August 28, 2009

Top Chef Las Vegas: Week 2 - Tofu Gazpacho?

The show starts out with the people who were in the bottom. Eve says she's not sure whether she should try to appease the judges or just cook her own style & hope for the best. Really? The judges DECIDE YOUR FATE. So I'd say you should probably take them into consideration.

When they enter the kitchen, there is Todd English and a craps table.

Quickfire Challenge

Roll the dice & create a dish with the same number of ingredients (salt, pepper & oil are freebies).

Cool. Again, whoever wins gets the nice little bonus of $15,000. Man, I'd be happy to go on the show just to get that! Ha. Kevin rolls a 10 and doesn't seem too happy about it. Laurine rolls a 3, the lowest number.

I was happy that Jesse was smart enough to realize butter in the pan would have been an extra ingredient, I've seen that kind of mistake before and it sucks. Unfortunately, she was still in the bottom of the challenge, he said they needed a sear on the scallops. Eve and Bryan also ended up in the bottom.

Michael's crazy cooked gazpacho ended up in the top, as did Jennifer & Kevin! I was glad that Kevin was in the top since he was so unsure about cooking with so many ingredients. In the end, Michael won the quickfire.

Elimination Challenge

Battle of the Sexes: Women will cater a bachelor party, and the men will cater for the bachelorette party.

No one on the winning team will be eligible for elimination. One of the contestants said that she was annoyed by the 'battle of the sexes' concept. I don't know why. The teams and pairing are always random/arbitrary, so what does it matter that for this time they did boys vs. girls? I don't get it.

Each team has to make at least 2 dishes to match up with each of the couple's favorite shots, so a minimum of six.

Hector decides to make a dish with Tofu and Ashley decides that she has time to make a second dish, and chooses to do a sweet dish.

Ashley is pissed off because they're doing a wedding themed challenge when at least three of the contestants are not allowed to participate in that institution. I get it. I get that it sucks, but as a chef this is the kind of thing you might have to do. You're also most likely going to have to cook meat if you're a vegetarian. I understand that it's upsetting to her, but I also wonder if she refuses to attend wedding of her friends etc. She was just letting her feelings get too out of control when she needed to focus on the challenge. I am totally for gay marriage, I don't see why it's any different. But I also think there is nothing wrong with people getting married who are currently able to.

They have an hour to set up poolside, what a great location. Eve starts having trouble with her dish lacking flavor during set up/prep. Laurine says she thinks the boys' food is "contrived" and that the girls have stayed with more familiar flavors. Ashley is still talking about how being gay is making this challenge hard.

The judges notice Eve's ceviche right away - too fishy, no flavor. But the guys love the octopus. They didn't like Ashley's weird bay leaf panna cotta either. In fact, it didn't seem the girl's dishes were all that successful overall.

The guys dishes seemed to pass a little bitter, perhaps they got the pairing part better than the girls did? They thought the tofu ceviche was actually good, which is great because I wasn't sure about that one. They liked the meringue. In the end I felt the guys definitely did better, but not all of their dishes were winners either.

Then the guys all jumped in the pool, which I thought was a little weird because... itw as in the middle of a party? That wasn't for them? It was just odd.

Judges Table

The judges call in four chefs from the guys team first. They announce that the boys won the challenge, and Eli, Bryan, Hector & Michael are competing for the win. They kept calling Bryan's meringue a macaroon, which totally annoyed me. Those are REALLY different things. In the end, brothers Michael and Bryan came head to head, and Bryan won.

Padma asks them to send back Eve, Jesse, Preeti & Ashley. Jesse's dish was wattery and not gingery enough. Eve's said she wanted to do Mexican spice & flavors, but her dish failed because the salsa was too strong, and the shrimp didn't taste like anything. Preeti was happy with her dish, but Tom said it was overcured. They asked her why she included the shiso leaves when they were pretty much wilting immediately. Ashley made it sound like the team made the decision to make a second dish, when in reality she decided to do it on her own. Unfortunately they actually liked her watermelon dish, but not the panna cotta.

The judges talked about how Eve just didn't seem to know what she was doing or where she was going - seemed like she was just throwing things together and hoping it would work out, which sort of goes along with her comments at the beginning of the show about not knowing which direction to go.

In the end, it's Eve who has to pack her knives and go.

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