Well, hello again. Let's get right into tonight's episode, which I'm dubbing The Cutest. Episode. Ever. First, the chefs had to create a dish made with Uncle Ben's Rice in 15 minutes. It's moments like these where I can hear the upcoming comments in my head: "This is Top Chef not Top Product Placement." See, my editors and I watch the shows in advance so we can have a site up for you when you visit immediately following the show, and so we play a little game called "Guess What the Commenters Are Going to Say." Every time one of the chefs drops the F-bomb we know the cursing comments are going to subsist for another week, and so on. So, I can only imagine what comments we're going get about the Uncle Ben's Quickfire Challenge, but this is what I will say. Um, I kind of love Uncle Ben's and for people without a lot of time, this challenge was great. Now, I will admit, however, that I don't eat Uncle Ben's at home. With a Middle Eastern father, it's basmati or bust. But even if you don't indulge in the Ben's, there were some pretty easy dishes showcased tonight and I have a feeling they may make their way into some of your kitchens. Please let me know if you try them.
Only a few of the dishes stood out to me: First, Stephanie's, but not for a good reason. She didn't taste her food! This made me die inside a little because I love her and didn't like that she served something she didn't try. Second, the multiple fried rice dishes. At first I thought these were a cop-out, but then I realized how much I love fried rice and how there's nothing better than fresh fried rice. And you can pretty much add anything to it. And then there was Antonia's dish. This could've gone two ways: Either Padma and Art Smith loved it or her childhood culinary memory was shattered. Luckily for her it wasn't the latter.
Before I move on to the Elimination, I just want to say what a pleasure Art Smith is. Being Oprah's chef and all (I have an irrational disdain for her), I don't know what I was expecting but he was nothing but accommodating and pleasant.OK -- onto the Elimination. The chefs had to create healthy dishes for a family of four with a budget of $10. While the point that most families can't spend a lot of money at the grocery store every day was a good one, I've never spent that little at Whole Foods before in my life! According to his blog, it seems Ted agrees with me. So, this challenge was really a challenge. And then there were the kid sous-chefs, who were the cutest things ever. I love how the kids were matched up with the chefs -- some of the matches were so eerie because you could literally picture the chefs as they were probably 20 or so years ago. Of course, the minute the kids start cooking, one of them starts bleeding! Poor Spike! But it seemed his paternal instinct kicked in and he got that kid over to the sink right quick.
None of the chefs seemed bothered by having children help them, which is what I was a little afraid of, so it really was all about the dishes this week. First the top three: Antonia, who won with her stir-fry; Nikki, whose "one pot wonder" really impressed Chef Art. Although I personally felt hers was a little unrefined, I do enjoy a good one pot wonder. I create one pretty much every time I reheat up leftovers because I'm too lazy to put different items in separate bowls. And Andrew. Although he complained about the budget at first, he quickly embraced it, and I was shocked to hear he was overweight at one point. I think I'll have to ask him about that one (My weight's not going to lose itself people!) And on the bottom, we had Stephanie, whose flavor profiles didn't impress Chef Tom, but whose flavor combination Chef Smith said he enjoyed (so that explains her save); Lisa, whose dish lacked flavor; and Poor Mark whose dish didn't have enough protein, and apparently, just didn't taste very good.
So, I think this week's elimination was pretty fair, or at least more obvious than last week's. I will certainly miss who EW.com's recapper Vanessa Juarez (and pretty much everyone else) lovingly refers to as "Stoner Mark" and his adorable accent. But what did we think about his accusation that Tom didn't like him? Tom seemed totally shocked, and frankly I've never noticed it before. But you know what they say about pot and paranoia. I kid, of course.And what did you guys think of Nikki's story? I'll probably go to hell for saying this, but if she commented on being raised by a single mom one more time, well, I don't know. It annoyed me, and that makes me a horrible person, and I guess I'm OK with that.
And finally, what about the TMI moment of the night: Richard admitting he wants to "go home and make some babies!" I really just kind of love Richard, and hopefully that will happen for him one day.
I'm not going to comment on Antonia's "Smell ma poo" joke because, well, yuck.
To respond to a couple of comments: I want to thank those for the kind words and the criticism. Shout out to " _heart_TC" who wrote:
>>>I think them both winning was a Top Chef first -- obviously correct me if my senility has gotten the best of me ???? Ok, maybe I'm the one with the senility problem, but in team challenges, the team *always* wins the challenge - in this case, Dale & Richard - but Richard was the only one who ultimately *won* this episode. He was the one awarded the cookware.
Both Dale and Richard actually received the prize money and the cookware in this one, but "Kat" cleared it up:
"About Dale and Richard winning and your request if someone remembers two people winning at once? Didn't CJ and Tre both win during the Bertolli challenge with Rocco last season? They won tickets to Italy, didn't they?"
Correct -- thanks!
So, tell me, what were your favorite (and least favorite) parts of the show tonight? And HOW exciting were the previews for "Wedding Wars?" We haven't seen that challenge since Season 1!
Until next week,