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October 8, 2015

Top Chef: Dinner Party

by Kona Gallagher, posted Oct 8th 2009 10:25AM
top chef
Here's what I love about this episode of Top Chef: Jen and her illness. Yes, it was lovely how she triumphed over adversity and made a kick-ass dish, but mainly, I like the way that it didn't change her at all. She had the exact same dead-eyed expression and monotone that we've all come to know and love. Sick Jen or well Jen, they're both pretty much dead inside-- and I find her hilarious.

This week's Quickfire Challenge involves a slot machine (as all good challenges in life do). I really enjoyed seeing what the chefs came up with, based solely on three random words that came up on the machine. Even when they pulled words that would seem to make it easy, like Ashley's "Blue Cheesy Middle Eastern," they still don't go in the expected direction: there was no blue cheese in her dish.

Unfortunately, her innovation didn't end up doing a whole lot for her. Kevin, however, is proving to be somewhat of a dark horse in this competition. He's not as flashy as the Voltaggio brothers, but has racked up quite a nice pile of wins for himself. He even wins this challenge with an Asian dish, having never cooked Asian food before. His general force of awesomeness just carried him through.

Also awesome is his decision after he wins the High Stakes Quickfire. Kevin can choose between immunity or $15,000 (at first, I thought it was $50,000, because that's what Padma made it sound like; at which point, I would have taken that money and run right out of the competition). Kevin chooses the $15,000 over immunity, which is absolutely the right decision. He wagers that he probably doesn't need immunity, which he turns out to be correct about, and who doesn't want 15 grand?

It seems that taking the money over immunity is also about respect. In a competition full of alpha dogs (except for Ash and Robin), taking immunity over cash is going to be seen as a sign of weakness. It's a competition, and if you take immunity over $15,000, then it's a sign that you probably shouldn't be there in the first place. So Kevin's decision definitely helped keep him on everyone's good side.

The Elimination Challenge was interesting, mainly because it was done under less than ideal circumstances. Sure, there was more than a chuck wagon, but Michael and Ash were cooking in what appeared to be a dining room, using plug-in woks. Unfortunately for them, these circumstances led to them ending up in the bottom two.

So let's talk about elimination real quick: were you guys as surprised as I was? One, Ash's effusive praise of Michael's skills was definitely uncomfortable, and I'm kind of surprised that didn't get him sent home. Luckily for him, the judges thought that Eli and Ashley's dish was the weaker of the two, so it was one of them who was going to be eliminated. One of the judges main problems though was the fact that the gnocchi was too salty, which I'm pretty sure was Eli's fault, so I was expecting him to be the one to have to pack up his knives.

However, I guess the fact that there was gnocchi in the dish at all, coupled with undercooked prawns really spelled Ashley's doom. Plus, this isn't her first time in the bottom. I just really expected her to last longer though. I didn't expect Ashley to win, but I definitely thought that others, including Ash and/or Robin would go before her. According to her exit interview, she was surprised to go home as well.

[Watch episodes and clips of Top Chef and other shows over at SlashControl.]

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Agree, Kevin isn't a darkhorse. He's already won a few qf's and eliminations. His gracious attitude just rocks. And Jen is my other favorite. Kevin & Jen will clearly be in the final 2.

Agreed this season doesn't measure up with talent.

October 08 2009 at 3:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Kevin proving to be "dark horse" in this competition? You haven't been watching. Kevin has won several quick fire challenges and elimination challenges. He is a top notch chef, and I think he is going to win this. Plus, he is a gracious competitor.

October 08 2009 at 1:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Did you notice Michael V. calling Ash a #2 chef? What's that about?

October 08 2009 at 1:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to stx71518's comment
Kona Gallagher

Ash is a sous chef, so I think that's all he meant.

October 08 2009 at 1:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Little Willy

This season of Top Chef has got to be the worst. For some reasons, the show got on a few chefs who have no business appearing in a cooking competition. Other than Mike Isabella, no chef showed any personality. It's almost a foregone conclusion that that one of the V. brothers is gonna win. Bold prediction: either Ash or Robin will be the next to go.

October 08 2009 at 12:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If you weren't going to win the whole thing it doesn't really matter if you're gone. I liked Ashly but she wasn't going to win.

Jen is awsome. I've liked her fro the get go and it's clearly a 4 man/woman race. Jen, Kevin and the brothers.

Mike I is a real tool and a prick. I want him out soon so he can cry as the even weaker links finish better than him.

October 08 2009 at 12:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dkny's comment
Alicia R.

Oh I can't wait either. He is such a jerk.

I'm calling the final 3:

October 08 2009 at 12:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The blue in Ashley's dish was to convey mood not blue cheese together. I love Jen and Kevin and was glad to see them both do well

October 08 2009 at 11:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Ash's puppy worship was so over the top, I got the feeling that I think Michael was getting kind of uncomfortable.. It wasn't just "man this chef is great"... it was more like a teenage girl wishing Adam Lambert would decide to "turn" just for her.

Ash isn't a slouch when it comes to cooking, but really, he should have stepped up just a little more.

Ashley's mistake was in trusting a lesser cook with her specialty. And no chef should be making raw shellfish at this point in the competition.. Though the suggestion to omit the poorly seasoned part of their dish seems like a contradiction to what the judges usually harp on when a part of a dish is omitted. Ashley should have done what many chef's have done in the past and made extra just in case there were issues.

October 08 2009 at 11:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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