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Posts Tagged ‘top chef’

Due to the ridiculousness of last week’s episode, rife with gimmicks, product placements and misnomers of “all-stars,” I have chosen not to recap it.  I will wax a little on Jeff’s exit, however; while likely not the Top Chef in this group, he is extremely talented–I just wish he could focus his ideas more and not try to do too much.  According to his exit interviews this is his modus operandi, but I wish he would apply Coco Chanel’s advice to his plates:  take one ingredient, or concept, or garnish, off of it before it goes out to the diner.

But enough about that–this week it’s all about the fish and the New York epicenter for amazing fish:  Le Bernadin!

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(image from the NY Times)

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From the first season of Top Chef, the challenge now affectionately known as Restaurant Wars has always been entertaining, from Stephen in season 1 babbling ad nauseum about the wine selection for his restaurant, to the do-over required in season 3, and this go-around was no different.

Appropriately enough the guest judge for both rounds this week was Stephen Starr, a name well-known to foodies in Philadelphia thanks to his impressive stable of restaurants ranging from the original Morimoto’s (the second being in New York) to the Continental in Old City to the now-closed Striped Bass which was the gorgeous setting for a particularly heartbreaking scene in The Sixth Sense.  He has since expanded to other cities, including New York and Atlantic City, and his concepts are generally flawless in design and atmosphere, though I cannot say the same for his food because, frankly, I haven’t tried it–his menus are not exactly college-student-friendly.  He is, however, a natural fit for both the Quickfire as well as the Elimination Challenge, as we shall see beyond the jump.

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Image from Bravotv.com (more…)

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Dio mio!  This week’s episode was one that got this household fired up, for oh so many reasons, so let’s just dig in and honor this episode, shall we?

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Image, as always, from Bravotv.com, but for some reason it won’t let me link directly  to it. 

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The title of this week’s episode, “Focus Group,” naturally has me incredibly intrigued–especially after last week’s total letdown with a non-elimination.  That, along with the promise of a double knifing and a new judge meant that we were going to have quite a good episode in store for us, and happily, we weren’t disappointed:

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(photo from Bravotv.com)

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I know I’ve dragged my feet on writing this recap–it was actually one of my least favorite episodes of the season, and the conclusion didn’t provide a satisfying end for the show going on a holiday hiatus, so I didn’t have a deep desire to write about it.  While it was a supersized episode, it didn’t really show anything all that interesting, which I found extremely tiresome, but let us revisit the episode anyway, if for nothing save for completion’s sake.

In the loft scenes, we find out that Hosea’s dad isn’t doing so hot with his cancer, Ariane is feeling really good due to her two straight wins, and Fabio and Stefan are both feeling like they got reamed out in the last episode while Stefan carves his likeness into a watermelon.  That’s all we’re allowed to see as the Elves want to get to the cooking, and the festively decorated kitchen.

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Ah, the bridal shower:  a chance for a bride-to-be to gather with her friends and loved ones and open presents and catch up with people you haven’t seen in forever.  Mine was held back in July at my godmother’s gorgeous house, and it was a fun afternoon–albeit on a stinking hot day.  So hot, in fact, that I welcomed a crisp glass of pinot grigio (and later prosecco and some Italian sodas) in lieu of a pinot noir, and the food we enjoyed was simple and refreshing and perhaps most importantly, easy to eat when the heat drains one of a hearty appetite.

It did, however, make a reference to our delight in food thanks to the favor designed by one of my bridesmaids (and now recently-engaged dear friends) Jess:  a jar of Italian seasoning or dried basil (we had our choice), with a custom label on it, in Helvetica, naturally.  Her influence was felt throughout much of the day as she is an amazing party-planner, and I’m so excited for her to finally get all of that doting attention lavished onto her as she prepares to marry her awesome fiance.

But I am getting ahead of myself–let’s get back to the episode!

When we last left our cheftestants, Alex was let go for not making a creme brulee, and he, Melissa and Jamie were the bottom three.  Landing there has clearly shaken both of the surviving ladies up, and winning the challenge has bolstered Ariane’s confidence significantly (even though she’s clearly assumed the “mom” role of the house as she’s sweeping up after those no-good kids).  Stefan is revealed to have a big crush on Jamie–he showers her with little “presents” like pants for her stuffed rabbit made from a Calphalon dish towel, and Jamie is torn by his arrogance and his charm.  Hey Jamie:  that’s how I feel about you!

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The blushing bride to be!  Photo from Bravotv.com

Real spoilers after the jump. (more…)

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Another Wednesday, another Top Chef at 10 PM.  Continuing with last week’s episode ending in tears, they waterworks continue as Alex, a Brillo-headed chef (as Michael called him while we sipped on Barbera d’Asti) weeps as he reads a letter Richard left him (it’s shockingly long for an acquaintance that lasted what–a few weeks?) to Carla and Jamie.  We also learn that he’s missing home and his fiancee (and later on, one of the other chefs mention that he’s getting married in 20 days, which beats out finishing your thesis as the most bone-headed thing I’ve ever heard a groom do right before a wedding).

Oh yes, and Ariane is now a little more confident and wants to keep the momentum from the last challenge going.

Jamie notes that she is the final remaining member of “Team Rainbow” but, in a moment of smugness, suggests it’s because she’s the most talented.  I’m not sure if I like her or not–she’s talented to be sure, but I can’t tell if she’s just self-assured (which you have to be to survive in that world) or really arrogant.  I think she’s in it for the long haul, so hopefully we’ll be able to see more of her as the series progresses.  Her little rainbow bracelet is quite endearing, so the jury is still out.

Besides, it’s time to put the hankies away chefs:  let’s get to the Quickfire!

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image from Bravotv.com (more…)

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