Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Top Chef 5 Series Premiere: Melting Pot

Just finished the millet, which I must say holds up very well to things that would make anything else plain soggy. Now to settle in and live blog Top Chef 5 while I start on dessert - just a plain but tasty cupcake from the library - and a beer. To celebrate the (hopeful) success of Baltimore chef Jill Snyder, as well as Maryland ex-pat Melissa Harrison, a Baltimore beer. This one is The Raven Special Lager, named not for the team but for the poem.

10:00 Alright, enough of last season. Heeeeere's New York City!

This looks like a typically bitchy season on the part of the judges. Ted Allen...?

10:02 A typically gorgeous cast. Here are the cheftestants:


Jamie...Absinthe in Frisco. Wow, she likes being creative!?

Eugene...Hawaii ex-pat moved to Vegas!!!

Jeff... the resident "boy toy". Girls and gay men swoon!!!

10:03 Radhika...First gen Indian-American, "but I'm not all about curries, man!"

Lauren...Savannah's second most famous chef. Husband is in Iraq

And here's Ariane, chef in Montclair. That;s in Jersey

Daniel...the resident "bear". yep, he had far to travel! All the way from Long Island.

Patrick...Awww, another contestant's fellow student. Will seriously fight Jeff for "boy toy" title.

Stefan... Finnish Eurochef

Patrick Richard..."the inner queen inside of me". Nope, this cutie pie is our resident bear. Woof!

Leah...did I cover her already?

10:06 Heeeeeere's Padma, bitch!

Did they skip a few cheftestants? Oh, SNAP! This is where they kick someone out, in the quickfire. Y'all suck, Bravo! Here's hoping it's not Jill...

Well, look who's Ms. All-That!

Peel 15 applea with a paring knife. Interesting challenge. Alex? Yep, this is tough. First nine to finish are safe.

10:08 The bald guy quotient is very high this time. Hosea is one example. Said something about apples.

Ouch, dude! Your THUMB!

10:09 Carla is a caterer. Does she have something to prove?

And the cute guy with the beard stays.

10:10 So Stefan finished first - he is IMMUNE! Way to go for your first trip to NYC.

The rest of them now have to brunoise the apples, "THE hardest knife skill".

10:11 And Longisland Bear is done. Noo, is Jill going home? Please no.

Yes!!! the rumours weren't true! Jill is safe for the rest of the episode (she was rumored to be kicked out during the quickfire).

10:12 So the last few have 20 minutes to make something out of these brunoised apples. Radhika opts for an apple chutney with pork. So this person whos name I missed is doing shalltos and fish. What about those apples?

Whatshername is my favorite person on earth now, after that bacon statement.

Pat does an apple salad. He's cooking the apple salad. Wait - he's cooking salad?

10:14 The dishes:

Lauren: spinach salad with apples, bacon and balsamic. A pleaser...

Patrick: Apple slaw with yogurt dressing. Did they like?

Radhika: Apple chutney and Leah: Apples and scallops - hey, it's scapples! (better than scrapple).

Tom likes Leah's dish, Radhika's chutney and... wait for it...

10:15 So Lauren and Patrick went to the same culinary school. Since one of them is about to be brunoised, it doesn't make their alma mater sound very good, does it? (Don't sue me! It probably is, I'm just sayin'...)

10:17 Kidman! Jackman! Australiaman!

10:20 And it's the start of the second quarter, and it's down to our two fellow classmates.

Annnnd it's Lauren! Patrick's going to cry. Hey sweetie, how do you think LAUREN feels!? Ah Lauren, we hardly knew ye.

10:21 The evil knife block. The challenge: make a dress out of ... oh wait, wrong show.

Each cheftestant pulls a knife with the name of a different New York neighborhood. There are eight neighborhoods. Each pair designs a different dish inspired by the neighborhood they went to. Sounds like a challenge they had last year.

10:23 And now the nicest New York apartment you will ever see. It's not the size of a shoe box either!

Ah, the three gays: young Patrick, the one woman and the bear. Ah, Richard is his name! Me likey Richard! Damn, what's her name!? I missed her name!

10:24 Vignettes from the loft:

Our two soccer fans from Europe are making pasta and getting competitive. Uh, Stef, I wouldn't piss off that guy from Long Island that could crush you.

10:26 Oh, it's another one of those 75-minute episodes.

10:28 Now I know why I don't watch the Real Housewives franchise. Ah, OC, NY and the ATL must feel so proud!

