October 22, 2009

Top Chef 6.9: Purple Monkey Dishwasher

The Quickfire challenge was rather clever: Essentially a game of Telephone with food (hence the title of this post). It wasn't really something that tells you much about what makes for a good chef, but it was a fun exercise.

Restaurant Wars was surprising for a few reasons: The Blue team got away with naming their restaurant Revolt, Robin actually made a good dish, and both Jennifer and Kevin were at serious risk of elimination. It was strange how all the members of the Red team seemed to have been dragged down together. In part, no doubt, that's due to how the workload was distributed, with Kevin and Jennifer taking on much more than they could handle. I also imagine that Laurine's handling of front of the house duties impacted the performance of the group as a whole as well: If the front had been handled by, say, Jennifer -- who has demonstrated excellent executive abilities -- things might have turned out very differently. On the other hand, the pressure of the competition seems to be getting to her, moreso than any of the other contestants.

The bickering between the Voltaggio brothers was typical reality show fare, but what does it tell us about their cooking styles? Michael clearly feels confident and comfortable in his skin, and rightly so, but I could easily see his brassy tendencies getting the better of him down the road. Bryan, on the other hand, is pretty consistent in his execution, but I wonder if he'll more fully demonstrate his creativity when the stakes get really high. Like most people, I'll be surprised if both brothers aren't in the finale.

One other thing: Was I the only one incredulous about the use of the word "sustainable" to describe the meals being prepared -- given that the competition is in Las Vegas, a city that is, almost by definition, unsustainable?

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