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Bring It!

Jamie Lauren wishes some of the female chefs would step it up.

By Jamie Lauren

First of all I just want to say thanks to everyone for reading my first blog. I was a little nervous about it and I love all the great feedback I received from all of you. Now I actually feel like I set a precedent and I have to keep upping the ante every week. Oh the woes of being hard on one's self. But I am vowing here and now to write the best damn blogs this season that Bravo has ever seen. My one advantage is that I used to be a writer, many, many years ago before I became a chef, and this has been a great forum for me to get my writing aggressions out. That being said, I give you blog No. 2.

Ahhh, Vegas ... heat, desert, heat, money, heat ... uh, shirtless pool parties? Interesting. NYC was sweltering the summer we shot Top Chef, but all we had to wade around in was a puddle or two after a severe August thunderstorm, not that I would have really wanted to see Stefan, Hosea, Danny, or any of the other guys topless. So, maybe I should take it back when I said I was on the wrong season, at least we kept things covered in NYC. Boys: please keep the coats on the rest of the season. I get that it’s hot and the pool is gorgeous, but we don’t really want to see you half naked.

Carrying on ... the craps table set up in the TC kitchen was a great idea. The producers are really thinking of the good stuff this season, but I guess with a backdrop like Las Vegas it must be easy to come up with great challenges. I for one love craps. In fact, it’s actually the only type of gambling that I even understand, with the exception of roulette, both of which are games that rely solely on luck, much like this Quickfire. Oh, to have rolled a 2. .. talk about bad luck. That would have sucked. It seems a lot of chefs rolled 8s, 9s, and 10s, which I think would have been some of the best numbers. It's always easier to cook with more items than less, at least for me — I prefer simplistic to minimalist, though I completely respect chefs that can really pull off working with only a few ingredients. I for one cannot live without butter, and Jesse you were right when you said your pasty looking scallops would have benefited from some of the delicious fatty stuff.

Again, here is where my front runners knock it out of the park. Michael V., Jen, and Kevin are the top three, and I am not even remotely surprised. I loved the look of Kevin’s asparagus and celery salad with egg. This guy definitely cooks after my own heart. Michael’s gazpacho looked really interesting, though I wish i could have seen more of it, at least technique-wise. Incorporating the liquid nitrogen was a cool idea, but due to the editing of the show it made it hard to see what exactly it was he did, and then Jen, the ladies' front runner and so far most consistent rounded out the top three. In the end, another $15,000 was passed out (OK OK, maybe I WAS on the wrong season. Clearly I will be vacillating on this all season. Stay tuned, folks...) and Michael took home the top prize ... lucky dude.

Now we arrive at the Elimination Challenge ... a battle of the sexes! Ha! Now now Ashley, you and I are in the same boat and I believe in equal rights just as much as you, but there is a time and a place for it. This is a cooking show. Swallow your pride and get out there and kick some ass. Focus less on the politics of the situation and more on making great food and perhaps you and your team wouldn’t have ended up in the bottom half. That being said, can’t say I wouldn’t have wanted to be on the boys' team. No offense ladies, but the guys are clearly a step ahead of some of you, and this is where I can imagine it was incredibly frustrating at Judges' Table for Jen, Ashley (despite her overacheiving on the panna cotta ... girl, stick to one dish!) and Laurine. But, so are the pitfalls of team challenges. Sometimes it’s just the way the cards are dealt. The brothers again are doing things not yet seen on the show and as a chef that is what makes it interesting to me. Sometimes it’s nice to watch someone take risks and think outside the box, and when it works it has the potential to be amazing as it ended up being for these guys. I was less excited with the likes of Preeti, Jesse, and Eve. At this point I am starting to see a pattern with the least impressive of the chefs. Either they start to step up or one of those girls is going to drop like a fly really quickly. This all goes back to what I was saying last week" It’s not that I don’t believe a woman can win, it’s just that I think the men are outmatching them. Trust me, I don’t like to type this anymore than you like to read it. I know this is Top Chef and things can change at the drop of a hat, and yes it’s early ... I’m just hoping that these girls will start bringing it! I would love to see those boys get their asses handed to them. Again, I’m looking at you Mr. Isabella....

How to Watch

Watch Top Chef Season 21 Wednesdays at 9/8c on Bravo and next day on Peacock.

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