Top Chef Rundown: January 28, 2009
This week’s product placementaward goes to…The Super Bowl. As if it needed publicity from Top Chef.
The quickfire challenge this week was another product placement-fest: create a dish using randomly assigned ingredients and food groups. It seemed like a fair challenge, though. No one got stuck with something overly difficult or challenging, and a lot of the chefs turned out what looked to be tasty treats, especially for being based on oatmeal!
Stefan won the quickfire, and while immunity was no longer a prize, he did win an advantage in the elimination challenge: the chance to choose his own city and challenger before everyone else. Speaking of challengers…
This week’s elimination challenge brought back a whole team of “Top Chef All Stars” to compete against this season’s cheftestants in a Super Bowl themed cook-off.
I though the challenge was a fun one to watch, but probably not the fairest way to decide things. First of all, when you do these mini head-to-head competitions, people can end up at Judge’s Table who don’t really deserve to be there. There were people who did deserve to be there, don’t get me wrong, but from my couch, it looked like some not-so-great-chefs skated by with not so great dishes because they were the lesser of two evils, while other chefs who cooked better dishes were slightly outdone by their All Star chef. And that’s side-stepping the entire issue of groups of culinary students having the power to overrule the judges’ decision.
It was interesting to see Stefan face Judge’s Table–really, it was interesting to see him face the whole challenge. I do not think he expected to lose in any way, shape, or form. For a while, when he was the only one facing elimination, David and I worried that this would be the most undeserved elimination since Tre.
Luckily for Stefan, his two counterparts in the bottom three made worse mistakes than his. Fabio overcooked his Wisconsin venison, and Jeff, true to form, tried to do too many things at once, and didn’t do a good job on any of them. And went home for it. I don’t feel bad for him. He’s had the same problem all season, and if you can’t learn from your mistakes, it’s time to go.
On the winning side of things, Carla won two tickets to the Super Bowl with her 20 minute gumbo. It looked impressive, and she seemed to do a good job, but I think she’s probably going to be out sooner or later, because she’s very inconsistent.
We did have fun seeing the old All Stars, especially Andrew and Spike. Maybe they’ll drop by again sometime.