Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Live Blogging Top Chef Season 6: Episode 6

After a summer hiatus, I'm happy to be back live-blogging Top Chef again. This season the chefs are in Vegas, and we definitely have a talented bunch this time. I hope someone out there still wants to read, because I'm excited to be writing here again!

The night kicks off with the chefs mourning the loss of the Frenchman, Mattin, last episode, while simultaneously criticizing Robin's presence in the competition and her penchant for simple cooking, a little unfair if you ask me. Padma unveils the quickfire: a challenge to create a duo on the plate representing each chef's "devil and angel" sides. Lots of the chefs go for fish, from halibut to Chilean sea bass to the Top Chef favorite scallop (from two chefs!) Ash tried to do two different types of custard, but failed in producing his angel side. Robin's choice of a simple salad and apple crisp drew praise from guest judge Michelle Bernstein, ultimately earning her a win, with immunity, and no respect from her fellow contestants. Eli even goes so low as to criticize her mention of the cancer she battled as fishing for sympathy. Magicians Penn and Teller emerge to present the elimination challenge, something about deconstructing classic dishes, like eggs florentine, pot roast, and fish and chips, in tricky ways, but their explanation is convoluted, so I guess we'll just have to wait until after the break to see what the hell they're actually doing.

As always, I love the shopping segment, and this time they have 30 minutes and $125 dollars to collect the ingredients that they'll need for the intimate dinner party. Somehow Mike doesn't know what eggs florentine are, calling them "eggs-foreign-to-me." At least he has a way with words. Philly's own Jen C., from 10 Arts, has been a judges favorite all season, but she seems to be struggling tonight with her deconstructed lasagna, so we'll see if she can get it together. Unpopular Robin isn't helping her cause with whininess in the kitchen; clearly she has no concept of the other chef's time, as she has immunity and no need to worry. From the early looks of it, Ron might be in trouble tonight. He has struggled recently, and he doesn't seem to exactly get the concept of reworking paella, so look for a possible trip to the bottom three.

In the little teaser over the break, Mike again asked about the make-up of eggs florentine, and his fellow contestants surprisingly seemed just as clueless. By the time of his presentation, to Penn and Teller, and the judges, now regrettably including Toby Young, at least for the night, he seems to have gotten the concept, but not well, as the judges aren't fans. Bryan's take on a caesar salad is more successful on all levels. Laurine and Michael are up next, and the former's fish and chips failed, while the latter's bizzare tuna "reuben" actually pleases most of the judges. Jen is in the same boat, as her initial worries prove unfounded and her "lasagna" earns raves, but her fellow presenter Ash stumbles with his version of Shepherd's Pie. Ron confirms my suspicions and seems to book a trip in front of the judges with an all-around mess. Eli, on the other hand, should be safe with his sweet and sour pork. Ashley and Kevin both please the judges, and may crack the top three, but Robin should be thankful that she snatched immunity at the quick fire, because she gets no love from the judges tonight at the elimination challenge.

As Padma calls Ashley, Kevin, Michael, and Jen up to the top four, Jen gives her a priceless "give me a break" face, shocked at the success of a dish she considered a potential flop. She doesn't earn the win, though, as Kevin comes through for his second win and grabs a set of cookware to boot. Laurine, Ron, and Ash aren't as lucky, with the "most disappointing" dishes of the evening, according to a forthcoming Padma. Ash digs himself into an early hole, basically admitting that he had no idea what he was doing this round. Laurine at least realizes her mistake in overcooking her fish and admits that she's out of her comfort zone. Ron takes probably the toughest criticism for his paella, and the loveable Haitian should pack his knives tonight.

Tom delivers the final summaries of shame, and Ron takes his expected final bow with dignity, shaking each judge's hand and fondly reflecting on his time on the show. Sad to see him go, but he seemed out of his depth the last two weeks. Next week looks sufficiently wacky, with the chefs sprinting through a home kitchen and angling for counter space. Hopefully, you'll be there to follow the action live again!

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