Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Top Chef 4 Live Blogging: Common Threads

Most of the bloggers I have read all seem to agree: they want Antonia and Lisa out (UPDATE: Forgot to mention Nikki). I myself would add Spike to that list. But who stays or goes depends on one little thing...


10:01 Steph isn't really sure why she's here. Antonia? Yep, pretty sure she should be. Mark doesn't look too bad in the mirror, now does he?

Alright folks, let's see food.

10:03 Art Smith, chef, humanitarian is our guest judge. And the quickfire challenge: create a fabulous entrée in 15 minutes, using Uncle Ben's. Nice product placement, I might add.

Too "beneath" you, Lisa?

Dale is frying it.... Steph making rice pancake... Spike fillin' maters with it... Rice and...salad? Salad with rice?!?

10:06 The rice...with salad?... actually isn't all that weird. Nikki does fried rice, not so bad. And here's rich with his haute cuisine Uncle Ben's with seared tuna. Yummy.

Steph's brown rice pancakes and scallops are pleasing, too. Is there anything this man does not like?

10:07 Spike, Lisa, Dale - he liked 'em. Mark was the first one he thought sucked. Andrew's was "crunchy but clever". Steph? I thought he liked here. And - whoa - LISA! I thought he liked hers.

The top ones? Rich (Again?), Dale (And again!) and Antonia (Not again!) Antonia's is actually the winner. isn't this the first time Rich and Dale have lost, like, anything in a while?

10:10 Make a delicious, nutritious dinner for a family of four, so simple even a child can make it. For TEN DOLLARS. Heheheh. This is beneath everyone. I love what Andrew said: something like "How can I make seared rockfish with just ten dollars? This challenge is impossible!" What makes it even tougher? They have to buy it all at Whole Foods. Come on, at least let 'em shop at Food Lion or something. Aldi? Or maybe ingredients from the Maryland Food Bank?

10:17 Is that Nikki in that Dove ad?

10:18 I'm still lovin' this challenge, except for the Whole Foods aspect. It's quite possible to make a meal for four on $10, but not if you have to shop at Whole Foods. You're looking at a block of butter and a rutabaga.

At least Antonia is getting into this.

Who has not gone over budget before? And look at Antonia wasting food in order to lop 24 cents off the price of her bok choy!

10:19 Oh. That is so cute. She is talking to her daughter. Heart string tugging ensues.

10:20 And here come the pint-size sous-chefs! These are students in the Common Threads program that Art Smith works for. This is actually a nice twist. And the kids have apparently chosen beforehand.

10:21 So is it like Project Runway where the kid gets something if their chef is the winner? Maybe a pony? No, don't want a pony.

I'm curious - how exactly did Lisa get chicken breasts and all the other things at Whole Foods for $10? Was it Whole Foods discount day?

10:23 This goes for everyone.

10:24 Much as I dislike some of these people, it is humanizing to see them interact with these kids.

I hate to admit that Lisa does bring up a not-so-bad point about a curry not being best for this challenge. I still have to disagree, in a way: lots of families with lots of kids all over the world eat curries. But in the US, children are usually not blown over by curries.

Whoa. Andrew was over 200 lbs in high school! That was his motivation for cooking healthily for himself.

10:26 Richard and his sous-chef Abigail are letting onions sweat. Adorable. Dale's little buddy likes the eating part the best.

Too bad they didn't up the cuteness factor even more by getting some of those BIG EYED kids.

Picture copied from the "Keane Eyes Gallery" website,

10:28 Tom is critiquing the "stretchiness" of many of these dishes. Makes sense to me - how far can you stretch your increasingly worthless dollar?

10:29 They're done. High fives ensue.

10:32 I love that Corelle ad where the model falls on her ass. Because the walkway is greased.

10:33 And we are back. The kids help to serve, and guess who is eating? Yup, the sous-chefs' fellow students.

A rundown:

Rich's beets are okay, despite the fact that children are eating them.

