TOP CHEF Review: Thunderbirds - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

TOP CHEF Review: Thunderbirds

September 3, 2009 by  

Well, all I can really say about this episode is that you start to really get to know the chefs, and more or less, your suspicions about them are confirmed. Especially given that this was a group challenge, it seemed pretty telling.

But first, the Quickfire! Man, I love potatoes. But still, the thing that stands out here is how much of a douche Mike Isabella is, what with claiming that Jen (who I have been referring to as “Jill” by mistake) won because of “favoritism”. Seriously, Mike? Are you kidding me? She’s been in the top of almost every challenge and she’s clearly very talented, not to even mention the fact that the winner was chosen by someone who doesn’t know any of you, so suck it!

As for the Elimination Challenge, I thought it was interesting how they decided to go about it, and I did think that Jen was awesome as the head chef. I mean, she definitely is not my favorite from a personal standpoint, but homegirl knows what she’s doing and I don’t think anyone can argue with that. I think the producers would LOOOOVE a Brian and Michael showdown at the end, but for me, it’s all about Jen and Kevin (and I will cheer for Kevin the whole way—he’s my official favorite). And I thought it was interesting how splitting up in pairs was Mike’s idea AND the very thing that came back to bite him later. I was impressed with Gail for accurately pointing out that they didn’t require the chefs to do that, that was something they did on their own, AND I agreed that just because something fills a “niche” in the menu, doesn’t give it a pass to be bland.

In the end, I was satisfied with Preeti’s elimination for all the reasons that they said. While I know that Mike’s dish wasn’t good and he’s an ass, he has been stronger along the way than he was tonight. I felt bad for Laurine, in a way—I thought she cracked under the pressure of the questioning, which I actually thought was much, much more intense than we usually see. I don’t know WHAT got into Padma last night, but good LORD! I was all, you go girl! when Preeti brought up the clam chowder in 90 degree heat, and Padma put the smackdown on how their version of clam chowder was better than her version of a pasta salad. Oh snap! Because seriously, the “I’m so much better than these people” attitude was really rubbing me the wrong way.

Of course, that said, I did agree with her in her exit interview that she thinks the competition this year is stiffer than it has been in years past. I don’t agree with it regarding EVERY season, and certainly not Season 4 in Chicago, but definitely last season and a couple before that too. I mean, for gods’ sake, HOSEA won last year. Do I really need to say more? But, regardless Preeti, I won’t be missing you.

So, as for everyone else, what are you guys thinking? I think I’ve made my feelings on Jen clear, that she’s not a favorite personality-wise for me but that I do think she’s insanely good at her job. Kevin, I am just in love with—I want to eat his cooking and I love how humble and how funny he is, and saying that he and Eli connected on a “fat kid level” was too funny. And that little mid-commercial thing where he was talking about how cool airplanes are? OMG. Love.

Quick impressions on everyone else:

Robin and Eli are just culinary non-entities to me at this point, and actually, I’d probably throw Laurine in this category too. And, aside from making really pretty dishes, I don’t know that we’ve seen much of Mattin’s cooking, other than people eating it and saying it’s “nice” or whatever.

I’m curious about seeing more of Hector and the Haitian’s dishes (the Haitian’s name is Ron, but I had to look that up, and I prefer The Haitian anyway—reminds me of Heroes), because they both seemed to get more interesting as the episodes go on. I feel like I might really like Hector’s cooking, which is nice after he got such a slow start, and as for the Haitian, I think he’s probably really talented and probably makes really good food, but seriously, he just seems like he’s on another planet sometimes. I mean, the whole vice challenge was just bizarre, although I understand the language barrier, but I was kind of in agreement on feeling like chowder in hot weather was just strange. But, it does seem to be working out for him.

I said last week that I thought Jessie could become a Carla-type character, starting off slow as she adjusted to competition and then picking up steam, and she still might, but girl’s gonna have to get it together soon. I hold out a little hope for her because her ideas seem decent, but she just cannot execute. And something else I noticed was that she made two soups in this episode. Billy (who is most assuredly NOT a cook) always jokes about going on these shows and just throwing all of the ingredients together into a smoothie and seeing how far he can go. Essentially, soup is a hot smoothie. I mean, I’m not WRONG, am I? I mean, I LOVE soup and could eat it all winter long, but a competition is a competition and make something else! And because it has to be said, in the long tradition of Top Chef talking heads, “This is Top CHEF, it’s not Top SOUP!”

