Top Chef: Pass on the whine

Mister isn’t the least bit interested in Top Chef though I continue to be. This week, though, featured a couple of interesting twists: technique and creativity. The quickfire challenge (won by Dale who was later called “the weak” by Andrew) allowed the chefs to demonstrate their classic techniques but with a twist. Dale’s avocado was a ribbon of beauty and elegance.

I loved the elimination challenge of Dinner and a Movie. What movie inspires you? What would you make to complement the film? Some of the dishes were interesting looking — wow to Ryan and Mark and their beautiful quail dishes for A Christmas Story. I didn’t think they’d pull it off given Ryan’s “whah whah” impression of Mark (Ryan’s choices of films … wow).

I thought that Andrew, Richard, and Dale did a great job of ad-libbing when Richard’s smoker crapped out. Perhaps it was cut in the editing, but they didn’t tell the table about the change (do not apologize for errors your eaters, readers, users would otherwise never detect). They were rewarded for taking chances with a combination of chocolate and wesabe (lambasted by their fellow chefs) and their whimsy.

Zoi‘s comment in the waiting room of “trust me, that doesn’t taste good” (did I get that right?) showcased another of her whiny moments. As a viewer, I find something regularly unappealing about Zoi. Perhaps it is her arrogance. I didn’t taste the winning Charlie and the Chocolate Factory dish, but neither did she. I think it is interesting that she blasted the dish for its flavors without actually knowing what it tasted like (similar to a local reviewer who panned Flora without having set foot in the restaurant). Zoi and Antonia picked Talk to Her, reiterating the strong women in the film. I remembered that at least one of the women was in a coma. Yes, they were strong, but the dish served looked bland and I really felt like Antonia and Zoi’s comment that the two chops represented the two of them was an afterthought. The dish looked nice but it didn’t scream creativity, strength, or Spain, for that matter.

Manuel and Spike’s summer roll could have been beautiful (Vietnamese rolls aren’t just $8 rolls as the judges charged, but this one looked uninteresting). Why do chefs feel the need to plop a little something on the side (in this case, the swiss chard)? Is it the desire to be architectural and interesting? It’s like the chef’s version of big words that the writer doesn’t understand but uses anyway. (This analogy works if you grade high school English papers. Folks on the BravoTV message boards expressed sadness at Manuel’s leaving, but he didn’t seem to do much along the way, so I wasn’t surprised. I think Spike takes risks but misses the mark with the judges. How much longer will he be around?

The previews for next week were wild. Jennifer kicking a chair into pieces? F-bombs all around? Whoa.

What movies would you pick?

Mister surely would look to Tampopo for inspiration

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