Team Top Chef's Editor talks about her love of levers ... and her memorable dinner at VOLT.

Oct 8, 2009

We'll get to my dinner at VOLT soon, but first ...

Welcome back my little Culinary Council members! As I could see from the comments below my last blog entry, you guys were not very happy about the re-run last week. Is it wrong to say I was? I got a week off. So sue me. Anyway, I'm pretty happy we're back though because I missed you guys.

The tension last week surrounding Robin is now palpable in the house. This clip we have as part of our cool "Stir Crazy in Sin City" Webisode series shows how really real it was:

All Robin wants is a damn taco! Give her the taco!

Anyway, we'll come back to this in a moment. First things first ... the Quickfire: What I found semi-amusing about it was that we made the chefs pull a lever on a slot machine. Anyone who's been to Vegas in the last several years knows that most machines have buttons now, but they do still have levers! And you know what? I still use them because it's half the fun of playing slots! And, frankly, it slows you down so you don't go through your money as quickly. Which is probably why the buttons were installed in the first place.

The chefs all played for combinations powered by, which also powers our fabulous Recipe Finder. A lot of them got "umami" as one of their descriptive words, which I gotta be honest, I didn't know what it meant when Mark Peel used it to describe some of the dishes he was served a couple episodes ago. According to, umami is "a taste that is characteristic of monosodium glutamate and is associated with meats and other high-protein foods. It is sometimes considered to be a fifth basic taste along with sweet, sour, salty, and bitter." Why does that sound so gross to me? Maybe the same reason I don't like mushrooms. Harold explains this fifth taste a bit more in his blog this week, which will be up shortly. Anyway, most of the chefs fared pretty well with their dishes and with Tyler Florence, who I could seriously listen to giggle all day. What a jovial guy.

Kevin won with his Asian dish even though he's not familiar with those flavors. And, he took the $15K instead of immunity. Padma looked very excited about this. Jennifer Carroll found herself alongside Robin at the bottom, but she was feeling all sorts of "blech." I thought you guys would be upset she was cooking while sick, but I'm gonna venture to say it happens all the time, and, unless my eyes are failing me, she was actually wearing gloves during the challenge.