TOP CHEF: Dinner Party - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

TOP CHEF: Dinner Party

October 8, 2009 by  

Surprise! I know Kath told you that I wouldn’t be able to do the recap and she was going to take over, but Comcast OnDemand got Top Chef up SHOCKINGLY fast, so I woke up early and watched it. And since Kath has a ton of shows on her Wednesday TV plate, this worked out. Yay! I would have hated for my first week not doing TC to be the week Michael Voltaggio was in the bottom!

I’ve gotta say, this was a weird week. And I feel like it definitely played with my emotions, as Top Chef starts to do around this time in the season. And there was just so much … what is the word I’m looking for here? So much douchitude. Yes, that’s it. And since douchitude is one of my favorite subjects, let’s start there!

First of all, with a surprise display of douchebaggery, we have Bryan Voltaggio. I didn’t really see that one coming, and in his defense, I think he was just upset and stressed out for Michael. But I am NOT COOL with him yelling at my Kevin! Poor guy—I think Kevin was just trying to make conversation and Bryan didn’t want to talk about it, and that’s fine, especially saying, “I don’t really want to talk about it since it’s not my food.” But when Bryan took it to the next level with, “Did YOU try the food? Then don’t talk about it,” or whatever, I was shocked with how vitriolic it was. (See, I know real words too, not just made up ones with “douche” as a prefix/root word.) And I think Kevin was too, because he didn’t say anything negative about the food, at least that I heard. And honestly, adults being scolded like they’re children is one of my absolute skin-crawliest pet peeves. I HATE it. So I still have respect for Bryan as a chef, but my respect for him as a person went down a little bit.

Secondly, with an extremely USUAL display of douchiness, was Mike Isabella. Good god, he sucks. And not as a chef, really—he’s inconsistent as a chef, yes, but he sucks as a person. Could he have been any worse of a sport about being paired with Robin? Doubtful. His skeevy talking heads annoyed me every time, and how he refused to let Robin do anything or acknowledge her work at all. It was so unprofessional. But for me, his capital offense was during that little vignette at commercial time, where Robin wouldn’t shut up. And I’ve said before, I GET IT. I know people like Robin whose every thought comes out of their mouths and it is ridiculously annoying. I’d be annoyed too. But don’t sit in the corner and WATCH as your partner cleans up THE ENTIRE MESS BY HERSELF, you ass!

I don’t know, I guess those are really the only two instances of douchitude, but Bryan’s was so sudden and shocking and Mike’s just pervaded the entire episode, plus I think Tyler Florence is kind of a douche, so it felt like a lot.

Moving on, I liked the slot machine Quickfire, although I didn’t think that anyone’s dish had anything to do with their so-called emotion, and that in some of these challenges, they’ve been asking for a little too much conceptual work for a 45 minute challenge. But as soon as I saw Robin’s pull … something middle-eastern I think, although I can’t remember anything else, I said, outloud, I swear, “Goodbye, Robin.” And sure enough, she was in the bottom three. Meanwhile, Kevin never cooks Asian and he WON! So I was really proud, and I loved how he passed on immunity and went for the money. Kevin came to play!

I felt HORRIBLE for Jen in that Quickfire because I think we’ve all been there, where we just feel awful (and she LOOKED sick) but have to soldier on anyway. It was a bummer that she was in the bottom three for the first time, but I think her brain probably wasn’t working full throttle, and Tyler Florence did say it wasn’t adventurous, but he didn’t say there was anything WRONG with it either, so she probably shouldn’t feel too bad.

And besides that, Jen got her first Elimination Challenge win! I was so proud of her, and I love that she won it on a sauce, because let me tell you—a good sauce is always my favorite part of a dish. I loved the pairing of her and Kevin, and how genuinely happy they both looked to have won. Very sweet!

But, okay, about the losers group. Sigh. Where do we even start? I mean, obviously I’m glad Michael V. had a trip to the losers circle. I think it was good for his ego, and maybe it’ll light a (non-egomaniacal) fire under his rear end. And I think he might’ve ended up there regardless of the circuit tripping, because the judges, and Tom in particular, just weren’t that fond of the concept either.

While they were standing there and Ash kept having diarrhea of the mouth, and Michael was shaking his head, I actually thought he was mad that Ash was saying that stuff because he didn’t want it to sound like he was responsible for it. So when he got back to the stew room and thanked Ash for saying that stuff, it was actually a shockingly sweet and humble moment for him. Do you think he and Bryan had a Freaky Friday incident since last week or something?

And oh good lord, Ash’s Picasso speech was horrifying. I felt embarrassed FOR him. And it’s not that he’s wrong, it’s that he shouldn’t have said it in a competition setting and it was AWKWARD. Awkward! So awkward.

Anyway, all that being said, I think this was the first week all season where I REALLY felt like the judges got it wrong. In fact, when they were saying that someone had to go home and they started in on Michael and Ashley, I really thought the BUT was coming. But it never did, and I was pretty shocked. I think Ash’s mouth got him into a little trouble, but more than anything, I thought Eli was responsible for ruining his and Ashley’s dish. Ash went with the flow of a bad idea and had a technical problem … yeah, not great, but also not the worst thing to happen in TC history, right? But Eli was actively responsible for a major misstep in that dish, and to say that Ashley screwed up the prawns AND had a hand in the gnocchi so she should go, I thought, was stupid. Because yeah, she had a hand in the gnocchi—in the good part of it. Eli wrecked it with salt, which she had nothing to do with, and I’m sorry, but we all know that if you can’t properly salt your food at this stage of the game, you should go. And I think Tom and Padma and company knew that, and that made it extra super bush league to eliminate her.

As a side note, I just went over to read Toby Young’s blog (no Tom this week) to see if I could gain any insight into that decision, and it sounds like he wanted to send Eli home so … Team Toby! I know a lot of viewers hate him and I could do without his little soundbites/lame jokes, but I kind of love him.

Anyway, we’re down to nine now, and there’s still plenty of cannon fodder. I had actually forgotten that Laurine existed, but she’s been getting through on mediocrity and she might for a few more weeks. I think Robin, Ash, and Eli are in some trouble, and Laurine if there’s a major screw up. There’s always that chance that Mike Isabella will royally screw up, but that would just make everyone too happy for words, so I doubt he will. This season has had a lot of pairing up and I think some of the bottom people have gotten lucky (i.e. Laurine getting paired with Bryan this week), so I’m hoping to see more individual challenges coming up (although I know Restaurant Wars is just around the corner) just because I feel like I have no idea what it is that some of these people DO outside of … well, being a sous chef. Or in the case of Robin, talking.

What did you guys think? Did the judges send the right person home? Did you agree with the Elimination and QF winners? Was there any food you would’ve really liked to try? Am I the only one who thought that egg ravioli thing looked REVOLTING? And most importantly, who annoyed YOU the most? Discuss it in the comments!

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.


14 Responses to “TOP CHEF: Dinner Party”

  1. strunkette on October 8th, 2009 12:54 pm

    So many questions SB!

    When the episode started I was saying to myself that I didn’t really care who went home as long as it wasn’t Kevin (also my fav), Jen, and Bryan. I think they should be the final 3 and everyone else…thanks for showing up (except Mike Isabella.)

    My main thoughts as I was watching were Mike Isabella is a asshat and will always be an asshat, I don’t like Robin either but you don’t have to be such a DOUCHE (that is the only word that can describe him properly) and “Oh, no!” Ashley’s going home. I had really grown to like her and I think she should have stayed over Eli.

    I actually thought Michael and Ash’s dish LOOKED good but sounded revolting (and apparently it tasted that way.)

