Thursday, May 1, 2008
Top Chef 4.8
The show opened with a shot of Lisa smoking. Egads! I'm scandalized! How dare she throw her health down a dark well with Timmy and Lassie?!?!!1 Oh who cares. Hell, I'm smoking right now.
So, the guest judge is Art Smith, a man who slightly resembles the character of the talking snowman in the stop action animated Christmas classic, 'Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer'. This makes me like and trust him immediately and without question. Now, we all know that I'm not going to write a faithful recap of the episode. There are lots of other bloggers who do a much better job of it than I ever could, including the stellar Dorothy Snarker for afterellen.com. Read hers, although I'm too lazy to provide a link. They're really worth the minimal effort that you would have to invest in googling her.
Apparently Art Smith has some ties to Oprah, but to me she's no bonus. But, we're in Chi-town, so there's no escaping the flesh eating bacterial influence of the Queen of Daytime. Plus, isn't she like the second richest woman in the whole wide world? Right behind JK Rowling. So what does Chef Smith ask the cheftestants to prepare in the Quickfire challenge? Uncle Ben's rice. Nice product placement there marketing and research minions. Antonia wins. I forget what she made and I can't be bothered to check.
Then, for the elimination challenge they are tasked with making a dinner for four on a ten dollar budget while saddled with a ten year old sous chef. Dale and Stephanie had assistants nearly as tall as they are, which is a meaningless observation because as long as there are step stools, height does not provide an edge in the kitchen. Some bemoaned the budget, but let's get real here. There are lots of nights that I make dinner for four and spend less that $10. Like Spam night, tuna casserole night, and especially 'let's eat at Grandma Ray's' night. The latter being by far the cheapest meal that I can provide to my hapless clan. Speaking of my mother, she called last week and this is what she said:
Mom: Hi angel.
Me: Hi Mom. What's up?
Mom: I made some bean soup that isn't very good. Would you like me to drop it off for you?
Me: Of course!
Mom: Lovely! I'll swing by on my way to Silver Sneakers.
A couple of things that I should clarify: I never turn down free food, no matter how bad it is. And, my mother is hypercritical of her cooking. She's never made a bad bean soup in her life, except for that time in 1978 when the cap came off the salt shaker, but that was more an act of God than mom's doing. She's an excellent cook, no taller than a garden gnome (one of those little Italian women), and sweet natured.
My point in this digression is that it's not brain science to make a meal for under ten bucks. Antonia won with a dish that looked so good I had to go and get myself a snack. Mark got the well deserved and long time in coming boot. He's had this panicked look in his eyes for the last three episodes, like he's just too far removed from his element (ether). Despite him accusing, seriously, judge Tom of not liking him (which just seemed sadly needy), the judges still harshly threw him to the curb.
Now, I'm going to switch my unwavering allegiance for Stephanie to Antonia. For whatever reason, Stephanie is falling apart. I don't know why, but if she doesn't pull herself together soon she's going to get the ax. And who knew that Nikki could step it up? Two weeks ago I thought that she was the unraveling thread that held the sword, but now, she's like a totally different cookie.
The two to beat: Richard and Antonia.