TOP CHEF: Strip Around the World - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

TOP CHEF: Strip Around the World

November 12, 2009 by  

Man, I feel like Top Chef has been gone FOREVER, even though it reality it was only one week (for the reunion dinner, which OnDemand decided wasn’t part of the season and I didn’t need to see, EYE ROLL). But we jumped right back into familiar territory with the Quickfire, which was the old “make Padma breakfast” challenge. This one, however, was breakfast in bed and included Nigella Lawson, who is apparently famous, but whose name only vaguely rang my bell. It barely even rang. It like … tinkled.

Eli won the Quickfire, which I actually thought was a good choice, based on pretty much everything besides tasting the food. But it certainly looked good, and I thought that it was easily the most conceptual dish, which I always enjoy. Eli didn’t win immunity, or even a real prize, but the “honor” of being the only chef from the season with a recipe in the Top Chef Quickfire Cookbook. That prize is lamesauce, which yes, you can smear over the bottom of a plate before plunking a tiny pile of food on it, thank you for asking.

I’m a little torn on the elimination challenge, not because of the challenge itself but because I wanted to see better representations of the themes. It was really fun getting to see all the different hotels, but it’s like … okay. Let me break this down for us. We had two different places that inspired “sustainable fishing”, woooo. Seriously, you guys? Sustainable fishing is teetering right on the edge of Top Chef cliché this season and I’m tired of hearing about it. Yeah, it’s good, blah blah. Talk about something else. We have the Bellagio, which resulted in a Chihuly inspired disaster, and maybe it’s just me, but I’m not that into Chihuly because everything looks exactly the same, plus bright and random. So maybe it WAS a reasonable place for Robin to find inspiration. And then there was Michael’s winning (WINNING, I said) dish, which I thought was stupid, because he had New York, New York and there are only about a trillion very New York foods to choose from and have fun with, and he made a boneless chicken wing that “a New York firefighter might like to eat”. WTF was that? Also, I hate bleu cheese and that bleu cheese disc made me want to puke on the spot. Also, would it have been so hard to somehow tie it into poker chips, since it looked like one (only more disgusting and not worth $15K)? Sure, it might have been a little cheesy … but BLEU CHEESY. Right? Anyone? Okay, I’ll stop.

I was, obviously, kind of shocked that Michael won. In my mind, he and Jen would’ve been solidly in the middle, with Robin and Eli on the bottom (so I was right there) and a battle for the win between Kevin and Bryan, but obviously I was wrong there. Also, was it wrong of me to secretly hope that Michael just won a cookbook? Hee! But Top Chef has really stepped up the prizes this year, and a vineyard trip does sound pretty sweet.

Speaking of sweet, Bryan talking to the kid was pretty cute, especially when the kid called him Bryan. Hilarious! And the little stuffed shark scene was cute too. Everyone together now: “AWWWW!”

Now that that’s out of our systems, we can get back to the sad sack news of what the H is wrong with Jen. Guys, she has mentally checked out. Saying you’re ready to go home? I mean, she might just be trying to protect herself from disappointment, but that is most definitely not the attitude of someone who wins a competition. I’m a little concerned for her, because I think she’s a very, VERY talented chef, but she’s basically given up her claim on the top 4 spot and will have to battle it out with Eli, who I don’t think is as good as she is, but who I think may want it more right now, or at least have more focus.

But Eli, and his elimination challenge dish. Yikes. I have to say, again, that conceptually, his dish was the most interesting to me, and I think took the challenge the most literally. I liked the idea of including all those circus foods in his dish, I just wish it would’ve turned out better. And I really wasn’t sure who the judges would send home, because they made Eli’s dish out to be such an epic failure, and yet there is Robin. I really think that in the end, the reason they sent her home (finally, about nine weeks too late) was because she screwed up something really easy.

I guess I wasn’t shocked that Robin was so emotional about going home since she seems to be a generally emotional person anyway. It’s just that, maybe (probably) I’m a bad person, but I just didn’t feel bad for her at all. Like when she was talking about how she shouldn’t have worried so much about trying to impress people and instead focused on her own style of cooking, it’s like … hello, Robin, that’s a lesson you learn the first five times you’re in the bottom, so when you finally get kicked off for it, don’t cry about it then. You know? And most people, when they say they were just proud of how far they made it and thought that it was a great opportunity for them to show some skill (or that competitions just weren’t for them), I usually agree. Not so with Robin. I don’t actually think she should be proud of her Top Chef stint. Harsh? Yeah, maybe, but I stand by it because is there a lot of pride to be had in finishing second to last almost every single competition? She should probably just stick with being proud of getting on the show in the first place. I’d be able to take her pride in her time on the show more seriously if she hadn’t stuck around for so long with people that were so clearly out of her league.

I think that things are starting to shake out as they should. I felt (and still feel) like Eli’s spot could’ve easily been occupied by Mike Isabella, but I think they’re of about interchangeable skill level. OH, and that reminds me, did anyone else think that the stew room was totally awkward this week? Geez! I think that Kevin just occupies a totally different headspace than everyone else, and his cheerfulness in the initial waiting period stood out as sort of awkward. But his comments to Eli about Eli’s dish, I thought, gave a lot of insight into how Kevin thinks. When he was telling Eli that that’s a dish that you have to make, then make again, and maybe make AGAIN to get right because it’s so complicated, I think it might’ve frustrated Eli (understandably) but says a lot about Kevin and his work ethic. Just thought it was telling, is all.

Anyway, next week (SPOILER ALERT! Just kidding!), some people cook some stuff, everyone thinks they did badly and another cheftestant gets the boot! Scandalous!

What did you guys think? Did the right person win and the right person go home? Did you see anything there that you’d want to eat? And if you were at a fancy Top Chef party with cameras rolling, would you slurp out of your bowl? Discuss in the comments!

Have you entered’s TOP CHEF: The Quickfire Challenge Cookbook Giveaway? If not, make sure you check it out today and enter!

SB loves recapping for GMMR so much that she recently started her own blog at She is not a foodie but loves yelling at her TV, and Top Chef gives her many, many reasons to do so.

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