    Jen and Kevin were my dream team and they deserved the win. I love that he took the money over immunity in the QF. It really shows that he’s in it to win. If you take immunity then you are saying you think your food might not be good enough and if so, what’s the point in being there at all? Unlike Robin who took it that one challenge…Lord knows she needed it. Oh I also love that Jen said she was going to buy him a suit. Picturing Kevin in a suit makes me smile 🙂

    Side Note: I love Kath’s recaps and don’t question her ability to do a good job but your take on Top Chef is one of my favorites, so I’m REALLY glad your on demand is so fast.

  2. SB on October 8th, 2009 1:14 pm

    Awww, Strunkette, you’re too sweet! And I agree that Kath would’ve done an awesome job, but I think it especially worked out so that she could focus on the big Jim and Pam wedding today!

    I had totally forgotten about Kevin in a suit–you’re SO right. But I think maybe Jen should put it toward a Yukon Cornelius outfit–that would make me laugh more and then he could wear it to the premiere! And how cute was she with her little gift card? That might’ve been the giddiest we’ve ever seen Jen! And I forgot to mention how I thought she and Ashley were really cute friends.

    I don’t know about the egg ravioli … mostly I don’t understand it what it is. I guess if I were looking at it objectively as an object, like I would a piece of glass or something, it might’ve been pretty, but I kept picturing what it would be like to eat it and it made me want to PUKE. But I’m one of those people who is weird about textures, too, which is why I hate both beans and shrimp. (So needless to say, the prawns don’t thrill me to look at either.)

  3. SB on October 8th, 2009 1:15 pm

    Not premiere, reunion! I want Kevin to wear a Yukon Cornelius outfit to the REUNION. 🙂

  4. strunkette on October 8th, 2009 2:59 pm

    Yukon Cornelius!?!?!?! hehehehheeehheeeee! LOVE IT! What do we need to do to make that happen? If I was good at photoshop….. 🙂

    I think I just didn’t think about the actual eating of the egg ravioli. When they showed each dish it looked like a pretty picture. I totally understand about textures. That’s why I don’t eat coconut blech!

    Oh, and the JAM wedding….eeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!! I started crying during the promo after last week’s episode.

  5. SB on October 8th, 2009 3:08 pm

    LOL I might know JUUUUUUST enough Photoshop to make that happen, but it would be a huge struggle, so if I ever manage it, you have to understand how much effort went into it! Deal?

    Yeah, I too understand your point of view, the pretty picture perspective. And I too hate coconut. What a life ruiner–you think you’re having a delicious dessert and then you find COCONUT in it. Sick.

  6. strunkette on October 8th, 2009 3:33 pm

    1. DEAL!

  7. Lisa (aka lmr) on October 9th, 2009 10:12 am

    So glad to see you back, SB! I am very sad about Ashley but she was classy and didn’t throw Eli under the bus (where he sort of belongs.) Was disappointed in the tongue lashing at Kevin from the V brother I actually liked prior to this. Kevin or Jen for the win with a just a little preference towards Kevin – Jen is a good soul and great chef too.

    On a separate note, I’m continuing my Top Chef Masters tour. I got to Art Smith’s Table Fifty-two last week in Chicago with clients and it was wonderful! If you don’t belong to OpenTable you should as when you use it for a reservation you get red carpet treatment. We were given an amuse bouche of a wonderful deviled egg and then they delivered us the best warm biscuits we’d all ever had (made w/cheese within and topped with cheese.) We then had two apps for the table including his fried green tomatoes and a pig & fig flatbread pizza. I had pistachio-encrusted chicken and my guests had diver scallops and duck confit.

    Next up Hubert Keller’s Fleur de Lys in San Francisco next week coincidentally with the same clients (this one may break the bank as Hubert ain’t cheap) — we’re thinking of writing a book ‘Top Eating Masters’ 🙂

  8. P D Yerf on October 9th, 2009 10:51 am

    I adore Toby; back when Hosea won last year his entire blog entry for the finale was him outlining why Stefan should have won instead. I find I almost always agree with him on who should have gone home, and as for his nastiness it’s kind of his job so I give him a free pass with it 🙂

  9. SB on October 9th, 2009 11:51 am

    OMG, Lisa, you’re making me really consider Table 52. Do you remember where it was in Chicago? I know I can easily google it, but you know how lazy I am. I work right around the corner from Rick Bayless’ places (I think I’ve mentioned this) and I wonder if Art is close too. You HAVE to report back on how Hubert’s is–he has his own little following here!

