Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Top Chef NYC: Week 6 & 7

Someone need to put me out of my own misery.

If Top Chef continues the path they are about to go, then it should not matter if I switched over to Food Network's new reality show "Chopped".

Let me tell you I'm not even bothering with week 6 of the show considering they didn't axed anyone from the show. It's a holiday show with a theme of forgiveness and unity. Yay for everyone being saved.

The only reason that episode sucked hard was that everyone did poorly in their elimination task of "catering" to a charity ball hosted by Natasha Richardson. You know it's bad when a Hollywood actress critique your cooking by saying she was disappointed with the quality of the food and thought it was awful. To save face, judge Tom Coliccio decided to give everyone a time off and didn't excused anyone from their terrible performance (even the Hollywood actress said themselves).

That's right! Why give the Hollywood actress a say in this process? Let's ruin her charity banquet with terrible food from a boring episode that uses Martha Stewart for a brief moment in the elimination challenge. Seriously, this whole episode was a bust. Why even aired it if no one gets eliminated with no serious drama. If we canned this episode and move on to next week, nobody would missed it. The time line of the story would continued as though nothing have changed.

Moving on to the week 7, there is a new development regarding the judging on the show. No, they didn't get rid off Padma. Unfortunately Gail Simmons have to take some time off due to her wedding plans and honeymoon while the tapping of the show was going on simultaneously. She have to take time off for the rest of the season.

Her replacement on the judging panel is a former British cooking show contestant winner named Toby Young. Somehow they gave him the title of "food critic", but other than a resume filled with columnist for the magazine "Vanity Fair", guest judge on UK version of "Hell's Kitchen" and on the reality show "Come Dine with Me", his stint as a weekly food critic for Evening Standard was often forgotten.

The quickfire challenge is to feature a Michelin Star chef Jean-Christophe Novelli, who was about to get his own show on Bravo called "Chef Academy" who will taste test desserts that are made without sugar. Good thing that their standby product placement, Dr. Pepper was not excluded and was used on another ultra lamed and uninspired challenge. If you do care, Radhika won the challenge by cooking up bread pudding with roasted cashews and sauteed peach. Lucky she won because her main dish at the elimination challenge was lam-o.

This elimination challenge was simple. Cook the best dish you will ever cook and you would get to see another day. Because of not wanting to be called out by Natasha Richardson on the previous episode (I'm sure of it!), they saved up the elimination to this episode and will axe two contestants for the price of one.

The whole caveat of this challenge wasn't so much of cooking and tasting, but the fact that the contestants did not know who are going to be the judges and the dishes will be presented anonymously so that the mysterious judges don't know which contestant's dish belong to which chef. Something tells me that red boiled cabbage will belong to an European like Stefan.

Another surprised being hatched up by the production staff was to let the wannabe chefs see the critique on a flat screen TV while the judges are being unaware a hidden camera captured the audio and video feed of the live reading of rites for their dishes.

Toby Young was leading charge for his soundbites of "bland leading the bland" (for Eugene) and "It tasted like catfood" (for Melissa). Of course it didn't helped that Tom Colicchio pretty much ignored and treat Toby Young's suggestion and critiques with a major brush off. Young pretty much wanted to keep Eugene and let go Carla who came up with a vegetarian risotto dish that topped with a scallop. Watching her explanation was very painful and I honestly thought her lack of confidence in her dish was going to do her in.

In the end, I did think that the producers are hopping for a meltdown episode (like in Mia in season 2 begging to be let go) from Carla. She has the potential to freak out at any given moment. Plus with the recent season's of African Americans being eliminated earlier than expected, I had a feeling they were going to keep her around.

The people who got the axe was the maestro who was the "bland leading the bland" and the catlady who made "the catfood". Either way, the ending was dissatisfying as the wrong contestants got eliminated. I would have certainly let a person who don't how to make a vegetarian dish than the bland dish go.

By the way, let's see how the sequestered cast offs have to say about their remaining competitors at this video:

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