Thursday, August 27, 2009

Top Chef Las Vegas: Episode 2 - Oh Brother

Often times a contestant will say “Oh crap” when it comes to the Quickfire Challenge on Top Chef, this week they all said it because a craps table was wheeled out into the kitchen. Each chef rolled ‘dem bones and whatever number came up determined how many ingredients they had to use on their dish. It seemed like most were hoping for something not too high and not too low, like a number in the neighborhood of eight.

We started to learn a lot about the group from this second episode and this challenge.
- The brothers, Brian and Michael, have an interesting relationship. Michael has sort of a Jan Brady “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia” thing going about his older brother. During the Quickfire, Brian was quick to point out the Michael was possibly over complicating things with his liquid nitrogen antics, but lo and behold, it was little brother who won the challenge and the $15,000. Meanwhile, big brother was in the bottom four. So how does that taste, Marcia?
- Eve is ditz and if she was a character on Star Trek, she’d be wearing a red shirt. You had the feeling she’d be gone before long. It was no surprise that she was at the back of the pack again.
- Jesse seems to have real talent, but can’t seem to put it together yet. If she lasts a few more episodes, she might just become a factor, but she’s got to get her game on.
- Not exactly the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition for lady chefs this year. Jennifer, looks-wise, is probably going to be my Top Chef crush, but she does not have the personality to quite seal the deal yet. (Unlike like my girl Casey, who had all the right ingredients.) Thank goodness for Padma. (Love those boots.)

Then came the Elimination Challenge, which was to cater a bachelor and bachelorette party. They split into two groups, the boys and the girls. It was here that the other shoe dropped that I had been waiting for. There has always been a gay-factor on Top Chef, never more apparent than last year when they had a group called Team Rainbow. The gay-factor at times was so pronounced that I sometimes referred to the show as “Queer Eye for the Top Chef”. But that’s also part of the fun. Some of the most entertaining moments last year were when the gay men were eliminated and they sobbed their way through their exit interviews. (To be fair, some of the straight guys weeped as well.)

So we learned that a couple of the lady chefs are gay, and Ashley, the crunchy girl, started have issues with the concept of weddings and stag parties. Meanwhile, the men were thrilled to be cooking for the bachelorette party, especially when it took place poolside and all the guests were in swimsuits.

Here are some thoughts about the Elimination Challenge.
- Hector is a man’s man, and could easily have been a character in No Country for Old Men or From Dusk ‘Til Dawn.
- Cooking an octopus looks creepy. When that octopus went into the pan, it looked like a scene out of The Addams Family. (But it’s yummy.)
- Ron, the big lovable Haitian, will now be known on this blog as Big Papi. He’s the Ruben Stoddard of this season.
- A chicken wing is always a safe bet.
- I give Ashley props for trying two dishes, but she really dropped the ball with that second one. Jennifer warned her. I have a feeling Jennifer is going to rub a lot of people the wrong way, but she seems to know what she’s talking about most of the time.
- That new Sandra Bullock movie looks like crap. (And I don’t mean the game.)
- I don’t know what to make of Eli, the guy with the glasses, but he reminds me of one of the guys on Big Bang Theory.
- Kevin kicks ass.
- Why do they force the chefs to sit in the supply closet while the judges deliberate? Is it so you can see the Glad family of products in the background?
- The men won. Then all the fat guys jumped in the pool while the thin guys condescendingly watched from the sidelines.
- I’d like to see where that bachelor party went after the show was over. They are in Vegas, after all.
- The new Jenifer Aniston movie looks like crap. (And I don’t mean the game.)
- Eve and Jesse brought up the rear again, along with Ashley and Preetty… or whatever her name is. It was no surprise when Eve was asked to pack up and go. It was a mercy elimination. She did not jump in the pool, but she was clearly in over her head.
- Marcia strikes back. Brother Brian comes back strong and wins the Elimination Challenge. Sure, it’s a more prestigious award, but I think Michael might have been the bigger winner, with that $15,000 Quickfire.

Okay, that’s enough for this week. I gotta pack my knives and go now.
Bon Appetit.

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