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So, as I write this blog I am sitting docked on a giant cruise ship in Juneau, Alaska … crazy, I know, but one of the perks I guess you can say of being on Top Chef. I have never been on a cruise ship before and to be quite honest was slightly terrified when I boarded. It took me a good three hours to figure out if we were moving or not (we weren’t) and I was incredibly disoriented for most of the first day. The first night I slept in my room, I was fairly convinced that I was going to end up on the floor … massive amounts of rocking back and forth back and forth … what a nightmare. Add that to being nauseous for 24 straight hours and you have got a winning combination. That being said, I think TC should think about shooting on a cruise for Season 7. Seriously, the galleys are intense, the food is not ideal, and the constant movement makes for a very interesting kitchen experience, and then when the boat goes to port, the chefs can get out and compete in challenges that are local to wherever its docked. That would truly be an interesting season to watch. But enough about that … I just thought you maybe interested in my whereabouts since they are a little different this week, and for those of you that are interested, I am on an Olivia cruise playing guest chef with Josie from TC Season 2, and yes, it is quite an experience. When I am trying not to fall over or throw up, I am drinking champagne and playing dominos. Oh the life of an ex-reality tv star…
This episode of TC: Vegas was interesting … and I do have to be the one to point out this … then maybe you all can stop harking on me about scallops … I do believe I noticed three chefs making scallops in the Quickfire, and Eli has now made them twice. So he makes them one more time and he will be tied with me for Top Scallop. There is a reason why they are constantly making an appearance on the show; the scallops at Whole Foods are generally always there, and considering that the fish department doesn’t have that many choices it is totally understandable that scallops make a number of appearances. And between those and ceviche (or should I say see-veeche) this season I am waiting to see some diversity as well. Jen has cooked fish in every episode so far and only cooked red meat in this episode because she was forced to. I am sure that fish cookery is where she feels most comfortable. I get it and can totally relate, but it would be nice to see her change it up just a little. I could tell from the start of the episode and the way that it was edited that Robin was going to end up winning the Quickfire, and I can’t say I didn’t notice some animosity amongst the rest of the cast, and Eli, dude … tsk tsk on the cancer jokes … not cool. I am seeing a bit of the Ariane factor starting to emerge this season ever so slightly as well, and I can tell it’s starting to piss off some of the younger talented chefs. But that’s the way the TC cookie crumbles. You never know how things are going to play out. I thought the idea of a duo tackling the chefs' angel and devil sides was smart and well thought out, though almost a wee bit too similar to the vice challenge from the first episode.
When Penn and Teller walked into the kitchen I literally laughed out loud (and I was watching the show on my computer on an airplane; I think the people around me thought I was crazy). When I was a kid I saw them on Broadway and they were hilarious, and I love that we get to see them deconstruct their trick. It’s always cool to watch magic deconstructed because it’s so rare we get to see into the heads of magicians. And for the elimination I knew who was going to kill it … obviously the brothers V., since that is more or less what they do in their own kitchens, and the fact that Michael pulled Caesar salad just screams for a encapsulated dressing, and that is exactly what he did, and the baking of his own bread was pretty impressive. The comments from his brother are hilarious. I think we are finally seeing some of that rivalry I mentioned last week … which should make for some interesting future episodes. On the plus side, Kevin seemed to be coming up with a cool plate and Bryan’s idea of the Rueben with tuna cured like pastrami is a great one, and in fact, I would actually love to try it. But to me that doesn’t scream deconstruction so much as it does reinvention. On the flip side, watching Jen flounder (hey, I am at sea … it’s appropriate right now) totally brought back memories of my Super Bowl challenge last season. I was in the EXACT same place she was in the episode and I know exactly how it feels and it sucks. I, too, ran away from Tom and had absolutely NO idea what I was doing when presented with the strangest mystery basket in the universe. When you are lost like that and under a time crunch it becomes really, really hard to maintain composure and I am happy to see Jen pulled it off … just like I ended up doing last season. Sometimes when you really doubt yourself it comes back as a huge surprise. For me, it was a very drunk night at Judges' Table complete with headbands and hysteria. So, I wasn’t really surprised when Jen ended up in the top.
My guess is that Kevin is going to win this one and that big boy Ron is going to get sent packing. I am kind of tired of trying to understand what he says and I have not been even remotely impressed or inspired by his dishes yet. Poor guy, he just doesn’t seem cut out for Top Chef, and if it isn’t him, it will be Ash or Laurine. Just a feeling. No amount of magic can help with a badly executed dish. That being said, I am going to resume my daily ship activities and continue to get my ass kicked at dominos by my girlfriend.
Great blog. 100% on the money. Good idea for Season 7. My only reservations are that it will either turn into a fish-a-thon or Survivor Chef. Is it me or did Toby sound disturbingly normal?
"Jen has cooked fish in every episode so far and only cooked red meat in this episode because she was forced to."
I thought Jen make chicken during the Ranch elimnation challenge???
