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Live-Blogging Top Chef 4.3 March 26, 2008

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

9:59 – Previously on Top Chef, Amy didn’t have time to live-blog. Sorry about that. See HERE to see what we missed. Also previously on Top Chef, there was a lesbian couple that Bravo really wants us to think is important when really, no one cares. However, since they’re showing it in the Previouslys, clearly one of them is on the chopping block tonight. Also, someone named Valerie was eliminated. Yawn.

10:00 – Padma’s product placement intro.

10:01 – The chefs talk about “the reality” of losing another contestant. Again, these people know they are on a reality show, right? It’s called “Top Chef,” perhaps you’ve heard of it? Guys, someone’s getting eliminated EVERY week. You better start getting used to it.

10:01 – Also, we see Zoi & Jennifer in bed together & the focus on it really just indicates that one of them is doomed.

10:02 – Quickfire time. The chefs go into the kitchen & see a lot of vegetables and guest judge Rick Bayless, who is an expert in Mexican cuisine. Rick is wearing an unflattering purple shirt. Padma tells them for the challenge, they have to re-invent the taco. Everyone looks uncomfortable. Erik of the Nacho Souffle interviews that tacos + fine dining = confusing. Padma barrels on & tells them their 30 minutes start now.

10:03 – Product placement cooking frenzy. Manuel the token Hispanic talks about doing something different to make tacos high-end. I also think it’s interesting because oftentimes the chefs who should do well in particular challenges bomb (e.g. Tre’s barbeque in Season 3). Manuel is either going do awesome or totally humiliate himself.

10:04 – Spike interviews that he is going the traditional route with ground meat. He says he doesn’t want to “fake it,” but what he really means is he doesn’t want to “think outside the box.” Or he doesn’t want to “win.”

10:05 – Mark of the Interesting Accent says that he’s seeing a lot of street food, which is odd since the challenge was fine dining. Good point, yo.

10:06 – Tasting. Manuel seems to do okay. Rick can’t bite off Lisa’s steak, which is bad. At the end, Rick points out pretty much what Mark pointed out, there was too much street food when that wasn’t the challenge. The least-favorites were Erik, whose plate was a trainwreck, Lisa’s bad steak & Ryan, who had a random piece of paper. The best were Andrew’s nice presentation, Richard’s simple dish & Spike’s soul-satisfying flavor. Long shot of Manuel looking stunned. Richard wins. Rick says Richard’s dish is going on the menu in his restaurant. Richard also has immunity.

10:10 – Padma tells them to divide themselves up into two teams & jump into their product placement vehicles to go to the Elimination Challenge. In the Highlanders, which are generously shot, from many angles, the teams talk to each other via product placement phones. They wonder where they are going. Dramatic music tells us they won’t like it.

10:16 – The cars stop in a random neighborhood & Padma tells them the neighborhood is having their annual block party. It’s their MealsTogether.com Block Party Challenge! Also? They have to go door-to-door to get their ingredients from random people’s groceries. Everyone looks appalled.

10:18 – We see the chefs go door-to-door & they’re really lucky that the cameras go with them. The neighbors seems pretty friendly, actually. We see Nikki & another chef digging around in some woman’s fridge while she looks on helplessly. One team tells another team that a house has been cleaned out when there was actually some stuff left. They giggle at their sabotage, which I find…sad, really. Y’all need to work on your sabotage.

10:21 – Back in the kitchen, food frenzy begins. Blue Team’s menu includes paella, inside-out cookie & a “sexy drink.” Sounds…interesting. Richard talks about his paella being risky cause it’s cooking for Padma, Tom, etc instead of the block party.

10:23 – Red Team’s menu include sliders, corn dogs, sangria, taco salad & smores. Zoi complains about making pasta salad, which is not going to win her Top Chef.

10:24 – Tom is here for consultations. He asks Blue Team what exactly a “sexy drink” is. Apparently it involves lavender. The teams talk about how awesomely they work together & are willing to criticize each other, etc. Nikki is worried about her mac ‘n cheese sitting around so long. Ewww. The teams move out with their coolers.

10:30 – Block party! Product placement paper plates! Good God, they’ve really ramped up the product placement this year. The teams prepare. Erik’s corn dogs are soggy, but not so soggy they don’t want to serve them. Red flag! Nikki’s mac ‘n cheese has totally dried out. The team tries to resusitate it, but mostly they’re just rolling with it. Another red flag!

