Thursday, August 23, 2007

Top Chef: Hard Opening

The “previously” scenes don’t tell us much. Pretty much a straight up retelling of the previous episode.

First shot of the cast is – get this degenerate Googlers –Casey in a bikini. It’s the shot they used in the “Watch What Happens” reunion show. Someone – I think Caroline – was saying that the show was trying to build Casey up as a hot babe and “she’s really not like that” or words to that effect. As Caroline was talking, they show a feet-to-face pan of Casey in a bikini. That’s the shot they use to open.

Then interviews with people about how competitive they are, how much they want to win. It’s Tre then CJ, if that matters later.

Hung finds envelopes slipped under the door. Four years into these frachises and the Bravo producers continue to communicate with the cast like something out of Man From U.N.C.L.E.

The envelopes contain the full critiques from food blogger Andrea Strong. BTW, Ms. Strong is an instructor for Media Bistro. Today MBToolBox features an interview with her about her turn on the show. She says she would have sent Howie home for his risotto, but that the worst dish was April’s grouper dish. We never hear about that in two episodes.

Howie is pissed that she called the oyster and watermelon concoction a “disaster.” Because an oyster just can’t be a disaster, he says. Everyone else seems to be taking in the criticism with a minimum of bitching.

Quickfire. Mise en place relay shuck a dozen oysters, butcher a chicken, fine dice an onion and beatin two eggs essentially to soft peaks.. Howie more or less keeps seafood specialist Brian in range. Then it’s Sarah vs. Casey on onions.

Good lord, Casey. I can dice onions faster than that and I’m a klutz. She just floats the knife above the vegetable instead of keeping a point on the cutting board and chopping. And what the hell knife is she using? Looks like a utility knife. I sure as hell isn’t a chef’s knife of any sort. Casey is still on onions when Hung is done with the chicken. She’s just barely done when Dale is done with the eggs. Ballgame. Embarrassment.

The winner gets to consult with a sommelier that Colicchio “knows,” and who is opening a restaurant in Miami. A sommelier. Gee, who could that be?

Elimination: Restaurant War II.

The chefs are consulting with a restaurant designer who was the bitchmaster who was sitting with Andrea Strong the night before. He happens to be Madonna’s brother Chris Ciccione. His input basically makes the décor of the restaurant a wash. April loses that advantage for what it’s worth. Now it’s all about the food.

Tre lingers on the balcony to overhear Team Garage. He hears that they are replacing their first course with a braised rabbit.

To the surprise of Hung and Dale and no one else, the sommelier is Steven from Season 1. The only real surprise is that Steven is wearing jeans on the job. This from a guy who sells street food in a suit and tie.

It turns out that Team Garage, oops, Team Quatre, is adding the rabbit first course alongside Hung’s already proven tuna tartare.

Colicchio is in the kitchen all night. This is more similar to real cooking competitions where how orderly and clean the chefs run the kitchen is a judging criteria. Also, Chef Tom is going to know who to blame for the “Worst dish” Ted Allen has had “in a very long time.”

Funny, when they showed the sword opening the Champaign in the previews I thought of nothing so much as Steven. And there it is.

The judges aren’t happy with Dale’s attire. Neither is the guy at the bowling alley down the street who wants it back.

The judges appear pretty happy with Quatre. So April is about to serve the Worst Dish. It’s Tre’s king salmon cured in beet juice. It sounds bad like that, though really the bad part was apparently the pesto that accompanied it. What’s more Tre said he could make bread pudding in his sleep; sounds like he did.

Hey, we haven't sold anything all show. What's up with that. They could at least have declared in the quickfire that someone had to quarter a Tyson's chicken or something. Rough week for the sales department.

And by the way, and increasingly rough week for us Gail fans.
Judge’s Table

They love Quatre. Everything but what Dale wore.

Much rougher on April, especially two of Tre’s dishes.

Quatre wins. Padma plays up the drama to comical excess. She breaks pattern one time last week and thinks she can freak everyone out. Then she makes with the big pretty eyes and tells them then won. Sarah is the individual winner, but doesn’t get anything.

The losers – Restaurant April. The judges have something bad to say about everyone. Tre is out and totally mans up about it. He was executive chef and the team lost so he’s out.

In the previews last week we heard Padma saying it was a surprising decision and Tom saying it was “about tonight.” Those lines weren’t in tonight’s show. Tre is a fan favorite and it looks like Bravo wanted to soften the blow that he was out. It’s the first season that an early favorite didn’t make it at least into the top five.

With Tre out the final three is wide open. And as Marcel showed last season, if you catch lightening in a bottle in the semi, you are in the final. Someone somewhere is laying odd on this show, and I'm glad it's not my job to handicap it.

Watch, if you'll pardon the expression, what happens.


Jeff said...

Thanks Scott, great wrap up!

I was stunned that they nicked Tre. They could just as easily have eliminated the ones who did nothing (CJ and Brian) or did only one thing and did it badly (Casey). I thought it would be Brian. I mean, Tre blew two or three dishes, but he also did great on two great. Seems like enough of an effort to keep him on!

If they're going to go with this executive chef-respondeat superior theory, why not pass the buck up to CJ for picking the team?

FamineHorse said...

Pho--great summary. I was very bummed Tre went home but knew it was him. How? I read one of your previous posts where if two contestants talk about how close they've become, one of them is gone. Sure enough, there was Casey talking about how tight she was with Tre. I knew Pho's Law #1 was at play & my man Tre was a goner. It's a shame, he was probably the most talented one.

Final 3 prediction: Howie, Hung, and who's a 2 man show now. I think Howie wins it all.