17 Sep 2009, 11:58pm


Top Chef 6.05: "Camping"

I’ll admit it: One of the things I was looking forward to the most from last night’s Top Chef episode was seeing whose food Tom Colicchio was going to spit out, and whether the guilty party who’d prepared the dish would survive elimination (they didn’t).

The first several episodes are usually these “throw-away” eps, just biding time as we impatiently watch the group pare down to a workable size. There are always a good number of chefs that are in over their heads, and make you wonder how they qualified to begin with. The Las Vegas season has had quite a few chefs who fall into this category, despite the fact that the judges rave about how fabulous this cast is compared to past seasons (but then, they always say that). Then again, the underdog has climbed up to the top before, so maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised before the end. (^__^)

As for this episode (spoilers under the cut):

Texas chef Tim Love was the guest judge. I would’ve thought his experience on Top Chef Masters might have made him more sympathetic to the cheftestants, but no dice. He gave some pretty no-holds-barred critiques!

Quickfire Challenge: cooking with cactus. Ugh. Why would anyone eat a cactus? I get the impression that it’s bitter and medicinal-tasting. Though I suppose it’s not really the weirdest or grossest ingredient they’ve featured on the show before. Not surprisingly, most of the chefs had never cooked with cactus before and had no idea how it’s prepared. Mike Isabella was the weird exception, and ended up at the top of this round.

Michael Voltaggio’s ego trip was rather amusing. Especially since he declared himself to be modest. (Uh, what?) His idea of the top 3 cheftestants: Mike I., his brother, and himself. I think he’s overreaching with Mike, and underestimating Kevin and Jennifer. He looked so shocked when he landed on the bottom of the Quickfire.

Elimination Challenge: cook over a pit in the desert, with no kitchen, electricity, or running water. Meal to be served to judges, Tim Love, and some cowboys. My first concern when they arrived at the campsite was how they planned to refrigerate their food! The thought of them leaving raw fish and meat in a cooler (in the scorching desert) overnight made me a bit nervous. (Though…is it my understanding that it’s pretty cool in the desert at night?)

Ron’s voodoo charm to keep snakes away from his tent was pretty funny.

The cooking itself looked extremely chaotic. Everyone was running around all over the place, tripping over stuff and chopping and dicing over small work tables. It’s a miracle any food was produced at all in the ruckus, but when the judges & cowboys arrived, the meal somehow got served.

(Did anyone see that Asian cowboy? ♥)

Skipping ahead to Judge’s Table: on top this week were Voltaggios (again!), Laurine (surprising), and Ashley. I think the latter two just happened to be in their element this time. Bryan took it away for the THIRD time with his restaurant quality pork loin, polenta, dandelion greens and rutabaga. This man is unstoppable, wtf. Hopefully he’ll get a little more interesting later on (in personality, that is), but at the moment, he’s almost TOO serious. At least his brother’s arrogant and amusing. XD

Mattin, the lying snake, was sent packing for making inedible ceviche – the dish where Colicchio took one bite and spat it out with disgust. I used to think Mattin was cute, in his red bandanna kind of way, but then I changed my mind after he totally lied through his teeth last week at Judge’s Table. It’s never a wise idea to lie when you know everything has been taped! What was he thinking?

Next week will feature Penn & Teller, and something Padma thinks resembles bull testicles…

I predict that Robin, Laurine or Ron will be the next to go.

I finally got around to watching that episode last night. I don’t know, I’m a bit disappointed, more in the production of the show than the actual show itself. It’s hard to tell whether the producers are just hyping certain contestants or if they’re really that talented to deserve all the hype. Heck, I didn’t even learn Laurine and Eli’s names until this episode — it’s all Jennifer, Kevin and the brothers.

That said, I think we should try to make a trip out to Bryan’s restaurant… Hyped, yes. Cute, oh heck yes. And local, which is even better. :D

Randomly, did you see how pissed off Jennifer was that she wasn’t in the top four? That sort of attitude really, really makes me dislike her, even though it’d be nice to see a woman win again. They really are getting the shaft (no pun intended) this season.


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