Hello my little salt and pepper shakers. (Sorry -- that's a nod to the uproar over Whitney Pastorek's The Office recaps over at EW.com. She refers to the readers as her little binder clips. They hate it, but us bloggers need to stick together.) Anyway, back to the show.
On this week's episode, the chefs were greeted by the very handsome (yes -- he's even better looking in real life) Rocco DiSpirito. The chefs were asked to create a breakfast amuse bouche. I, like Jamie, am not a breakfast person (although I do like breakfast at dinnertime) and basically grew up on Long Island bagels (they're the best -- take THAT Brooklyn!) so I probably would have been at a loss during this challenge. Although come to think of it, maybe a play on a bagel bite could have been cute ... with bacon. Cause like the Top Chef judges ... and the Foo Fighters ... and Ms. Lee Anne Wong ... Rocco DiSpirito loves him some bacon.
It looked like most of the chefs made the same mistake that the chefs make every year -- they just make their amuse-bouche way too big. Jamie definitely got points in my book for being different, but Leah was the obvious winner, as she was seemingly one of maybe two people that actually made the correct portion size. And I know I have mixed these two up almost every week in this blog, and I'm sorry. They don't even look alike -- I have no idea what it is. And I mixed up Alex and Eugene last week, who look nothing alike either. So, again, I apologize. For the Elimination Challenge the chefs had to create a dish that they could demo in 2.5 minutes. Now, I thought this was challenge was really interesting. And before everyone starts with the "Hey, this isn't the Next Food Network Star," being able to do demos on TV or otherwise is becoming an evermore important part of being a chef and especially one of our Top Chefs. If you ask any of our Top Chef alumni what they did for the next year(s) after the show was over, they'll say they did a lot of demos. Our chefs get asked to show their skills in a lot of different venues after the show wraps because, well, people like to meet them and people know who they are. So when Leah told the judges that she didn't want to do TV and Padma said "You might have to," she was totally right.
Some things about the chefs' demos really cracked me up. G-d bless Carla (who, yes, knows she looks like Tracee Ellis Ross. And actually if you ask her, she tells a funny story about a couple stopping her while on vacation because she seriously believed she was Ms. Ross) because she is so genuinely happy for the other chefs' successes. Did you see her face when Ariane won? Priceless. I also really wanted to try her tortilla soup. When Tom called time on her she thought she had two minutes left, wihch means she thought that the 2.5 minutes had elapsed was only 30 seconds. Yikes!
As for the bottom three: Jamie's dish seemed to be simple enough, although I was a bit skeptical of her choice of duck eggs, something I don't think most people cook with at home. But please correct me if I'm wrong on that. The idea of eating that raw egg white didn't sound too appealing to me either and the more I think about Rocco's comments the more I agree that if I saw a chef recoil like that on TV, I would have been really put off. I also doubt Melissa tried her dish before serving as all of the judges seemed to think it was violently hot, and Rocco even went so far as to call it "inedible." And then there was Alex -- he knew he made a bad call, so it seemed like a fairly obvious choice for him to go. I know he was trying to be different, and I applaud him, but I don't find anything too unique about a creme brulee. He could have made a quick, easy, and "different" dessert if he wanted. And then there were the top choices: Ariane, who made a smart move and used fresh, local ingredients -- something the chefs usually favor -- and will be appearing on the Today show (in the building next to mine) tomorrow morning. Jeff, who had to handle Kathy Lee's over-the-top spitting out of his food (Could it have really been THAT bad?!) And Fabio who honestly didn't leave much of an impression on me this week.
What did leave an impression is the weirdness that is Leah and Hosea. I actually think they're kinda cute, but I actually can't answer the question of why we're relegating that story line to commercial breaks. Maybe we're trying to keep the bulk of the show about the food? I will get to the bottom of it -- don't you worry.
Before I go I want to say "Hi!" to all the current and former Rochesterians reading this. And I want to thank you all for your corrections, and to "Marj" for the Hedgedorn's correction. I'll have to check the place out next time I'm up there.
As always, leave your comments below!
Until next week where we get to "attend" Gail's bridal shower!
- Monica A. Reyhani