December 4, 2008

Top Chef: Attack of the Next Food Network Stars

Filed under: Top Chef — Chris @ 11:04 am

Never make dessert people. Never make dessert! This shouldn’t even have to be a rule (though it is, Corollary #2.2), every single person who has ever watched Top Chef knows it in their bones. Don’t make dessert.

The persistent delusion amongst the cheftestants that making dessert gets you a “free pass” is inexplicable. Richard got eliminated for a dessert last week. (Remember him, Alex? He wrote you a letter and you cried?) The only support I can find for this notion is last year’s “Wedding Wars” episode, where the cake makers (Stephanie and Lisa, as I recall) were both considered strong team performers.

That said, this week’s challenge was ridiculous. If it had just been about the culinary aspects of the challenge (keep it simple, be prepared, make it fast (but don’t rush), etc.), that would be fair enough, but to judge a cooking competition based on host/camera rapport… it’s just lowbrow. The challenge heavily favored egomaniacal extroverts and those with television/live demo experience—not necessarily the best chefs. Jamie ended up in the bottom three primarily because she failed to remain chipper and upbeat, a morning-show mortal sin. Sure, her eggs weren’t cooked, but come on: no TV chef has ever cut a corner and rushed a dish when the clock was running out?

I enjoyed Melissa’s total perpuzzlement at the critique of her too-hot habeñero sauce. I wonder if her palate is so inured to capsaicin that she really didn’t know what they were talking about? When a South Indian girl like Padma can’t handle the heat in your dish, you’ve gone too far.

Note to Danny: You want to be Bobby Flay, but actually you’re Rupert Pupkin.

Finally, a new rule:

Rule #9: You’ve got to know what an amuse bouche is. No excuses. Amuses only come up in Quickfires, so you won’t get eliminated on this rule, but follow it anyway, for your dignity’s sake.

[UPDATE] Alex kept saying, “I should have stuck to my guns”. What are your guns in this metaphor, Alex? Which guns? Where? What are you talking about?!


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