I usually look forward to your comments. I gotta say, it felt a little phoned in. I would love to have heared what you had to say in regards to the other dishes and which dish you would have liked to work yourself. Hope your semi-vacation goes well, and I look forward to future Blogs when you get back.
I'm sorry but your title/caption is giving me Andy Samberg flashbacks- "I'm on a boat.....a mother f'n boat!" LOL!
Great blog, Jamie! I get to hear a little of what you are doing and where you are, but you continue to focus on the episodes (unless another past season blogger who pens all things about her, not to mention any names, lol) Kudos to what you said about Eli and his comments re: Robin and cancer. Not funny or cool, dude. Nobody else had a good story of angel/devil that was as relateable as Robin's. Period. I also am glad to see Ron gone - he just seemed to not "get" most of the challenges, or at least a few components thereof. No, you are DEFINITELY NOT the only one who is unable to try to unfargle what he is saying. Like, WHAT? Ash's dish was also pretty poor...but at least he's performed better. Have fun on your cruise and I await hearing what you say next time!!!
Colleen: Jen made snapper w/duck confit for the ranch challenge. I also wish she would make something besides seafood, and as much as I like "ceveech" and scallops, I wish the cheftestants would come up with new ideas.
Jamie, What do you mean by "the Ariane factor?" Congrats on the cruise gig! Hope your nausea goes away. What dishes are you and Josie making?
I love your idea about a cruise ship TC - brilliant! I feel your pain though, I was nauseous throughout my one (and only) cruise experience. Your blog is awesome - hope to visit your restaurant in SF soon!
"I do not understand what he is saying". I think that comment was rude and not necessary at all. Focus on the cooking.....
Not to post. You expressed before a desire to write. Break it up in paragraphs. It's not a college paper. I work in publications with editors and I'm certainly not perfect, but TC blogs have really long paragraphs. Just hit return every once in a while when you take a breath. It makes the written word so much more readable and enjoyable.
Look at published articles and books. Have fun writing!
Best wishes and a bunch of love, Patty
Jamie, you can cook scallops for me 30 days in a row and I'd eat 'em. I love scallops. I think your idea for Season 7 is also freaking BRILLIANT but I doubt Bravo is going to want to fork over the dough for that one, it would be pricey. It's even a combination of "The Amazing Race" (which won the Emmy again...yawn) and "Top Chef" (which should have won the Emmy...argh)!
I agree with BMore RN...focus on the food, and not the chef's speech. There are many renown chefs who sit at the judges table with accents...it hasn't diminished their cooking! I have no problem understanding Ron. I made the same comment last week. Jamine, please stop it...it seems small minded and bigoted. Grace
Jamie, you wanted drama and this episode was the first bit of house drama. Maybe they didn't feel that Robin was up to their level, but the whole red handkerchief thing was immature and really passive aggressive. And Eli "Mr. Sour Grapes", has not won many (if any) challenges, unable to reach the winner's circle, finds it easiest to is pick on the outcast.
Got to agree with Bmore RN, it's a cooking show. There's no reason to knock Ron for his language skills (I guess you missed the part at the end when Ron says that 'only in America could a boy from Haiti get on Top Chef'). It makes me think of all the guys working on the line where Spanish is their first language. They work hard pumping out great food, but will never make it to be exec chef.
Yay Cruising! After my first cruise in 2005, I got addicted. Cruised to Alaska last September - Best cruise ever. Use a seasick patch and you won't have a problem!
I think Jennifer is a pretty strong contender this season for sure. I also think the brothers are pretty talented too.
John, Toby Young must have read what Jamie said about him last season! He did seem disturbingly normal. LOL
i live in juneau and i love love love your idea to have tc on a cruise ship. in juneau, they could take them up to icefield and have them do a quick fire up there. all kinds of possibilities.
You brought a good spirit to Top Chef Season 5 and I was pulling for you to get into the top four at least. You seemed put off by Stefan's apparent interest in you and apparently felt he should have been aware of your sexual orientation. I would be put off by Stefan also, but I have to say that your persona is a very attractive one and I can see why guys as well as women would be interested in you. Like you, I was also disgusted by Mike Isabella's misogyny and hope fervently he will be booted long before the top 4 (I've recorded all season 6 episodes to date, but have watched only the first two, so this post may seem out of date).
Best wishes in your very promising career!
I just wanted to let you know, my partner and I happened upon Absinthe this past Thursday and the food and service was fantastic. And your off in ALASKA!
I hate the Enter button, The food at Absinthe was wonderful, my partner had the Lamb and said it was the best lamb she has ever had. And yes, I had to try the scallops with the mushrooms. We went to one of the Top Chef Masters' restaurant the next night and it did not even compare in service or quality. Good luck in all you do Jamie I'm sure you will be a success.
Jamie, Are you still working at Absinthe in San Francisco? Did Top Chef open up a lot of doors for you in terms of your culinary career and contacts? What challenges would you like to see on the show? I would like to see specials of former contestants like yourself from Season 5 cook off against " " " " from Season 4 like Seasons 1 and 2 did in a special episode. Hope to see you in a future episode! Loved seeing you on Season 5 and Top Chef Masters.