Gail Simmons

Forget Good Morning, Vietnam. New York City restaurant critic Andrea Strong offers a list of her favorite food movies.

on Apr 3, 2008


Last night we said goodbye to Manuel, and it's debatable (shocker) whether it was he who deserved to pack his knives and go. Is it worse to follow the leader like a sheep, or be the leader with the lousy ideas? That's certainly up for discussion, but last night the judges decided it was the sheep that would go home.

To start off the episode that would be the end of Top Chef for Manuel, the producers offered up a nice challenge. They packed up the gimmicks for a later date (or later in the episode), and tested basic classic technique, from knife skills to poaching and grilling, with guest judge chef Daniel Boulud. I think this was one of the better challenges because it did expose the contestants' weaknesses in foundation cooking. It seems Manuel's departure stems originally from his poor performance in the Quickfire Challenge.

The Elimination Challenge was a fun one, but I was surprised that no one used great classic food movies as their inspiration. Maybe it would be too cliche to use Big Night or Eat, Drink, Man, Woman, but someone could've used Super Size Me and done a fun burger (perhaps some riff on the stuffing of foie gras and short ribs in an ode to the DB Burger) and fries (maybe show off some pomme souffle technique) and a fancy milk shake for the judges.