Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Week in Top Chef: Ming Tsai Gives It To Chicago

I'm starting it here and I'm starting it now. Besides being a Chicago girl, she's already got two elimination challenge wins already, and she's got the skills, wit, and good sense to take it all the way. GO STEPH!!

After last week's "films challenge" and the previous week's Rick Bayless block party fiesta, we had another previously documented challenge air tonight - the Meals on Wheels "elements" challenge featuring guest judge Ming Tsai. Read the initial reports of this challenge, as reported to me by an attendee last fall, here.

The fact that I grew up in the greater Boston area and have never been to Blue Ginger aside, I love Ming Tsai. I love his public television show, I love that he's brilliant but that he carries himself with such composure, and I'm sure I will love the food at his restaurant whenever I get to go.

Sure enough, the elimination challenge unfolded just as it was reported - four teams served first courses along the themes of earth, fire, water, and air. Air seemed like a pretty whack food theme to me, and it seems that the team did a lackluster although not altogether terrible job of creating a light and "airy" dish. However, it was the earth team that fell to the bottom in the end, due to their lack of seasoning. Which is frankly deserved in my opinion, because an "earth" theme gave them the liscence to create a dish with truly impactful flavors. Clearly you shouldn't knock diners out with the first course, but clearly you can't underdo it either. Zoi took the fall for the team this time... and the lesbian couple is broken up! Drama.

Two things to look for in upcoming shows:
1. Tom Colicchio actually smiling.
He was in some sort of giddy mood in the kitchen today when he was questioning the teams about their dishes - perhaps it shouldn't have been a such a shock to me to see him giggling like a schoolgirl, but there it was. Wonder if it will happen again anytime soon!

2. Padma being drunk. We learned last season (and this was confirmed when I met Dale) that Padma likes to drink, and that in fact, all of the judges sometimes go to judges' table after having several glasses of wine. When you keep this in mind, things become a lot more funny when Padma seems just a bit off...
For a detailed preview (ahem, spoiler) of what's to come in next week's Bears Tailgating Challenge (presented by Weber) click here!

That's all I've got for this week - tune in next week for another recap!


David Dust said...

I didn't know Padma liked a little drinkie-drinkie before judgie-judgie! That's delish!

Click here for DavidDust's Top Chef recap.


Laura Foti Cohen said...

They're not professionally done, but you should check out these homemade videos on the Bertolli site: They're really funny and romantic, and all about good food. (And be sure to vote so you can win a trip to New York...)"