Padma Lakshmi

Barton G. shares his expert opinion.

on Jul 20, 20070


Editor's Note: is pleased to announce that Barton G. Weiss, founder and president of Barton G., will be blogging for the rest of the season. Come back every week to get his respected expert opinion on exactly what you're seeing.

Last week I confessed that I hadn't been a religious follower of Top Chef. Since I have been invited to be a guest blogger for the remainder of the season, it's time to reveal that my musings about the episode in which I appeared as a guest judge was my first blog. Ever. Imagine my surprise when asked me to continue weighing in about the show! So, I have been glued to the set two Wednesday nights in a row, a record for me for any show. And, I'm getting hooked, partly because I feel I know the contestants having met them and tasted their food. Actually I realized this week that I had become invested in Lia because she had won the challenge on my watch, and, consequently, will be working with me at a Diabetes Research Institute Foundation event in the Hamptons next month.

What a dreadful time Lia had of it. The competition this round was all about timing, and this clearly wasn't Lia's time to shine. I wasn't too concerned when Maria Frumkin named her chorizo and artichoke tart as one of the bottom three during the Quickfire, but my heart sank a bit when she started talking about doing smoked trout for the "Latin Lunch." Nothing about trout or smoking resonates "Latin" to me--obviously they didn't with the Telemundo diners or the judges either. It was a bad call on Lia's part, compounding her final execution of the dish, which I'm sure was affected by cutting the three hour cooking window in half. But that's the kind of turning-on-a-dime that chefs have to deal with occasionally, especially in catering, where all kinds of last-minute monkey wrenches can get thrown in--something I know a lot about!