Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Top Chef: Episode 1

Horay! Top Chef is back, and they're cooking in Chicago this season. Sixteen chef contestants (Bravo calls them 'cheftestants' but I refuse) will battle it out for $100,000 to further their culinary career. Ok, enough of the technicalities-let's dish.

And yes-as bad as it may be, the pun was intended.

Contestants met for the first time at the legendary Pizzeria Unos and promptly begin chowing down on hoards of deep dish pizza. Not long after Zoi announces that she and Jennifer are a couple in real life Tom and Padma walk in.

For their first quick challenge each chef had to create their own signature deep dish pizza. My favorite thing about this challenge was the absurd amount of pizza dough that was piled high on a bench in the back of the kitchen. Didn't you just want to smoosh it?!? It was a great advantage for them that they didn't have to make that too.

The weirdest pizza I saw came from Mark-the guy with the sexy New Zealand accent (but not so sexy sideburns). He used marmite which was one of his "can't live without" ingredients. With the exception of another pizza that had peaches and a sweet tea reduction, the other pizzas seemed pretty uninspiring.

The group was divided into the top 8 and bottom 8. For the elimination challenge the top chefs got to choose a bottom chef to compete head to head with. The crap part of this though, was that the loser chefs got to choose which dish they were preparing! That, to me, seems like something the winning chefs should have had control any case, this is where personalities started emerging.

Right off the bat Andrew stands out-mainly because of his excessive use of the "f' word but also because in every kitchen there is an Andrew. He's a cocky son of a bitch who thinks he's the greatest. And then there's the fact that he also reminds me of my top competitor in culinary school...who I grew to love. So, it's no surprise to me that I secretly want him to succeed as I enjoy watching him fail. (Sorry killer.)

Who do I hate right away? Nimma. Not as a person because she seems lovely, though a little passive. I hate her because she's the girl in the kitchen who you have to carry because 3/4 of the time she's in her own world. Kitchens are tough to work in, and you can't be all about butterflies and fairy wings when Andrew the fire breathing New Yorker is on the line. Spoiler alert-she got the ax.

Who the hell makes cauliflower flan anyway? And why can't she make it work-especially when she graduated CIA? Buh-bye.

Stephanie, though a bit unsure of herself, pulls out the win with a nontraditional duck a l'orange dish that looked stunning. I don't know why, but I'm always starstruck when I get an egg roll cut on a bias standing up on my plate. I think Anthony Bourdain does too, because he was practically licking the plate. (I love that he was on tonight-& love even more that he was nice-though I look forward to his cynicism in the future.)

The big question this week was weather or not Zoi and Jennifer have an advantage being a couple. What do you think?


Danielle A. said...

A few things about this:

1. Anthony Bourdain makes me giggle for some reason. I've only ever seen one show with him - the special on Lebanon - and he was pretty cool.

2. Uh... Cauliflower Flan???

3. A pizza with peaches and a sweet tea reduction intrigues me and gives me a cavity all at the same time.

Mo said...

The cauliflower "flan" made me gag - it looked like runny grits. Who the hell serves cauliflower instead of pasta in shrimp scampi,anyway?

Great review!
I just posted my own @ Captured By Gravity

Rae said...

I loved the first episode. I was not sad to see Nimma get sent packin'. She irked me.

I wasn't too impressed by most of the pizzas, but that dough sure did look like fun!