It seems like the idea of "honoring your protein" won out tonight, and Ariane was forced to pack her knives. Although she messed up tonight, she has definitely performed better than some of her competition on past challenges, so I'm not sure about this decision. Next week, restaurant wars returns, but the bigger story looks like Hosea and Leah's blossoming relationship, which promises more drama in and out of the kitchen.
As expected, Team Chicken takes top honors, and Dave Barber declares all three team members winners tonight. The other two teams head in for the judges' beat-down, and Padma, Toby, and Tom have hardly anything nice to say. From Radhika's dubious contribution to Ariane's inability to tie the roast, everything is an issue tonight, and I think that judges' table gave hardly any indication of who will be going home. The judges finally reach a consensus that Team Lamb delivered the worst meal, but they still question Radhika's effort in the kitchen. It seems like she, Ariane, and Leah are the candidates for elimination, but they all had different problems tonight.
The fresh produce in the kitchens is definitely a far cry from anything I've seen at Commons, and the chefs definitely have everything they need to produce delicious menus. Team Lamb relegates Leah to a simple tomato salad and dessert. That better be one damn good tomato salad, because she is not pulling her weight, regardless of whether or not it was her choice. Overall, the kitchen prep is pretty devoid of drama, but we learn that Ariane doesn't even know how to tie a roast, so Leah steps in. There we go Leah, baby steps. At first glance, all the food looks absolutely delicious, and I would happily dive in. While Team Chicken is generally well-received, Team Lamb falls flat in virtually every aspect of their dish, which Tom says "doesn't honor the protein." I thought they would be the least favorite, but Team Pig definitely gives them a run for their money with less than complementary feedback. Thankfully, Carla redeems herself for last week's misstep with a solid tart, but the other teams are less lucky. It's definitely up in the air as to who goes tonight, but I wouldn't be surprised if Leah were asked to pack her knives.
Team Chicken (Jamie, Stefan, and Carla) definitely features some of the show's biggest personalities, and unsurprisingly, fireworks erupt between the last remaining member of Team Rainbow and half of the Euro Duo. Jamie has a point, though, and she and Carla should probably have a little more control of the menu, because Stefan has immunity and less to lose. The chefs are taken out of their Whole Foods comfort zone and transported to Dave Barber's Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, where they will get their ingredients directly from the source. The serene setting seems to calm the tensions on Team Chicken, but further drama looms after the break.
Ok, back from winter break and back to blogging. Just because I haven't been writing about it doesn't mean I haven't been keeping up, but it's been at random times, usually Tivo-ed, and I wasn't always near a computer. Last week was a doozy, as both Melissa and Eugene said goodbye thanks to new judge Toby Young, a British restaurant critic, who replaced Gail, as she headed into married life. Thank God my beloved Carla escaped elimination, because I don't know what I'd do without her commentary. This episode wastes no time getting into the quickfire, probably because no one really missed either of last week's eliminated chefs. I know I don't. The chefs have to use a variety of canned and/or processed food items to create a "gourmet" meal, at least as gourmet as they can. Once again, Jeff goes for a trio of items. If the judges are jumping on Jamie for her scallop obsession, they better call out Jeff's love of all things three ASAP. Stefan narrowly edges Hosea and Jeff for the win with his soup and grilled cheese combo. The chefs are divided into three teams of three: lamb, chicken, and pig, and their elimination challenge is to create a seasonal meal around their protein. It sure sounds simple, but as this show proves again and again, it rarely is.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009