Andrea Strong

Andrea Strong explains why she was hearbroken for Antonia.

on Jun 5, 2008

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I'm a sap. I'll be the first to admit it.

I'm one of those people who cries pretty much at the drop of a hat. I cry at commercials, reading magazine articles, while watching trailers to movies (I was a mess every time I saw the one for Richard Jenkins in The Visitor, which was an excellent film), so it should come as no surprise that last night, while watching the first of the Top Chef final episodes in Puerto Rico, I cried when Antonia was eliminated. I was very sorry to see her go. Top Chef is a show is about skill, creativity and raw talent; it is also about people, their behavior, their personalities, and who they are when they're not on the show. In the case of Antonia, I thought she was not only a talented chef with vision and a wonderful palate, I thought she was an impressive contender.

She was even-tempered, gracious, calm under pressure, and she really became one of my favorite chef competitors. Those qualities put her over Lisa any day of the week. Her under-cooked beans and her decision to plate all her dishes together (a very odd decision for a chef to make, indeed) were her downfalls, and I can't imagine how frustrating that error must have been for her. I was really heartbroken for her when she said her goodbyes. To knock Lisa any more than she's already been knocked will serve no purpose. She clearly can cook, but her abrasive personality and stance makes it tough to root for her. This combination is something that we've seen before on this show and is one of the reasons why Reality TV is engaging and addictive. A cast filled with sugar-sweet contestants would not fare as well. A witch is always needed in the Cinderella mix. In any case, we'll see what her fate is next week.

The challenge last night was again, an excellent one, and I was impressed with the agility of the chefs around that pig. Butchering a whole animal is not something these chefs do every day, and I was wowed by the way they took to the task with confidence and relative ease.