Thursday, June 14, 2007
Top Chef - Season 3
Let me first start off by saying that I am a Bravo Reality TV fanatic! I loved Project Runway, Workout, Shear Genius and of course, my favorite - Top Chef. I like contests that are based off of actual talent, instead of popularity...and by the looks of things this season, there is an awful lot of talent!
The episode began with the chef'testants gathering around at the murder site of the late fashion designer Gianni Versace. (How festive, no?) I wonder if the hair on the back of their necks stood up when they walked up the steps? I got the chills when they revealed the location!
The chefs began small talk around the gorgeous spread of meats, cheeses, fruits and vegetables, before Padma and ("I'm not your mentor") Chef Colicchio entered with details of the Quickfire round. I mean, why waste time? You're here...mostly queer...let's get on with it! The challenge was to make an amuse bouche that represented each chef, from the ingredients that they had been munching on. No heat, no knives - oh yeah...and they only had 10 minutes!
Within that small amount of time, I was able to pick out a couple of favorites:
Tre, that's one literal tattoo you've got there buddy.
CJ aka "Fake Ball"
Hung, who looks to be this year's Marcel...hey, they're even friends!
Micah almost made my list, but there is just something about her that irks me, however she did turn out to be the winner of the Quickfire. Her dish was absolutely lovely - a take on a sushi roll, with the outside of the roll made out of thinly sliced meat. (Serrano ham? Proscuitto? I didn't catch it.) With her victory, she won immunity in the very first elimination round. Poor Clay, the token southern boy with the wide frightened eyes, did poorly - not understanding what an amuse bouche was...even thought it was featured on both Seasons 1 and 2. If you are going to become a contestant on a reality show, do us a favor and watch a couple of episodes! What we learned about Clay in his interview, is that he did not go to culinary school, and that his father was an accomplished chef who killed himself because of the pressure of owning a restaurant. Wow! My heartstrings were pulled on, that's for sure. I thought that Clay would go further than I expected, because of his editing as being the "dark horse."
I feel so badly for the Season 2 chefs, after seeing the housing that Season 3 gets to reside in! That penthouse is beautiful! I had bad flashbacks from the Thanksgiving episode, where the remaining chefs had to cook a non-traditional Thanksgiving dinner in their rooms...shudder. I guess there are certain quality of living standards in Miami, that there were not in California. One item that did stand out to me though - the bathtub that was located in the middle of the bathroom...I wonder if anyone will use it? It is a community bathroom, and all.
On to the Elimination Challenge! Exotic proteins. Last season, this challenge came a little later in the show, and at that time I said to my hunny "This is when I would be sent home." I guess I would have been the first person eliminated this time! I have no idea how to cook boar, or alligator, or geoduck! (Shout out to Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs!) Is ostrich meant to be eaten rare?
Looking at the table of rare proteins, made me gag. My palette is obviously not as refined as it should/could be. I'm sure that snake meat is wonderful - - but did they have to have a stuffed snake in an attack position on the table?! I don't think I could've stuck my hand out to even collect it, with that fangs at the ready! Luckily, I was not alone, as a couple of the chefs were just as dumbfounded as I was.
Overall, everyone did do a good job, and the plates did look lovely, even if some of the protein was rubbery or overcooked. Anthony Bourdain made an appearance as a tough guest judge, alongside the usuals - and was the only one who really questioned whether an incomplete dish trumped a yucky tasting dish. In my head, if you don't complete the challenge, you should be disqualified hands down, but whatever. Howie, you got lucky man...especially when you quoted Anthony Bourdain as to why you should stay! Clay, the kid with the dead dad, got sent home for par-cooking his chops. (So much for that tear jerking edit Bravo!) And, one of my favorites, Tre, won the first challenge and received a little hug from Hung, the runner up.
Unfortunately, this entire first elimination challenge was all about the men - as the ladies remained safely in the middle of the pack. We'll see what next week brings.
Top Chef is back baby!