TOP CHEF: Bachelor/Ette Party - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

TOP CHEF: Bachelor/Ette Party

August 27, 2009 by  

Can I just say that two episodes in and I’m already loving this season? I felt like last season was a little bit of a dud (minus Carla and Fabio), but this one feels fresh and fun and like there’s a LOT of talent. Of course, that said, I’ve picked an early top three—Kevin, Jill, and Michael V. I think that last spot will be a bit of a toss-up. How about you guys? Any early faves or people that you really think came to play?

This whole Vegas thing has really added a lot to the competitions, I think. I loved the craps quickfire challenge, and how everyone actually looked excited during the standing around and rolling part. And it was just a really clever idea. And besides that, the $15K really does “raise the stakes” or “up the ante” or whatever other gambling pun you want to insert here.

I think this quickfire was also when I realized that there are a lot of people in this competition who are really, REALLY good at plate presentation, which I think was kind of lacking last year. Mattin’s soup thing was SO cool looking, and Kevin’s egg looked cool, and even though Bryan V. was in the bottom, his LOOKED neat too. I’m just pretty impressed all around, and since I mostly watch this show for the artistry of it, and not so much for the love of food, that’s a big deal for me.

I was probably a little less excited about the elimination challenge, but I suppose the bachelor/bachelorette party thing had to happen sometime, so it might as well be early, and the pairing with shots was something kind of different. But you know, I just really wasn’t crazy about that bride.

Plus, I kind of feel like I’m getting beaten over the head with editing and talking heads, especially about Michael and Bryan. It’s like, oh really, Top Chef? They’re brothers? And they’re competitive? Are they brothers who are competing with each other? BECAUSE I’M NOT SURE I GET IT YET! Why don’t you tell me some more?

Ashley was an interesting character for me this week, and I had a lot of mixed feelings about her. (Ashley is, for those keeping track, the girl who looks exactly like Ryan Adams.) I’ve been trying to think of a way to say this as non-politically as possible, since that’s how we like to roll at the GMMR, but gay marriage is such a political issue that it’s practically impossible. However, Top Chef really “went there” this week, so I’m going to go forward with this. Let me say as a disclaimer though, that it’s fine to agree or disagree with Ashley’s stance and opinions, but that we’re here to talk about TV and people on TV, and not about the finer points of political issues, so please keep comments respectful and on topic (the topic being Top Chef). Okay? Onward!

So obviously Ashley was the vocal one this week about how gay people can’t get married, and how she was mad about having to do a wedding-related challenge when it’s not a right that she can have. And it’s like … I’m totally in support of same-sex marriages and I completely agree with her on that point, but I found myself getting kind of annoyed with her. The best way I can describe it is that yes, I think you should be able to get married too, but just because you can’t doesn’t mean no one else should be able to. Does that make sense? It’s like I wanted her to redirect her outrage from the hetero couple to the actual situation preventing her from sharing those rights. So I was getting annoyed, but then at some point, I think she seemed to get a grip on her emotions and she basically said the same thing, that the couple was lucky to find each other and to be able to get married and that she should be happy for them, and then I liked her a little more.

But really, she turned a corner for me at the judges’ table, when she said she knew exactly why she was there. She wasn’t mouthy or trying to convince anyone that her food (particularly the panna cotta) was better than it was, and she was just listening to their advice.

It’s interesting, you can always tell how things at judges’ table are going to go pretty much from the start, and especially in these early challenges. You can tell who Tom wants to keep or let go based on how much he’s willing to teach them. In this case, you could see that he was giving a lot of instruction to both Jessie and Ashley, whereas he seemed to regard Eve as a lost cause, and honestly, Preeti didn’t seem to get a whole lot more from him, which makes me wonder if she’ll even make it to the halfway mark. The judges seem to not like it when they hate a dish and the chef thought it was good.

I did think Eve was the obvious choice for elimination, though—she just seems so out of her element and so overmatched.

Jessie is an interesting case to me (that’s the lip ring, for those still having trouble with names … like me), in that she’s been in the bottom two weeks in a row but I still think the judges have faith in her. I thought they were right in their observation and concern that two weeks in a row, she’s had a good idea that she hasn’t been able to execute, and WILL she be able to? I think she might be one to watch in sort of a Carla way, in that it may just take a little while for her to acclimate to the stress and the competition part of things and then she could come on strong. I still don’t necessarily see her going to the end, though, but who knows? It’s early.

A few more random asides before I turn the discussion over to my fellow fans:

First of all, WTF was up with Padma’s outfit at the pool party? She is super hot, that outfit was not. It made me want to make a Padma Pukeface.

Secondly, at the pool party, I was kind of surprised that the boys didn’t get into trouble with the judges for jumping in the pool, since that struck me as pretty unprofessional. But maybe the editors wanted to portray it as “spunky” or something.

I was cracked up when the boys and girls got separated, because the boys were like, “Awesome!” and the girls were decidedly less excited. Ashley had a valid complaint with, “We’re all just people and it shouldn’t matter what your gender is.” Jill had a much less intelligent complaint with, “Whatever! It’s stupid! I’m so pissed off!” Well you know what, JILL? We couldn’t tell from looking at your face, BECAUSE IT ALWAYS LOOKS PISSED OFF! You are skinny and successful and talented and on Top Chef, so how about you trying smiling every now and then? But honestly, I think the guy’s team was probably stronger, and that’s why the girls were mad and the boys weren’t.

