I Hate Jill Zarin Top Chef July 22, 2010
I can’t help but continue to compare this season’s contestants to last season’s group. The difference in professionalism and compassion is like night and day!
Quick fire – prepare a dish with very strange or unusual ingredients. Knifes were drawn to choose the order that the chefs got to pick their weird ingredients. Some of them didn’t seem all that unusual to me, for example Frog Legs are used in French cooking quite often, and Fois Gras is a chef favorite so it didn’t seem very fair for those who got Rattlesnake, Crocodile and Duck testicles, does it?
15 minutes into the 45 minute challenge Padma tells the chefs that are required to change to the ingredient to their left and finish cooking with that protein. That was a pretty difficult challenge to begin with but then to make them switch just seemed cruel. Top Chef certainly isn’t fair.
The bottom three were Stephen, Alex and Andrea. This naturally infuriated Andrea as she personally knows the judge Michelle Bernstein. Stephen should have gone home right then and there for getting something as simple as frog legs so wrong!
The top three chefs were Kelly, Amanda and Tamesha. This may be the first challenge where we do not see either Kenny or Angelo in the top three. While Amanda ended up in the top three, I was disgusted to see her glee in passing over the Emu egg that she had no idea how to prepare. But fate took over and the recipient of the Emu egg, Kelly won the challenge, immunity and the distinction of being allowed to dine with the judges for the elimination challenge.
Andrea interviews telling us that she knows this week’s guest judge, Michelle Bernstein. I wasn’t surprised to see Michelle, we see her every season, I’m not sure why Andrea was surprised. Hasn’t she seen the show before this season?
Andrea explains that she and Michelle Bernstein were basically on the same level in their career, but Andrea chose to have a family which allowed Michelle to advance her career further and faster than Andrea. There are so many things wrong with Andrea’s assessment of the comparison between herself and Michelle that I don’t know where to begin. Andrea is trying to convince the audience that she and Michelle would be at exactly the same level career-wise had she not had kids? That is a huge assumption. Michelle Bernstein is a James Beard award winning chef, she beat Bobby Flay on Iron Chef America and has appeared as a Top Chef Judge for at least 5-years and that is just the beginning!
Sorry Andrea, I’m not buying your complaint about your life as compared to Michelle Bernstein’s and I have no respect for women who blame their family for any stall or issue with their career. I sensed that Andrea was jealous of Michelle and her success. I think Andrea should be proud and thrilled with her family and should have been equally happy for Michelle’s success. Michelle made a huge impact in a man’s world as one of the few women to achieve fame as a chef. You don’t have to choose between a successful career and a family, you can have both! I lost a little respect for Andrea for not giving Michelle the credit she deserves for her amazing career and for even hinting that her children are to blame for her not being more successful in her own career. We women make choices and rather than being jealous of those more successful than us, we should continue to work hard to have it all!
The Elimination Challenge – Cold War! The chef’s must prepare a cold dish for the judges and for half of their competitors. The chefs are split in two groups, where they serve the judges and the other group of chefs. Menu planning took place on the USS Sequoia, nice to take a quick ride on the President’s boat. I didn’t really “get” why they went there to plan a menu, but I suppose Top Chef is trying to incorporate their choice of D.C. as host city into the challenges somehow.
A few observations I made during this show, Kenny said that he feels the other chefs are “out to get him”. I found that pretty odd at first until the group of his peers all chose his meal as the worst one on the table. However, the judges seemed to agree and I don’t think that the judges would have allowed Kenny to be voted as the least successful dish by his peers if the dish had been outstanding. On the other hand, it seemed as though Amanda could just as easily have been chosen as the loser based on having cartilage in her chicken. To me, that would be unforgivable from a “Chef”. I still feel that the chefs chose Kenny’s dish more due to Kenny being a talented chef and threat to the group.
The second group seemed to be more objective in their assessment and the judges clearly agreed that Tamesha’s dish was simply horrible. Typically the judges will find some redeeming quality in all of the chef’s dishes but not this time. I don’t think there was any doubt about who was going home. That said, up until this point it seemed as though Tamesha may have been a pretty talented chef though younger and more inexperienced that some of the others.
I’m not sure what the deal was with Tiffany and Tamesha insinuating that it was Angelo’s fault that Tamesha was sent home. The decision to serve the dish that she served was hers and hers alone. If she didn’t taste it and love it, it shouldn’t have been served. If Angelo did have any influence on Tamesha’s dish, that was also her fault. I certainly don’t think that Angelo sabotaged her in any way.
Kevin won the challenge, he is one who has certainly gone from the bottom to the top, maybe his nerves got the best of him during the first few challenges and he realized there was no place to go but up. This would have taken the pressure off. Tiffany had the winning dish from the other group but the judges chose Kevin as the overall winner.
It is nice to know that not only the viewers are annoyed by Amanda but so are the other chefs, she is definitely over dramatic and just doesn’t have the class and style for a Top Chef!
I was troubled by Stephen’s confession that he felt that if Angelo and Kenny were out of the competition it would give the rest of the chef’s “breathing room”. Top Chef is not about taking out the most talented chef’s so that the mediocre ones can relax and win with their mediocre dishes. What an idiotic thing to say! Your attitude should be, “bring it on, I can beat anyone! “ Short of that, you shouldn’t be there!
This is the problem with these types of challenges, when the cheftestants are judging one another you will get this type of attitude from the less credible chef’s. Unless they taste the dishes without knowing who prepared them, this type of challenge should not be used with this group.
I hate to keep going back to last season, but the quality of chef’s were just so much better last season, so much so that we watched Kevin, when given a choice, take cash over immunity. I think last season’s chef’s all wanted to win based on their dishes and not because they had immunity. They also seemed to have a lot more respect for each other and acknowledged the talent that the other chef’s exhibited.
The previews next week show that we may have a bit of a pea puree controversy. (Cue mystery music) Alex is being accused of stealing another chef’s puree to put on his plate and we see Padma giving it a top rating. Could this be the end of Alex? Watch and see…
Until Next Time…….