10:29 And we're back in New York. Look, it's Jill Snyder brushing her teeth!

10:30 Vignettes from the loft:

Ariane hates praise. But don't we all, though?

Rich and Jamie - that's the lesbian, Jamie - do Greek, while Carla and Hosea are representin' for Russia in Brighton Beach!

10:32 Ariane & Stefan do Middle Eastern in Long Island city, and Jeff and Fabio are befuddled by Latin cuisine in Little Miami.

And here is Jill with Radhika! They're doing Jamaican! This should be cool

Our other (ex) Marylander, Melissa, is in Little Italy with, uuuhh, that other person. She has no experience with Italian? Okay.

Pat & Dan in Chinatown. God, I love NYC's Chinatown. Those rice noodles aren't too tough to cook, dude.

And Alex and Eugene in Little India. Note to self: head to all these neighborhoods the next time you go to New York.

10:34 So that was an interesting journey through New York City. Places the tourists never see.

Oh that tile thing is kinda cool, like something you might see in a subway station.

10:35 Okay, anything fun for the next two hours? I will never get everything they're doing so here are some highlights:

  • Patrick is amazed that the kitchen actually has stoves! Uh, what cooking school did he go to? Silly boy. He seems to be the "blond" of the group (if he had hair anyway). Ah, but half the gay men I know are like that. Then again, most the men I know are gay, so...
  • Most of these dishes look pretty standard. Tasty but standard. Hopefully they will impress.
  • And Ariane is trying to convince herself that her first outing with the grain she's cooking means she sucks. Dude!
  • And Jill says something! I'm being silly here, but it IS exciting to see a local face. C'mon, Bawlamorons, admit it...
Hands UP! You're under arrest for cooking.

10:40 Does anyone ever do these text message polls? Not me (though in a contest between Team Rainbow and the Euro Duo... hmmm...)

10:43 So let's try to sum up what we've seen so far:
  1. Jill was not kicked out during the quickfire as rumored
  2. Is Pat and Lauren's alma mater any good? I mean, they were in the bottom two and, like, they don't even have any stoves and stuff.
  3. Pat is a ditz
  4. Melissa has never cooked Italian food?!?
  5. Ariane has low confidence. This meme will go far.
  6. Oh shit, it's back on...
10:45 And now the meals are served, with special guest judge, um, I missed that...

Group 1: Ariane vs Stefan (LI City - Middle Eastern) - Ariane's is undercooked, and since Stefan is immune... Well this won't help her self-esteem now, will it?

Group 2: Rich, I'd buy YOU a drink in a bar, but anyway...

Team Rainbow: Richard's overcooked lamb slider vs Jamie's seared bass and eggplant puree.
Richard is down. Dude!

Group 3: Jamaica Jill and Radhika... Hill did jerk scallops and Radhika did jerk halibut. Very jerky... Ouch, the scallops were overdone thopugh nicely caramelized.

I feel bad for Radhika, but YES, Jill is going to Ep. 2!!!

Group 4: Fabio & Jeff do Latin. Jeff knows this stuff since he's a Florida surfer boy. The judges didn't like Fabio's, except for Tom. But he's outvoted.

Group 5: Hosea does lox, caviar, etc and Carla does smoked trout & salmon cakes over latkes (Brighton Beach Russian food). Hosea's was "eloquent". Poor Carla

Grouop 6: Little Italy. I'm already feeling bad for Melissa since Leah is from New York and is familiar with Little Italy. Oh just send Melissa into the bottom group now.

Group 7: Daniel's chicken salad and Pat's seared salmon with black rice noodles are trying Chinese. Pat has never used black rice noodles. Ouch, Pat - gummy noodles. As for Dan's? Not inspiring either. Pat's wasn't better - it just wasn't as bad. Oh wait - was it Dan who was better? Yep, Dan did not as bad.

Group 8: Al and Eugene did Indian. It's Eugene's first try and Alex's experience with Latin saves him (I didn't realize they were so similar). Hey! Eugene accidentally chooses a classic Southern Indian dish and does it well! Lucky him!!!

10:55 In a moment, we find out who sucked the worst! But first, this message from some dizzy kids with big teeth.

10:57 I dated someone from Orange County once. He was a school psychologist and very high maintenance. Probably still not as much of a freak as these housewives from the OC.

10:58 I still don't have a handle on who did the worst, but they really seemed the most displeased with Ariane's funky farro and Pat's gummy black rice noodles. I missed one or two others there, but it sucks to be them right now. And if Pat is going home, his cooking school is probably going to see a drop in attendance or something. Seriously, they have no ovens, right?

