Thursday, January 11, 2007

TOP CHEF RECAP: THG Blog Jinx?

Most of you, even non sports fans, have probably heard of "The SI Cover Jinx." More recently, some sports fans have begun to wonder if The Madden NFL videogame is similarly cursed given the string of injuries and craptastic seasons suffered by those who appeared on the cover. Quite frankly, it's like the mags and games had been sold off by the proprietor of 'Curious Goods' or something.

Now I'm wondering if this blog is similarly cursed. Just last week I posted about how much I was enjoying the second season of Bravo's 'Top Chef' and I even posted a picture of laid back Michael, who had inexplicably done just enough to make his way into the final six by not doing anything so egregious that the judges would boot him out.

Well, Michael's lackadaisical run to the finale in Hawaii has come to an end. Why? Not so much for what he did, as what he didn't do.

To recap: With Betty gone after last week's soup disaster, Elia remains the only woman left in the group. Unless you count Ilan's bitchy obsession with getting Marcel booted off. Don't get me wrong, I'm no fan of Marcel – and even less so after the cameras found him on the roof writing rap lyrics! – but, jeez, dude, give it up. If I was Marcel I'd ask Ilan what the capital of Thailand is. (Ilan further embarassed himself during the Quickfire Challenge by trying to make a foam, Marcel's tiresome signature addition to every dish, from the Italian dressing. Rather than say nothing he even smirkingly copped to the failure.)

Guest judge Mike Yakura rated the dishes in the Quickfire Challenge which involved making a snack using the awkwardly product placed ingredients of Kraft Mayo, Kraft BBQ Sauce and Kraft Italian Dressing, turning the kitchen stage into a gas station convenience store. Results were creative and winners Sam and Marcel were told to assemble teams for that old 'Kitchen Nightmares' chestnut of designing and opening their own restaurant. Sam, Ilan and Michael went Rustic Italian while Marcel, Cliff and Elia initially decided on Mediterranean but switched gears at the last minute and went upscale diner with burgers as the main course.

Unfortunately, as creative as the dishes were in the Quickfire Challenge, the menus from both teams in the Elimination Challenge were about as boring and predictable as you could get. And the customers and judges let them know it. Each team seemed to have one dish that stood out (a fried meatball on the rustic side, tempura veggies with cheese on the diner side) while both teams suffered from poor execution and an inept front of house presence.

Forget the food, though. The most catastrophic decision on the rustic side was the failure to purchase wine! Who has an Italian restaurant that doesn't serve at least one selection of red and one selection of white? When you have $500 to serve up to 24 people you can get enough decent, cheap wine to complement the meal.

Not surprisingly, the judges deemed both eateries a failure based on everything from crappy service (Cliff left the table of judges waiting and waiting while Ilan seemed clueless about why things were put together as they were) to bad food (Marcel failed to cook the chicken wings completely while Sam's watermelon and cheese desert made Gail Simmons "nauseas"... way to go Sam!). In the end, Sam, Cliff and Michael were singled out for possible elimination.

Frankly, I would have sent Cliff and his knives packing. He comes off as a know-it-all poseur with more attitude than skill. (Wait, strike that. I think I would have actually sent Yakura home. He came off like a really rude and condescending ass with an absurd haircut but I guess you can't let a judge go.) And Sam probably should have been more under fire for his inane desert (which he lamely tried to defend by saying that if he was Mario Batale people would love it) and inability to manage the kitchen during service.

But it was Mikey, the 'Top Chef' Artie Lange, who got sent packing. His failure to spend that extra hundred bucks for some olive and bread dishes, coupled with his amateur hour skills in the kitchen during dinner, were the last straws and even the ever-forgiving Tom Colicchio – who seemed to see something more in Michael over the last few weeks – had had enough.

In an effort to test my THG Blog Jinx theory I'm posting Marcel's photo with this entry. Tune in next week to see if my superimpossible powers of controlling reality shows via my blog are true or as Doctor Venture would say, "Utter crap."

1 comment:

Baltmore Snacker said...

To be honest, I hope your Jinx Theory doesn't work. Other than Elia, I'm finding Marcel the least annoying character on the show this season and am really jonesin' to see Ilan's ass get hit by the door on the way out. I feel kinda sorry for Marcel. But as an ensemble, I just do not care for these people. They need to go far, far away. And take Yakura with 'em!