Cute tablecloth-slash-coloring book.

10:34 Lisa does roasted chicken breast edamame and black beans with peanut butter and apple toast. Padma likes it at least. Right?

10:35 Dale has turkey sausage with apples and cabbage. Acidic and strong. Yikes.

10:36 Spike just loves soup, doesn't he? He also likes pasta puttanesca. Great way to sneak vegetables into children.

Did that kid just call it pisghetti?

Here's Nikki with roasted chicken, veggies and tomato-cuke salad. Art and the regular judges are quite happy.

Guess Nikki's sticking around for another week.

Mark and Jesucita's curry surprises the judges, especially with coconut milk and sweet potato. The judges are... ambivalent?

10:38 I missed what the last group just made, but Andrew brought out chicken paillard. Never heard of it, but the judges liked it.

10:39 Stephanie's couscous is cruddycruddy.

But on the plus side, the kids loved the experience all around!

10:40 Hmmm, they REALLY liked Nikki's dish. (Sorry to all the Nikki haters - I know that includes most of you.) Same for Antonia's. Lisa's and Stephanie's were underwhelming. Let's see how these people take the news.

10:43 God, won't these caveman commercials ever stop already?

10:44 I hate my modem, I really do.

10:46 Andrew, Nikki, Antonia are on top. Dang! I’m so used to seeing Dale and/or Richard win that I’m, I’m just. Just. Amazed.

Lisa never seems to be surprised that she isn’t on top, too. Have you noticed this?

And the winner is…

10:47 Antonia! I’m actually not surprised. I just don’t see Nikki winning, like, anything.

10:48 On the bottom are Lisa (again), Mark (haven't seen him there for a while) and Steph (isn't she immune? Oh wait - that was Antonia). Mark is there because Tom doesn't like him? Huh? They question the cuke. And Lisa's edamame was bland. Healthy and flavorless, that's the way I like it!

10:50 THANK YOU, ART! He is the very first judge to note - out loud - that Lisa cannot take criticism, like, at all.

As for the curry? Very sloppy, in a different - read: lower - league.

Steph surprised Tom: peanut butter and tomato? With couscous? Padma used the word "disgusting". Ouch. That's the first time I've heard her call anything "disgusting".

My money, however, is on Mark going home. He's usually been lackluster at best.

10:57 We're back. The one problem with all: overly complicated led to yucky. More like a third grade art project.

And the loser is...

10:58 ...Mark! I knew it! But Tom gave him a kiss and a pat on the head to let him know he didn't hate him. Okay, no he didn't. But that would've been funny, admit it!

10:59 And next week they go the other extreme - cooking for fourteen straight hours for a wedding. They did this challenge in season one. The wedding cake, at least, looks better this time around.

11:00 "I have a culinary boner right now." - Andrew. Not sure I can get that image out of my head. Gay or straight, is that really an image you want in your head? I thought not.

Final thoughts:

I need to save myself some money. So I think I may actually try to make Antonia's dish at some point in the not-so-distant future. It'll be nice to just spend $10 at the store. I might cheat and go to Super Fresh, but I think I'll have to try that soon.

Another thing to do is to avoid that runway again...


David Dust said...

That whole Andrew "culinary boner" thing is just gross!

Click here for DavidDust's Top Chef recap.


Kathy aka the Minx said...

:::shaking fist at Nikki:::::

Kit Pollard said...

Your reaction was just like mine - $10? Whole Foods? No.

Also - Andrew lost 50ish pounds when he started cooking for himself. Do you think that's also when he discovered speed? because I can think of a few ways to lose a lot of weight, and the easiest one involves self-medication.

And finally - tonight's show. 14 hours is a long time, but these people have surely worked a double in a restaurant, right? So maybe not quite as bad as the ad made it sound?

John said...

David: I'll never look at him the same way again >>SHUDDER<<

Minx: :)

Kit: You're right about the pressure-in-the-kitchen thing, I am sure. And LOL at the speed reference.