11:00 Seems very low drama so far. I actually hope the entire season is like this. Better than the nastiness of the last season.

Stefan, Eugene and Leah from the winning group go in, as do Patrick and Ariane from the losing group. That seems kinda cruel, doesn't it?

Leah: successful, captured the flavor of Italian food in NYC

Stefan: lots going on but seemed simple. Good technique!

Eugene: Padma is shocked at how well an Indian food novice did. Just perfect.

But they were most impressed with Stefan! The first European Top Chef? Who knows?

11:03 And now to our other business...

Both can chalk their trip to losers corner to inexperience with their dish. Ariane confesses that she just doesn't know Middle Eastern. But neither of these guys was inspired by their areas. I see now - they should've chosen things that inspired them about these dishes! Pat's was (OUCH!) a cliché of Chinese food.

11:05 Uh-oh, Ariane just made a comment that I think sealed her fate. Ariane can learn about Middle Eastern from a book, I mean come on!

11:06 What'll it be?

Patrick: lack of experience and inspiration, really couldn't handle an out-of-the-box recipe.

Ariane: two decades of experience, and she made this!?!? They think maybe she should go, since she should know better.

My money is on Ariane going home. Besides, Patrick's a lovable 20-something twink boy.

However, my money is also on Patrick going home sometime in the next, say, three weeks. Yep, that's my guess: Ariane goes tonight, Patrick's gone by December 3. Write. It. Down.

11;10 Hmmm, I was wondering what Halle Berry was doing with herself these days.

11:11 And the winning team is... Team Rainbow! Now if only Top Chef voters had decided Prop 8 (I'm just sayin'...)

11:12 Alright, get rid of someone so we can see the "pre-cap" to the season.

11:12 WHOA! I did not see that coming. Patrick is taking his bald little airhead home with him to Hyde Park. Awwww, poor Patrick.

11:14 This season on Top ChefL see people curse, see Stefan win immunity, see a Finnish guy call Jamie a douchebag, see Maaaatha!, see WMDs, see Ariane doubt herself again...

11:15 Wanna see it again? No??? Well TOUGH SHIT!

RECAP - Well it is very nice to see Chef Jill Snyder stick around. Yes, foodie fans, she was alleged to have been sent home this first episode. So nice to see Bawlmer representin'.

I tried to get them next to each other but it won't work

As for that culinary school that Patrick and Lauren graduated from? Wow. To see both of the contestants that sent them there get sent back home in the first episode. Wow, that's just, wow. Well, at least we still have two more members from Team Rainbow hanging around. And that stat that Padma pointed out did catch my attention: in all but one episode, the winner of the first elimination challenge went on to win for the season. That would be Harold, Ilan and Stephanie (Tre won his season's first challenge instead of eventual winner Hung). So will Stefan continue the trend? Beats the hell outta me! Let's wait until next week for that info.


Summer said...

I was so worried about Jill!

my adrenaline is up!

John said...

You know I really wasn't, until Tom started pooh-pooing her brunoised apples. Then I thought, "Oh shit, maybe the rumors ARE true!'

Summer said...

yeah, who has never cooked Italian? Not even spaghetti? pesto? come on!

John said...

I don't know, maybe I'm just more interested in a variety of foods. I have certainly cooked Italian - hell, I just finished doing so tonight!

Summer said...

ugh. I would have sent her home. she annoys me already.

John said...

Me too, and I really thought she would go home tonight. Especially when she uttered those words before judges' table" "I want to go home." I still think she's gone in a few weeks.

Nanc Twop said...

Lauren and Patrick went to the same culinary school...

You were right - tonight's show was definitely -not- an endorsement for their cooking academy!

John said...

It's just cruel, innit?

Anonymous said...

Funny practically all those things were going through my head too. I couldn't stand the first girl that gotta voted off. If you notice when it comes to reality shows, they let the viewers first get to know the people that first get voted off. So the less you originaly know about a person on a show, that typically means they are in it for the long haul. Or maybe i'm just wrong.....

theminx said...

So good to see Jill stick around. At least for another week.... :)


John said...

Liz: You could be on to something there. The people that either win or lose that episode don't seem to get much airplay. So if Chef Jill is highlighted one episode and the judges AREN'T happy, we need to worry.

Minx: Yup

Chris (Topher) said...

yayaya Jill!