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Top Chef: Las Vegas, Episode 6 – I’ve had Bull’s Testicles Before


Friends, I am getting a bit worried, and it has nothing to do with this or this. In the world of Top Chef, well, this season is starting to get boring. Try to come up with anything of real interest that happened this week. Go ahead. I’ll get some chores done while you chew on that. Or on the aforementioned bull’s testicles.

Nothing? Thought so. This week’s episode was really all about the long overdue demise of Kingpin (and Daredevil was nowhere to be found.) Or sadly, Electra), the relative out-of-nowhere animosity towards Robin, and Penn and Teller killed some time with magic and antics. That’s it. Even the challenges were somewhat dull – a duo based on the Angel/Devil shoulder battle (which will never be better than this version), and the deconstruction of a favorite dish. The latter at least seemed to be quite challenging, especially for those not classically trained, but not all that interesting to watch.

So, I’ll just look at what appears to be a distinct pecking order of the remaining ten chefs before looking at the Robin situation. Barring anything crazy, this pecking order should closely resemble the boot order.

UPPER TIER
There is little in the way of this Final Four competing for the title – BryanBot, Hawk, Kevin and Jennifer. The guys have won every elimination challenge, and Jenn has been near the top almost every time and has won two Quickfires of her own. This has been domination. It’s been 1998 Yankees, 1985 Bears, Ronald Reagan in 1984 dominating.

SPOILERS
This group has shown flashes and could be one screw-up by the upper tier away from crashing the Final Four party – Ashley, MM, and probably Eli. Ashley started off poorly, but has had two great weeks in a row. MM talks a great game and has nailed a couple, but is more likely to falter and go out early than to make the finals. He has sixth place written all over him. Eli seems like he should be better, but has been middle of the pack all season. He is getting a lot of face time, which bodes well, and his working relationship with Richard Blais gives him the benefit of the doubt.

HANGING AROUND
I will be shocked, shocked, shocked if any of the rest – Ash, Laurine, Robin – make the Top Six, much less the Final Four. With the exception of Robin’s Quickfire win this week, and Laurine’s good showing last week, these three have consistently been at the bottom or completely forgettable. The next three weeks – barring a total meltdown by someone – should see these three depart.

Now, regarding Robin. Why all the hate? Everyone seemed to have a problem with her this week. While I would expect it from MM – he is Misogynist Mike for a reason – we also got biting comments from Laurine and from Eli. Laurine was on edge and Robin did bring some of that on herself from her constant nattering, but still. At least she was complaining about personality quirks.

MM and Eli were not only disparaging to her talent, but Eli would later come out and say that she won solely because she mentioned her cancer to Padma and guest judge Michelle Bernstein (a dream duo, I might add). Ash would also pile on by implying that her winning dish was weak. Ash. A guy who couldn’t even plate his dish was chirping about her dish, the one that impressed the guest judge.

While I have little use for Robin as a Cheftestant, the criticisms seemed petty. And not coming from a group who has earned much credit to be doing much criticism of their own. Not to mention, I refuse to comment on someone else’s cancer. She was inspired by her ordeal – I take her at her word. If she tries to repeatedly play that card, then she deserves a hit, but this was the first time we as the viewing public witnessed it.

So, the dishes…

Quickfire – Padma and Michelle tell the chefs to create a duo based on the old Angel on one shoulder, Devil on the other device. This would be representative of being in Vegas.
Hawk (Angel) Rillettes of Salmon; (Devil) Confit of Salmon and Ice Cream. Michelle and Padma give him an “Interesting.”
Kevin (Angel) Halibut and Seasonal Vegetables; (Devil) Deviled egg puree and bacon. Comments on the “Big fat piece of bacon.” Nothing wrong with that.
Kingpin (Angel) Chilean Sea Bass with Corn Hash; (Devil) the sea bass but with Yucca. “A lot of bones” in his bass.
Ashley (Angel) Scallop Crudo; (Devil) Seared Scallop Puttanesca. Simple thank you.
Eli (Angel) Scallop with Radish Top Pesto; (Devil) Scallop with Brown Butter Risotto. His cheap thrills with the devil dish are her favorite kind of thrills, according to Michelle.
BryanBot (Angel) Frozen Coconut, Lychee and Vanilla; (Devil) Dark Chocolate Mousse. Simple thank you, and another gratuitous camera cut to Hawk. Drink.
Jennifer (Angel) Scallop Crudo with Olive Oil; (Devil) Seared Scallop with Butter. Her sauce is addictive.
Ash (Angel) Not finished, it would have been coffee custard; (Devil) Spicy Asparagus Custard with Pink Peppercorn Shortbread. Michelle says she would have to imagine the angel dish. Not good. Ash’s first custard never set properly.
Robin (Angel) Arugula, Apple and Fennel Salad; (Devil) Cardamom Apple Ginger Crisp. After her cancer comments, hers is called lovely and simple. And if you recall, when Michelle was introduced, it was with comments that she cooks “clean and simple.”
Laurine (Angel) Chicken and Vegetable Consommé; (Devil) Chicken Saltimbocca. Simple thank you.
MM (Angel) Cucumber Yogurt Soup; (Devil) Rack of Lamb Kabob Style. His is too salty.

Mostly everyone went with the Angel/Devil theme of Angel = Light and Healthy, with Devil = Heavy and Fattening. This is except for Robin, who added to hers that having cancer inspired her to eat more healthily. Did that help her win? Who knows. Also, Hawk said that he used Traditional/Modern as his dichotomy.


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