting to see how each artist's subject for their portrait reflected strongly on their personality.

For example,Young ran into another artist and paid him $200 to paint his portrait. As the painting was being created,Young took photos of the man and used them to make a counterpoint piece displayed on planks of wood.

It wasn't my favorite portrait but the juxtaposition of order and chaos,along with the meeting of the minds from each generation gave a sweet meta vibe to the entire display. Young made it to the finale,not a real surprise but this piece made me feel that he truly earned his spot.

Kymia will be joining him and she was declared the winner of this challenge as well. She chose a married couple who runs an antique store and had them posed in an ice skating position similar to the old fashioned couple on the music box that she bought from them(the box was displayed with the painting).

The couple's oddball sweetness clicked with Kymia,who really did them justice and kept to her own funky style to boot. She's really grown on me during this competition and her show should be something cool to check out.

Sara Jimenez has also become one to watch for me as well and I was thrilled to see her make the Final Three. As a person of substance herself,choosing a fireman with fifty eight years of service for her portrait made perfect sense.

I liked how she punched out his portrait onto a piece of metal and then placed a string of metal name-tags next to it,one for every year that he's been on the job.

For some strange reason,most of the judges didn't like that aspect,with Judge Bill saying that it came off like "a homage to his service." What is wrong with that? Many people are defined by their jobs and that was appropriate to this subject.

Thankfully,Lola went home for her alleged portrait of a pair of coin collectors. I say alleged,since the piece was made up of images of money and a letter that she wrote to her subjects. During her preview with Simon,he pointed out the need to see the people in her piece and she added a tiny picture of the guys with a tin foil wraparound that was quickly overlooked.

It didn't help matters during the critique when Lola tried to call Dusty out on his portrait(more on that in a minute)and her crying jag about how she didn't want to leave because her work was better than other people's and that she was coming across as a bitch. Hey,she said it,not me! She should have left sooner,but let's be glad that Lola is gone at last.

Dusty was sent home,also,for his candy coated portrait of a little girl. It was nice enough,but the M&Ms kept falling off(which the judges liked and that Lola insisted wasn't meant to be part of his artistic expression. Maybe shutting up would have helped you out there,hon. Then again,maybe not).

So,in the end,one artist portrayed another one while the dad displayed a daughter and the outsider fitted right in with the odd couple,plus the steady hand honored an elder.

As for Lola,to reference a little Star Wars there-if money is all that she loves,that's what she'll receive(just not from this show). The finale is next week and may the best person win!

The Amazing Race had it's last leg of the season in Atlanta where the three teams had to use a flight simulator,visit Margaret Mitchell's house for a typing challenge and a memory climbing map in order to reach the finish line.

Ernie and Cindy won,promising to use some of the money for charitable purposes. While they weren't my favorite team,they did seem to learn a little patience from their time on the race and I wish them well.

I was rooting for Marcus and Amani,but that flight simulator ate up most of their time and caused them to come in third place. However,Amani had a very positive attitude about their experience which showed that she and Marcus were the true champions in spirit and poise. Congrats to Cindy and Ernie and the other teams and here's looking forward to next year:


THE NEXT IRON CHEF: The finale is this Sunday night and it's Geoffrey Zarakian vs. Elizabeth Falkner for the win. I'm rooting for Falkner but either way it goes,this should be a great match-up:

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