Tag Top Chef week 2

Craps, Flash Freezing, and Guacamole Macaroons: Top Chef Week Two

In the second week of Top Chef, Las Vegas extremes are strung through the story line, Mike remains a jerk, and Jennifer continues to shoot laser beams out of her eyes and make magic with her hands.

The contestants walk into the kitchen to find Padma, a craps table, and Todd English. Todd English is a high profile hunky chef with 7 restaurants, a few television shows, and an Iron Chef title under his belt. The chefs are informed that their quick fire challenge will be a roll of the dice. Whatever number comes up on the dice will be the amount of ingredients they are to use (salt, oil, and pepper are freebies) in a dish they have a half an hour to make.

Right before Kevin rolls the dice, he comments that he is not scared of having a low number because he believes in simplicity. Well Kev, I’m glad you didn’t waste your time being scared because you got a ten. He gets a tad worried that it will interfere with his minimalist style. Laurine has the opposite problem and rolls a 3, worried about not being able to work that simply.

As the 30 minutes begin, Michael V. seems to be playing with a fire extinguisher in a corner, but no worries folks, he is just flash freezing with nitrogen!

As a side note, it is absolutely incredible to watch how quickly chefs can work with minimal stress breakdowns (Jesse and Eve’s low self confidence aside).

Todd English split the final verdict into his least favorite and most favorite dishes. His least favorites were: Jesse, whose scallops needed a sear, and less “mush on mush, too much mushy”, Eve, whose blue cheese was too overpowering and had poor presentation, and Bryan, whose dish had good flavors but too strong of a liqueur flavor.

His favorites were: Michael V, who had a classic dish (gazpacho) with good flavors, Jennifer who had many flavors but kept it light, and Kevin, whose flavors worked well together and can cook an egg well. Michael’s gazpacho comes out with the win, power to the fire extinguisher! Michael wins $15,000 dollars and brother Bryan turns green with envy and the brotherly war is on.

The elimination challenge turns out to be catering for a bachelor and bachelorette party. The crew is split into boys vs. girls, the boys catering for the bachelorette party, and the girls catering for the bachelor party. Jennifer doesn’t believe in a difference between boys and girls (probably because she’s beaten them all into a one-sex pulp in her own kitchen) and Ashley feels awkward about the challenge because she cannot even participate in the institution of marriage legally. I completely understand the sentiment, but I feel that Ashley took it a bit too personally.

The bachelor and bachelorette announce part 2 of the challenge, they would like dishes to go well with three shots that they have chosen: Moscow Mule, Tequila, and Golden Delicious.

Although each team has their minor setbacks (Ashley decides to make two dishes and Hector runs behind with his mole), everyone gets their dishes finished on time.

At the end of the challenge, the boys team jumps in the pool with the guests still around and this seemed tacky, but maybe it was just because I don’t want to see any of those men in less than chefs coats.

Bryan, Hector, Eli, and Michael are called in first to find that the boys’ team is the winning team, and they had the favorite dishes on that team. Bryan’s fresh take on chips and guacamole (a sweet and sour macaroon filled with guacamole with corn nuts and corn puree) gave him the win, and the final laugh in the war of the brothers.

The least favorite dishes from the losing team (the girls team) were Eve, Jesse, Preeti, and Ashley. This group of girls seemed to be plagued with a lack of an attainable vision and improper execution. Eve was sent home for her seemingly continuous dreamy ideas proceeded by disappointing follow through. The judges even go as far as saying she doesn’t understand how to put things together. She waddled off the show with her usual deer-in-the-headlights look, but a positive outlook, saying that she is going to keep doing what she’s doing.

The show is definitely getting more intense by the second, revealing flaws and strengths of every cheftestant. Jennifer seems to have a strong hold on every challenge, Mike should probably stop mispronouncing his fellow contestants names and labeling his teammates “The Pickle Brothers”, and Jesse needs some self confidence! She has great vision and a down home vibe that could really work for her. I love how the brothers Bryan and Michael continuously drive each other to be better, as well as Mattin’s extreme concentration on his art. Big thumbs up to Top Chef for having Todd English as a guest judge. He had great input and was definitely easy on the eyes. Here’s to anxiously awaiting a cage match between Jennifer and Mike!

Contributed by Leigh Hermansen