10:33 – The judges arrive, Rick Bayliss, Tom C & Ted Allen. The teams begin serving. Andrew gives a kid a burger & tells him it’s full of awesomeness. That comment is full of awesomeness.

10:35 – The judges make the rounds & Padma drops her smore on Ted’s shoe. Heh.

10:38 – The Red Team looks ecstatic with how their day’s gone & are playing with the kids at the party. The Blue Team begins having doubts about how they did. The Red Team talks about how they had the whole package, including entertainment. Funny, I didn’t know entertainment was part of the competition.

10:43 – In the backroom, the chefs all look relatively pleased with themselves. Padma comes in & asks for the Blue Team first. The Red Team are nervous & start to bluster, but because both Zoi & Jennifer are on Red Team, I think they lose.

10:44 – Nikki claims responsibility for the “lovely” mac ‘n cheese. Why would you EVER call something “lovely” on this show? Let alone something you knew wasn’t very good. The judges like the bean dish and the drink. Padma announces that the Blue Team are in fact the winners. Apparently the drink and the wonton put them over the top. Stephanie wins her second challenge. Tom, seeing that someone on the show might be feeling too good about themselves, tells them it really wasn’t that good & they expected better. Touche.

10:47 – The Red Team is told that they lost & is not happy about it. Out at the judge’s table, the Red Team expresses their collective surprise that they didn’t, in fact, kick the Blue Team’s ass. Erik tries to defend his soggy corn dogs, which I don’t understand since he already knew that they were soggy & that might be a problem. Ted questions the salad & Ryan goes into over-defend mode. Rick thought there was too much chicken & it got soggy. The team tries to say that they cooked for the neighborhood. Ted rejects them out to the half court, saying the judges do know if they’re cooking to their ability. The Red Team just can’t understand how they could be the losers. They tasted everything & thought everything was good. Tom C asks if they tasted Zoi’s salad & if they did & thought it was good, then they all have bad palates. Erik points out that Zoi got stuck with the salad. Andrew angrily tells the judges that if he gets eliminated, he’d have to get dragged out by security guards. It’s “his house.” What does that EVEN MEAN??

10:49 – Judging. The judges didn’t get the argument that the team was cooking for the neighborhood. Ted thought that argument is condescending to the neighborhood. Ryan’s salad, Erik’s corn dogs & Zoi’s pasta salad were all terrible. Tom C doesn’t get why no one pointed out the steam was going to ruin the corn dogs. Ted is unsympathetic that Zoi didn’t get to make what she wanted. It totally looks like Zoi is going home, y’all.

10:57 – Back at the judge’s table, Tom C makes his self-esteem destroying speech of death & despair. Padma…sends Erik packing. Well. That’s probably more fair than sending Zoi home. I don’t know what happened last week, but Erik’s made two bad dishes. Erik packs his knives in dramatic lighting & heads on out their big doors of irrelevancy.

10:59 – Next time on Top Chef, nobody likes anything anyone makes. And I continue to try to care about the contestants.


1. Amanda Gravel - March 26, 2008

Your live blogs are so great. You should talk to Brian Stelter at NYT’s TV Decoder blog. I love Top Chef but missed it tonight. Thanks for a great post, Amy!

2. curious - March 27, 2008

I know you didn’t miss it, but looking back, a key moment came when Erik gets low-rated in the quickfire and interviews that he didn’t think tacos and fine dining go together “so he can go screw himself.” Yikes! There’s a red flag, too.

The whole tone of this show was an upstart group of contestants seemingly trying to take over. Erik cusses out the quickfire judge, the whole red team is out there getting angry with the judges, and then Random-Boy tells Tom C that this is HIS HOUSE and there’s nothing they can do to make him leave ’cause he won’t go???

It’s an interesting shift. Last year the contestants raced to see who could throw teammates under the bus. This year the contestants are trying to throw the *judges* under the bus. (An interesting approach, and maybe the producers are going to keep the mutineers on the island for the sake of drama. But I’m guessing the judges aren’t going to let that last for very much longer.)

Great blog!

3. Amy - March 28, 2008

You’re right, I thought the way the Red Team took this fiercely loyal team approach was very interesting. I don’t think we’ve seen anything quite like it on either Top Chef or something like Project Runway before. In team challenges, there’s always groups like hate each other & spend all their time talking about how they hate each other, but the Red Team instead seemed to actually decide to have fun with each other instead. It’s definitely an odd reality show dynamic.

Thanks for the comments.

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