Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Unkindest Cut: The Top Chef recap

Poor what’s-her-name. I’m referring, of course, to the Top Chef wannabe who got booted before she even got to pull a knife from the block, don a single apron, or see the damn Top Chef kitchen. I’m talking about a girl who, no doubt, had an elaborate bon voyage party back in her home town, who packed enough recipes, spices, and culinary dreams to last a whole season, who had visions of Padma Lakshmi sighing with pleasure and Tom Colicchio licking his plate clean dancing in her head.
And now she’s gone.
What’s-your-name, we hardly knew ye.

Of course, things didn’t go much better for her culinary school buddy Patrick. He was a member of the gay posse, Team Rainbow, and I was extremely confused that there were only three members of Team Rainbow, until I remembered that this is Top Chef, not Project Runway and they’re not all gay. Anyway, Patrick was cute but oh-so green and I was totally worried they were going to send home fretful, insecure mother of two Ariane before him (she needs this so much more than he does), but they cut him loose. Deservedly so, that piece of salmon beached on that bok choy with gummy squid ink noodles was so NOT fierce. (Sorry, it may take me a while to make this whole Project Runway to Top Chef transition.)

There is also Team Euro, featuring our villain of the season, the fiendish Fin Stefan.
“A vinagrette is NOT an emulsion,” he said snootily, and several times, rolling his eyes with elaborate European contempt. Fabio, his Italian buddy, nodded in sage European agreement.

And playing the role of the Ugly American? That would be Long Island’s Danny, Guido extraordinaire. “They think they’re so great,” he said (or something to that effect.) “They’re my back yard.”
And with that, the entire progress of the Obama election was snuffed out.

The first challenge featured the different ethnic neighborhoods of New York, which was cool, although I would’ve bet good money that at least the first Quickfire would involve hot dogs or pretzels from a street vendor. I’m sure it’s just a matter of time.

I left my notes at home (the blogger’s equivalent of an 0-4 on Opening Day), so I’m a little sketchy on the rest of the details. I sort of like Carla, but she has one of those “I just plugged my finger into an electric socket” type way about her—whippet thin; large, surprised eyes; Crayola-box attire; gravity-defying hair. Still, she seems sweet.

Major demerits to Jeff, not only because he doesn’t know how long it takes to plate food, but because his silky, shiny, Breck girl hair is so much nicer than mine.

Of course, I’m rooting for my home girl Jill. Represent, Baltimore!! (That’s all I have to say at this point. Her personality didn’t really “jump” out at me.)

I find myself drawn to the underdog of the season, Gene. I love the fact that he has no formal culinary training, works on instinct, and managed to accidentally whip up one of Padma’s favorite dishes from home. I also appreciate that, even with all those “menacing” tattoos, he’s about as threatening as Miley Cyrus.

When Tom pointed out that the winner of the first challenge has gone on to win all but one of the Top Chefs, I was chanting, “Gene. Gene. Gene” under my breath.

But no, it was that damn folicle-free Fin again. (If last year was the season of the lesbian faux hawk, this is the season of bald men.) He’ll definitely be one to watch (and hate) this season. C’mon, Team America, take him down!!!


Jennifer said...

Yes--Stefan is pure evil and will be making no friends this season!

Jeff reminded me of James Spader and--mark my words--Carla is crazy. I can just tell!

I guess I'm just old, but I kept falling asleep during that endless elimination process. Why did it go on for, like, 15 minutes??

David Dust said...

Darling Max -

Even without notes, your recaps make me LOL.

I LOVE the "so not fierce" reference. It does take a while to make the transition from PR to TC.

CLICK HERE for DavidDust's Top Chef New York recap.