Hello my little Muffin Winthrops. I've been trying to think all week what I would want my spy name to be, and I got nothing. I did ask Eric Ripert what his would be, though, and his response was ... "Silver Fox." We both lost it. What would yours be? Let me know in the Comments section below. Anyway, most of your comments last week were obviously about Alex, but hopefully you can all maybe let it go now and move forward. I can't even imagine some of the relief some of you felt when you saw him go home. But we'll get to that in a minute.
First, in this week's Quickfire, the chefs are tasked with creating dishes from ingredients contained in mystery boxes. This seemed hella hard because chefs tend to plan their dishes around ingredients available, but the chefs didn't know what the ingredients were! Angelo actually had the right idea in saying that he would keep the dish as broad and versatile as possible at the beginning. Unfortunately it seems that Angelo's nerves or exhaustion or both are getting the best of him, and he's starting to crack. Tiffany on the other hand is cool as a cucumber and comes out on top again! It seems that she's been doing very well with the stews and one pot dishes, and able to get a lot of flavor out of her broths. We'll see if it continues!
In maybe one of the coolest Elimination Challenges we've ever had, the chefs cook at the CIA headquarters for Director Leon Panetta. The challenge is to recreate classic dishes as something new, put the dishes under cover. Kudos to the producers because I thought this challenge was kind of brilliant. How many times have you gone to a restaurant, tasted something and thought, "This kinda tastes like...." Well, it seems like that was exactly the effect they were going for with this challenge. Anyway, Tiffany obviously rocked it with her covert gyro lamb dish. Like Kelly, I've never had Kung Pao anything either, but I thought her referring to a commercial Kung Pao sauce for ingredient guidance was very, very smart. And it worked hard for her, despite the rice being a little touch and go. Amanda made a soup too, but it just didn't measure up. I have to say though Amanda gained a few points in my book for defending Alex and saying that although the other cheftestants don't like him, she does. I know most of you don't like him, but I like that Amanda is mature enough to see the good in him. It's a little too late though because Alex did (finally) go home. His version of veal parmesan was apparently almost inedible. Yikes! I do want to give a quick shout-out to one of my new favorite NYC restaurants Telepan for their eggplant parmesan appetizer. Sure, it's not veal, but it's delicious and worth mentioning.
Angelo faltered again with his Beef Wellington "pizza." The judges not only knew immediately what his dish was but his frozen pastry tasted, well, like frozen pastry. I will say though that I have to thank Angelo for causing Leon Panetta to make a pretty funny joke about the dish being captured, and subsequently cracking himself up. I was shocked at what a jovial guest Mr. Panetta was. He was kind of hysterical and his rapport with guest judge Wylie Dufresne was adorable. You know what else was adorable? Tom's admission that he loves cobb salads. Cause guess what? So do I! You know who has a surprisingly good one? Cinema Cafe if you can believe it. Oh, one more adorable thing: Eric Ripert. Was it just me or did he look exceptionally handsome at the table this week? I'm going to assume it wasn't just me.
Well that was quite a tangent I just took you all on. Back to the food! I was really surprised by the flack Ed's dish got. I was kinda shocked the judges didn't appreciate the humor in the cover, and thought his inside-out Chicken Cordon Bleu was pretty genius. Oh well. His dish probably would have taken me back to my college days in Rochester where I ate a Chicken Crave pita almost every other day, which was essentially Chicken Cordon Bleu in a pita. I know, I know. Oh, also, Ed mentioned another girlfriend (his current one this time). Who knew he was such a ladies' man?!
This week's episode was somewhat of a turning point in the season for me. I feel like I did when Robin went home last season. Both Alex and Robin had their supporters and detractors, but both of their eliminations kind of felt like sweet relief. Do you agree?
Totally unrelated a bunch of things cracked me up this week:
1. "Do you have Double Zero (00) flour?" First of all it too me two viewings to get that this was even remotely related to the spy theme. Also, if he found the flour and used it, did he tell the judges? I wonder what their response would have been.
2. "Before I was a chef, I was actually a professional videographer. I've shot over 500 weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, Sweet 16s...." Why didn't this surprise me at all?
3. Angelo and the Russian fiancee thing gave me pause, but I obviously wish them both all the best.
Also, I want to apologize to everyone for missing the live chat this week. It's my birthday, and, well, yeah. I am going to Ajna Bar to celebrate this weekend. Season 3 winner Hung Huynh is the chef, and I've been there multiple times, so I'm psyched. I'll provide a full report next week, and maybe even include pics!
I hope you all sleep well tonight knowing Alex has been eliminated, and now you can focus on the chefs you actually do like. Let me know who your front-runners for the title are below, and share the moments you found hilarious!
He reminded me of Robin too. Both seem to have personalities that were off putting, I might not like them personally, but neither were bad people, and both seemed to get raw deals from other contestants. Maybe a few better chefs went home before them, but that always happens. The worse chef never makes it to the end anyway, it would be impossible to put them all in order. What's important is the best chefs make it to the finale.
I too wondered about the double zero flour! I do hope that Angelo can get his nerves back on track because it was wonderful to see the dishes he would come up with. However, I have to pull for, as I have from the beginning, for my girl Tiffany. Not only are we from the same home town but I would love to see her win the whole thing! I respect how throught the competition she has continuously kept her cool. Best of luck to her!
In Tom's blog, Alex is completely vindicated from the pea puree incident. Shame on the other chefs for not speaking up sooner. No one questioned his use of a puree in last night's episode. The fact that Alex never engaged when being attacked by others speaks volumes for the kind of (unedited) person he actually is.
