Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Next Food Network Star has an Iron Chef showdown,Top Chef D.C. goes to war and True Blood's battle royale

On Top Chef D.C. last night,Alex was definitely the man of the hour but not in a good way,folks. The Quickfire challenge was a tag team cook-off,with Alex being on the Red Team along side Ed,Tiffany and Angelo and their dish lost to the Blue Team(Kenny,Kevin,Amanda and Kelly),mainly due to their fish being over salted.

Each team had 40 minutes to make their dish and Alex was second up on the Red Team to cook,so for him to start seasoning the fish at least twenty minutes before it was supposed to hit the pan was a major league error.

The Elimination challenge was Restaurant Wars,which meant that everyone still had to work in teams and sure enough,Alex was hindering his side again. His lousy butchering of the meat caused Angelo to take over that chore(Tiffany wound up with fish to cook that still had bones and scales on them)and the rest of the team decided to keep Alex out of the kitchen as much as possible by giving him front of the house duties.

Despite the Red Team's restaurant,named EVOO, having poor service(thanks to Alex,who treated the staff as kindly as Mel Gibson does his ex-girlfriends)and mixed results in the food,they won the challenge.

When the judges asked who made the lamb chops with pea puree,it was Angelo who spoke up and credited the "concept" of the dish to Alex. Odd bit of hesitation there,especially since when Alex bought that plate to the judges,he first told them it was a pork chop! Hmm,you would think that he'd know exactly what the protein was on the one dish he was supposed to make as part of the challenge requirements,now wouldn't you?

The team winner was Ed,for his slow baked turbot with eggplant caviar and black olive jus. Immunity is no longer available but Ed did get a trip to a Napa Valley winery,plus a huge bottle of wine as his reward.

When the Blue Team(who named their place 2121)came in for their loser critques,I thought it would be Amanda's time to go. Her grilled steak with mushrooms was too thinly cut and the meat turned out to be hard to eat as a result. She claimed to be ignorant of that happening,but in an aside clip we saw the steak entrees being sent back to the kitchen and Kelly as front of the house asking Amanda to be more careful.

Instead,it was Kenny who had to pack his knives and go. The judges said it was because the two dishes he made-a beet salad and crispy goat cheese with fruit-were badly done. However,Kenny was the executive chef and kept his kitchen well organized with all of the orders being sent out without no problem(unlike the Red Team,who was working on the opposite side of the kitchen with the Blue).

Kenny brought up his management skills to the judges and then told them that Alex didn't make his dish,at all. Kevin backed him up and added that the Blue Team didn't trust Alex's skills and that Ed and Angelo were the ones behind that lamb chop plate all the way(they also confronted Alex about this in the stew room afterward).

The judges replied that "back of the house" stuff wasn't a consideration here and while they talked amongst themselves the possibility of Alex not cooking the lamb,they still chose to send Kenny home.

It's a tough call,folks. While it may have been unsportsmanlike for Kenny to bring up what someone on the other team did or didn't do,he wasn't making things up there. Also,both restaurants seemed to be even in terms of mistakes and good dishes,with the exception of customer service. Kelly was wonderful,if a little nervous,and clearly better than Alex in this department and to me,good service can make a bad meal go down better.

Also,Amanda had only one dish to make,unlike Kenny who did two and running the kitchen besides that,and her meat was a mess. Her culinary skills have been pretty hit or miss(remember the sherry chicken she made for school lunch?)and has needed to go long before this.

Next week,the chefs have a special meal assignment at the CIA(not the cooking school,the government agency),which may put the Alex angst on the back burner for a while there.

The Final Four on The Next Food Network Star went to New York and as their next to last challenge,had an Iron Chef America cook-off that was judged by the actual Iron Chefs themselves.

Two chefs at a time had to use their skills for three dishes that highlighted their secret ingredient(round one was shrimp,round two was bacon)while the other two did commentary with Alton Brown.

No one aced both categories but Aarti's excellent cooking made up for her weak commentary and Tom's performance was vice versa,so both of them made it to the finale.

Herb will be joining them instead of Aria,who flopped in front of the mike and behind the stove. Between her goofiness with Alton and the lame kiddie food she presented to the judges,Aria truly sang her swan song here. Good luck to the Final Three and may the best person win:

For once on True Blood,Bill and Jessica made a real connection as he tried to send her away before Russell and his minions came a-calling. Jessica refused to leave and Bill decided to treat her like a real vampire and show her how to fight like one.

Teaching her warrior skills wasn't the only use Bill had for Jessica;the two of them shared their sorrows about their loves and found a mutual meeting of the minds with their heartbreak. There seems to be a bit of a father-daughter vibe between them that's sweet to see,particularly for such lost souls as these two:

Meanwhile,Sookie got ready for trouble after a heads-up from her cousin Hadley about Russell and friends intending to stop by. Debbie showed up instead and while she and Sookie had one hell of a throw down,Bill took on the Mississippi vampire king himself. It was real touch and go there for a time but with some unexpected assistance from Eric(taking some of that sweet revenge he's been craving) and Sookie's stamina and shotgun successfully driving Debbie off,victory for the good guys was won,for the moment.

Bill and Sookie briefly reunited,with some hot and heavy makeup sex(you have been warned)to celebrate yet how long their relationship will last is in doubt. They did break up right after Sookie came out of her coma,after all,and will most likely team up to continue their resistance to Russell's plans but the romance of Bill and Sookie is your dictionary definition of doomed,folks:


DESIGN STAR: The Final Three have been chosen and as long as Michael doesn't win,I'll be satisfied. Funny how he seems to have trouble building furniture now that there is no one to manipulate into doing it for him there. Oh,well,the sooner this season is over,the better at this point:

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