Archive for the 'Top Chef' Category

Hot, Sweaty, and Delicious

Last night, with temps in the 90’s and a heat index well into the danger zone, my friend K., her friend M., and I headed to the Green City Market BBQ in Lincoln Park to pursue the offerings from some of Chicago’s best and well-loved chefs.

The BBQ is essentially a scaled-down version of some of the more heavily attended street food fairs around the city, and boasted offerings from roughly 100 Chicago restaurants, served out of booths that were, more often than not, manned by the headlining chefs themselves. To be sure, the BBQ is pretty much everything Taste of Chicago isn’t, and that’s a good thing. I’ll gladly take a swampy summer evening sippy classy wine and perusing dishes from Paul Kahan, Rick Bayless, and Paul Virant than fried fucking cheesecake on a stick topped with a chocolate-dipped turkey leg. Now, because I was so besieged with sweat and overwhelmed by all my options, I’m not going to give an entire rundown, but here are some highlights:

 First stop, wine tent. Here’s K., casually drinking her wine and being totally casual. We started out with some delightful Sauvignon blanc poured by a friendly man in a sweaty shirt. I kept coming back to him and dropping hints about how stingy every other wine booth was being with their pours and nonchalantly motioning with my empty wine glass. After about the second round of this, sweaty shirt caught on and began filling my glass with glugs, not dribbles.

Oh, then this happened:

 

 

 

 

 

(That’s Stephanie Izard, btw.)

 

 

Also, there was this:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, I was that close to Rick Bayless. He was right there alongside his staff, mingling with the hoi polloi and serving up insanely spicy salmon tacs. What a guy.

After that, there was alla this:

And finally, a baby who somehow made his way from the 1940’s:

Now, this wouldn’t be a proper Hungrypants post if there wasn’t at least one thing to bitch about, right? Well, here it is: the goddamn process for throwing out garbage. What should be a simple, one-step procedure (throwing out garbage), Green City Market staff somehow turned into a convoluted and nerve-wracking game of what I can only describe as reverse whack-a-mole. They had each trash disposal station manned by a volunteer wielding a paddle (like the kind you use for playing paddleball but without the ball and string), and three holes: one for compost, one for recycling, and one for “landfill”. I could never get it right. I would hover a hand over the recycling hole, tentatively, only to have the staff member sigh and sharply point to the LANDFILL hole with her paddle, clearly indicating that I was a moron for being unaware that compostable food cannot go into the compost hole, and recyclable plates and forks simply don’t belong in the recycling hole.

On and on this went, all night, staff whacking at our hands with their paddles whenever we approached the trash stations. It was confusing! Doesn’t it all wind up in a landfill? The anxiety of being faced with this sudden and remarkably vague pop quiz regarding my knowledge of the intricacies of trash disposal and sorting was too much for me, so whenever I saw an unguarded station I just threw my shit in the recycling bin. Let them sort it out on the other side, I said. Only God can judge me, I said.

Food-wise, a few trends I noticed were the extensive use of lamb and goat meat, a large number of booths serving tacos; handmade sausages, and a proliferation of sustainable, local, ingredients. Apparently last year it was nothing but pork belly.

I’d say my absolute favorite, standout item of the night was the “adult popsicle” from the Primehouse booth: think frozen, gingery bourbon popsicle in a plastic push-up sleeve, not unlike the Flav-or-ices of our youth. It was tangy, a little spicy, and exactly what you need on a hot-ass night. Upon asking the chef handing the popsicles out what the recipe and freezing process was for these little beauties, we were met with a wink and two words: “elf magic”. I almost believe it.

Thieves, all of you.

Yes, I’m looking at you, Padma. And you too, Tom. Wipe that smug smirk off your goddamn face. You found it appropriate to award Michael Voltaggio the honor of Top Chef. For the second year in a row, you guys have wrenched the possibility of celebrity chefdom from the most deserving contestant and granted this (somewhat dubious) honor to a complete and utter douchebag. I’m thisclose to boycotting the both a yas!

Needless to say, I was excruciatingly disappointed that cherubic Kevin (and his vunderbeard) was unceremoniously shuffled off to pack his knives and cry into his mother’s bosom. It seems to me that the whole point of having a season-length competition is to take into account each chef’s past successes and failures and judge the final dish based on, yes, the dish’s quality, but also whether or not the chef has been a strong contender the whole way through. HOWEVER. Kevin was consistent and strong in the kitchen, and won five elimination challenges and clearly was the darling of the fans. So how did weaselly little Voltaggio muscle his way in as the victor? I don’t remember a single dish Michael cooked over the entire season. Not one. And I can recall at least three of Kevin’s.

