It's Thursday, so it must be time to discuss Top Chef. I actually get excited when I realize it's Wednesday and I get to watch it. Then on Thursday, I surf all over reading what everyone has to say about the episode.
Bravo will show the episode practically daily, so there are plenty of opportunities for you to catch up. It was interesting to see Donatella venturing over from the Food Network as guest judge. She always seems like she really knows what she's talking about. The quickfire challenge was to create their own hot dog. The elimination challenge was to operate a restaurant with five appetizers, five entrees, and five desserts. One each for the 15 remaining chefs. The bottom two ended up being Ariane for the second week and Jill. With it being Ariane's second time in two episodes on the bottom, you'd think that she'd be eliminated. I wasn't surprised, however, when it was Jill.
I had two reasons for thinking Jill would be the one to go. One, they pretty much hated her dish, but they also hated Ariane's. The second was that she did very badly in the quickfire. Since Donatella was the guest judge for both and Padma always judges at both challenges, I could see how that could influence their final decision. Hosea, who was the third one on the bottom, did very well in the quickfire.
But in reading the blogs today, in particular Tom Colicchio's blog, I read what was probably one of the major factors in the decision. Tom wrote an extended piece explaining New American cuisine. The challenge last night was to prepare dishes in this style. While neither Ariane's nor Jill's dishes were successful, they felt that Ariane's followed the New American guidelines more than Jill's. I can buy that.
That being said, I don't think Ariane is long for the show. Not unless she can pull it together. I'm sure she's an excellent chef, but she seems to lack self-confidence. She was one hot mess at the end of this week's episode, and this is only week two! What's she going to be like another few weeks down the road when the stress and sleep deprivation really kick in?
But what, you ask, about the winner? Fabio did a very well received dish of carpaccio. The key to this dish is buying fresh high quality ingredients. Carpaccio is thinly sliced raw beef. He served it with an aged Parmagiana and an aged balsamic vinegar. I think it was the spherical olives that won it for him because the rest was a matter of slicing and plating. I'm sure it was delicious, but I was left underwhelmed.