    And P D, glad I’m not alone in the Toby love! I don’t even care that he’s nasty, I just wish that if he were going to try to be funny, that he’d be … you know … FUNNIER. The crime here is definitely bad jokes, not his opinions. 🙂

  10. Lisa (aka lmr) on October 9th, 2009 12:26 pm

    Hi SB, Art’s is at 52 Elm Street in a residential area and is a pretty little building with tin ceilings, cozy! One of my clients said it is in the Gold Coast area. Check before you go for what nights they do fried chicken – it wasn’t our night. They told us it is a three-day process. I think it’s up only on the weekends. They also told us that since Art was on the show they’ve gone from 80 covers to 180 covers a night!

    (went to Rick b.’s last year and loved it.)

  11. SB on October 9th, 2009 5:15 pm

    WOW, good to know and it sounds cozy. I don’t know where the Gold Coast is relative to my office, but it wouldn’t matter if I was going on a weekend anyway. How about the value? Did you think it was worth it?

  12. Lisa (aka lmr) on October 10th, 2009 10:32 am

    Hi SB, being a client dinner we went a little crazy – cocktails, bottle of wine, apps, and dessert, and I was trying not to look at the prices since I was treating the client…so it was over $100/person. It would be more affordable with just a cocktail and splitting one app but it’s not cheap. Worth it, yes, cheap, no.

  13. Jude74 on October 12th, 2009 4:27 pm

    Bryan never yelled at Kevin, he didn’t even raise his voice. He got a little pissy and for good reason. His brother was on the chopping block for something outside of his control. Kevin’s a nice guy but he was lacking sensitivity and should have known better.

  14. SB on October 13th, 2009 12:10 am

    Lisa, sounds awesome and actually not that outrageous, especially factoring in that Billy and I aren’t huge drinkers (I get drunk way too easily, and he has way too high tolerance), so we might have to check it out.

    Jude, agree to disagree, I suppose. And I don’t want to get into a semantics argument over yelling–you’re totally right, there were no raised voices, but you’re also right that he got pissy. Whether it was for good reason … eh. Matter of opinion. I do think it was just an awkward and weird situation that no one was really ready to deal with. I do also disagree on the point that Michael was there for something out of his control. I’m sure that the electrical issue was the big problem and definitely killed the execution, but Tom seemed really unimpressed with the concept as well, so I could’ve seen maybe if the power hadn’t gone crazy maybe Mike and Robin sliding down to the bottom, but that’s purely speculation, you know? I do think that Michael didn’t deserve to go home, and he didn’t, so that’s … whatever. I guess it’s good, I’m just not into him at all.

    I think that the thing for me is that it’s important to be a gracious winner and a gracious loser, and Michael especially hasn’t shown a lot of strength in that area. It’s obvious, especially from this elimination challenge how hard he is on himself and I’m sure he’d be upset if Bryan were in that situation too. I know emotions run high, I totally get that, but I think Bryan up to that point HAD been a good sport regardless of his standings in the competition, which is why I found it especially disappointing, even though I guess there’s something for it to be said that it was on the behalf of his brother and not himself.

    That said, his words and tone were so swift and brutal, and Kevin said nothing against Michael or his dish, or anything negative at all, actually. If Bryan didn’t want to talk about it, like I said, I think that’s fine, but snapping like that was out of nowhere (especially of what we’ve seen of him so far), and actually, I felt like it gave a lot of insight into what working with him on a really crappy night would be like. So yeah, I mean, I definitely understand where you’re coming from on that one, but I still stand by my opinion.