The final episode’s challenge was your average “cook what you want” rigamarole, with a few twists thrown in here and there in typical Top Chef fashion. For some reason the producers thought it might be cute and heartstring pull-y to bring the top three’s mothers on for the final challenge, but in reality it just made Bryan, Michael, and Kevin look like overgrown children as their mothers buttoned their chef coats, straightened their cuffs, and all but licked their fingers to wipe the shmutz off their sons’ faces. It was awkward, and it kinda felt like that episode of Real Housewives of the OC where Vicky shows up at her son’s college the day of a big football game and you can tell all the son wants to do is get shitfaced and bong beers in the kitchen but now he can’t because his mom crashed the party with a sixer of Raspberry Smirnoff Ices and wants him to hug her repeatedly. But I digress.

I’m beginning to think there’s some sort of pork belly curse on this show, as I recall a few seasons back when a more deserving chef cooked pork belly as his final dish, but lost out to someone else who had gone a safer route and made chicken or something. This season, the judges turned up their noses at Kevin’s pork belly; deeming it undercooked and poorly presented, and proclaimed that his mushroom side dish was “gimmicky.”  Michael’s dishes won out in the end, and I will admit that he knows his way around a kitchen. But something about him just gives me the heebie jeebies, and he gives off this weird air of being shy but a total dick at the same time. And you know Bryan’s Simpson character-lookin ass is just seething with envy that his baby brother won out and therefore probably got a bigger hug from mommy.

Congratulations, Voltaggio. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: use some of that $125k to fix your snaggly-ass teeth, then fade into obscurity like the rest of the Top Chef winners.

So! J., where should I take you for dinner?

Oh. Em. Gee.

I’ve been sitting here, writing and deleting and re-writing clever and witty opening sentences, trying to set the tone for this story I’m about to share. But I can’t really find the words to convey the strangeness of what happened to the FDL last night at Frontera Grill so just bear with me.

We’d had this reservation since the beginning of October. The wait to eat dinner at Frontera was two and a half months, and due to the craziness surrounding everyone’s Thanksgiving plans, we had to reschedule our 9th FDL outing for Thursday the 3rd instead of the traditional Tuesday dinner. We arrive, we get seated, we order our dishes. I’m sitting with my back to the door and I’m talking across the table to M., when she looks at something over my shoulder and says “Oh. My. God.” A. looks up and has the same reaction, as does J. They’re all staring over my shoulder at someone or someTHING behind me. I turn, ever so slowly, to catch a glimpse of whatever it was that had the whole table in such a tizzy. All I needed was a quick peek and I turn back around, stunned. It’s BRIAN CAMPBELL. AGAIN. Brian Campbell—the Chicago Blackhawks player we saw previously at Table 52—was once again an accidental guest of an FDL dinner. What are the odds! we kept asking each other, shaking our heads in disbelief. And truly, the odds of this happening twice are very very slim. We frantically sent exclamation point-laden texts to friends and significant others, filling them in on the Twilight Zone situation we had found ourselves in.

We thought about, once again, storming his table and asking for another picture, but he was in the company of a cute brunette so we satisfied ourselves by taking blurry camera photos instead. “Here, pretend you’re taking a picture of me and A.!” I said, handing my phone to J. A. and I leaned in, making sure to look nonchalant. “Ok, but I have to take a real picture first because his girl is hip to the game,” J. replied, leaning back and angling the camera towards their table. So, I give you doubtful readers proof that we did in fact, once again, dine in the company of one Brian Campbell:

Crazy, huh? I know. Anyway. Frontera was surprisingly laid back, but the food was outstanding. Flavorful and authentic without being overbearing, our dishes ran the gamut from traditional carne asada to Gulf shrimp tossed with a spicy green chimichurri sauce. We all agreed that M.’s dish was by far the best, and some of us even went so far as to declare Frontera the best outing yet.

In other news, I had the privilege of dining at Blackbird a few weeks ago, as a birthday present from my mom. They didn’t allow cell phones in the dining room (a rule which I found slightly unrealistic, affected, and kinda pretentious) so I couldn’t snap any good pictures, but I will say it was all very impressive. The service was finely tuned and unoppressive, and after finishing my three courses, I understood why the walls of the hallway leading the bathroom were plastered, floor to ceiling, with James Beard awards.

