Top Chef Las Vegas is Our Vice

So lets start out this entry with some initial reactions to the new contestants of top chef:

  • Jennifer Carroll – “I’ve made many boys cry” = soon to be top chef winner.
  • Jesse Sandlin – This is one bad mama. The first thing she said to the camera was that people who come out of culinary school are froofy and basically don’t know anything important. I understand the sentiment, but very daring for first impressions! She was out there and thought out of the box, I’m a fan.
  • Jennifer Zavala – Seitan, really? Her ear lobes gave me the heebie-jeebies.
  • Kevin Gillespie – The whole office is rooting for this red-headed teddy bear. He’s likeable and incredibly talented. He’s so passionate about cooking (turning down a full ride to MIT to chase his dreams).
  • Mike Isabella – This is the kind of guy who shouldn’t be allowed to have any redeeming qualities because of his in-your-face overly obnoxious mannerisms. He’s talented but hopefully someone accidentally drops a knife on his toe to keep his ego in check.
  • Mattin Noblia – I really like his style and quiet demeanor, but will he be the closet nut job that goes off the rocker halfway through the season?
  • Vegas Showgirls – What?

As this heavily-tattooed, attitudinal group is split into two teams, they are instructed to compete to finish a mise-en-place relay race (shuck clams, peel prawns, clean lobsters, and butcher two chops from a prime rib). Some people looked like they had never been in the kitchen – Jennifer Z bleeds as she tries to use a butter knife to shuck clams, while Mattin could do this relay race blind folded and in a coma.

Our favorite ass-kicking girl Jennifer C. comes out with the first individual win (after which she states she is determined to win every quick fire and challenge and beat everyone’s sorry butts into a pulp with her Eric Ripert trained fists). This was thoroughly satisfying because Mike I. complains about being beaten by a girl (clearly, this needs to happen more often).

For the elimination challenge, the contestants are instructed to create a dish representing their vices. Most of them choose alcohol (surprise, surprise), but some choose a fiery temper, and Mike prepares a “rack” of lamb. Starting to catch my drift about him yet?

The finalists, for the best plate, getting to speak to Padma (start wearing clothes, please), Tom Colicchio (be nicer, please), Gael Simmons, and Wolfgang Puck (hilarious commentary as he throws bacon doughnuts across the restaurant), for the best dish were Mike, Jennifer, Kevin, and Ron. Kevin takes home the win and we cheer him on and take credit because of our fiery fan support.

Jennifer Z was sent home because of her disappointing Chile Relleno stuffed with Seitan. She took a chance to stand out with her first dish, but Seitan was a chance we don’t think should be taken on Top Chef, at least as a first impression with the judges. The daring jump deserves a tip of my hat, but I’m not going to say I’m not happy to see her gauges go home.

According to the premiere, this season is guaranteed to be jam-packed with fiery tempers, drunken rage, and some delicious ideas from this group of diverse contestants.

Contributed by Leigh Hermansen

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