Thursday, October 8, 2009

Reactions to Top Chef Las Vegas Episode 7

This week, the chefs host a dinner party. But not the fun kind of dinner party that I have at my house, where everybody gets loaded before dinner makes it on the table. No, this is the kind of dinner party in which demanding and critical guests hand you a bag of ingredients, tell you to cook something delicious in two and a half hours, then rip it apart because you didn't have the skill to make sure the circuits wouldn't short out. I'm pretty sure Miss Manners wouldn't approve.

But let's go back to the beginning. Before we ever headed to the chef's house, we had the Quickfire, which starred a slot machine. Each chef pulled the lever and was delivered three little words to cook around. Words like "adventurous," "umami," and "Middle Eastern." Nobody seemed pleased with their trio, though Padma and guest judge Tyler Florence were fairly complimentary of most of the dishes, except for those belonging to Eli, Robin (because India's not in the Middle East, and Padma's the last person you want to make that mistake around), and Jen C., who seemed to be fighting an ugly sort of cold.

Kevin continued his winning from the last episode, and Padma tells him that this is a high stakes Quickfire and that he gets to choose between $15,000 and immunity. He takes the money. Because he's smart - he's clearly an awesome chef.

So then we get back to the Elimination Challenge - the dinner party, prepared in the kitchen of the Top Chef house, for the Macy's Culinary Council. The chefs choose knives and pair off, each receiving a bag of ingredients from one of the chefs on the Council. The pairs are:
  • Mike I. and Robin (and boy is he pissed)
  • Bryan and Laurine (though you wouldn't know it, since they get no screen time until the end)
  • Michael V. and Ash (who is comfortable playing second fiddle to Mike Volt's brilliance)
  • Eli an Ashley (who are pretty cool with it)
  • Jen and Kevin (also pretty cool with it - they didn't show it, but you just know they both had to be thrilled)

Cooking-related antics ensue, as the chefs try to figure out how to work together in a small kitchen and how to work within the confines of the ingredients. The only real drama occurs when Michael V. and Ash blow a circuit using a wok in the dining room, causing their halibut to stop cooking mid-stream (and ultimately ending up in overcooked fish).

In other corners of the house, Mike I. was busy trying to ignore Robin. How the two of them managed to put out even decent food is beyond me. And Ashley and Eli managed to oversalt their gnocchi, though where the blame for that lays, it wasn't clear.

In the end, Ashley was sent home for the oversalted gnocchi topped with undercooked prawns, and Jen C. plowed through her cold to take home the win for the Kobe beef BBQ and tomato, cardamom, and ginger broth she made with Kevin. She took home a $10,000 Macy's gift card, too. Bet Kevin wishes he won this week instead of last. Jen did say she'd buy Kevin a suit or something from Macy's, which was sweet. big surprises, no big drama, and unfortunately, no dishes that it looked like I couldn't live without. But questions - as usual, I had a couple of questions:
  • Michael V. has two daughters? How did I not know that?
  • Could Jen be any more professional? She looked seriously sick, but was all about not letting it affect her food. Good for her.
  • And could Ash be any cuter with his Michael V. chef-crush? Cleaning brushes for Picasso? Wow. It was nice to see Michael thank him, too.
  • Speaking of the Volt brothers, I also enjoyed the little sibling tete-a-tete...and hearing Bryan tell everybody to stop talking about Michael's dish while he wasn't there. OK, that's not really a question, but I liked the loyalty anyway.

What do you think? Anything really mouth-watering in there for you (food or drama)? Please leave a comment with your thoughts...


kabrew said...

Mike I is just getting harder and harder to stomach.

I'm getting to like MVolt more as the season goes on. He really looked like he thought he might be done. Vulnerability, humility, decency. He's turning out to be all right.

Jen rocks.

So does Kevin.

Eli coasting, dodging bullets by not being the worst by only a little.

lindsayjk said...

There are a lot of coasters left. I was dissapointed that Ashley was sent home; though not a shining star she had a lot of promise, more so than many chefs still remaining. I think that Robin is still hanging on because of lucky circumstance and because the producers are trying to string out the drama in the house. That cold gelatinous clam chowder should have sent her home if not for her immunity.
I'm looking forward to the final episodes when there isn't so much low-hanging fruit and the competition really heats up!

Kristine said...

I thought the cardamom in Jen's broth sounded really interesting. Got a boat load at home, so I may have to try it. Let's hope they put a decent facsimile of the recipe on the site.

ellen said...

I couldn't help but wonder if making food while sick is a good idea... I got a little queasy thinking about the judges eating that food.

kabrew said...

I don't think Robin's as bad as everyone makes her out to be. She's annoying, for sure, but leave it to Mike Izz to make me root for her. She's easy to pick on, cuz someone has always been worse, but from here on out it's a matter of not making mistakes.

The final four will be interesting, just because they're the best the show has ever had. I just hope none of them screw up-- like MVolt almost did this week-- b/c I'd hate to see Eli, Robin or Izzy sneak into the top four....

Leah said...

Michael is/was married.

Cliff O'Neill said...


And I wanna go to one of YOUR dinner parties.

I promise not to overload your circuits.