Friday, February 4, 2011

Review: Top Chef - An Offer They Can't Refuse (8.8)

The long wait since Restaurant Wars is finally over. I just had a feeling that someone who originally went home for making a simple and obvious culinary mistake was going to go home for a similar reason again. For fun I checked out the web site, where you can do free and fun prop bets on just about anything. I put some points down on some Oscar nominations but I was mostly interested in betting on Top Chef week to week. I evenly distributed my points on three chefs that I thought might be going home: Fabio, Antonia, and Tre. At the time I had no idea what the challenge was and because of that I was way off on two of them but still succeeded with who ended up leaving. If you're bored, check it out.

The Quickfire Challenge was definitely interesting. Although, I don't really want to see any other challenges where the judges don't taste any food (which clearly pissed off at least half of the chefs). The challenge was to design a plate that visually made you want to eat it. I did not want to eat most of those plates. The majority went with a more artistic design rather than highlighting the food. Angelo, being the cocky person that he is, had already decided he would win the Quickfire. He was "inspired" by crocodile skin in fashion so he vacuum sealed some unrecognizable ingredients and wrote on his table (if only that table had spell check). He clearly didn't get it, along with Tre who through some colors on a plate like a mini painter's palette. The only ones I really would have attempted eating were Carla's and Richard's. Richard ended up winning immunity (which we all knew didn't mean anything to him quite yet). Dale put it best when he said he didn't care about the opinion a fashion designer has of his food.

The Elimination Challenge was one of the better ones of the season, in my opinion. Its about time we saw a straight up individual challenge. These chefs already have very different ideas and techniques, its why they're on the show again, and they need to be given their freedom by now. Keeping a classic family-style Italian challenge simple was very refreshing. Its great seeing the chefs pushed to the edge and forced under a lot of pressure this season, but sometimes you just want to see them all cook. There wasn't too much drama this week, that probably goes hand in hand with it being an individual challenge. That doesn't make it any less interesting though. Seeing Mike Isabella talk himself up as the "favorite" and then fail to make his pasta right was plenty of drama. By the way, why didn't he have a backup of dry pasta? Is there a rule or something that no one has ever mentioned EVER? If not, you would think that with everyone's previous experience they would have a simple backup plan. Having an extra pot of boiling water and ten minutes to make some pasta makes sense to me when you're cooking for your life.

The season seems to be getting going now and the judges clearly are only going to be expecting more each week. I just hope some of my favorites (Carla, Richard) make it far enough that I don't feel like I'm missing something in the late episodes.

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