Jamie Lauren

Jamie Lauren blogs from an Alaskan cruise.

on Sep 24, 2009

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.