Monday, November 23, 2009

Recap Roundup: Top Chef Las Vegas Episode 12

This week on Top Chef: lots of bloggers offer up thanks to Google for help spelling things like "ballotine" and "Bocuse d'Or." Plus, Thomas Keller, another win for Kevin, and a bit of a comeback for Jen. But about those bloggers, what did they think...

Cliffieland on the competition: "I believe it’s called the Beaucoup D’Gorp (translation: Lots of Gorp). We see footage of this event and it seems much like the Olympics™®©, only with taller hats and wider waistbands. (Side note: Also like the sporting events, the Brazilians seem to routinely wave their flag upside down. Check the tape if you think I made that up.)"

Jordan Baker on the final four: "I like the Voltaggio brothers, both in a “they’re talented chefs” way and an “I want to lick them “ way. I heart Kevin because he lives in a tree trunk and makes awesome food which frequently involves bacon. And I adore Jen, because she’s ballsy and talented and she works for my secret baby daddy Eric Ripert."

Minx Eats with backstory: "What he doesn't mention is the Tale of the Dishwasher. One of the side dishes for Wee Gavin's platter involved chicken wings. His hungry (and possibly stupid) dishwasher saw the wings, thought they were reject parts, and ate them. The result: Wee Gavin came in 14th. So the next time you scoff at the dish of butter-and-hot-sauce-soaked yumminess that is Buffalo wings, remember just how crucial they can be in a competitive situation."

Reality TV Magazine on Michael V.'s Kevin slam: "Finally the claws came out when Michael V said that 'Kevin is good but he cooks the kind of food that I cook on my day off.'"

Slashfood on the questions yet unanswered: "With the albatross that was Robin finally gone, and five not-quite-equal cheftestants left, the mysteries left in the season are few. Will Jen get her mojo back? Will the brothers Voltaggio go at each other's throats, like we've been hoping they would all season? Will snarky Toby Young disappear for good, already?"

Reality Check (Baltimore Sun) on the fashion: "The show barely starts before we're faced with two major fashion moments -- Did you see Bryan's sparkly silver rock-star belt? How about Kevin wearing a rosary under his T-shirt?"

Herald-Mail (Frederick, MD) on the Elimination Challenge details: "For the elimination round, the chefs had to compete in a mini-version of the traditional Bocuse d’Or. They had to choose one protein — either lamb or salmon — and two garnishes. They were judged on taste, creativity and execution. And they had to serve their dishes among 12 of the most respected chefs in the world, including the founder of the Bocuse d’Or, Paul Bocuse. "

PB Pulse with mixed feelings: "I have wanted Eli and his whiny, blame-placing self gone for most of the season, and now that’s he’s gone, I gotta say it was a little hard. Everyone was so sad, because they all respect each other and like each other. He was a pretty good chef. Then again, he was still a whiny, blame-placing punk who calls Inigo Montoya 'Indigo Montota.' Stop using 'Princess Bride' references wrong, Sonny."

Diana Takes a Bite on the seriousness: "For the Quickfire, the remaining five chefs have 90 minutes to create their own version of Gavin’s Bocuse d'Or dish – a ballantine which consists of a protein in a protein in a protein. Jenn giggles, 'I’m going to make a turducken.' She’s not, but I appreciate her sense of humor during do or die time. Everyone else is far too serious. C’mon, where did all the smiles go? Are they hiding in Kevin’s beard?"

Poptimal on the Quickfire results: "Kaysen didn’t care for Kevin’s or Michael’s dishes. They both disagree, especially Michael (naturally). Kaysen chooses Jennifer for the win, and some of her confidence returns."

Videogum on the lack of surprises: "Kevin and the Voltaggio brothers have been DOMINATING from the start like a bunch of dominatrixusesii, and although Jennifer has definitely basically gone The Yellow Wallpaper over the past couple of weeks, is still obviously a great chef succumbing to the rigors and pressures of an intensive and invasive reality TV show."

Give Me My Remote on Michael V.'s trash-talking: "Speaking of Michael (UGH, do we HAVE to?) I like how he’s now trash-talking everyone. Well, okay, not everyone. I don’t think he takes Eli seriously enough to trash-talk him, and trash-talking Bryan would reflect badly on him, since they do such similar stuff. But he’s still carrying on about Kevin cooking the way Michael cooks on his day off (eye roll), and he’s started in on Jen and how she started off strong but has nowhere to go now. Which, naturally, made me EXTRA proud when Jen won the Quickfire."