Oh yeah, and FUCKING ROBIN finally got the boot from Top Chef. The finale airs tomorrow, so keep your little fingies crossed that Kevin knocks it out of the park. I have faith in the power of that man’s incredible beard.

Ketchup

topchefmikeNo, I’m  not going on another rant about ketchup and hot dogs and discrimination against those who like ketchup on their hot dogs. I’m way, way behind on my Top Chef recaps, so I’m just gonna do the Cliffs notes version real quick so I stop feeling like such a slacker.

First of all. Ash, Laurine, and Mike Not the Twin have all gone home. Of all these, I think Laurine did indeed deserve to be sent packing only because she is a non-entity. She always managed to slip in just under the radar, making dishes that were barely two clicks above “meh” and mousing around with her mousy hair and mousy face, being just unmemorable in every way. She was, however,  the focus of attention during Restaurant Wars in last week’s episode, taking over the front of the house role. Little did she realize the difficulty that would lie in not only cooking a dish, but also being in charge of expediting the food and orchestrating the timing of the service, which in and of itself is almost as difficult as actually churning out food in the kitchen. Laurine failed miserably at this, neglecting to tell the chefs when to fire the dishes while somehow also leaving finished dishes sitting for far too long under the heat. The hungry judges waited about 15 minutes for their food, and you wouldn’t like Padma when she’s hungry. So, peace out Laurine. You are average.

There was one moment during the Restaurant Wars where I actually felt bad for Robin. She was charged with making the dessert for her team and at one point, Mike V. came in and started taking over her line, quite literally yanking the sauce bottle out of her hand and angrily saucing her pear tart all under the pretense of “getting the food out faster.” Robin, quite rightly, told Mike to fuck off. It was the one instance in the entire season when I actually sided with Robin.

Anyway. Surprisingly, the victor of Restaurant Wars was NOT the team with Kevin on it, but the team with Robin, the Twins, and Eli. They won in spite of their stupid fucking name, Revolt, thanks to Eli’s aggressive but thorough front of house expertise and finely tuned dishes.

Last night’s episode was really super awesome because famous actress and stoner Natalie Portman was the guest judge. She’s so stinkin cute. Anyway, the Quickfire was some throwaway bullshit about crafting a dish based on an iconic TV show. Mike I. claimed he had never seen Seinfeld, which was weird, and Kevin won. Again. The Elimination challenge started out being really exciting for the cheftestants, as they were led to believe they would be cooking in Tom Collichio’s restaurant, Craftsteak. There was much hilarious scrambling and planning and menu-preparation, everyone claiming they were gonna cook SO MUCH MEAT. Ha! Idiots.

The morning of the challenge, Tom smugly wandered into the kitchen and announced the guest judge. In walked Natalie Portman, who then promptly dashed the chefs’ hopes and dreams by informing them that she’s a vegetarian. Long story short, everyone’s dishes were essentially nothing more than side dishes, whereas KEVIN’S dish, a big steaming pile of braised mushrooms and kale, was substantial and meaty enough to win top honors. Is there anything Kevin can’t do? Seriously. He just keeps fucking WINNING and it’s AWESOME. It really doesn’t even matter that my Top Chef Fantasy team consists only of Robin and Kevin, because I have faith Kevo is gonna pull off some spectacular domination in the episodes to come. (Pretty sure Padma and Natalie sparked one up before the judge’s dinner because it was a nonstop gigglefest. Priceless. )

So yeah. Kevin wins, Mike I. goes home, so now we’re down to Kevin, Jen, Robin, Eli, and the brothers Volllltaaaaaggiooooo. I still think Robin needs to get sent home next time around, as nothing she makes ever gets praised as being anything more than just okay. She is the new Laurine.

Are you goddamn kidding me with this?

AshleyTopChefSo, Robin’s still alive and kickin. STILL. This woman is so inept, so glaringly annoying that even a bout with cancer can’t win her any sympathy from her fellow competitors, and is basically nothing more than the kid picked last for dodgeball. As you all probably are aware, Ashley was given the boot on last Wednesday’s Top Chef. (I know, I’m a little late. So sue me.)

