I Hate Jill Zarin Top Chef July 1, 2010
As we’re starting to get to know the chef’s better I have to say, there is some talent here but it doesn’t appear to be even close to the talent we had last year.
If these chefs are in the same category as Michael and Bryan from last season or have the passion of Kevin, Eli and Jen, we’re not seeing it yet, that’s for sure! It typically does take time so I’m still reserving judgment on the skill level and passion for cooking.
It is difficult to watch this season and just enjoy it on its own merit without thinking about the amazing quality and talent of last year’s chefs but let’s give it a try.
As an introduction to the upcoming show on Bravo, Top Chef Just Desserts, Gail Simmons, who will be the Padma of the new show, introduced the Quick Fire Challenge. Prepare a pie from scratch in two hours. If one person said it, at least 5 of them did, “I’m not a pastry chef”! We KNOW! None of you are pastry chefs and so you’re all in the same boat.
Do these cheftestants watch the show? Every season there is a dessert challenge, so why not have a few in your head before you arrive to the competition?
Kenny wins the Quick fire with his Banana’s Foster pie, right behind him were Kelly and Stephen. I said last week that Kenny was one to watch. I think he’s going to be in the finale.
What is with this Amanda chick? Why does she always feel the need to cook with alcohol? Her attitude is very poor, she is clearly not a team player. I get that this is a competition with just one winner but in order to be an outstanding chef, you have to work well with a team and be able to lead that team. Last week she tried to throw others under the bus by going on and on about how bad peanut butter is for you while she had put a whole bottle of alcohol in a chicken dish to be served to children at school!
Amanda was combative and insulting last week. This week she pulled someone else’s food out of the oven and was screaming at Alex when Chef Tom walked into the kitchens to check up on everyone. Chef Tom asked Amanda to explain herself she indicated that she had put her name on that oven. In all the years that I’ve watched Top Chef, I’ve never seen or heard the chefs talking about saving an oven for their own use by putting their name on it. Tom questioned whether that was the regular practice, it seemed like he wasn’t aware of this new rule. It appears that Amanda made that rule up all on her own.
I know that Chef Tom has a huge impact on the final decisions of Top Chef. The title of “head judge” is not an honorary title and we learned over past seasons that his influence is taken seriously by the producers and the other judges. If there is a tie in the judges voting or if a decision cannot be made, Chef Tom has the final word.
No one is going to convince me that Tom Colicchio doesn’t keep mental notes on the behavior of these chefs in the kitchen, their nasty comments to one another and their attitudes. While the food is clearly the number one factor, Chef Tom also knows the proper behavior required for a Top Chef.
At this point in the game, Amanda’s attack at judges table and her ranting in the kitchen have to be stored in the back of Chef Tom’s mind. Let’s see how that plays out.
The Elimination Challenge was to prepare a meal for 150 Washington DC Interns on BBQ grills outside of Mt. Vernon. The chefs were given $400 and 30 minutes to shop. (why such a limited time to shop? I never understood that part) I was surprised by Tim’s comment that the men were working the BBQ grills with no problem and the women were struggling. I’ve seen plenty of women prepare and cook on a BBQ grill, that was a sexist comment! I’ll bet it was a female bird that pooped on his serving table! Interesting that Tim was in the bottom four. Tim had inconsistently cooked his vegetables so that some were raw and some were soggy, add to that the infamous “no flavor” complaint from the judges and Tim was toast!
The bottom four, joining Tim were, Stephen, Tracy and Kevin. I don’t know what the hell Tracy was doing, her plan was to make sausage from scratch. Sounded like a decent idea for a BBQ grill but claiming she didn’t have time, she turned the sausages into “slider” hamburgers and then undercooked them. Maybe had Tracy stopped talking to herself for a few minutes, she may have had time to prepare the dish as planned?
Stephen’s dish sounded disgusting as described by the judges. Fish wrapped in bacon could have been a solid dish but it would have to be cooked perfectly. Greasy, undercooked bacon, is there anything worse? In his attempt to get the bacon fully cooked, he overcooked and dried out his fish! I’m no chef but I could have predicted that. Why not pre-cook the bacon about half way, and then wrap it around the fish to put onto the BBQ? This was one chef that I thought we’d see in the top more often, what a disappointment.
Kevin disappointed the judges with his Puerto Rican steak meal with undercooked beans and under seasoned rice. I’ve had this meal before and I have to agree with the judges, it was a meal prepared by hundreds of household cooks every day in their homes. Gail told Kevin to “Step it up!” and I have to agree! Not only does the food have to be outstanding in flavor and composition, but it has to be creative.
Tracy Tracy Tracy, who cast this season? I could interview her and in 10 minutes tell you that she is not Top Chef material. Look at the poise and class that all of the previous winners of Top Chef possess. Is Tracy in this same category as these others? Her lack of confidence alone is reason enough not to cast her on the show. There had to be better candidates out there! Anyway, predictable as it was, Tracy is in the limo on her way to the loser’s condo.
The top four chef’s included Ed, Amanda, Angelo and Arnold. Chef Tom must have to buy a vowel from Pat Sajak because I think your name has to start with a vowel to win this season’s Top Chef.
Angelo’s wish did not come true, he is not winning every single challenge but he is still making his presence known to the judges. He was in the top four in the elimination challenge and I predict he will be in the finale as well. Yes, he is cocky but he’s also confident and can back up his words.
Did anyone else notice that Angelo helped Tracy out in the Quick Fire by letting her know that her pie was overcooking in the oven? This is the type of behavior that we’ve seen from Top Chef Winner’s season after season. Chef Tom pointed it out last season in the finale when Michael gave Kevin a heads up about something boiling over on the stove. “That’s what Top Chef’s do!”
Congratulations to this week’s Elimination Challenge winner, Arnold! While Arnold seemed flustered in the kitchen when Chef Tom came in for a visit, the results were outstanding. I never really understood why they do that to the chef’s. They’re given a challenge and a limited amount of time to complete the challenge, yet they have to stop what they’re doing to chit chat with Chef Tom. I guess it is fair since all the chefs are interrupted like that, but I don’t think it adds to the show and it only serves to fluster the chef’s. Some more than others and clearly Arnold was flustered during the visit from Tom.
Every season we see the same thing, the chef’s complaining about the challenges because, they’re not pastry chefs, they’re not comfortable with making desserts, they’re not used to the time constraints, they’re not used to the budget constraints, they’re used to cooking on different equipment, they’ve never used a BBQ grill, or gotten their ingredients out of a vending machine.
If you watch the show, you will see that these things are part of the challenges every season! Every season we hear the same complaints. I find it hard to believe that these contestants walk in without a clue about what types of challenges they will face. When they say, “I’ve never done anything like this before” when asked to get their ingredients from a gas station. Do they think the other contestants do that on a regular basis? Of course you’ve never done it before! That’s the point!
Who do you think are going to come out on top? Who’s going home next week? The preview for next week shows that some previous Top Chef contestants (like Bryan and Spike) will be judging. I like to see old favorites coming back!
Until Next Time……
Thank you to Guest Blogger – Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs on Work Of Art air date 6/30/10
Work of Art is a hot mess. But in a good way.