Speakeasy (WSJ) on Michael's weaknesses: "When Michael gambled on technique, he gave up on flavor, he was told. Moreover, there was a bone in a judge’s dish, which the judges make out to be the type of culinary sin that can only be spoken of with a quiet shudder, like donut hamburgers or that weird pizza that comes with things baked into the ends of the crust."

Best Week Ever has a good point: "Kevin overcame not one but TWO classic Top Chef mega-traps to win the Elimination Challenge:
1) 'I don’t know how to do this technique at all, but golly, I’m gonna try it!'
2) 'I know they want us to do this for the challenge, but I’m not going to!'"

Fork in the Road (Village Voice) with the spoilers: "Yay, Kevin! Nice guys do finish first! And Eli, who wasn't such a nice guy, finished last, a victim of his undercooked fatty lamb and probably some New Age Pilates curse Robin put on him."

Mama Pop on Jen's Quickfire win: "Jennifer doesn't make a turducken. In fact she makes some lovely calamari steak, scallops, salmon, shiitake and shiso with Rice Noodle Salad. It must have been good too, because Padma said 'welcome back.' Jennifer's food looks great, but don't get me started on her grammatical issues for they are many."

Eater LA on the bombshell (that wouldn't be a bombshell for ATC readers!): "The bombshell here is that Eli reveals that his mentor is—wait for it—Richard Blais! Yes, that Richard Blais! The Trail Blais'er himself. This is so huge for me and I'm blown away we are just learning about this now. I am a MEGA Blaishead. No joke, his Twitter is the only Top Chef contestant's I follow. He is the Diddy of molecular gastronomy."

Food and More on Eli's departure: "Through a few tears, he says, 'At least I’m not in a situation where I pooched it. I don’t harbor any negative feelings.' Absolutely true, Eli. So much better to go out when it’s a hard choice among strong competitors than with circus soup."

The Sunbreak on the Quickfire: "So the quickfire challenge is each chef's version of a crazy meat stuffed with meat stuffed with meat abomination that took Kaysen months to figure out how to make well. Since it's a quickfire challenge, they have no such time to carefully consider their protein choices. Are you ready for some garbage food? Apparently, the official name of such a dish is a ballotine, which is a nice way of saying 'meatstravangza.'"

Foobooz on the Iron Chef tie-ins: "A lot of Iron Chef ties in this episode of Top Chef. Gavin Kaysen and Traci Des Jardins were contestants on the first Next Iron Chef. Alex Stratta was Iron Chef Italian on the unwatchable Iron Chef USA on UPN."

Creative Loafing on the episode's trifecta: "This week’s episode of Top Chef Las Vegas had three very important elements: kicking off another schmo so we can get to the finale already, it was the last episode in Vegas, and (drumroll, please) Thomas Keller appeared as a guest adjudicator. It sure took for damn long enough to get him to do the show! What, 6 seasons?!"

Box Office Prophets on the Quickfire: "The chefs finish up and what we see are five dishes of greater complexity than I've almost ever seen on Top Chef. This is a long ways away from going to a vending machine with $5 and making a dish out of what you can buy (which we did in Season 1)."

Las Vegas Weekly on cheftestant cooperation: "With Jennifer proving once more that she's a formidable force who can hold her own against Kevin and the Voltaggio brothers, one might assume tensions would be high. However, the opposite appeared to be true. Affable Kevin winked at Jennifer after Padma complimented her. Later, during preparation for the elimination challenge, Kevin asked the group questions about a technique he'd never used before. Bryan, the nicer of the two V. Bros, gladly shared his knowledge."

Limecrete has a different take on the wink: "Kevin winks at her. I didn't care for that wink; it seemed a little condescending."

Procrastiblog on the case for Kevin: "I’m putting all my chips on Kevin to win. If you need more convincing, with this episode Kevin clinched the record as the all-time winningest Top Chef contestant, with 5 Elimination wins and 4 Quickfire wins (one, the blind-fold relay, as a team member). He’s won nearly half of the Elimination Challenges he’s participated in (recall he was excused from the Joël Robuchon challenge for his Quickfire win). He’s only been in the bottom once, in Restaurant Wars (that great inverter of Top Chef fortune)."

Max the Girl with a reason to ignore the rumors: "I had heard a rumor that there would be a shocking elimination this week (lies!) and this whole Bocuse d’Or thing seemed set up to make Kevin fail.You see, Kevin is neither fussy, nor fancy, nor ironical—all the things that apparently make the Bocuse d’Or fly. (It actually reminds me of those crazy Vegas hair shows where some stylist turns a woman’s hair into a bird’s nest)."

1 comment:

toni said...

I'm late I'm late! Can I still make the round-up?

I can't wait for the next episode!!