Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Live Blogging Top Chef Season 6: Episode 10

After last week's totally unsurprising Laurine exit, we're one step closer to crowning the sixth Top Chef. This week the editor of TV Guide joins Padma at the quickfire and introduces that this week's challenge will be inspired by the classic TV dinner. Each chef draws a knife with a classic tv show written on it, and their meal must relate to this show in some way. Somehow Robin has managed to live a life deprived of Sesame Street; maybe that explains why she's so angry, never got her dose of Big Bird growing up. Not shockingly, she lands in the bottom along with Jennifer, who needs to get her act together to avoid sinking to the bottom of the pile. Kevin, on the other hand, continues his hot streak, winning this week over Bryan and cementing his meal in the Top Chef frozen food line by Schwan's. Padma cryptically announces the challenge as taking over Tom's CraftSteak for an evening, but anyone who has seen a preview for this week knows that a much bigger surprise awaits the chefs.

Padma emerges and calls Kevin, Bryan, and Eli in as the top three for this week. Natalie is also judging this week, but she offers few words of wisdom, mostly just laughing at Tom's jokes. The praise at judge's table is far more effusive than it was at dinner, especially with Michael. Kevin wins again and is on a major roll that could very well continue into the finals. The prize tonight is a good one, too, a host of GE appliances for his home kitchen. Robin, Jen, and Mike enter to plead their cases as the bottom three, but not before last week's winner, Michael, complains about Kevin winning. Seems like someone is feeling a little competition outside of the family. Robin takes a dig at Mike, bragging about her use of protein after the judges came down on Mike for not using it. Can they PLEASE send her home tonight? Jen chalks her lame performance up to nerves, but she was easily better than her other bottom-dwellers tonight. On another note, can someone please explain why the bottom three always say "We don't know" when they first come back into the waiting room. Hello, the judges haven't even deliberated yet.

Jen proclaims herself tired and announces her need to refocus. Amen to that, because I can't stand the thought of her leaving before the top four. The chefs all sit at home planning their prospective steak dishes, little do they know that their ideas will soon be rendered useless. They go so far as to begin collecting their meats before Tom arrives with special guest Natalie Portman. The only problem here; she's a vegetarian. The chefs have to scramble for new concepts and ingredients. Jen's bad luck continues, as she goes for ingredients, like mushrooms and eggplants, that other chefs have already claimed. Robin seems to get way too many ingredients, and it already looks like her dish will be a total mess. She could prove us wrong, but I doubt it, given her track record. Everyone seems to be a little bit rushed, which should lead to an interesting dinner service, to say the least.

Robin presents her stuffed squash blossom to start, and while the presentation earns raves, the seasoning falls short. Please let this be the dish that sends Robin home once and for all. The group praises Eli's eggplant confit as "thoughtful," and Michael's hodgepodge of banana polenta and asparagus surprises with its inventive combination of textures and flavors. Although Jen makes a mess saucing her plate at the dinner talbe, she shows improvement with flavors, if struggling with portion size a little bit. Mike's leek and potato dish seems to fail miserably in terms of execution, but again, at least it looked nice. Michael also takes a rare misstep, with overpowering shallots and an ill-conceived artichoke component. Finally, Kevin, sans the usual quickfire immunity, gets the probably the strongest reviews of the night, with his mushroom duo dubbed a "manly" vegetarian dish.

Tom is especially harsh tonight on all three, but in a little bit of a shocker, Mike packs his knives tonight. Come on judges, even the audience (85% of them!) agreed with me that it was Robin's time to go. Mike was never going to win, though, with the stars still around, so it was really just trimming fat. In two weeks, Padma orders room service from the chefs, and some sort of cocktail party goes down. There's a break next week, but I'll be back blogging in two!

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