I've finally come down from my Kathy Wakile-Gail Simmons-Johnny Iuzzini sugar high long enough (video coming soon!) to sit down and recap Season 2's first episode. Sooo, welcome back my little soda jerks! As much as I loved Rocco's Dinner Party, and I did, I really missed the intensity of the Top Chef kitchen. So, let's get started -- shall we?
First, the chefs are greeted on a pier by the glorious Gail Simmons and Johnny Iuzzini, and I gotta say they were both looking' slammin'! They just so happened to be outside an olde-timey soda shop. There aren't too many of these around, but I actually visited one not too long ago in Philly, The Franklin Fountain, and guess what I got? A banana split! Sooo these chefs would've done just fine there. Unfortunately for them, Gail and Johnny didn't want just a banana split -- or a root beer float for that matter -- they wanted a modern take on a soda shop classic. The chefs were broken up into teams, and did their best to do just that. Only two teams seemed to emerge creatively though. Amanda and Nelson made a winning chocolate sponge cake with pickled cherries. Um, I plan on adding pickled cherries to everything now. What about you? I've never had them, but i'm imagining they might taste like sour cherry preserves, which i love. i could be very wrong about this, so when i actualy try it, I'll let you know! Carlos and Rebecca came in second with their Cap'n Crunch milkshake. Well, i love Cap'n Crunch, so i would'e been all over this. The concept reminded me a little of the cereal milk softserve at Momofuku Milk Bar actually, but I bet the texture of the actual cereal on top set it apart.The Elimination Challenge also put our chefs in teams, where they had to create a showpiece as well as plated dishes based on classic fairytales. When Carlos explained the less-than-appetizing details of Little Red Riding Hood, revealing the more grim side of the story, I almost lost it. They were so shocked! Anyway, clashing personalities really emerged in this challenge. Orlando questioned Rebecca's desire to use rice pudding for her cannoli, and suggested she use oatmeal. Ummm I love rice pudding, and actually thought a rice pudding canoli sounded kind of awesome. I'm ready for rice pudding renaissance. Craig's teammates were so patient with him, they deserved to stay just for that! I really hope Craig can step it up next week because there's nothing worse than working with someone who has no confidence in their ability. He had so much machismo before the Quickfire, and it deflated so quickly! I asked Gail why Craig stayed, and she gave a great answer. Check it out in her blog! Lina and Melissa got into it over the consistency of their gingerbread house. Lina wanted cake, Melissa didn't. In the end, Melissa was right, and Lina went home for it. Lina maintains in her exit video that she thought Melissa threw her under the bus, but, well, she effed up. Bigtime. So, shouldn't she take responsibility for that?
So, we have our first eliminated chef. And, now, you will get some of my first random thoughts from the episode!:
1. First, my whole office commented on Gail's awesome leather jacket on the pier. It was producer Casey Kriley's. Gail explains…2. Did you catch Megan wink at Johnny during the Elimination fair? Whaaa?!
3. Who was that bearded man at the fair? I don't know who he was, but he looked legit Renaissance.
4. As nice as Hubert is, I realized that saying "right?" at the end of all his critiques takes out some of the sting! So he can say whatever he wants, and still seem nice! I even caught Gail doing it towards the end of the episode! I'm going to have to try that.
5. Melissa already cried. In the first episode. Hope she got it out of her system!
6. Johnny lost his signature pompadour, and although he looked great with it, he looks just downright dreamy now. Vanarin, i think he looked into all our souls this week. Johnny's Elvis joke was pretty awesome too.
7. One of the chefs from the top two teams told the chefs in the bottom to smize i.e. smile with their eyes in front of the judges. Killed me. It was only audio -- could any of you tell who it was? It was a female.
8. Rebecca made an amusing comment about baking children a la the witch from "Hansel and Gretel" not being a good idea. Kudos.
Hmm, what little things did I miss, guys? Until next week, Have a Nosh! Aaand when you do, takee a pic and judge it for yourself with our awesome new Judges Table app. Download it here! You just might find me on there!