Top Chef 10/28 Natalie Portman (spoilers)

I really didn’t like the vegetarian switch at the last minute. I’d be fine with a Vegetarian/vegan challenge if the chefs had some time to plan for it, but at the last minute it doesn’t make for compelling drama or good dishes, Natalie Portman’s presence notwithstanding.

The elimination was perfectly acceptable, especially with Mike’s overwhelming ego regarding his own skills. I don’t like Robin, but tonight I was glad she outlasted Mike.

None of the top dishes really appealed to me, and that always makes for a bad show IMO.

Jen is undergoing a slow motion panic attack after starting so strongly. I’d rather she have a massive meltdown than giggle away her poor performances. One more of these and she’s gone. Colicchio really called her on it.

I can’t believe I am going to comment on a judges attire, but WTF was Gail wearing and how much weight has she gained in the last six months? I swear that green dress was worn by one of the munchkins who was hiding in the foliage in the first color scene in the Wizard of Oz.

The double entendre’s at the tasting table were pretty risque even for cable TV. Good to see that Ms. Portman has a sense of humor. I laughed like a 14 year old.

I wish they’d made it a bit more clear why Mike’s dish was worse than Robin’s. Usually, if two dishes are equally bad they tend to go by historical performance, in which case she was WAY worse than him.

But overall a fairly meh episode.
Oh, and the quickfire was TERRIBLE, in that the level of connection between their dishes and the TV shows was pretty much zero.

One thing I’ve always wondered, do the contestants do one quickfire and one elimination challenge every day? If so, the whole season is basically filmed over about 2 weeks.

Oh Schadenfreude, how wonderful you are.

It seemed that in Robins dish, nothing was really bad, it just didn’t work together. In Mike’s, the leeks were bad, and it didn’t have anything else redeeming about it.

Usually the elimination challenge is the next day. Or the elimination has prep on one day and then the challenge on the next.

Also, Kevin is matching the record for elimination wins right now (not counting Stephanie’s Finale win). And with 3 eliminations left, he’s got a good chance of breaking it.

It was definitely nice to see Mike I go (I think they kind of foreshadowed it when he confidently predicted that “I’ll get by. I always do.” I’m kind of surprised they wre just now noticing his arrogance, though.

Poor Jennifer needs to pull herself back into this. We know she has the talent, but her confidence level is sinking by the minute, and her self-flagellation is brutal. She can’t afford one more bad day, and I think she knows it. She’s her own worst enemy at this point. If she doesn’t get a hold of herself, she’s going to spin right out.

Are we starting to see a tiny bit of separation of Kevin from the field? He always seems to stay rock steady.

How about Mike I still trashing Robin on the way out? Classy to the end, that guy.

Also, leeks are not a protein, dude.

That was the worst bunch of vegetarian food - ever. Tom blogged that the chefs were allowed to use dairy. So, no dairy, no grains (except for a little polenta), very few beans (a few lentils and a couple garbanzos?), no pasta, blah blah blah. I thought someone would do a yummy ravioli or something, I didn’t want to eat any of that. Maybe Kevin’s.

IIRC Natalie Portman is gluten intolerant (celiac disease).

…which would explain the lack of pasta.

I don’t know that you are right or wrong about this, but if she does have celiac disease why wouldn’t they mention it?

“Hi, not only am I a vegetarian but I also have celiac disease and can’t eat any gluten.”

Wouldn’t that add to the drama for the viewers? Or have they gotten to a point where they don’t want to be viewed as throwng too many curveballs at the chefs in the elimination challenges?

Having said this I do agree it was odd none of the chefs used grains or pasta. If that was the reason why not tell us?

Yeah, as a vegetarian i was pretty underwhelmed by the offerings, even the winners. I’m sure they tasted OK, but even accounting for the fact that they have to make relatively small dishes for judges who are eating 7 courses, almost none of those dishes seemed like it would make a satisfying, filling main course. Kevin’s was basically the only exception; at least it appeared reasonably substantial.

By the way, i must have missed something. Did anyone catch exactly what it was that Brian failed to get onto his plate? Clearly it was something fried, but i don’t recall them mentioning it during the show.

Also, while Mike the Dick went home tonight, there’s still another Mike the Dick left on the show. Michael Voltaggio might be an excellent chef, but he’s also a world-class fucking tool. His comments about Kevin’s winning dish were completely asinine, and the way he treats his brother is ridiculous.

Top Chef got pretty raunchy! “A little prick on my tongue”?

Too funny.

I agree that Mike V looked like a complete ass with his comment on Kevin’s dish, yeah I bet you could have whipped that up in ten minutes douche. I’m glad the other Mike lost, he made Robin look almost likable in this episode which is quite a feat.

Poor Jennifer is going into full meltdown mode, she is a complete wreck right now. I hope she can calm down so that she and Kevin can make it to the final.

What a surprise right? I mean they have a guest Hollywood starlet, and get this . . . she’s a vegetarian! Who would have guessed? I mean Top Chef has never had on a vegetarian Hollywood starlet before, right? And they have to cook her vegetarian meal in a steakhouse, har, har, har.

As soon as I saw the teaser, with Portman and the voiceover saying she has special dietary needs I knew it was going to be a vegetarian or vegan challenge, and I knew it was going to be boring. I want flesh you philistines!

For once I’d like a real guest star curveball. Maybe have on Ted Nugent and make the meal all wild game, no carbs or veggies. Or have on someone weird like Crispin Glover who will only eat food that is yellow and orange. But the “surprise” vegetarian thing is worn old hat, especially if it is in a steakhouse where the chefs have limited resources to make a truly great vegetarian meal. Portman’s personality was the only saving grace in another stinker episode.

It looked like a tempura dumpling to me, but I’m not sure from the brothers’ conversation whether or not he failed to plate it in time or if he chose not plate it because it didn’t work.

Per Tom’s blog, the resources weren’t intended to be limited:

“We ran a truck in from the Santa Monica Green Market the night before filled with just the most incredible stuff. I was itching to get at some of it myself. I personally love walking through the Green Market in Union Square and seeing what the farmers are offering that day — it’s the produce that so often is the inspiration for my dishes, not the meat… With this challenge we were giving the chefs the opportunity to be inspired as I so often am, by having brought the green market right to them. I just wish the chefs had allowed themselves to get really excited by what they found in the walk-in, despite having to do a 180-degree turn at 90 MPH.”

I got the impression he ran out of time, but after the fact he realized leaving it off may have been a blessing in disquise.

I wish they would ask the winners what they though was wrong with their dish. The chefs might appreciate the feedback as to whether they right about what was wrong or were just needlessly worring.

That gets bigger in your mouth
Yeah, that always happens

I was really happy (again) for Kevin- I’m so rooting for him…but did he have a protein? I heard Kale, garlic, turnip? puree but it seemed strange that they didn’t call him on that, unless his “meaty” texture of the dish made up for it. His was the only one I thought looked at all appetizing and I agree, if there was a reason for no pastas or grain, would have been nice to know.

I bet it’s KILLING Mike that he went home before Robin, and I really hope Jen pulls back together, but I think she’ll have to fix her defeatist attitude to have any chance at all. Maybe she can be inspired by not going home before Robin.

His dish was loaded with morels, which are very high in protein.