Thursday, July 12, 2007

"No, no, no, no, no! Don't just hork it down!": SDD does cooking right

Previously on . . . these shows: Top Chef's last episode had the chefs racking their brains for ways to reinvent the classics. The cooks were tasked with healthifying family favorites from tuna cassarole to chicken ala king, with Howie's reimagined pork chops winning the day and Micah's meatloaf sending her packing.

Hell's Kitchen was much the same as always, though Melissa began the slippery slide into madness and ended the episode by, instead of being eliminated, being reassigned to the men's team. Fabulous.

Top Chef:
This week's episode started out with an even more egregious example of product placement than usual, with the quickfire challenge asking the chefs to pair original appetizers with specifically selected Bombay Sapphire concocted cocktails!

If only South Dakota Dark could get liquor sponsorships . . . *wistful sighs*

Beyond this, the quickfire was somewhat lackluster with much said about the "subtle botanical notes" found in Bombay Sapphire gin and less said about appetizers at hand. Hung proved himself to be an ever-increasing ass by presuming to know more than the judge, and ultimately, Casey won the competition by thinking outside the box and serving up some fancypants french toast.

With the quickfire challenge disposed of the chefs turned their focus to the elimination challenge, the first of which requiring the contestants to put aside their petty disagreements and divide up into teams. This proved to be just as disasterous as it sounds with only one team really working together well. Each team was responsible for providing a trio of dishes with a common theme, with each team representing a course of the meal.

Lia, Hung and Brian were first up and provided a shrimp course which was extremely well received by the judges, specifically Lia who ended up winning the overall challenge.

The next group included Howie, Joey and Casey (with immunity) who didn't exactly bring their A-game with their fish dishes. Following them, were Tre, Sara and CJ who performed adequately with their filet mignon trio.

The same can not be said for the final group of Dale, Camille and Sara M. who, for some reason decided to do a dessert course, though none was called for and no one participating had a particular talent for the area.

Overall, the elimination challenge didn't make for enjoyable viewing as it rarely does in these cases. The contestants are absolutely right when they complain about suddenly being teamed up with the same individuals they're simultaneously competing with.

I can't imagine this happens often when you're the head chef in a kitchen, so the practical application here seems nil, beyond the obvious drama it creates. In the end, it was Camille of the dessert crew that was eliminated. Unfamiliar with her? Yeah, so was I.

Hell's Kitchen:
Much of the same here this week, with the first (pointless) challenge requiring the teams to come up with tasty and original recipes for lobster. After running around the kitchen, each team came up with three dishes for tasting, and in a close call, the women won yet another (pointless) challenge.

Rock was peeved by this turn of events and stormed around swearing and breaking things for the next 20 minutes of the show. Lovely.

The women were rewarded with some photo shoot; the men (and Melissa) were punished with trash picking. Truly, this is television at it's finest.

In the true kitchen challenge for the week, the women performed admirably whereas the men truly felt the albatross that was Melissa during the evening's dinner service. It all played out about as you can imagine, with the women winning and Melissa being sent home, as it should be.

Cooking extra:
But all things being equal, if you feel compelled to see something to feed your inner foodie, skip these lackluster feeding frenzy wannabes and go straight to the main course. Pixar's Ratatouille is easily one of the finest films of the year and is definitely one of the company's upper-echelon films (higher praise does not exist!).

For all my reservations about a rat in a kitchen, I was won over within seconds and even those who like neither food nor cuddly creatures will be held rapt by what is, perhaps, Pixar's most beautiful of films.

1 comment:

Deb said...

I saw Ratatouille last night and I loved it!

Remy is now my most favourite animated personality ever and I'm wondering what it would take to get him to come cook in my kitchen.

I could do with a night off...