Let me just start out by saying that there is no new recipe today, and if you're not a fan of Top Chef, this post won't be of much interest to you. You also might not want to read ahead if you missed the season premiere and don't want to be spoiled. With that much said...
Nathan and I have decided that we aren't going to do a blog feature for the new season of Top Chef. I liked making our Master Meals, but to be perfectly honest, we often found it difficult to find many recipes from the cheftestants, and I think the small selection left us with some less than fabulous dinners. I definitely think that our overall success rate with the Master Meals was lower than for the regular dinners we make. Moving forward, we're going to cook whatever strikes our collective fancy. If that relates to Top Chef, cool, we'll make a note of it, but we're certainly not going to make a point of it.
We did however, decide to make a little friendly competition of the new season. Based solely on the opening sequences, pre Quickfire, Nathan, Pete and I each placed our bets one cheftestant to win. The loser has to buy dinner, and the cost of the dinner is proportional to how well the winner's chef does compared to how poorly the loser's chef performs.
Initially, we were going to pick immediately after the credits rolled, but they went by in a blur of names and faces, so we decided to let the competitors introduce themselves and that we'd choose right before the first challenge began. I first wanted to go with Angelo based on the opening, because he reminded me of season five's Fabio, the most likable little Italian man. Then he opened his mouth and reminded me instead of that jerk from Flipping Out. Part of me is glad I don't have cable at my apartment because that means I can't get bored and watch the crap that makes up the rest of Bravo's lineup. Anyway, since I very quickly went from thinking Angelo was cute to thinking he was repulsive and cocky, I switched to Kelly from Colorado. This was probably a mistake, because Angelo ended up edging out Kenny for both the Quickfire and Elimination challenge wins. Winning the first challenge almost always guarantees you a spot in the finals. Season three's Tre was controversially axed after a Restaurant Wars redo, but Kevin came in third, Stephan came in second, and Stephanie, Ilan and Harold all took home the title. If I had stuck with Angelo, I probably could have ridden his coattails to a very nice dinner indeed.
That being said, I did better than Nathan at the very least. Kelly's dish garnered compliments from the judges during the show, and Gail Simmons called it "another standout, even if she was not the strongest in her group," on her blog. Pete's pick, 51 year old culinary instructor Lynne, skated through without much notice, but Boyfriend's horse, John of the scary dreadlocks, struggled the whole episode through. I knew he was in trouble the moment he pulled something out of the freezer in Whole Foods and announced he had never used it before. Frozen, pre-made AND you've never used it before? Three strikes you're out, John. On top of that, he foolishly attempted a dessert, the usual kiss of Top Chef death. Needless to say, he went home, even over fake Kate Hudson's grainy chicken liver mousse. Sorry Nathan... now where do you want to take us to dinner?