Thursday, September 10, 2009

Top Chef Las Vegas Ep. 4- The French Connection

Tonight the stakes were high on Top Chef as two chefs were eliminated instead of just one. That’s because they upped the ante on the Quickfire Challenge, giving the winner immunity and a seat at the table during the Elimination Challenge and the loser gets a seat on the next Greyhound bus out of Sin City. The secret ingredient was snails, or perhaps I should say escargot, since there was a French theme running through zee whole episode. Although I must admit I was rather disappointed that neither of my favorite French foods, French Toast nor French Fries, were represented at all tonight.

Naturally this theme gave Scarfy, zee French contestant, a home field advantage. It was a sort of birthday present to him, as it happened to be his 29th birthday. We got to see him celebrate by getting drunk, folding his red scarf into a pair of skintight swim trunks and prancing into zee hot tub.

Thoughts on the Quickfire:
- I have never eaten a snail, and I honestly still have no desire to try them now.
- Could Ashley swear a little more? Watch your French, girl.
- Robin did a take on bagels, lox and cream cheese with snail. I thought that was interesting.
- Jennifer seemed intimidated by the ingredient, but she nailed the snail.
- Mike I. went with a Greek take on snails and it paid off, putting him in the top three and redeeming himself temporarily from his poor showing last week.
- Kevin won again, using something called bacon jam as his secret weapon. Bacon jam… I love this guy. As I mentioned, Kevin got immunity for the next round. His biggest challenge was to actually clean himself up and dress nicely because he got to sit at the table and eat with a group of esteemed judges at the Elimination Challenge.
- Jesse, Ashley and Robin were the bottom three. In order to determine who went home, they had an Amuse-Bouche cook off. One bite to save your life.
- Turns out Jesse bit the dust with her one bite, so she packed her knives and left.
- When dismissing Jesse, Tom Colicchio missed a golden opportunity to say “Please pack your knives and escargot.”

On to the Elimination Challenge, where the gang gets to cook for Joel Robuchon, who is basically zee Michael Jordan of French cooking. Also at the table will be a virtual who’s who of French cooking. I may not have caught all of their names, but I’ll take my best guess as to who was there. I believe it was Marcel Marceau, Inspector Clouseau, LeBeau from Hogan’s Heroes, Pepé Le Pew and Jean-Luc Picard.

The chefs drew knives and paired up based on French sauces and proteins. Once again, Bryan and Mike I. were paired up. I was hoping Ash and Ashley would be a team so that they could say something like “Let’s kick some ash.” But that was not to be.

Thoughts on the Elimination Challenge:
- Big Papi explained that there is distain between Haitians and the French. I wonder if he spit in the food when the cameras were off.
- Big Papi cooked frog legs and all I could think of was The Muppet Movie. Ironically, his partner was Robin, which is also the name of Kermit the Frog’s nephew. (Anyone remember The Frog Prince?)
- Mike V. and Bryan sibling rivalry resurfaced, particularly in Whole Foods, where they rough housed in the isles like a couple of 10 year olds.
- Mike V. was paired with Jennifer, so you knew you had another strong team. I was not surprised to see them as finalists.
- Scarfy did very poorly. Not only did the French guy screw up a French Challenge, but he screwed up using bacon, the “can’t miss” ingredient. In French, they would call that “meessing zee lay-up.”
- Question: When a French guy is sad, does he sing zee bleus?
- Bryan helped Mike I. deconstruct a béarnaise sauce and they ended up in the top two. When it came time to give and take credit, Mike I. wisely did not divulge just how much Bryan had to do with his sauce. He obviously learned his lesson from the last time. To his credit, Bryan did not throw him under the bus either.
- Hector and Ash were a team, which was the biggest case of opposites being teamed up since Paula Abdul and MC Scat Kat.
- By sitting at the table and eating, Kevin got to see things from the judge’s perspective. I bet that helps him going forward.
- Bryan wins again. I am seeing the thoroughbreds pulling away from the pack as we round the bend. Kevin, Mike V., Bryan and Jennifer seem to be the strongest horses in this race.
- Hector had problems with cooking and carving his meat and that cost him big time. He was eliminated. I told you the steaks were high.

Okay, it’s time for me to pack my knives and go too. Next week the chefs are out in the desert. I wonder if they will have to make dessert.

Bon Appetite.

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