Speaking of dividing along the gender lines, I was really surprised with a challenge like this that Macho Mike the Chauvinist was able to keep his sexist pig comments to a minimum, but he did a pretty good job, and I kind of liked that little segment with the nicknames. The Pickle Brothers? Honestly? But it really cracked me up and therein is my problem with Mike—he’s such an ass but I find myself kind of liking him in spite of it all and I have no idea why.

Bravo to Bravo (see what I did there?) for those little vignettes in the middle of commercials. It really does make me go back and watch because that’s usually where the funny little throwaway stuff ends up, and I usually end up catching an extra commercial or two in there because of it. Totally worth it, and if you’re hitting fast forward you might want to slow down to catch those.

I think that does it for me, at least until you guys point out things I forgot to mention and I have to jump back in again! Happy discussing!

SB has many interests, including photography, her pets, entertainment, traveling and writing. She does have a day job, but that mostly amounts to her being a sarcastic young woman with a lot of time on her hands, which is why she appreciates the opportunity to recap.


6 Responses to “TOP CHEF: Bachelor/Ette Party”

  1. TOP CHEF: Bachelor/Ette Party | Joe Hosting on August 27th, 2009 1:24 pm

    […] the whole story on Give Me My Remote Leave a comment Related Posts and Videos‘House’ promises shocking […]

  2. Lisa (aka LMR) on August 27th, 2009 4:04 pm

    Hi SB, great recap. I’m kind of psyched that the two guys that look alike won on either end as I like them (what you mean there are brothers on this show?) At first I was a little taken aback at Ashley’s issue with a nuptial theme, after all weddings are big food events and she’s in food prep but a couple of things struck me. This was filmed long enough ago that Prop 8 in Calif might still be weighing on her mind at that moment and she said it among friends or folks she thought might share her pain. We say things among friends to get validation sometimes or sometimes just to vent. She went on to be gracious to the guests and never let it carry over to her performance, so no big deal to me (and I can respect her POV.) I live in blue old Massachusetts where Ashley can marry her lobster, so she should just come on over here.

  3. SB on August 27th, 2009 4:28 pm

    Ha, Lisa! But yeah, the bookend bro wins were nice, although I confess that I was feeling a little emotional last night and teared up at my DVR recording of Ace of Cakes (the Yankee Stadium one, and the purple guitar?), so that might have contributed.

    I totally see what you’re saying about the time of filming/Prop 8 and everything and I agree, and I’m not saying she doesn’t have a right to be upset about it. I would disagree that she was saying it mostly to friends because I felt like most of was in talking heads. But yeah, you’d think that with being in food it would be something she would face a lot. Still, I think she was also using this as a platform to discuss the issue, which I suppose I don’t really have a problem with. I think you see Top Chef sometimes venture into the issues that chefs in general or the specific cheftestants struggle with, such as being a woman or a minority in the kitchen, or this particular homosexuality issue (which is an issue for gay people in general, and not just chefs), etc. Like I said, my big thing was that I wanted her anger to be directed more at the issue and less at the people or the challenge and I think that she eventually got there. And you’re exactly right that she was gracious and professional and did a good job (well, on one dish at least), so I did end up liking her more than I originally thought I was going to. And, you know, I’m sure it IS really frustrating for her, and we all vent our frustrations in different ways at different times, and I do get that. In the end, I was impressed that she could be so frustrated and upset about something but still manage to put it aside to do a good job and be a good team player, and I think that’s a level-headed attitude that will serve her well in life and the competition.

  4. Lisa (aka LMR) on August 28th, 2009 7:04 am

    SB – I went back and watched again…the first time I watched I missed a big chunk of the transition from the QF to the EC. When I watched that part I saw that Ashley really did do most of her venting in talking heads as you said, so I take back some of my initial post. I had thought that most of it was in talking with chefmates. Oh well, still not partiicularly miffed at her but the editors did beat us over the head with it on second watching.

  5. Nicole on August 28th, 2009 9:59 am

    Hey Guys! Thanks for the recap SB. I wavered on my opinion of Ashley’s position as well, but ultimately I do agree with her. I know we’re keeping this as apolitical as possible, but like you said, the issue was brought to the forefront on the show, so it’s a legitimate part of the discussion. I guess the way I looked at it is, what if Top Chef had existed fifty years ago, with multi ethnic cheftestants. Then, one of the challenges was to cater a function at a private country club, where certain races weren’t allowed to join. The minority contestants would likely have taken issue, and legitimately. I know that in this case, it’s the institution of marriage in general, and not the particular bride and groom excluding a chunk of society, which is why I think Ashley eventually chilled and just let herself have fun. But I can totally see where she was coming from.

    That being said, I too am really impressed with the level of talent this season, and I also for some reason have a lot of faith in Jessie to turn her luck around. I also agree with the brothers thing – WE GET IT. YOU CAN STOP NOW. Oh, and although the nickname thing was cute, I still really don’t like that d-bag Mike Isabella. I was glad his fish tanked (pun unintended, but staying!!).

    I was just in Vegas in April, so it’s really fun to see a lot of the places we went to while we were there.

  6. Kyle on August 28th, 2009 3:53 pm

    did anyone else notice that in the intro scene (everyone in the chef coats with their names, etc) that Lipring has almost the same tatoo on her chest that Mike the asshat has on his shirt? i don’t know why i notice stupid stuff like that