28 March 2008

(Late) Top Chef recap

By: Jessica B.

Top Chef Week 3: Hangin’ in the Chicago ‘hoods

So the Lincoln Park Zoo ate Valerie alive last week. Time to kick the carcass to the side and put the group on the chopping block again.

Quickfire Challenge: Classing up the taco
First off, if I was at an upscale restaurant, I sure as hell would pick a fillet over taco. No matter what.

So Rick Bayless from Frontera Grill and Topolobampo (?) is the guest judge and his face appears to be pulled tighter than a sheet which I notice while watching him look visibly nervous on camera and while Andrew looks like he’s having a seizure with the other contestants. Rick is sounding like he’s going through puberty as he talks about serving “tacos with a twist!” in his fine dining restaurants. I thought your voice was supposed to drop when you’re in your teens. Plus he handles his silverware like a girl, no offense.

Manuel suddenly became very Latin with his inflection – but the cactus leaf was a great touch. Too bad Robert’s jicama shell (also genius) kicked his ass. Spike was keeping it “old school” with his food and K-Fed impression, rocking the fedora like a pimp while Mark is scratching his head like an ape thinking “what’s these crazy Americans up to now?” And yet again, Erik looks like he’s covered his food in poop (see week 1 and 2). If that plate came out to my table, I would send it back, even if it was free.

Elimination Challenge: Catering a block party (what neighborhood were they in?)
So it’s a pantry-raid this time, where two teams have to cater a block party with food only from the neighbors kitchens.

Blue team mutters like they’re challenged and Andrew is confused because he’s acting like Borat.
Erik’s corn dogs still have a poop-like presentation (on a stick!) but the smore bites on a stick and the kabobs looked really good. At the block party, Rick Bayless is back and he looks like he’s enjoying his opportunity to “slum” it outside of River North or the Gold Coast to mix with “real people” but with a very cosmopolitan shirt.

In the end, the blue team won, by a narrow margin and Andrew, who still appears to still be having a seizure, is sassy at Judges Table, along with Spike (K-Fed). But Erik went home because of his limp corn dogs and I have to agree that he should go because he works with corn dogs at his restaurant and he should have known better.

Next week, Ryan is still hot, Richard Roeper is on and Andrew thinks he’s Toulouse Lautrec this time.

No I don’t want to see the label:
So in this season the blatant branding is driving me insane. Maybe I’m more sensitive to it because I work in communications but if I have to see the GE Monogram logo ONE MORE TIME as they’re cooking or the Hill Valley Ranch dressing that “magically” is in the fridge and gets a flavor mention on camera or the Barilla pasta, Velveeta (which looked horribly unappetizing) and Kingsford charcoal – I might scream. Hey during Judges Panel the contestants were relaxing with Michelob, I hope they remembered to name-drop it or get a good shot of the label so Anheuser-Busch gets it’s full ad value.

 

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