There's been something that I've been thinking about for some time now, and I hope this question has a chance to be answered. How are challenges chosen and designed? Are the season's challenges in any way influenced by the skill level of the chefs after they are cast?
I'm certainly not the only one who has noticed that this season's chefs lack de dazzling skills of the Voltaggio brothers, Kevin, Eli or most of last season's cast. As some others, I saw this "disguise" challenge as a reinvention of last season's deconstruction challenge (so, it was a "disguised deconstruction"). But the challenges from last season that most come to mind are the Bocuse d'Or and, especially, the protein/sauce challenge.
During that protein/sace challenge I remember Gail stating that, in her opinion, that dinner wouldn't have been possible, at that stage in the competition, in any other season. Can any of you imagine THIS lot, as we saw them in ep. 4, cooking for the likes of Joël Robuchon? I shudder to think of the embarassment.
Is it just me or did Alex's exit interview on the video blog make you like him at least a little bit? If he only he showed that kind of honesty and charm on the show, maybe he wouldn't have so many haters, and also there would be no conspiracies cos his honest would negate him from acting in such a conspicuous manner.
I think that watching the show we as viewers only have the word of the chefs and interpretation of the judges to go on so the issue of pea puree theft, Kenny's talent (or lack thereof) or the quality of the food presented needs to be accepted finally. Ranting about Kenny leaving will not bring him back, yelling about stolen food won't reverse the moment and blaming the judges for sending home crowd favorites won't change. Trust their judgement...that is why they are there. I think many people are taking this competition too seriously and not enjoying it as simple television entertainment. I mean, its Top Chef and its meant to be enjoyable. Don't stress out so much about the things that won't change. The publicity these chefs receive from being on the show alone will give them plenty of momentum to help their careers move forward. If not, maybe they shouldn't be chefs. Loving the season and I hope Kelly, Tiffany and Amanda make it to the end just to see a little girl power. Tiffany is my current fave though as she seems calm under pressure and ready to take on the culinary world. Code name: MisNomer
"Silver Fox", you are right, this challenge was brilliant. It was a very smart way of recycling the deconstructed dish challenge of S6, and I do think that most viewers saw the humor behind. And for all of them to actually be walking straight into the CIA building? Talk about unforgettable.
The only reason I would be glad that Alex finally went home is because of the incredible pressure he must have being going through. Like Marcel and Robin before him, he held up to the wall of dislike the others have built at his feet with seemingly great mental strength, but I so don't abide by this mobbing behavior that he had all my sympathy. And he looked like he was generally a fine chap, too, one with just an awkward sense of humor. Had he been accepted by the others, I'm sure we would have seen a very different side of him. And Amanda got points from me too, for the same reasons as yours, just like I gave Angelo some last week for telling him there was no need to explain himself. Shunning out a member of a group this way? Just no.
Lastly, a very happy birthday to you! Or... is it REALLY your birthday, hummm? ;)
Great elimination challenge...for the most part, weak concepts from the chefs. More Eric Ripert, less nonsense, more Eric Ripert, less drama. More Eric Ripert, more smart commentaries....Did I mention more Eric Ripert??????????
My name would be Barb Wire. Or Frieda Choose. Ditto on Tiffany's pronunciation being correct- it's "year-roe" not "ji-roe."
Kudos to JD - for catching that, one of my pet peeves is the mispronunciation of gyro (I have greek friends that taught me it should always rhyme with HERO). And as far as the Alex, Kenny, Angelo debate, I think just the fact that this is the 1st episode that we learn that Alex has only been cooking for 6 years was a stunner (& explained his lack of technique). I just wonder how he even made it thru the original casting cut! Also, Kenny has had a pretty uneven showing, even tho I was sad about his departure - but I think retrospectively, he was doing more braggadocio than good cooking. Funny thing, Angelo has been targeting/gunning, manipulating, and very Machiavellian in his wish to see Kenny gone. Now that his wish has come true, it really rattled him. Hmmm be careful what you wish for.....
It sounded like Angelo shoulda gone home judging by the critiques. But once again, Alex couldn't conceptualize a dish (quickfire) and couldn't properly execute a dish (elimination)...hmmm. At least this time he had nothing or no one to hide behind.
Actually, Tiffany is the only one who DID pronounce "gyro" correctly. Mr. Panetta notwithstanding, the "g" becomes something of a dipthong. (I just thought the others were mispronoucing it to be polite.). Amanda is becoming quite likable too. It makes me wonder why the editing this season has been so uneven. I suppose it does keep us guessing.
Finally: anybody know why Tom's blog is so testy this week? Maybe we should not have bothered him on vacation.
One time I asked my son what he wanted to be when he grew up. After much consideration, he replied "I want to be a foxy sniper." So that would be my spy name. :)
Finally, a great episode. QF challenge seemed hardest yet and the CIA location was cool. Shame the cheftestants seem lacking in talent compared to last season's. Imagine what the Volt's or Kevin would have come up with. I have seen nothing foodwise to compare to last season. Even the winning dishes, while well executed don't have much creativity. We are spoiled.
Well, it had been reported some time ago elsewhere that Angelo had a new Russian partner ... and interestingly it was reported as his fiance (one e).
I did not hate Alex. I was not rooting for him either. And I thought the producers of Top Chef REALLY gave him a bad edit. He was not the best chef there, but so what? Only one is the best chef there.
I just do not like the Alex-hate. I hope he has a fabulous career.
People at the table looked very serious...almost stricken...when Mr. Panetta had to leave. I wonder if there was a serious matter that they were worried about. Wasn't it funny, also, that Tifanny mispronouced Gyro. She didn't know how to pronounce it but she sure did know how to cook it. Or a disguise of it.