Let’s dive right in. I know I was bitching earlier about how I’ve yet to see any talent out of these chefs, so let me just amend that statement by saying that as the show progresses, I am beginning to appreciate the skills these chefs possess, and I realize that as the wheat gets separated from the chaff, it becomes more and more apparent who the frontrunners are. Robin, for example, is full-on chaff. Ashley, who was forced to pack her sad little lesbian knives, was actually possessing of some remarkable kitchen competence. This weeks’ episode consisted of some extremely weird Quickfire involving a slot machine that provided each chef with three words, which is what their dish was to be based around. I know, right? Like what is that all about. Anyway, the chefs were randomly assigned such word combinations as “romantic, tart, Latin American” and other such nonsense. Kevin won the first challenge (YES!) and was given the chance to either take $15k or be awarded immunity and, because he rocks so hard and is so talented, Kevin did the smart thing and took the money. He knows his dishes are amazing.

Because Top Chef cannot go one episode without shamelessly plugging their tie-in sponsor of the week, the elimination challenge was all about managing an at-home dinner party to reflect the “tough economic times” and to bring awareness to the Macy’s Culinary Council. I’m too lazy to Google what exactly that’s all about but I’m sure it’s just super. The chefs are given bags by the various guest judges who are all chefs in some capacity, and instructed to create dishes with the ingredients in the bags. The catch? There’s always a catch, isn’t there? They must utilize the kitchen at the Top Chef house. Problematic for many reasons, the least of which being that there clearly is only ONE STOVE. Paired up in teams of two, the cheftestants scurry off and get down to bidness. I noticed, oddly, that there was a lot of discomfort about using Asian ingredients in the dishes, a sentiment presented first by Mike Not The Twin and echoed by several others throughout the evening. This makes not a whole lot of sense because of all the cuisines, Asian food is  fairly simple to create and infuse with flavors.

We see Mike Not the Twin getting irritated with Robin right off the bat as she babbles incoherently and burns the tuna. They wound up pulling off a successful dish, which paired seared tuna and scallops with pickled asian pears. So, Robin lives to annoy another day. Great.

Bryan and Laurine’s dish—halibut with avocado mousse and chorizo vinaigrette—was praised by the judges for its balanced flavors, and favored over Mike the Twin & Ash’s pancetta-wrapped halibut with egg yolk ravioli, which Tom panned as being mushy and overcooked.

Kevin and Jen knocked it out of the park with their barbequed kobe beef and cardamom/ginger infused broth, easily securing their team a spot in the top four alongside Laurine and Bryan.

Ashley and Eli. Oh sad, sad little team. Ashley I think really knows her stuff and is clearly passionate about creating dishes that are strong and accurately reflect her skills, which are plentiful. These two came up with a fairly simple but potentially delicious dish, involving prawns with gnocchi and kale. After worrying the whole episode about overcooking the prawns, Ashley STILL failed by undercooking them instead, and Eli oversalted the gnocchi, resulting in what Toby referred to as a “Monet” (Clueless flashback).

Jen won the whole shebang and was awarded with a $10k Macy’s gift card. Mike the Twin, reading quite high on the Cock-o-Meter, is pissy that his dish didn’t land in the top four, and Robin and Mike Not the Twin are right smack dab in the middle, much to MNTT’s chagrin. As you can probably guess, Ash, Mike,  Ashley and Eli were at the bottom. Something I’ve noticed about these team challenges is that it tends to really show contestants’ true moral fiber. There are those who are totally willing to throw their teammates under the bus if it means they get to cook another day, and then there are the Ashleys and the Ashes who recognize that they didn’t contribute as much as they could have, or didn’t speak up when they knew a dish was sub-par and probably shouldn’t be served.

Ash made some comment at judge’s table about how he took a backseat to Mike’s ideas and was essentially nothing more than a sous chef, allowing Mike to take the reins and steer the dish however he pleased. I think Ash was honestly trying to just give Mike props where props were duly deserved, but the judges pounced and explained that they viewed that as a weak characteristic. Inevitably, though, there’s always going to be a leader and a follower. It’s just statistics, people. Ashley takes responsibility for undercooking the prawns and for some reason takes the blame when the judges ask if Eli had oversalted the gnocchi. Because, you see, it was Ashley’s fault for serving the salty gnocchi, not Eli’s fault for oversalting it.

I’m irked because Robin keeps squeaking by on the talent of others and not on her own merit. It’s clear to everyone that she is sub par, meanwhile Ashley has true finesse in the kitchen.

As J. said, “Another bullshit elimination.”

Looks like next week the shit starts to hit the fan with Robin, so keep your fingers crossed.

A cancer patient walks into a reality tv show…

RonTopChefDudes, I need a hobby. I have six pages of notes from this episode of Top Chef. Six. Pages. And attempting to decipher them is next to impossible because I have the handwriting of a six year old boy.

