Top Chef is back and I’m right there with it. After watching my hometown hero, Rick Bayless take it all for Top Chef Masters last week and rolling right into Las Vegas for season six of Top Chef, I’m fired up.
A few catch-up notes from last week’s premiere, which according to Bravo TV, drew 2.6 million viewers. With a Sin City setting, high stakes was the name of the game as the chefs competed to win $15,000 in the Quickfire Challenge. They had to start the season with the dreaded mise en place relay race (putting in place). Watching poor Preeti try to shuck those clams reminded me of Season 3’s Casey Thompson turtle it while chopping onions. Vices did the cheftestants in as Ron had no idea what a vice was and first casualty of the season, Jen, made a nasty breaded pepper that was supposed to illustrate her hot temper. She used something called Seitan in the dish and the judges roundly agreed it was disgusting. She didn’t grasp that her dish failed from poor execution, not the judge’s lack of appreciation for her “bold move.” Gross is gross, no matter how you dress it up. Secretly, I was glad to see her go. I couldn’t stomach watching her gaping, flapping earlobes all season.
This week’s Top Chef brought a Quickfire where a roll of the dice determined how many ingredients you had to cook with. Brothers Michael and Bryan Voltaggio definitely see each other as their toughest competition, which will likely make them step up their game even more. Michael takes the Quickfire with a molecular
gastronomy-ized gazpacho (and $15,000 to boot), while his brother lands in the bottom three.
The Elimination Challenge is a catering challenge, which means teams. For the first time in Top Chef history, it was a battle of the sexes as the boys were pitted against girls and tasked with whipping up a menu for a joint bachelor and bachelorette party. And to make it even more fun (tough), the food had to be paired with the couple’s favorite shots, none of which I’d even heard of. Apparently I need to expand my drinking palette. Jennifer and Ashley are ticked about the challenge for different reasons. Ashley, who’s gay, has moral objections to a wedding-themed challenge and Jennifer finds boys against girls ridiculous.
The judges (guest judge for the week was restaurant God, Todd English. The dour Toby Young has yet to make an appearance) don’t dig much of the girl’s menu; it seems many of the dishes are under-seasoned messes, though Ashley’s watermelon Carpaccio, Laurine’s lamb and Jennifer’s ceviche are hailed as standouts. I really wish Jennifer would learn how to pronounce “ceviche.” I also hope she makes something different next week, because that’s two ceviche dishes from her in a row.
Purple Padma Lakshmi (so named for her purple shorts outfit and funky purple ribbon woven into her hair) calls the Brothers Voltaggio, Hector and Eli to the judges table to let them know they rocked the challenge. This time, Bryan wins the Elimination Challenge.
Jessie’s watery chicken lettuce cups, Ashley’s pathetic panna cotta, Pretti’s bland tuna wonton crisp and Eve’s sad shrimp ceviche (yet another one) were in the bottom four. Eve got called out last week for making bad shrimp, so she decided to return to the scene of the crime and make another shrimp dish. She got busted yet again for sorry seafood, but this time, she got sent home.
Next week, the chefs have to cook for three hundred servicemen in a less than ideal situation (canned food and no stoves). Who’ll trip up next week? Stay tuned!