Thursday, August 20, 2009

Top Chef Overload

I was all wrapped up in Top Chef yesterday. Not only did I commit to, and go out of my way to view the three hours of prime time, but my day was filled with watching old Top Chef Episodes throughout the day. This was a commitment there is no discussion. Watching Top Chef for longer than your average extra inning baseball game is a commitment in my book. Was I glad to have made that commitment, well yes I am?

By 7:30 or so I was online reading up on the bios of the Vegas contestants. I planned on making some predictions, and I did. Thankfully I wrote them down, and they will show up eventually. At 8 pm on the dot I got the call from the living room, “mike!!!! Are you watching Top Chef?” as if there was a question about it at this point. I quickly shuffled my papers, made my predictions and settled down to a mini Top Chef marathon complete with cheap Chinese delivery food and plenty of bourbon.

First up, the second to last episode of the Masters series. I am very happy with how the Masters episodes turned out. There was a huge focus on the chef’s food, and their reaction to things became a big part of the show. Skip ahead an hour and the final is a perfect example of this. These accomplished chefs are asked to present a culinary biography. They embraced the task with such enthusiasm. It was great to see that they really had something to convey, and where able to do it the best way they knew how…through cooking. The final twist, and a positive one was the arrival of their second hand men, their partners, the Calvary sent in to up the ante. The most difficult thing about the Masters was that in my opinion the final three where of such tight competition the discussions must have quivered on certain subjective observations, which in some ways was out of the chefs hands.

In a lot of ways Michael reminded me of Stephan. Having seemingly topped every challenge he entered, perhaps a little more effort at the end was all he needed. I saw a lot of Harold in Rick meaning a cool confidence running through his veins. Lastly, Hubert, who I will remember on Top Chef Season one sent off the first contestant for using his finger to taste a sauce. Somewhere out there a chef who’s name none of us remember was screaming into the television every time Hubert so much as breathed in an unsanitary way.

Finally my predictions. I really thought Zavala would have lasted a little longer. She seemed like a middle of the pack kind of chef, but she took the bait. You know damn well there is some Top Chef Production assistant who snuck that seitan onto the set and is laughing is ass off today.

First to go:
Ron ‘two tongues’ Duprat
Robin’golden chip’ Levanthal
Mattin the frog

Last three:
Jennifer ‘the golden child’ Carroll
Michael ‘my brother sucks’ Voltaggio
Eli ‘I’m cooler than Richard’ Kirshtein

And my pre-season pick for winner of Top Chef Vegas is Jennifer Carroll! Good luck to the chefs, and all of us watching.

By the way, did you every wonder after a commercial brake that maybe you hit the wrong button and went to the National Geographic show Taboo about tatoos and body piercing?


Scott Sebastian said...

You'll have to keep me posted. I haven't looked at a TV in 4 months.

Andie D'Angelo said...

Hey Food Dude,
Where can one buy some fresh/live lobster in Cleveland?

Michael Walsh said...

Live lobsters can be found in tanks at most major chain grocery stores around town.

For live and fresh seafood try

Catanese Classic Seafood
(216) 624-4733

They have a storefront in the Flats near downtown. They are a major distributer of seafood to area restaurants. Very trustworthy source!

Rachel said...

Haha! I like your predictions! Those are my favorite three, by far. I'll take a wager, though, and back up Michael Voltaggio. I think both he and Jennifer have chops, so in reality it's a toss-up, but my gut says him this time.

I had forgotten that about Hubert. That is especially funny considering his first time on Masters where he made pasta in a dorm shower. Gross! He was so loveable, though, and his food seemed very delightful. I will definitely be visiting his restaurant next time I'm up in SF. I was cheering for Rick the entire time, though, and was so happy he won!

Rachel said...

BTW -- I missed your National Geographic comment on my first read. Hilarious! I was just talking to a friend last night about it, and how old it made me feel to be grossed out by multiple lip piercings on a chef or major ear spacers. This coming from a bio major who used to have her tongue pierced.

Abdie D'Angelo said...

Thanks Chef!

Is Catanese a wholesaler only, or can a local bum like me get some fish there?

Andie D'Angelo said...

Speaking of Top Chef, did you watch Top Chef Masters? It amazes me that Art Smith got as far as he did...c'mon...raw meat wrapped around an overcooked he kidding????

Michael Walsh said...

I'm pretty sure Catanese has a storefront open to the public, I've not been but i'm sure if you give them a call you can pick something up in any case.

Art Smith, he yucked it up, spoke loud and out of turn, and said assinine things....perfect for reality TV.

Michael Walsh said...


I've got Michael Voltaggio as a wild card. I didn't realize his brother was also competing. Things always get hairy when contestants have relationships, and they find a way to sneak them in every year.

I will say this about the Masters in didn't see many tats, peircing, or skin deformations there! I was rather impressed with all those chefs cooking since they most likely are not doing much actual cooking these days.

I'll take that wager. Me-Jenn, You-mike V.

Rachel said...

Hang on -- I think I got the two brothers mixed up. I'm watching the intro and I totally meant Bryan V. I actually think he's the one who originally opened Bazaar here in LA. You know how much I heart that place!

Michael Walsh said...

I'm so sure about Jenn, I'll give you either of the brothers in the wager! The one talks too much anyhow.

Rachel said... more importantly, let's figure out the nicknames of all the other contestants that we haven't chosen. Clearly we have "Pierced-face" and "Red Beard" "Blonde Mouse" and "Zorro." We need a really good one for the obnoxiously-loud big-headed Vegas guy. Oh and we should distinguish between Red Beard and Ginger Queen (the other red-haired guy queeny guy.) I can't keep track of their real names this early on!

Michael Walsh said...

Nicknames! Brilliant! "say it like a guiness commercial"

First off go here to bring up the bios and all the rest will make sense...or not.

Ron ‘two tongues’ Duprat

Robin ‘golden chip’ Leventhal Skipped trough the first episode due to lucky chip

Preeti ‘pretty’ Mistry

Michael ‘the don’ Voltaggio mostly based on bio pic

Michael ‘no face’ Isabella because after two shows I don’t recognize him at all

Mattin the frog

Laurine ‘Minnie Mouse’ Wickett

Kevin aka Red Beard

Jesse ‘Betty Boop’ Sandlin

Jennifer ‘keep your bags backed’ Zavala

Jennifer ‘Golden Child’ Carroll

Hector ‘the exterminator’ Santiago maybe that’s his Mexican wrestling name?

Eve ‘I cook but don’t eat’ Aronoff Should be offered any leftovers after tasting

Eli ‘the succesor’ Kirshtein worked under Richard Blais

Bryan ‘the smart brother’ Voltaggio

Ashley ‘AC/DC’ Merriman What a confused little guy…oh, I mean girl. ops

Ash ‘the hunk’ Fulk The first cool gay guy gets stuck with a bunch of wimpy lesbians, maybe he can also be Ash ‘loneliest man’ Fulk

Toby ‘I’m too sexy for this show’ Young

Tom ‘the chefffffff’ Colicchio

Padma ‘nothing but a pretty face’ Lakshmi

Gail ‘the brains’ Simmons

Take a few minutes and hit me with your best shot. It's more fun than I expected.