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Live-Blogging Top Chef Season 4 Premiere March 12, 2008

Posted by Amy in Top Chef, TV.
Tags: , , , , , ,

9:59 – Top Chef is going to Chicago! 16 chefs…jeez, that’s a lot. Did they just say 24 challenges? Good God. Padma, Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons & Ted Allen are all back.

10:00 – We see a bunch of chefs arrive in Chicago & hear them say their names, which I immediately forget, & they talk about themselves a little. Sorry, guys, I traditionally don’t care about the contestant’s stories until at least the top 10. Let’s be real. You’ll be lucky if I pick up a name before episode 5. If you want names, go here.

10:04 – The chefs go to Uno! OMG awesome. I looooove Uno! We see a lot of close-ups of deep dish pizzas. I am starting to get hungry.

10:05 – Two female chefs, Zoi & Jen, whose names I miraculously manage to catch, decide to make an announcement. They’re a couple. Everyone tries to act casual & completely not shocked. Bravo spends a good couple of minutes on everyone’s reactions so we’re clearly supposed to be shocked, but I don’t really understand why. I am completely uninterested.

10:07 – Padma & Tom come in & immediately announce the first Quickfire. Everyone grabs coats & go into the Top Chef Kitchen. Padma expositions that everyone was instructed to bring $200 of ingredients they can’t live without. Their challenge is to create their own deep dish pizza. Mmmmm…

10:09 – And go! Cooking frenzy. Everyone rushes around & we hear more introductions that I’m not recap because, again, I don’t care.

10:10 – We see an overhead shot & good God, there are a lot of chefs. Couldn’t they eliminate like six of them right here & now & save us all a lot of time?

10:15 – It’s that awesome Bud Light Cheese Run commercial from the SuperBowl. Oh, LOL. “That will go perfect with this baguette.”

10:17 – Back from commercials, the chefs pull up to the guest judge’s house in their product placement cars. It’s Rocco DiSpirito. One of the chefs makes the required statement that Rocco is a rock star. Inside, the chefs serve their pizzas. There are 16 of them, which means I will not be describing them.

10:20 – Rocco says that most of the dishes were very nice. He calls a bunch of names & those chefs stand to the side. They are his least favorites. He makes some comments, but doesn’t declare a winner. Padma says that these results will play into tomorrow’s Elimination Challenge. Then she tells them that they aren’t in Rocco’s house after all…it’s their home for the competition. Everyone is pleased.

10:25 – The next day, the chefs arrive in the kitchen, where Padma is waiting by a chalkboard. Padma tells the winning chefs from the Quickfire to draw knives. The winning chefs have to choose a losing chef to go against head-to-head. The winning chef gets to choose the dish they will pick off the chalkboard, which has a list of classic dishes, which include shrimp scampi, eggs benedict & soufflé. Everyone is afraid of soufflé.

10:31 – Back from commercial, the chef scramble around Whole Foods, which appears to be the high-paying sponsor this season, for ingredients. Some of them are choosing weird stuff…avant garde, as one chef says. Wrong show, dude.

10:33 – Everyone is stressed out because reality has set in that someone is going home. Um, it’s just now setting in? Cause you are on a reality show…just saying.

10:35 – This challenge is only 90 minutes & yet some of the chefs are “making their own pasta” & “making their own stock.” Oh, red flag.

10:37 – One of the chefs making crab cakes thought there was mayonnaise in the kitchen when there, you know, isn’t. He asks his head-to-head competitor if he knows where it is & the dude says there isn’t any. Then he immediately grabs the mayo he bought from the store himself. Sneaky. The other guy (I can’t WAIT to know these people’s names) decides to make his own mayo, which is another red flag.

10:39 – One of the chefs making shrimp scampi tries part of her dish & decides it’s fine. This, of course, means her dish is horrible. Otherwise, why bother telling us it’s fine, right?

10:40 – Here come the judges…utensils down! Commercials. Coming up, a lot of bad food.

10:43 – Bravo commercial advertising blogs “from all of your favorites, including Tom Colicchio.” Oh, Bravo. What could possibly make you think that Tom Colicchio is one of our favorites?

10:44 – Back from commercials, the judges including Tom, Padma, Rocco & Anthony Bourdain are introduced. First up is the duck a l’orange group, Stephanie vs Mark. Both chefs went a little Asian. The judges seem impressed by Stephanie’s dish. Rocco & Anthony complain about the construction of Mark’s dish. Stephanie wins the dish & Mark is eligible for elimination.

