Friday, November 14, 2008

top chef 5, episode 1

okay, i want to start doing this, but its so hard to keep everyone straight -- no pun intended -- the first few weeks. i sort of think they should have an introductions episode where they profile everyone before they start eliminating people.

that would create an extra episode of one of bravo's most successful franchises. how have they not thought of this yet? i mean, we're definitely going to have to sit through reunion shows. this would be at least as interesting.

anyway, not only do they eliminate someone on the premiere again this year, but they eliminate TWO people. in the quickfire, when i saw two people making salads, i fairly well suspected that the two people not making salads were safe. lauren's salad looked perfectly good, but perfectly ordinary. i was not remotely surprised to see her sent packing.

but by about the second time they interviewed patrick, i was already tired of him and his culinary school. and everytime he talked about wanting to show people his "passion," i thought, yeah, because you have no perspective to show them. i realize i'm one of the few people with enough stamina to watch next food network star, but he immediately reminded me of kelsey from last season, whose entire breadth of life experience seemed to have come from culinary school. she seemed perfectly lovely, but she wasn't going to tell me anything she hadn't just learned in class.

so imagine my delight when patrick picks an ingredient that he has never worked with for the elimination challenge. seriously? it seemed like christmas. i knew when he picked the black rice noodles he was screwed, and then when he seemed so surprised that he didn't know how to cook them, i giggled. i'm sure he's a nice guy, but i didn't miss him and he wasn't even technically gone yet.

i would go through the contestants one by one, but we didn't learn enough about any of them to make reasonable judgments, i'd say. i know that four of the five seasons that the eventual winner has been a finalist the first week, and i know everything i have read seems to suggest that everyone thinks stefan will be there at the end, but i'm not sold. even if he is the best cook, i have a different statistic: only one time in top chef history has the person whom i thought was clearly the best cook won the season, and that was season 1 (harold).

in season 2, sam was certainly the best, probably followed by cliff. ilan won. ilan was not in the top 5 that season, i thought.

in season 3, tre and casey were the best, in my opinion, and hung won (tho i thought hung had his moments.)

in season 4, i didn't have a clear favorite between stephanie and richard. stephanie won. so that one was close, i guess.

of course, i have not tasted anything that they are judged on, and i am handcuffed by editing. but that is how it looked to me those seasons.

i was very happy to see leah make the top 3 after having a hard time in the quickfire. she is the only one that works at a restaurant i am familiar with, working for anne burrell in nyc. so i can root for that. and jeff is a florida guy, so i can get behind that, too.

if i were to predict, i would say jeff makes it somewhere in the middle, week 7-8-9, and leah probably makes it a little further. but that's who i'll be rooting for.

i've already had enough of carla. she appears to be insane. of course, that was all it took for andrew to make it to the latter stages of season 4, so i'm guessing she hangs around awhile.

and, someone, please explain to me why the sexual orientation of the person cooking your food is relevant? or better, don't explain it. i don't want someone's orientation to even be CLOSE to a factor in the preparation of my food. why why why do we have to hear about that every season? i don't care. at all.

it reminds me of the simpsons episode where there is a gay pride parade, and they are shouting "we're here! we're queer! get used to it!" and lisa says, "we watch your parade every year. we ARE used to it."

here's what i'm thinking: whenever i turn on bravo, i do it with the understanding that there is a better than average chance that someone on the screen at any given time is probably gay.

i. don't. care. ugh.

team rainbow. please. whatever. they're already selling t-shirts on the bravo website. sigh.

also, i can't root for anyone who landscapes their facial hair. sorry danny. see ya.

anyway, hopefully this recap will make more sense in future weeks as we begin to learn who we are dealing with.

i know that half of the people who read this watch top chef. please discuss.


Laura said...

My 6 cents:

The Team Rainbow/sexual orientation stuff was crap. We don't care.

From bios alone, I wanted to root for Jeff because he's from Niceville (Fla panhandle). But as soon as I heard him say he has other folks in the kitchen report on the status of his hair - uh, grrrr.

And what's with Danny and that weird beard thing? Looks like a mistake (yeah yeah, I said sexual orientation doesn't matter, but I"m making fun of how people look).

I could care less about the two sent home. They clearly were in over the heads.

The dish I would have liked to try was Carla's salmon cakes and potato latkes. It'll be interesting to see if someone who doesn't work in a restaurant has the people skills to survive a reality show.

I have no prediction who the winner will be, or even who I'd like to root for at this point.

Melanie said...

Forget about whether a (kooky) caterer can make it -- I'm all about watching underdog Gene, with no formal training under his belt. How does someone luck into making Indian food like that? Though it looks like Hosea (Josh's favorite so far) is also self-taught.