Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Top Chef 4.10: the vote for Blais edition

Wherein today's email contained this request: Hello Everyone!

The time has come for the FAN FAVORITE vote on Top Chef. Voting starts at 9pm TOMORROW (Weds.). You can vote (for BLAIS) up to 40 times per week on the bravo website until May 27th. ( ). Remember to vote for your favorite Cheftestant (hopefully Blais!) early and often!

Forward this message along to anyone who is a fan!

There is more detailed information below if you are interested. Thanks for the support!


Rather than write 10,000 words like last week, I'll probably just put up my charts. Though, rewatching last week's episode, I gotta say one of the funniest things I've seen on TV this year is the bug-eyed look of frustration Dale gives as his team is freaking out over mayonnaise. That's a moment 30 Rock or The Office would be proud of.

Ok, show is over and Andrew should not be going home. Not fair at all. Looking at the numbers, this was only Andrew's third finish in the bottom group. As opposed to Lisa and Spike who have 9 bottom group finishes; with Lisa in the bottom group for 7 consecutive challenges.

Spike and Lisa are at Nikki levels of ineptitude and their continued dishonorable play is unpleasant to watch. Final four should now be written in stone: Richard, Dale, Antonia, Stephanie. Spike or Lisa making the finals wouldn't be an upset, it would be a Hindenburg sized disaster.

Chart 1:

Chart 2:

  1. Richard 6
  2. Dale -2
  3. Antonia -4
  4. Stephanie -6
  5. Andrew -8
  6. Lisa -18
  7. Nikki -18
  8. Spike -22

A big problem I have with the show is that in order to create viewing drama, they hide a lot of what goes into the judges decisions. And since the judges are able to create any excuse they want to get rid of someone, it doesn't do me/us/viewers any favors in trying to discern who are the better cooks. I forget who was who went, but Dale said "She scared me she was so good." Really? Because we never saw that.

What we've seen of Andrew is a quirky combativeness centered on preparing quality food. He wasn't always successful, but he never stopped working, proved to be an able teammate and for the most part received criticism gracefully. I think his argument last night was that after being challenged to create a healthy box lunch, the judges then altered the requirements to meet their preconceived notions of what would be filling for Chicago policeman -- falling into their own trap of dumbing down the food. Based on his past success, Andrew should have gotten a little credit for more faithfully following the original requirements even if his food didn't taste that good. His small portions made more sense than what looked like Stephanie serving half a gallon of soup per person. I bet that was more filling than a tiny sushi roll.

What we've seen of Spike's cooking is one soul satisfying taco, two bowls of soup, and a salad. What we've seen of his noncooking side is a general laziness and contempt as he excuses his dumbed-down food as being for the masses. Add in lack of skill and imagination in cutting up sausages and cheese for a "charcuterie plate" and a crappy chicken salad. More interested in playing the game of "Top Chef" than being top chef, he was previously called out by the judges for not pulling his wait and they again dinged him for lack of effort. Screwing up a chicken salad when your choices deny those ingredients to your competitors should've been much worse than Andrew's misstep.

With seven consecutive bottom group finishes, other than the cake, I can't remember the last thing Lisa did that was successful. Her calling out Andrew looked like an act of tired desperation.

Has the show done anything to portray her in a nonnegative light? Andrew gets the twitchy edit, Dale gets the asshole edit, Spike is the closest to a villain edit, and Lisa is just complaining and making excuses.

In basic skills and ability to work with others, losing Andrew is a bit of a blow. Assigning Richard and Dale automatic bids, it would have been a close battle between Andrew, Antonia, and Stephanie for the final two slots.

My personal rankings have Richard at the top and I'm back to having Stephanie and Dale in a dead heat for second. If they had restaurants next to each other, I'd probably walk into Stephanie's first; ask me again tomorrow and my answer might change. Antonia defaults to fourth as I'm still not a believer and I no longer think Lisa can compete.


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