August 19, 2009 08:01 PM by DA Southern
Top Chef Las Vegas, with all of its glitz and glamour, brings together 17 chefs to look for the nextTop Chef. Following on the heels of Top Chef Masters, it will be good to get back to the raw passion that madeTop Chef as popular as it has become. With all of the fanfare of Las Vegas, maybe the nextTop Chef will be in some small town that has maybe one or two lights in the town where road kill is always on the menu. Now that would be some fascinating TV.
Host Padma Lakshmi, along with judges, Head Chef Tom Colicchio, and Food Critics, Gail Simmons and Toby Young, are back at it and we get right back in the thick of it all as the chefs arrive and act like they are glad to see their competitors and are immediately thrown into their first challenge.
The Quickfire Challenge
A relay challenge that was ushered in by showgirls, for some unknown reason, and the chefs drew chips. It was a clam-shucking, lobster cleaning, prawn-gutting, pork-cutting relay race. The teams were divided by colors, green, blue, red and black teams. The blue team chef, Bryan, was against the black team, Hector for the final stretch, with Bryan keeping the blue team in the lead.
The Quickfire finished with a cook-off between the members of the blue team for some golden chip of some kind worth $15,000. Oh, brother, is it going to be some sort of Vegas crap-shoot every show this season? This season has a lot more accomplished chefs than season’s past as the blue team members expounded on their dishes for Tom and Padma. Jen and Jessie were the final two with yummy dishes, but Jen got her golden coin and a bit of immunity in the process from Chef Tom.
A vice challenge was set to impress guest judge, Wolfgang Puck, as the chefs were going to cook food based on their vices. Don’t know how that will all go down and I am sure the dishes will have fancy names and ingredients, but if they actually make it believable, it will definitely be interesting to see.
The chefs headed to the Whole Foods Market with a hundred and fifty bucks and already the chefs were sniping at each other. Sweet! It’s gonna be a great season.
The chefs were still in the teams that they started with, but they were competing against everyone else in their team. The pace was frantic and it was hard to tell who was who at this point in the competition. The chefs were really stretching their descriptions for their dishes as they tried to tie them to vices, but maybe the judges will get them. If nothing else, the chefs seemed a bit more professional towards each other in the kitchen as the caliber of cooking seemed to be better. Of course, that just may be because there were so many of them to contend with.
The chefs rolled out their dishes for the judges, including Wolfgang Puck, and the chefs then went about explaining their vice-dishes. I wasn’t really buying it and it seemed like all of the chefs had liquor in their vice-dishes as I guess there are a lot of heavy drinkers in the chef biz.
By the end of the taste-testing, Wolfgang and the other judges seemed to agree that they had a better quality than seasons past but had some turkeys as well. Padma headed to the judges table with Tom, Gale and Wolfgang and brought out the teams for the winner and loser from each team.
Ron, Mike, Kevin and Jennifer were called forth by Padma and it was announced that they were the winners from their groups. Wolfgang then announced that Kevin was the winner of the first Elimination Challenge.
Hector, Eve, Jen and Jessie were called in to be told that they were the losers from each of their groups and the judges let them know how they had all fallen short. In the end, Jennifer’s Satin-inspired dish, (Not really. It just sounded like she was saying that every time she tried to convince the other chefs that she was some type of cooking God for using it; seitan, that is) was enough to send her packing by Padma and I have to say, I won’t miss starring at that distracting tattoo on Jennifer’s neck all season. Hey, you kids get off my lawn!
We evidently have a very talented bunch competing this season with lots of fancy titles by their names, so we will definitely see who lives up to it in the end.
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Photo Credit: Bravo