There's no meaning behind the title of my entry (Get your heads out of the gutter), other than I could not get this song out of my head during this week's episode, which took place at Craft. But before we get to the abysmal Elimination Challenge, let's talk about the Quickfire. Hot dogs.
I. love. hot dogs. It is one of the few foods that I crave, and while I can't remember the last time -- if ever -- I've had a "dirty water dog," or one out of a cart on the streets in NYC, I do head to Nathan's or Ben's Deli pretty regularly. Although I'm not Kosher, I usually opt for the Hebrew Nationals at Ben's because Kosher dogs tend to have a thicker casing which I love (and they answer to a higher authority!) Frankly, the only chef's hot dog that looked appealing to me was Radhika's. Someone should have made their take on a hush puppy! For those who don't know what that is, it's a hot dog wrapped in potato. Nothing too crazy happened in the Quickfire other than Stefan being in the bottom three. What does that mean? It means he isn't invincible, and one half of the "Euro Duo" may just trip up on those American comfort foods. We'll just have to wait and see. What I will say about Stefan is that he is kind of hilarious. I got to speak to him on the phone this week and he was seriously dying of laughter from the blogs on our site. I love when our talent (insider lingo for the people on our shows) read our blogs, but he was LOVING them. So, be sure to leave some messages on his Burning Questions this week because I can pretty much guarantee he'll see them! For the Elimination Challenge, the chefs had to create a three-course New American Cuisine menu. I honestly have no idea what New American Cuisine means (and maybe the chefs didn't either), so that's where I urge you to read Tom's Blog to get clued in. The chefs were left to their own devices to break up into the three courses. Thankfully Jeff and his sideburns organized everyone accordingly. What was interesting was that there didn't seem to be a shortage of chefs who wanted to make desserts. Basically, most of the chefs did horribly, which I hate to see. It's not that I care about them so much that I want them to succeed, but rather as a viewer, it's much more entertaining to watch chefs create amazing food. The two biggest standouts for me were obviously Fabio's (the winner) and Jamie's. Jamie's soup reminded me of Ilan's roasted corn dish in the TGI Friday's challenge from Season 2. They're not remotely similar, but I think the judges might like corn almost as much as they like bacon. We'll have to see if that theory holds any water.
Most of the other dishes looked pretty unappetizing, but let's focus on Ariane's and Jill's. Ariane really got saved again -- she needs to start listening to what people tell her BEFORE she serves her food. Padma actually spit out her food! That was supposedly a Top Chef first. And honestly I can't remember when that's happened before, so, yeah, that's pretty bad. And then there was Jill. Oh Jill. Just using an ostrich egg doesn't work if no one knows you used it without reading it on a menu. I wonder if she would've gotten more props for the out-of-the-ordinary ingredient if she had incorporated it into the presentation somehow, but with so many diners, I guess that wouldn't have worked. Honestly, ostriches scare me. And the thought of eating one of their byproducts scares me too. And although I agree with Gail's comments about Jill's defense being lame, she could not have seemed more nervous. Anyway, sweet Jill goes home. She did pretty good work last episode, but although the judges liked her Rastafarian-themed dish, I thought the colors were a bit cheesy. I'm just happy Hosea's poor crab decision didn't get him sent home. He's quickly becoming one of my favorites. (So hands off Leah!) On a non-episode front, I got to spend some time today with some previous Top Chefs -- Stephanie, Hung, Richard, Dale Levitski, Antonia, CJ, and Lee Anne -- at the French Culinary Institute as they prepared for a private dinner tomorrow at the James Beard House. We will have video from the prep kitchen soon where they told me what they've been up to and their plans for Thanksgiving, so check back on the site for that.
I think that's all for now, but leave comments and questions, and I will try to answer as well as I can.
Until next week, Monica A. Reyhani
P.S. If Fabio made that Mario Brothers reference one more time ... (I kid. I kid.) P.P.S. I grew up writing "G-d" because it's what I learned in Hebrew school. It is not a bad word, so feel free to use it at will.