August 31, 2009

A Shot at Love with Top Chef

Filed under: Top Chef — Chris @ 11:09 am

This week was full of great examples of rules foolishly broken and wisely followed. To start with, Ashley landed herself at Judges’ Table by carelessly ignoring Rules A (“Never make a salad or dessert”), B (“Play it safe”), and D (“Be prepared to change your plan”). She made a panna cotta for dessert, even though nobody asked her to. She made two dishes, even though her team members practically begged her not to. And she served the panna cotta, even though it hadn’t set. So Ashley found herself in the ridiculous situation of facing elimination for a weak dish that she didn’t have to make and shouldn’t have served, when she had a second dish—the one she had set out to make in the first place—that the Judges really liked.

I think the record will show that the reason Eve went home this week instead of Jesse is pretty clearly the observance of Rule E (“Be prepared to defend your dish at Judges’ Table”). In both of her appearances at Judges’ Table, Eve was incoherent. It’s not so much that she demonstrated poor judgment as that she just made no sense. She did not give the Judges a reason to keep her on (Tom: “I don’t think, in her mind, she knows what she’s trying to accomplish.”). In contrast, both times Jesse clearly conveyed that she understood the flaws of her dish and the mistakes she had made in its preparation. This can only get you so far (note Gail’s comment: “How long can Jesse keep making this mistake?”), but it can get you through a couple of close eliminations.

I’m not sure what the hell happened with Preeti. She seems like a mediocre talent. Her dish was not well composed or seasoned, by the Judges’ lights. She probably should have ditched the shiso leaves when they started wilting in the hot sun. She went back to the Stew Room and determinedly refused to learn from the Judges’ critique (“It’s a crowd pleaser!”). I don’t think she’s in this for the distance.

Predictions: Eve is my first successful elimination prediction since Arriane was eliminated from Top Chef: New York (and that includes an entire season of Top Chef Masters)! Huzzah, I am back on top!

The obvious choice this week is Jesse. She’s been up for elimination twice now; she does not seem to have her head in the game. But Top Chef never shakes down that way—a cheftestant can be up for elimination twice, then win in the next episode. My guess is one of the middle-of-the-packers will make a spectacular error in judgment. Maybe Ron?

Random thoughts:

  • Were those comically giant dice or is Padma a much tinier person than I had realized?
  • It’s not just me, right? Michael and Bryan seem to hate each other?
  • Jennifer shows an excellent grasp of Rule D: “The octopus is frozen, but it seems like a good product and, if it’s not, I will make something else up on the fly.”
  • Mike: “People get tired of me. Real quickly.” I have no doubt that this is true, but, you know, I find this kind of charming. More self-deprecating prickliness and less “girls are icky” douchebaggery, Mike.
  • Hector ends up in the top four with a tofu dish. The exception that proves the rule?

1 Comment

  1. […] group by failing to take any credit at all for Michael’s winning dish. He also fell prey to the Ashley fallacy that association with one good dish will immunize you from criticism for a bad one. It might save […]

    Pingback by Top Chef: Right into the Danger Zone « Procrastiblog — September 6, 2009 @ 5:59 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: