Top Chef: Something's Fishy
Things were seeming so promising. Last night's Top Chef was actually testing the chef-testants' skills. Fishes were cleaned and filleted in timed competition. We watched Stefan peel the skin off an eel by nailing it to the chopping block (it was strangely arousing). Eric Ripert was there. There were no glaring sponsor tie-ins, save for the mention of Ritz Carlton hotels, which was probably more of a Ripert thing since he has restaurants in them. Le Bernardin dishes had to be copied; classical french techniques had to be utilized. It was the best episode in weeks, maybe of the season. We had to wonder if Bravo had read our thoughts on what's wrong with the show this season, and taken quick, miraculous action. And then, tragedy struck.
Jamie had no business going home last night. Sure her celery was too salty, but she knew what was wrong with her dish, unlike Leah. That should have counted for something. And she's one of the more talented chef-testants on this season. Why oh why couldn't they have taken Leah or Hosea? Oh right, they have an awkward sexual tension that is just sooo thrilling to watch. At this point, it's anyone's guess as to which crackerjacks will end up in the final three. This is a train wreck of a season; this is watching McCain and Palin cook a romantic dinner for George Bush and Tony Blair. It is chaos, random, entertaining chaos. It's too captivating to look away. Here are some of the best/worst elements and moments from last night's episode:
-Leah says "I haven't had the best record with fish" on the last few challenges; we later learn she was the lead fish cook at her last restaurant.
-Stefan has suddenly become the nice guy, helping Leah in the kitchen, being generally supportive, giving Leah a hug and kiss before she faces the judges. Is this a challenge to Hosea's virility?
-Leah gives up on the arctic char, tells Eric Ripert by making a cute frowny face, one of many wannabe cute frowny faces she makes throughout the episode.
-Hosea watches this unfold, gives a voiceover on the importance of not giving up. God, there's so much subtext here.
-The eels are still moving!
-Stefan nails the eel...further challenging Hosea's virility.
-As everyone else gushes over the food at Le Bernardin, Jamie says she's actually kind of bored by it and doesn't find it inspiring.
-Annoying Leah moment #2 of many. "He's super sweet and cute (giggle)" she says of Eric Ripert, while everyone else talks about his food.
-Carla says "while I was growing up, I wanted to major in theatre. But now, this is what I want to be when I grow up--one of his [Ripert's] dishes."
-Hosea further confirms his douchiness by earnestly using the phrase "go big or go home."
-Colicchio says that just cooking in the Le Benardin kitchen is "enough to scare the chef-pants out of anybody." Oh Tom...
-The Italian dude shows us that he can actually cook sometimes, not just speak in charming broken English.
-Padma tells Ripert "Congratulations, you are the Top Chef." Funny thing, the more annoying Toby Young gets, the more endearing we find Padma.
-Hosea tells us numerous times that he's the seafood guy.
-The fact that every time Leah struggles with fish, we get an auto reaction shot of Hosea watching her from afar.
-Carla shows that she actually knows her classic French technique shit.
-Leah uses hand motions to plead her sorry case to the judges, keep from being eliminated. Since she was actually casting a spell, it works.
**Notice how there is no mention of Toby Young. He was a major lowlight last night. Check back later for our list of the worst Toby Young-isms from last night's episode.
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