December 13, 2009

Michael Hated Everything

Filed under: Not Tech, Top Chef — Chris @ 10:35 pm

Poor Kevin. It’s hard to say he choked, since he put out four pretty solid dishes, but he certainly underperformed his potential. As far as I could see the whole thing was pretty close, with each chef putting out one great dish (Kevin’s chicken skin and squash, Michael’s rockfish, and Bryan’s venison), one mediocre dish (Kevin and Michael’s desserts, Bryan’s tuna-noodle casserole with no tuna, no noodles, and no salt), and a pair of dishes that were good but not impeccable (the Judges always find something to peck).

I think the lesson of Kevin’s two part finale experience is that Top Chef is not the place for slow-cooked meats. It seems to me that you rarely get the time you need in an elimination challenge to properly cook a brisket or a pork belly (though, Shyamalan twist, Michael won with a pork belly back in the Thunderbirds episode).

Who does mom love more?

Predictions. I was only 5 for 13 with my predictions this season, and that’s not counting a totally ill-advised Jennifer vs. Bryan finale prediction from episode 5 (one has to admit that was pretty close!). I probably would have called Robin’s elimination if I had bothered to blog episode 10 (though maybe I would have chosen Eli for spite).

That’s a bit better than I did last season and about a million percent better than I did on Top Chef Masters.

The Rules. The record for The Rules is much better: 9 of 14 eliminations were arguably rule violations. One for Rule A (“Never make a salad or dessert”: Preeti), two for Rule B (“Play it safe”: Jennifer Z. and Robin), four for Rule C (“Respect your proteins”: Hector, Ron, Ashley, Ash, and Eli), one for Rule D (“Be prepared to change your plan”: Mike I.), two for Rule E (“Be prepared to critique your dish”: Eve and Mattin). The ones that fell through the cracks are Laurine, who set a precedent in going home for being a terrible hostess in Restaurant Wars, and Jennifer, Kevin, and Bryan, who were simply not the best of a very good lot. The only rule that didn’t come into play this season was Rule F (“It’s business, not personal”), which is surprising considering how many team-ups with Robin and Ron seemed headed for disaster.

That’s it for this season. No more TV blogging till who knows when… Any suggestions?


December 8, 2009

You Eat What You Like, And I’ll Eat What I Like

Filed under: Top Chef — Chris @ 10:10 pm

The trouble with finishing off the season with four incredibly talented and relatively drama-free chefs is… I’ve got nothing to say. This is what I was afraid Top Chef Masters was going to be like, before Michael Chiarello arrived to douche things up. Unfortunately, the old Chiarello touch didn’t take this week.

Prediction: It’s sad to see Jennifer go, even if it does put me back on a solid prediction streak. My call from last week stands: Kevin FTW. If you are not convinced by the mere fact that the more-technical chef has prevailed over the simpler-but-more-soulful chef exactly once in Top Chef history (that would be Hung, over the outmatched Dale and Casey; a moment of silence for Tiffani, Marcel, Richard, and Stefan); that Kevin is the all-time winningest chef (although Bryan now stands beside him as the all-time not-losing-est chef, having never once been in danger of Elimination); if Kevin’s toothsome Yukon Cornelius-ness isn’t enough to give you a rooting interest, just consider this: it will be an unpleasant and awkward Christmas at the Voltaggio’s if Bryan loses to Michael (or vice versa).

[UPDATE] I meant to note that this is the first time in Top Chef history where there can be no perverse or outrageous outcome in the finale. Notwithstanding Michael is kind of a dick—it’s hard to blame him since obviously his mother never truly loved him—all three chefs are incredibly talented and none of them is a boo-hiss villain in the Tiffani/Ilan/Lisa/Hosea mold. I’ll be rooting for Kevin, but I wish all the best to the Voltaggios too.

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