Thursday, January 8, 2009

Top Chef Season 5, Episode 7: Thank God It's a Chef Eat Chef World

Things weren't going so hot for my relationship with "Top Chef" this season. Predictable outcomes, uninspired dishes and the insipid Christmas episode where no one was eliminated had me feeling as unsatisfied as Kiera Knightley after a meal. I wanted to taste blood, sweat and tears. Or at the very least, hear some verbal lashings or quotable quotes like, "I'm not your b*tch, b*tch."

I was starting to think that "Top Chef" had gone soft. That I would need to turn to the "Real Housewives of Orange County" in order to see some cat fights with the sort of drama that inspires viewers to, as Bravo's tagline says, "Watch what happens." I was even beginning to wonder if viewing each new episode when it aired was worth staying up an hour past my 10 pm bedtime. As a single girl without the income to spend on $100 bottles of eye cream/concealer, I need all the beauty rest I can get! (Plus, I really really like sleeping.)

Just when I was about to give "Top Chef" the biggest evil eye in my arsenal of dirty looks (perfected during my ornery teenage years), the fancy TV suits went and did something so wonderful that all my former complaints were immediately silenced.

They gave me episode 7.

From the moment guest judge John Christoff Novelli stepped into the "Top Chef" kitchen for the Quickfire Challenge where the chefs were commissioned to make desserts without sugar, I knew times were a-changin'. His visceral commentary regarding some of the weaker desserts was the perfect amuse bouche for what was to come during the elimination challenge. I could hardly wait for the knives (and Melissa's tears) to start falling.

For the elimination challenge -- a blind tasting where none of the judges would know who cooked which dish, each contestant was given the freedom to create a family-style plate that reveals who they are as a chef. They were then divided into two groups -- group A would cook first, group B, second -- and told that they would be serving their food to the panel of four judges, including Gail's temporary replacement, Toby Young from Britian, as well as some serious "foodies." The "foodies" were soon revealed to be the chefs in the opposing group -- a delicious twist that was further amplified when the presenting chefs were able to see and hear their competitor's scathing critiques. Of course, none of the contestants' surprisingly tame comments could come close to the caustic droppings that emerged, unfiltered, from Toby Young's mouth. As he ranted about Melissa's unadventurous tuna tartar tacos that he likened to "cat food," and made claims that he had "found the weapons of mass destruction" in Radhika's bowl of soup, my love for "Top Chef" was rekindled.

The flame in my love-sick heart continued to grow with each undercooked lamb chop and chunk of raw garlic, and I was nearly bowled over in delight when both Melissa and Eugene were sent packing in a double elimination that more than compensated for the egregious Christmas episode. As I watched them mug to the camera about missing the opportunity to show what they can really do, I was half-tempted to interrupt their cliched reactions with a hearty, "So long, suckaaaaas!" But I restrained myself -- content to wait until today to share my malicious musings with the blogosphere.

It was a delectable episode from start to finish. Plus, it offered the most quotable quote to date from my favorite Italian stallion, Fabio.

As the camera panned over Jamie's scallops, Fabio chortled, "It's 'Top Chef,' it's not 'Top Scallops.'"

And with those words, all was right with the world again.


Ashley said...

why oh WHY is carla STILL on top chef?!

Esi said...

I agree with Ashley...googly eyed Carla has got to GO!!

By the way, even though the ran that Fabio quote in the promo, I rewound that part no less than five times. Best line ever!!!

Diana said...

Ashley - I don't know! All her hooty-hoos and love talk is driving me crazy!

Esi - I did the same thing! Thank goodness for DVRs! :)

David Dust said...
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Jennifer said...

Wow! Remind me never to get on your bad side! Nicely written recap! Makes me want to watch it now.

Heather said...

ugggggggghhhhhhh. i hate carla. she's so annoying and her food sounds kinda terrible. and i didn't really like gene either. i mean, wtf? it all sounds so bad and tomato basil daikon?! i don't think so.

i love fabio. the "it's not top scallop" only made me love him more.

Erica said...

Thanks for adding me- you rock! I loved this ep! I thought the quickfire was the best part! I love the idea of removing a key ingredient and making them work around it!I don't like Carla either.

Erica said...

haha I'm also with heather- "its not top scallop" made me crack up!

The Blonde Duck said...

There's a sussy for you on my blog!

Kirby! said...

OH MAN, I LOVE Fabio!! That "top scallops" line made me laugh my head off! And the little montage with him fumbling around with the pasta machine, while he's saying, "What, I'm It-AL-ian, I make-A da pasta, it's-A simple for-A me..." was also great. I agree that this was an awesome episode.

BUT I am going to go ahead and stick up for Carla and say that I think she is really cute, and I like how the secret ingredient in all her food is "love." I don't know if it's really working for her, but still.

Diana said...

I think this year's Top Chef shirts should read "It's not top scallops!" Classic!

Kirby - I LOVED the Fabio sequence too! I would be perfectly happy if the cameras stayed with him the entire time!