Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Top Chef Gets It's Very Own Simon Cowell, and Scandal Rocks the Kitchen

Top Chef has really been kicking up the drama this season, to good effect. With a sharp-tongued new judge, a romantic scandal, a pair of european goofballs, the only thing lacking drama at this point is the food, really. So that's still a bit of a disappointment, but at least we are entertained!

With Gail off and married, Bravo's introduced a snarky new judge, Toby Young, who keeps the anecdotal, catchphrase-y digs coming ("Ladies and gentlemen, I've found the weapons of mass destruction, and they are in this bowl"). Although he claims he's not trying to be Simon Cowell, he sure sounds like it. Both Brits are renowned experts in their own fields, and have no patience for anything short of true excellence. Yet while Toby's carefully pointed insults are just as cutting, they air more on the side of the intellectual then Simon's. And, he manages to be fun to watch, too.

Also fun to watch is the slow trainwreck that is the romantic scandal between Hosea and Leah. After weeks of overt flirting, the cameras finally catch them making out on the couch this week. They must have found out pretty quickly too, as they both give bleary-eyed morning after confessionals expressing regret and hope that they'll still be in their at-home relationships when the show's over. But - they're both still around next week! Will they put aside their feelings for the sake of their home loyalties, or will they let their attraction win them over again? We'll just have to wait and see!

The Euro Twins Fabio and Stefan also scored another big win this week, as they each helped secure victory for their team in this season's edition of Restaurant Wars. Fabio charmed judges and diners alike in his front of house role, and Stefan served up a few truly knockout desserts. If Leah hadn't grossly undercooked her fish, it may have been a clear home run. Although Radhika's team's food was on par (and perhaps slightly better) than Leah's, Radhika's ghastly performance in the front of house role put her restaurant at a clear disadvantage. Because of the nicer space each team was given to work with, both restaurants looked better than any I've seen in other seasons - but as we could have predicted, each execution was not without mishaps.

In the end, Radhika's nerves got the best of her, and her failure to perform in the front of house and "chef/owner" role got her the boot. Too bad, because her food has been great to this point! But, a whole part of being a top chef is being able to be a leader, to delegate responsibilities, and to know your strengths. Radhika knew this and she realized that she made a few poor decisions. But just as long as she'd learned from them, she'll improve in the future. 

Next week: old favorites return to battle the newbies! And they're so excited to be back on TV that they're juggling all sorts of fruits! This one is sure to be a fan friendly challenge week, probably promoting the Top Chef cookbook (again). And now that LOST is back on the air, I can look forward to several hours of quality TV every Wednesday night for many weeks to come. What a great way to wait out this awful winter! Horray.

No comments: