Yes -- my blog title from last week was referring to the Ricola commercials from back in the day. Yes -- I may have had the wrong instrument, but every time I watched and saw Mark play his didgeridoo, I couldn't think of anything else. Hopefully this week's title is a little less cryptic (but only a little.)
Let's start with this week's Quickfire. Yaaay! The Mise en Place Relay Race! This Quickfire is by far the most exciting of all. I've mentioned previously that I could watch Hung break down a chicken all day, and while I'm not sure that this year's challenge had a standout moment like that, Andrew's handling of the artichokes was pretty exciting. Did anyone else catch when Spike asked Tom if his broken artichoke was acceptable and Tom said "No" that Tom was just itching to blow his whistle but it wasn't time yet? Just me? OK. As a former day camp counselor, I understand his whistle-happiness. Lisa worked those oranges also, but ultimately Spike's slowness over the artichokes was a major factor in his team's loss.
I said in a previous entry that I was liking Dale more and more and I think what he says to the camera is generally totally logical, but then there are moments like when he punched the locker that he baffles me. Either way, I find him interesting, and look forward to seeing what he makes. The two teams stuck together for the Elimination Challenge, and the winning Quickfire team of Richard, Stephanie, Antonia, and Andrew got to choose who they wanted to create a menu for in Dun dun dun ... Wedding Wars!
So, first of all, this week's challenge "Wedding Wars," hearkens back to Season 1's "Wedding Bell Blues." I've been having such nostalgia for Season 1 lately (again, blame my affinity for Harold) that our fabulous Photo Editor was kind enough to put together a gallery of the episode's photos for me, ahem, I mean you. That challenge was very different and not just because Season 1's chefs were cooking for two men, but their meal was also not buffet-style, which Harold calls out in his blog. Season 1's chefs had lots of problems, which seemed to be rectified this time around, resulting in a surprisingly successful challenge. First, the Bride's Team. Richard chose to cook for the bride, which may have seemed like an odd decision, but turned out to be a smart one, and the more I think about it, although one might think brides are harder to please, they also probably know exactly what they want. Besides Andrew's chicken and creamed spinach (and a random comment about the messiness of the pulled pork sandwich), it seemed like this time kinda hit it out of the park. The judges thought Lisa's cake was better than Stephanie's, but I have to say Stephanie's looked pretty amazing. And as a faithful viewer of Ace of Cakes, I can appreciate how hard these cakes are to make, so the fact that the whole thing didn't collapse was impressive.
The Groom's Team, on the other hand, didn't receive such high praise, except for Lisa's cake and Spike's fish dish. Now, was anyone else reminded of the Groom's cake in Steel Magnolias when watching this? The blood-red armadillo? And although Tom wasn't in love with the look of Lisa's cake, at least it didn't have gray icing! Besides Lisa's cake and Spike's Chilean sea bass, which is one of my favorite dishes to eat, The Groom's Team or rather Team Italian's food left much to be desired.
Now, the groom told them he wanted Italian food -- perfect opportunity for Nikki to take the reins. But it seemed she just wouldn't, which may have been the most frustrating thing to watch ever, and certainly didn't help her. I have nothing against Nikki obviously, but was worried that the food would come out spot-on and the judges wouldn't' find out about her unwillingness to lead. But that didn't happen. It seems their food just wasn't that good, and Nikki went home. I could feel the collective sigh of relief from the commenters when she was told to pack her knives and go.
Then there was the Spike/Dale fight. I think I might be on Team Dale because he didn't blow up first (from what we saw.) But, I also fault Dale for not speaking up when he felt like his team members weren't helping enough. So, before I address your comments, some fun observations and quotes from this episode:
1. Lisa saying she would be Nikki's bitch. I think we may need to update our Dave Martin t-shirts to read "I AM your bitch, bitch."
2. Andrew saying he could stay up all night (we'll disregard the culinary boner comment, although our friends on our Top Chef message boards had some pretty amusing comments about it) Watching this, us editors knew this wouldn't help the theory that he's on something. But, you know, I'm not on anything and I could probably work all night too, especially with adrenaline, so that explains that.
3. What did we think of Tom's shirt/tie combination?
4. Antonia: "Andrew's not allowed to talk to the guests." Ha!
5. "Dun dun dun dun .. here comes the bride?" Did anyone else crack up when Richard said this? He's such a cheese ball and I love it. Now, on to your comments:
1. A lot of you are kinda sick of the team challenges and weren't psyched for Wedding Wars, but what do you think now? I have to say a group of us watched this together and were so pumped up after viewing, we started watching next week's episode right after!
2. "J" wrote:
I just saw that Betheny from the Housewives of New York is now blogging about TC ...
And well it was a long comment so I won't re-post the whole thing, but "J" wasn't too pleased with the addition. Well, not to defend every decision we make, but Bethenny is a chef and a fan and a lot of people seem to be enjoying reading her take on Top Chef. So, I'm happy we offer it.
"Linda" also wrote:
To Superfan: I noticed you have a new blog from Bethenny. I assume you set that blog up yourself? But, I don't think we know who Bethenny is yet. Is she an employee of Bravo like you are? (yes, folks, although Superfan is a fan, he is also an employee, specifically an editor on Bravotv.com.)
Bethenny is a celebrity chef and one of the stars of the very popular The Real Housewives of New York City.And, yes, I (a female) am an editor for Bravotv.com, which I disclosed earlier. Hopefully that revelation hasn't soiled your perception of me.
Hope that cleared some things up. And to that end, I think the overall complaint was more about the inconsistency of some of the chefs' blogs. And all I can really say about that is that the chefs are busy. I know, I know, so are the other bloggers and they get them in on time, so all I can promise is that I will try to light a fire under the slackers' asses a bit more.
I would, however, like to throw out the question of who you guys would want to see blog in the future (next season, during the off-season) and we'll do our best to make that happen (Bourdain has been duly-noted.)
Anyway, once again, keep the comments coming, and seriously, suggest things! What kind of recipes do you want to see, what features would you enjoy, etc? Because our site's for you guys.
Until next week -- I think you will be pretty happy about the return of a certain chef.