November 19, 2008 09:36 PM by DA Southern
Top Chef got off to a rousing start last week with a shocking double elimination leaving the Chefs a little uneasy going into the next challenge. With the European, Stefan, coming out on top in the first two challenges, he had an immediate target on his back with a few of the other chefs and he knew it.
The chefs headed to their first challenge, the Quickfire, and Padma introduced the guest judge, Donatella Arpaia, and brought out a Hotdog lady from New York, Angelina DeAngelo, Hot Dog cart and all, who would be competing against the chefs for the best Hotdog.
Many of the chefs were clearly not expecting to make gourmet hotdogs and over thought the challenge. Fabio was the funniest when he said that he had never made a hotdog in Europe, but would pattern it after making sausage, which he was familiar with.
Many of the hotdogs looked interesting but bore no resemblance to an actual hotdog. You could see that Donatella and Padma were stunned with the lack of actual dogs, but ate them anyway. Radhika, Fabio and Hosea were the leaders at the end of the challenge with Radhika winning the challenge and immunity for the next challenge.
The Elimination Challenge
Padma informed the chefs that they would be responsible for opening a new restaurant for a lunch crowd with each chef cooking a dish. After the chefs started shouting out who wanted to do what, Jeff finally stepped in to restore some order, which was needed. The chefs went shopping to prepare for the next day and all of the chefs seem to be making a signature dish, which is a bit unusual this early in the competition.
With all of the chefs situated in their groups, Chef Tom Colicchio was in to tell the chefs that the restaurant was actually his in New York that they would be cooking in and to make matters worse, the New York “crowd” that the chefs were cooking for were New York chefs who tried out for the show and did not make it. Wow,tough crowd!
The chefs were a bit apprehensive knowing that the crowd would probably be pretty hostile, but knew the winner would have a real feather in their cooking cap. Ariane was struggling once again with a dessert dish and several of the others seem to be not so confident with their dishes. Tom came in to get the kitchen ready to go and the competition was on.
The first group of Appetizers from Fabio and Leah were received the best with Hosea not received as well by the hostile group, but seemed to have a mixed reception from the judges.
The Entree group of Stefan, Alex, Jill and Jeff were probably the best received by the visiting chefs with the dessert crew second, except for Ariane who seemed to falter once again with an overly sweet dessert.
With the fast pace of the service, it was hard to gage the overall success of the chefs dishes from the invited chefs who dined in the restaurant overall. Tom was shocked how the food quality seemed to falter this time out when last week’s challenge was such a success.
Tom came in and said that the food was not so great, but invited Carla, Fabio, Jamie, Hosea, Ariane and Jill into the judge’s chamber. They had praises for Carla and Fabio, who immediately launched into a defense of the dish before being told by the judges that they liked it. The judges also liked Jamie’s dish. The winner of the challenge was Fabio, with another European winning an American-themed challenge.
Hosea’s crab dish was one of the least favorite from the crowd as was Ariane’s dessert. Ariane again used her sad-sack voice to try to talk about why she made the sweet dish that she made. Jill’s ostrich egg dish was a complete flop and she made the excuse of “too much pressure” for her bad performance.
The judges were shocked that Hosea thought his dish was good; the sweetness of Ariane’s dish continued to amaze the judges and Gail said that Jill’s excuse was the lamest in all of the seasons of Top Chef.
With the three back in front of the judges, Padma told Jill to “Pack her knifes and go,” which gave Ariane another week to pull her stuff together. She knew it too as she cried after Jill left saying that she didn’t deserve to stay. The Americans are being smoked by the Europeans this season so far and ad better step it up in the coming weeks.
The Foo Fighters guest next week for a Thanksgiving theme and it will be interesting to see if the group will be impressed by the chefs.
Photo Credit: Bravo