For those who don’t know, my reference is not to Jerry Maguire, but to a great Ron Swanson/Andy Dwyer exchange as they discussed lunch options. Why the NBC synergy this week? Not just a huge love for Parks & Recreation, but because this week’s Top Chef centered its Elimination Challenge on the return home to the Pacific Northwest of Parks & Rec actor Chris Pratt (also in the new Zero Dark Thirty, and last year’s Moneyball), and his wife, comedic actress Anna Faris. I find it very hard not to think of Andy’s antics when Pratt is on screen, as that show is home to some of the best comedy you will see on TV these days.
And needless to say, we all need some nice comedy these days. I know I sure do.
Anyway, the task at hand is to talk about reality TV – and some delicious food. The Pratt/Faris family will be gathering for a huge party to celebrate the couple’s announcement of her pregnancy. The chefs had free reign as to what to use and cook, but they had to use the likes and dislikes laid our by Pratt and Faris during the few minutes of prep before the challenge.
Bottom line – the couple loves local Seattle cuisine and they are super adventurous with their eating habits. That is to be commended, but it sure makes it easy for the chefs to put together a menu and be creative. This is a good thing for them – especially after last week’s artisan debacle. It is less of a good thing for the viewer because it doesn’t really present that much of a challenge for them. However, whatever drama-less dynamic coming from the challenge was lessened by the fun which was had by the actors and their family.
We also saw how chefs should treat their Quickfire wins, even if few of them do so week in and week out. But first, let’s talk about the challenges some more
Quickfire Challenge – Padma and nice old lady great the chefs. She is Marilyn Haggerty, from the Grand Forks Herald. Who is she? Well, she is a small town food writer who wrote an infamous and viral column praising the authentic Italian cuisine of the Olive Garden. And now here she is with Padma Lakshmi on Top Chef. She seems like a nice granny – but seriously, maybe some folks should not be writing about food. You know, folks who can’t tell a tamale from a taco perhaps.
The challenge is to make a holiday dish using the chefs’ own heritage and traditions. However, the lot of them could only one knife. That led to the chefs finding creative ways of cutting – a grater, a pizza cutter, a spatula, scissors, etc. Micah called the knife an extension of the chefs’ arms – which is true, but also is the plot of Edward Scissorhands.
Lizzie has the tradition of beaches and fake snow for Christmas since she grew up in the Southern Hemisphere. Micah and Josie are both making tamales – although Micah’s come from his Blaxican or Mexigro heritage. The Thumb has decided not to use his own heritage for his dish but that of his two-time ex-wife. Brooke and Eliza are going for some traditional Americana – and Brooke is worried that it will be too safe of a choice. OTV’s family has the tradition of having the first up – often the men – make breakfast food on Christmas. The Latex Salesman is making a waffle – and OTV sarcastically expresses amazement that a Belgian would be making waffles.