TOP CHEF: Culinary Olympics - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

TOP CHEF: Culinary Olympics

November 19, 2009 by  

[GMMR: Before we get into SB’s review of last night’s TOP CHEF, I just wanted to make sure that all of you have entered our TOP CHEF: The Quickfire Challenge Giveaway. The contest ends next week so be sure to enter soon.]

Alright, NOW it’s a competition. There were definitely a lot of times, especially recently, where I thought my original top four might not remain in tact (thanks for the heart attacks, Jennifer), but I think that the top shook out exactly how it should have and I’m happy with how things went.

This episode seemed extremely challenging, maybe one of the hardest challenges I’ve seen on Top Chef. I’d never heard of the Bocuse D’or before, but everyone seemed to treat it with great respect and Michael describing it as like being chosen to represent your country in the Olympics was a good description. So thanks, Michael, I guess I can’t say you never did anything for me.

Speaking of Michael (UGH, do we HAVE to?) I like how he’s now trash-talking everyone. Well, okay, not everyone. I don’t think he takes Eli seriously enough to trash-talk him, and trash-talking Bryan would reflect badly on him, since they do such similar stuff. But he’s still carrying on about Kevin cooking the way Michael cooks on his day off (eye roll), and he’s started in on Jen and how she started off strong but has nowhere to go now. Which, naturally, made me EXTRA proud when Jen won the Quickfire. You go girl! She really needed that. Also, meats inside meats inside meats kind of grosses me out. Turducken? Barf. I know lots of people enjoy that sort of thing, but I am not one of them. Also, food on mirrors? Sort of weird. Apparently this week is, for me, all about NOT wanting to expand my horizons.

I had a little moment of loving Kevin and Bryan equally while Kevin was asking for help doing sous vide. I love Kevin for deciding that was the most appropriate way to cook the meat for this particular challenge and not having so much pride that he couldn’t ask for help and say, hey, I don’t know how to do this, can you help? And I loved Bryan for helping him, and in his talking head saying, yeah, this is a competition but we’re chefs and that’s about sharing what you know. Everyone doesn’t feel that way, Michael might not feel that way, but I do. I have a lot of respect for that. And at this point, they’re my top two.

It was REALLY interesting to hear the critique at the dining table, because a lot of times on Top Chef, and especially with the talent this season, it’s really easy to start thinking that the cheftestants are rock stars at the top of their game, when in reality they’re kind of still just starting out and there are a lot of people ahead of them in the culinary world that we just don’t know about. And I won’t lie, I LOVED the one guy finding a bone in Michael’s fish. HA! Double HA!

Yeah, it did make me happy to see Michael kind of bite it on this challenge. In the words of Ash, he forgot the flaaaaaaaavor! (Also, for me, that might be the quote of the season. Not sure it would translate to a t-shirt, though.) Especially since he thinks he’s so much better than everyone else—I hope they’re setting us up for an epic, Stefan-style hubris. And really, if this challenge was an indication, that could happen—Kevin won, Bryan seemed to have a good idea but not quite the execution (probably due to taking on too much), Jen seemed solidly in the middle, and Eli and Michael were at the bottom. I thought they may have actually liked Michael’s dish less, but since he’d performed so strongly all season they cut him a little slack, which as I’ve said before, I think is fair because it’s usually how they operate.

One of my most favorite things about this challenge and this episode was how absolutely graciously Kevin won and Eli lost. Kevin was pretty true to form—he’s been humble and grateful at every step of the way, and here he seemed to understand what a huge honor he had been given, and also appreciate that $30K is about what he makes in a year. And can I just say THANK YOU for that? I think that all the time while watching TV competitions, and it was nice to hear someone bring it back to reality and say that. And he seemed so genuinely excited, especially by himself in the stew room. I love Kevin so much—he’d make the greatest winner ever. Not get ahead of myself. But totally.

And then there was Eli. I think we can probably all agree that Eli had his moments of being a jerk, especially to Robin, but I thought the way he went out was classy and honorable. I was glad they mentioned his connection to Richard Blais, who I’m sure is proud of him, and I thought it was nice that Eli said he was happy with how far he’d gotten, that he did his best and that when he looked at the chefs that were left, he didn’t feel any hard feelings at all for them staying over him. I thought that was very sportsmanlike of him. So nice job, Eli!

What did you think of this episode? Did you agree with the winner and loser? What did you think of the mini Bocuse D’or? And was there anything you would’ve wanted to try there? Talk back in the comments!

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


3 Responses to “TOP CHEF: Culinary Olympics”

  1. Strunkette on November 19th, 2009 1:00 pm

    So last week’s promos completely fooled me…or i dreamed up that scene where Kevin said he messed up. Sneaky, sneaky!

    Can I just say… WOOOHOOO KEVIN!!!!!! I truly love him and he is 1000% my favorite Top Chef ever. He just cares so much about the food and isn’t cocky about how good he is at making great food. I love that he won this challenge and showed Douche Voltaggio that its about flavor first and foremost. I really want Kevin to win.

    Good for Jen. She stepped it up and got back to her old self. Just in time it looks like 🙂

    Nice recap SB. I’m out of town for a few days and won’t be able to comment on your site about your more “colorful” take on the epi.

  2. SB on November 19th, 2009 2:15 pm

    Well, I think Kevin thought he screwed the pooch, because he was kind of saying something to that effect in the stew room before Judges’ Table. But those promo monkeys at Bravo are good! They worry me all the time for no reason. 🙂

    Ditto EVERYTHING in your second paragraph, and I think we should change Michael’s legal name, like on his driver’s license and everything, to Douche Voltaggio.

    Have a good trip! We’ll talk to you when you get back. 🙂

  3. Randi on November 19th, 2009 3:52 pm

    I really need Jen to step up and take out Douche Voltaggio in the next challenge. That would make my week!