Jamie Lauren

Jamie Lauren implores the chefs to go big or go home.

on Sep 3, 2009

All this is fine and dandy, but TC producers, I have a small bone to pick with you—a potato challenge? Really? What does that have to do with anything even remotely related to Vegas? Are you running out of smart Quickfires? It just seemed like such an odd choice to me. Why the potato? Why not a carrot, or an onion, or a rutabega? I love potatoes, I think they are great, but it just seems like it really wasn't that much of a challenge. Perhaps cooking a potato while blindfolded and standing on one foot would be more interesting?

As you can probably tell, I am feeling a wee bit snarky today as I write this. Sometimes that comes out in me, as most of you know from watching me on TV this past winter. I think part of me just feels like the audience is being a little duped, and that the show could really step it up a notch. Maybe it's just the chefs I am disappointed in? It all seems so obvious to me, that the brother's V., Kevin, Eli and Jen are going to go pretty far and the rest are going to plucked off slowly week after week. However, I do think it's going to make for interesting television when they get to the final five or six. I predict the judges are going to have a hard time sending people home ... the worst of the best... That's a difficult task to carry out. I wouldn't want to be in their shoes, and this sadly is where TC really should be about overall performance, not a single performance of a single task because when you have a great cook like say Kevin, who manages to have an off night one challenge, then he gets sent home, which makes the potential for an amazing finale dwindle — kind of like what happened on my season. Not to be even remotely cocky, but think about how cool it would have been for me to be in the finale going head to head against Stefan? I think that could have made for a really interesting battle. In fact, when I got eliminated, that was the one thing I regretted ... not being able to kick Stefan's ass in the end! (I heart you Stefan *wink*)

Moving on to the elimination ... a team challenge, always amusing. It's always fun to watch who is going to throw who under the bus and who isn't going to take the blame for something but will take all the glory, and a team challenge amongst all the chefs ... priceless! I liked that they all decided to put Jen in charge since she had immunity. That seemed like a smart move. Give the others a chance to shine, because she wasn't going anywhere. Immediately I sense doom for Ron (can we subtitle him too please?) and Jesse and Preeti and Laurine. It's obvious to me that the Atlanta boys and whatever teams the Voltaggio brothers are on are going to do well, so I am not even remotely surprised when they are the top four. However note to Tom C: I was braising smoked slab bacon two years ago. I wouldn't exactly call that a new technique. Maybe it's just something more prevalent in CA? But now that it's been done on TC I am sure everyone will do it ... and they should ... braised bacon is ridiculously delicious! I can only imagine how the chefs felt walking into that hangar without even a remote idea of what they had to cook with. That had to be really, really difficult, but working with tilt skillets and steam kettles is fun ... kind of like a chef's day at Disneyland. Well, for me anyway. I don't get to work with them often and when I do I am amazed at their efficiency. Here I find myself impressed with how Jen handled the kitchen. I thought she was very fair with all of the cooks and very organized ... a nice thing to see in a competition show. Overall, I thought most of the food looked pretty good ... aside from the aforementioned doomed four above. I think everyone really pulled it together to make some good food using limited resources, but again, that was it. They all kind of skated by ... making decent food. Where is the wow factor? Is it in braised bacon? I can't say I agree. It is Las Vegas after all. When are the chefs going to loosen up and show us their wild sides? What fun is Sin City without the sin?