Ah, now this was what I missed so much last week. Forget reunions. I need Joey and Howie opening their big mouths, Sara whining and Hung being a "douche' as CJ called him.
Right from the moment Joey spoke for the first time, you knew it was going to be fun. He said if he had to "throw someone
over the bus" he'd do so at this point in the game. I definitely would choose that over the more traditional throwing someone
under the bus. I mean, under the bus you really have no shot at making it, but over it just gives you so many more opportunities. You could land on your feet or in a row of bushes. There could be a trampoline on the other side or maybe a river and you could just swim to the bank. If I were those chefs, I'd take that option rather than the second choice of throwing someone "over the balcony." They probably can't fly but I'd bet they could walk away from landing on the hood of a 2001 Honda Accord.
In all seriousness though, this might be my favorite episode of the season so far. This was another one of those weeks where the challenge wasn't to create something that 90 percent of the people in the world aren't going to eat. Making a bag of frozen pasta is something that I might eat tomorrow. But before we jump ahead to that, we talk trivia.
The Quickfire this week was a culinary bee. The chefs were given either an object to look at and identify or a paste or powder to taste and figure out what they were eating. One of the things that has come up throughout the season is that some of the chefs don't really seem to know the basics of certain ingredients or how to make some semi-common foods, as was evident when at least half, maybe six of them, failed to identify their first food. Now granted some were ridiculously tough, but then there was oatmeal for Hung and bow-tie pasta for Casey. Bow-tie pasta? It's pasta that's shaped like a bow tie. I bet if you all went and put a bowl of it in front of a 7-year-old, they would also say it was bow-tie pasta. As usual, Hung provides a great moment when he pulls out what CJ likes to call the "a--hole arrogant factor" by naming a dish before tasting it and getting it wrong.
Of course Joey didn't get his wrong because he doesn't know his stuff, but rather because Padma was looking "all sexy today."
It takes Casey only six rounds but she's able to win the challenge and collect immunity going into the frozen-meal creation. I suppose I understand why this was challenging for some of them, but I have to think that it's still not much different from what I do at home. I cook chicken for dinner and toss the leftovers in a container, putting all the sauces and such together with the chicken, and freeze it to eat next week. Mine cooks in less than 10 minutes, too, and tastes perfectly fine to me. Certainly not as good-looking as these bagged dishes, but not that far off either. And for just creating this, the winner gets two tickets to Italy. Doesn't seem quite fair when other prizes have been books and a bottle of wine, but hey, what'cha gonna do?
Joey and Hung working together was clearly a disaster waiting to happen, so it's no surprise their dish did not impress anyone. The entire time, Hung claims he knows what to do and then just casually lets Joey do what he wants. Hung wants to separate all the ingredients but there's Joey putting the sauce on top of the meal before freezing it. Hung makes it a point to throw Joey under that bus of his and Joey dishes it right back and basically tells him to grow a pair, slam something on the counter and say the way they are doing it. The judges seemed to agree with that.
Howie and Sara have the other bad dish, which Tom calls "a disaster." Howie works on a Mediterranean shrimp pasta while Sara does nothing but question what he's doing. When the judges asked them about the dish, to me it seems like Howie was legitimately taking half the responsibility for making a bad dish, but Sara also waves that bus over and starts blaming Howie for the problems. Of course, Howie then started ripping into Sara in return and we get a nice heated mess.
On the flip side, Casey didn't let immunity get to her head and she busted her butt with Dale to create a nice dish of turkey-and-pork meatball with pesto. They were the first team to get rid of all of their product but when judge Rocco DiSpirito tried their dish, he, of course, gets the semi-frozen meatball. So I'm sure that had something to do with why they didn't win it.
Tre and CJ on the other hand create a perfect meal. They are the only team to freeze everything separately just like the current meals-in-a-bag do. Guess it goes to show you that you don't have to reinvent the wheel to get a quality product. They made a good-looking chicken with black truffle. Funny thing about this episode in particular is something that a few of you have called out already this season. Tom questioned the Mediterranean origin of the black truffle and Rocco actually called B.S. on him and said it was fine. At least twice before in this season, the judges have questioned the authenticity of some ingredients and you guys have wondered why. But this is really the first time one of the other judges has really told him he's full of crap.
Tre and CJ end up winning this one and getting the trip to Italy. Now as usual, of course I can't taste the winning dish to see how good it was but I don't know if I would have chosen these guys. I'm thinking about myself in the grocery store going down the frozen food aisle and looking at these bags of pasta. I really can picture myself saying "yum, turkey and pork meatballs" but not giving a second glance at black truffle. I'm thinking this would happen with a lot of people too. I'm buying one of these bags to get something kind of familiar and easy to make. If I'm looking for something fancy, I'm not going to the frozen bags for it. To me the challenge was to not only make something people would enjoy but that they would actually buy as well and personally I just think that fact got lost with the judges at the end. But until I create "taste-a-vision" I can never know if their dish was just so awesome that they had to win.
I also probably would have sent Sara home since she really didn't do much. But the judges chose Joey this time. How tough was it to see the big softee bawling at the end? The arrogance gave way to fragile Joey and you have to respect the guy for breaking down and leaving with his dignity rather than badmouthing everyone on the way out.
9 more to go and still no clear cut leader. But I have to say that I'm digging C.J. and Dale more and more each week now. Both have a great sense of humor and work well in the kitchen. I've said my favorites over the week but I've tried to stay away from predicting a winner so early on, but now it's time. My prediction for overall winner: Dale.
Until next week, friends.
Check out clips from
Top Chef in our
Online Video Guide.
Ah, now this was what I missed so much last week. Forget reunions. I need Joey and Howie opening their big mouths, Sara whining and Hung being a douche as CJ called him. Right from the moment Joey spoke for the first time, you knew it was going to be fun. He said if he had to throw someone over the bus hed do so at this point in the game. I definitely would choose that over the more traditional throwing someone under the bus. I mean, under the bus you really have no shot at making it, but over it just gives you so many more opportunities. You could land on your feet or in a row of bushes. There could be a trampoline on the other side or maybe a river and you could just swim to the bank. If I were those chefs, Id take that option rather than the second choice of throwing someone over the balcony. They probably cant fly but Id bet they could walk away from landing on the hood of a 2001 Honda Accord. In all seriousness though,...