Who does that leave? Ah, yes—well, Mike continues to be Mike, and the Voltaggios continue to be intense and awesome. We don’t often see Tom as impressed as he was with Michael’s slab bacon/pork belly dish, and that was pretty cute. I definitely see Michael in the top three—he’s kicking butt already.

Ashley just kind of hung out this week, but it was nice to see her in the top for the Quickfire, and Ash was too funny with his ice cream that wouldn’t freeze and calling it custard. I like his go-with-the-flow style, and it’s really working for him (since he was also in the top for the QF). Plus, I think he has a nice personality and I’d like to see him hang in for awhile.

What did you guys think? Did you get a tiny bit emotional at the speech the military guy gave them at the end? Did the previews give you higher hopes for a Mike Isabella freak out that ended up being pretty anticlimactic? Who is emerging as your favorite? And did you agree with Preeti’s elimination? Discuss!

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.


5 Responses to “TOP CHEF Review: Thunderbirds”

  1. Patty on September 3rd, 2009 3:58 pm

    Mike Isablella is an ass. I hope he sticks around awhile to give the clip shows some stuff.

    Reality shows are not my favorite in the beginning in general. There are too many contestants and I can’t remember anyone’s name and some of the people you have to wonder how they even made it to the show. I am having a hell of a time understanding almost everyone this year. Is it me or does it seem like everyone kind of mumbles? Maybe I am going def in my old age. But I know that’s not true because I can’t hear that rat dog’s nails tapping down the hall next door.

    I like Yukon Cornealious and I am not sure what his real name is but I know you know how I am takling about.

  2. samsmom on September 3rd, 2009 5:30 pm

    Mike I. needs to go. He is an ass. Can’t stand him. His idea to split into teams was only really so he could pair up with Mike V. to make himself look better and I am glad it did not work out the way he planned. I haven’t really learned any names yeat except Jen (who I like) and the brothers V. I liked the pulled pork and potato salad guys last night. I really wish the military personel didn’t clap for the chefs; I would have liked to see the chefs thank and clap for the military. I am really liking this season and am hoping it doesn’t turn out like last season with Hosea winning or S2 with Ilan winning.

  3. Katie on September 3rd, 2009 8:31 pm

    I think Jen, Kevin, and the two brothers are the front runners.

  4. Lisa (aka lmr) on September 4th, 2009 8:15 am

    Nice recap, SB. Couple of random things…I think Eli did the potato salad and it rocked so I say he deserved a better edit. I like Jen actually. I think she killed in the chef de cuisine role and in what would have been a surprising move should have won. At the very least she should have been brought out with the winners to be recognized. However, I do not understand how wht were probably fabulous mussels n a smear of potato wins a potato comp, just saying. I used to love chef Tom but he is all kinds of cranky this year as was Padma this week. Lighten up folks. In fairness to Jessie on the two soup front, the chowder was Ron’s idea. They touched on as a group making this an American theme…the southern guys did southern barbecue…the Hector team did southwest chili…so the New England chowder made sense and it made the Boston kid very happy (as a Bostonian, we eat chowdah in the summah). I never like pasta sslad and am not sure I ever had one I liked, to me it is always bland so bad idea. Plus you need a metric ton of spice to give flavor to twenty five pounds of bowtie pasta. I respect Preeti and Laurine, though, for refusing to throw one another under the bus. But in the end, Preeti has made a few too many missteps so c’est la vie. Lastly, I share your Kevin love. He’s humble, funny, and competent – a very nice combination.

  5. ruth on September 9th, 2009 1:37 am

    hi! i was looking for a review article of this episode and yours is just perfect! although i must add, i believe it was tom who mentioned that ron and jessie’s version of clam chowder was better than preethi’s lame excuse for a pasta salad. i’ll watch again but i think it was tom who said that!

    also i was really surprised as well. that questioning was freaking INTENSE! i think they just didnt’ like her. or they got sick of people thinking their food was fine cuisine. PERHAPS, it might taste good in a “hey kids i cooked this for you,” but not in a “gourmet, designer fine cousine” kind of way. like kind of like a gucci bag versus a $10 fake leather bag. okay i killed it but you know what i mean lol, i think. i also have gotten a crush on michael. i want to meet him in person! and hope he likes me back too <3