Remember in one of my first posts when I said that deconstructing is so hot right now? Turns out, I didn’t invent that in my brain. It’s actually true. And it was proven tonight on Top Chef, brought to you by the Glad family of products. Did you know this show was brought to you by the Glad family of products? Because it is. The Glad family of products and GE, I think. I’m not sure, it’s hard to tell.

This episode kicked off with a quickfire challenge involving some sort of angel/devil juxtaposition, which I didn’t really pay attention to but I know Robin won, and therefore was awarded immunity for the next elimination challenge. Golf claps for Robin, the Chef Everyone Hates. Seriously, everyone bitches about how annoying Robin is, and even little potbellied Eli gets in a few shots, stating that Robin only won because she played the cancer card. “Tell everyone you had fuckin’ cancer, that’s how you win,” he said. Rotflcopter. I can see where the judges might feel like assholes if they didn’t award her dish adequately, and her dish was pretty solid, but I found it manipulative and kind of a cop-out.

The elimination challenge was presented by guest judges Penn & Teller, those magicians who do magic and one who doesn’t talk. I wonder if he is an actual mute person or if this is all an elaborate act; either way, he brought nothing to the table. Penn was tolerable in his loud, overbearing way, I guess. Also, British sack of meat with mittens Toby Young is back, he of the awkward and often sexual analogies and snarky little soundbites. He was actually tolerable this time around, minus the whole “paella” pronunciation smackdown with Tom, who schooled Toby rather nicely.

The idea was to deconstruct a classic dish, a challenge both Ash and Jen whined and moaned about throughout the entire episode, repeating over and over that they “don’t do deconstruction.” Well guess what buttwads, THIS IS THE CHALLENGE. So stfu and getcher asses in the kitchen.

The knife pulls resulted in the following:

Mike 1 (not the twin): Eggs Florentine

Mike 2 (the twin): Caesar salad

Kevin: Chicken mole negro

Jen: Meat lasagna

Ron: Paella

Eli: Sweet & sour pork

Ashley: Pot roast

Robin: Clam CHOWDAH

Laurine: Fish & chips

Ash: Shepherd’s pie

Bryan (other twin): Reuben

Mike 1 almost won me over when he kept referring to his dish as “eggs foreign-to-me” rather than eggs Florentine, but in the end I wound up irritated. Who doesn’t know what eggs Florentine are? Has Mike 1 never been to brunch? That shit is standard.

What I kept hearing over and over from these cheftestants was a concern that their own personal styles were too traditional to present a winning deconstructed dish, and their frustration during prep was palpable. Especially Jen. She kept running away from Tom. Oh, and Eli’s pressure cooker exploded, but he blamed it on the baggage handlers. Which….makes…sense? He then “fixed” it by wrapping it in blue masking tape.

People were worried about Ron’s ability to pull off a good paella, with good reason, seeing as he didn’t seem to even know what the hell paella is. Laurine was pissed off the whole time because Robin kept asking her for shit and Laurine was all look bitch, you have immunity, stop asking me to pull your crap out of the oven, and Robin was all oh oops, I forgot! You have your own dishes to worry about don’t you, and Laurine said something underminery and resumed poking at her soggy chips.

The chefs served their dishes in pairs, starting with Bryan and Laurine. Bryan made a questionable choice by substituting tuna for pastrami in his deconstructed Reuben, but the gamble paid off in the end as all the judges, minus Penn, enjoyed his dish. Laurine, who seemed to have forgotten that “chips” are Brit-speak for “fries”, gave the judges over-cooked fish and weird, semi-burned potato chips. No good.

Ash and Jen went next, and the judges widely panned Ash’s last-minute swap-out of his potato and parsnip puree for a pea puree, which he claimed was due to the gummy texture of the potato and parsnip combo. A shepherd’s pie has mashed potatoes in it, yes, but I have to give Ash credit for refusing to serve food that wasn’t up to his standards (ahem ROBIN). Jen didn’t like the presentation of her meat lasagna but served it anyway, and wound up securing a spot in the top four.

Next up, Ron “put de lime in de coconut” Duprat and Eli. Tom deemed Ron’s paella a “sad bowl of food,” and the whole table marveled at his inability to crisp the rice while simultaneously drying the crap out of the seafood. Eli’s dish was sorta meh, with Toby likening the pork rillettes to bull testicles.