10:46 – Next up, crab cakes. Richard vs Andrew, who made his own mayo. The judges thought both dishes are strong, but Andrew is the loser.

10:48 – Next is lasagna, Jennifer vs Nikki. The judges like Jennifer’s a lot. Nikki made her own pasta, which gets her kudos. Jennifer’s rutabaga wasn’t cooked enough. Both dishes are strong, but Nikki wins. Since the judges actually like Jennifer’s though, we know she won’t be eliminated even though she’s eligible.

10:50 – Shrimp scampi. Nimma vs Antonia. The judges predictably don’t like the saltiness of Nimma’s dish. Rocco says he would have sent it back. Antonia wins.

10:51 – Spike vs Lisa, eggs benedict. Both dishes are good. Anthony asks which would have been the better hangover dish. The judges go with Lisa for her slightly better poached egg.

10:52 – Dale vs Manuel, steak au poivre. What? This is a classic dish? Then how come I don’t even know what it is? Manuel takes a Mexican twist on the dish, which Tom finds a little greasy. The judges take Dale.

10:53 – Ryan vs Valerie, chicken piccata. Valerie goes more traditional, but the judges don’t like either dish. Rocco complains that neither one actually did piccata. The judges reluctantly pick Valerie. Ryan overestimates how much everyone will ridicule him when he gets eliminated. Oh Ryan, we’re in Episode 1. No one will even remember that you were on this show. Don’t worry so much.

10:54 – Erik vs Zoi, soufflé. Zoi goes more sweet. Both chefs admit it’s been a long time since they’ve made soufflé. Neither dish was really a successful soufflé, but they liked Zoi’s dish better because of the rice & coffee. Erik is fearful of losing, but let’s be real, Erik, the judges didn’t actually have a strong enough opinion of yours to eliminate you.

10:55 – Can I just say? Step It Up & Dance looks terrrrrrible. And Elizabeth Berkley? WTF? So what did she do after Saved By the Bell? Showgirls, followed by like 20 years of obscurity & Bravo decides to call her up to host a bad reality show? I guess that makes sense.

10:57 – Judging. Antonia, Nikki, Richard & Stephanie come in. They are the favorites. Much praise is thrown about. Rocco announces the winner…Stephanie’s duck. Okay. Probably I’ll care about that in 4-6 weeks.

11:00 – Stephanie sends out Ryan, Erik, Nimma & Mark. They are the least favorites. The judges all look very solemn. They begin by questioning Erik’s soufflé. Rocco asks why he didn’t use egg whites to make the soufflé rise. Erik admits that he made glorified nachos. Anthony seems amused by that. Nimma attempts to defend her shrimp scampi. The judges are clearly offended by the saltiness of the shrimp & the flan. Anthony says that Mark’s duck was “silly & pretentious.” Really, Anthony? Pretentious? The judges question why he cut off the fat of the duck, which is, obviously, the best part. Ryan over-explains & tries to defend the starchiness of his piccata. Tom gives him the Heisman & says that the breadcrumbs were way too thick. He is disappointed that the chefs clearly didn’t know the classics.

11:08 – Judging. Tom is angry that Ryan didn’t know what a piccata was, that Nimma’s shrimp was over-salted, that Erik’s nachos/soufflé were messy & that you couldn’t even tell Mark’s duck was supposed to be the classic dish. It’s a tough decision.

11:12 – Text vote. Do what’s her face & what’s her face have an advantage cause they’re a couple? Man, who CARES? Is this really a bigger drama that I’m giving it credit for?

11:13 – Tom gives his self-esteem-destroying speech, but to his credit, he tries to tame it for the first episode. Dramatic moment of suspense…Nimma, please pack your knives & go. Good. This may be the first episode, but I’ve managed to dislike her already.

11:15 – Ahead this season on Top Chef, mediocre food! Zoo visits! Drama! Loud noises! Awesometown.


1. Top Chef Chicago — Uno v Uno | Ocean Guy - March 13, 2008

[…] Others commenting: Strawgrasping […]

2. Live-Blogging Top Chef 4.5 « strawgrasping - April 9, 2008

[…] 10:08 – Padma introduces the Elimination Challenge, which will be cooking first courses for a Meals on Wheels high-end event, which is themed in elements—Earth, Water, Air & Fire.  They’re working in four teams.  I know it’s easier to do team challenges while the group is still this big, but it’s getting old.  Wait, I know how to solve that problem!  How about not starting with 16 chefs? […]

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