Sooo basically, everyone loved Ashley’s pot roast, and Kevin’s chicken mole negro thing, but they all decided Robin’s clam chowder was “repulsive” and reminded everyone of old soup that had been sitting out. It’s a damn good thing she had immunity. Kevin won, Ron lost, everyone cried, someone farted, they all dropped acid and had sex, then spent the next day scrubbing the shame off their skins.

Just kidding, none of that happened. The boring chefs hugged each other and Ron said he wasn’t upset that he was going home because he had fulfilled the American dream. Which was….kinda cute, but if being eliminated halfway through a cooking competition on cable tv is your definition of fulfilling the American dream, then you have some serious life choices to reevaluate, my friend.

Top Chef Fantasy Draft

It’s taken a lot of restraint on my part to keep from expressing my disappointment for this season of Top Chef. I keep biding my time, hoping that THIS will be the week we see some goddamn personality out of these “cheftestants.” I thought maybe Ashley was going to fly into a lesbianic homo-rage during the Bachelor/ette episode, but all she kept saying was “I’m fired up. I’m very fired up.” Are you? Well, I’d be more inclined to believe it if you didn’t deadpan to the camera and speak in that robotic monotone. The viewers, they want spunk, they want swearing and drama, and gross, squirm-inducing hookups a la Hosea and Leah.

Season 6 has presented us with some of the most boring, douchey, and frankly untalented chefs I’ve seen since the outset of this series. Wednesday’s episode made me want to rip my eyelashes out, one by one. What is rule number one, Robin? WHAT IS RULE NUMBER ONE OF BEING A CHEF? Taste. The. Food. Before. You. Serve. It. I’m not even a chef and I know better than to blindly present people with untasted food. She served the judges stank-ass shrimp that they didn’t feel comfortable eating. During Judge’s Table, Robin flat-out admitted that she didn’t taste her gross shrimp before she served it, and I think that alone should have been grounds for elimination. Instead, they let little French wood nymph Mattin go home instead, hanging his beretted head and wiping his tears with his carefully-knotted neckerchief. His cod-infused ceviche was uncermoniously SPIT OUT by Tom C., so I guess being the chef whose food is rejected from the mouths of the judges stands to be under more scrutiny than food that simply hasn’t been quality-controlled. This, I understand.

Now, because I can’t even begin to feign an interest in the weird, twisted world of fantasy football, I needed some sort of team/show combination to occupy my fall TV season. While over at my friend J.’s place the other week, she suggested we form a Top Chef Fantasy Draft league. Brills, I said. We picked teams, and the loser buy dinner. Done. Okay, so for some reason I had a lot of faith in the ladychefs of this season and drafted nearly all of them to occupy slots on my team roster. Whyyyy did I do this. Everyone knows women can’t cook! Stupid, stupid, stupid. J.’s squadron is kicking my team’s ass. The teams break down as follows:

Team J (the other J, not me)
Jen
Mike
Michael
Brian
Hector
Ron
Ash
Preeti

Hector and Preeti have been sent home, but J.’s team is still super strong. Jen, who originally struck me as a flaky ladychef, has proven herself to be a bit of a hardass in the kitchen; especially during the Airforce episode when she was chosen to run the kitchen and oversee the dishes rather than engage in cooking one herself. J.’s team has a greater total of overall elimination and quickfire challenge wins, besting my team 8 to 2 if you can believe it.

Team JHP:
Kevin
Eli
Jesse
Robin
Ashley
Mattin
Laurine
Eve

Yeah. The stats speak for themselves. J. assures me that I could still pull off a win thanks to the skill of  Kevin, but I think deep down we both know I will be buying her dinner at the end of this season. It’s a mistake to hang my hopes on Kevin’s beautiful beardy face. Robin is just a bad chef. I really wonder how she got it this far without getting the boot, considering they let Hectorrrrrr (you have to say that with a rolling rrrrrr) go just because he was rushed and cut his meat unevenly.

Ashley’s starting to grow on me though, and she seems to always whip out some pretty fantastic dishes that come in under the radar. Lose the self-righteous indignation and you could be a real star, kid.

But for the sake of honesty, I’m gonna say it right now: one of the Douche Twins is going to win. I couldn’t tell you which one is which, but they’ve consistently kicked so much ass in the challenges that kinda goes without saying. Boring though this season may be, I always enjoy the way the challenges get just a little bit more difficult with each passing week, and it’s engaging to watch these chefs roll with the punches and put out some truly awesome food. But honestly, shit needs to get interesting, and fast. These are like, cardboard cut-out people. Let’s have some conspiracies, some sabotages, a goddamn panty raid for all I care, just spice it up!! Aaaaaand scene.