Top Chef, Season 4: Let's Dish! AND Giveaway Winner

Three down and thirteen more to go. I only hope I can last that long! Last night, Episode 3 of Top Chef, aired and frankly, I'm still not feeling it. Half of the contestants are coming off as an unruly bunch of toddlers and most of the rest don't seem to have any personality at all. Where are the Tiffanis, the Daves, the Stephens and Hungs? I'm even missing Marcel! I'm still hanging on to the hope that this new crop of Cheftestants just hasn't hit their stride yet.
Last night's episode was called Block Party. In the Quickfire Challenge, inspired by guest judge, Rick Bayless, the Cheftestants were called upon to take the lowly taco and elevate it to fine dining status. I thought it was a pretty good idea for a challenge. A taco is something that is lends itself to endless different kinds of interpretation. I really liked what some of the chefs came up with. I probably wouldn't have chosen Richard's jicama taco as the winner. Even though, his spin on it was pretty creative, his dish reminded me more of a spring roll than a taco. Fine dining or not, I need my tacos to have a little more heft to them. My favorites were Andrew's duck taco, Antonia's fish taco, Manuel's chorizo taco and Spike's ground pork taco. I would have probably chosen Andrew's or Spike's dish. Too bad, I don't care for either one of them.
I loved the concept of the Elimination Challenge. In it, the Cheftestants had to cater the annual block party for a group of neighbors on a cute little residential street tucked somewhere in the big city. I don't recall if they actually said where it was. They self-divided into two teams: the Red Team and the Blue Team. How original. Couldn't they have come up with better names than that? Anyway, the catch was, that they had to scrounge all of the food they used from the residents, themselves. It was hilarious to see these guys running up and down the street with their shopping bags a la the Keystone Cops. The neighbors couldn't have been more gracious and looked like they were loving every minute of their camera time. I have to say, they certainly were prepared. That one woman had enough stuff in her pantry to open her own Sam's Club! Do people really buy like that? Seemed a little OCD to me.
The block party looked like tons of fun! I wish I'd been invited! They had a dunking booth, for god's sake. Who wouldn't love that?!?! Team Blue went for the "haute cuisine" party theme while Team Red "dumbed down" the food, supposedly to appeal to the unrefined palates of their clients. Can anyone say "condescending"? Most of the food went over fairly well with the neighbors, but the judges were another story. They decided that Nikki's mac and cheese "brick", Erik's soggy corn dogs, Ryan's waterlogged chicken salad, and Zoi's "meh" pasta salad pretty much sucked.
Afterward, while the members of the Blue Team were busy patting each other on the back for kicking the Red Team's asses, the judges were awarding the win to the Red Team. WTF!!! Team Blue was utterly shocked and outraged, and they let it show to the point of offensiveness. They acted like petulant children. Andrew, yet again, let his asshole colors shine through with his ridiculous comments about "owning this place" and "needing security guards to get him out of there". this guy for real? It's like he has Tourette's or something! All I can say is it's a good thing that Gordon Ramsay isn't on that judges' panel! Even Ted looked pissed!

In the end Stephanie scored another win for her fruit crumble and cinnamon-sugar fried wontons, and it was Erik (Mr. Soggy Corn Dog Man) who was asked to pack his knives and go.
So, what did you think of this Block Party episode? Of the Cheftestants' shenanigans? Of Richard's strange hairdo? Of the "hoarder lady"? Of anything Top Chef? Leave a comment on this post between now and next Wednesday at 10:00 p.m., and you will be eligible for my next Top Chef giveaway! Next week, some lucky reader will win one of these "I'm Not your Bitch, Bitch" sticky note blocks. Who wouldn't love one of those!?!?
Come on! Let's Dish!
And now, it is my pleasure to announce the recipient of this week's giveaway, the Top Chef oven mitt.
Drumroll, please!
The winner is..........PatsyK!
Congratulations, Patsy and thanks for participating! If you'll email me your mailing address at
stickygooeycreamychewyATgmailDOTcom, I'll get your prize out to you as soon as possible.


Patsyk said…
Oh, Wow! I really never win anything! How cool! :) I'll send you an email right away, and thank you so much!!! :) :)
Mansi said…
Darn! how did I miss this!! oh well, there's always a next time:) COngrats Patsy!:)
Deborah said…
I knew Erik wouldn't last long - his food has always been criticized for being messy since the first.

I think that the personalities will start to show more once they are down a few more people. I think that there are still too many contestants to give all of them the screen time they need to show their personalities.
Susan @ SGCC said…
Patsy- You're so welcome! Thanks for participating. Make sure you keep coming back to try to add to your collection! ;)

Mansi- Don't worry. I'll be doing lots more giveaways. Keep coming back and you'll have plenty of chances! :)

Deborah- I agree. Erik seemed like a lot of talk and no results to me.

You're probably right about the chefs' personalities coming through once they start getting more screen time. I already really like Paul (the Aussie)!
Cheftestants...very clever, I like that.

I think some of the mistakes these chefs are making....soggy corn dogs, salting crab salad before serving to turn it into a watery mess, stuffed mushrooms???? yeah those sit around real well. This is crap even a foron (food moron) like myself would know better not to do.

I want Padma to blow up like a Panda Bear in heat. skinny beotch.
I have to admit I have not watched Top Chef until now. I watched the re-run of the block party challenge last night and I am hooked! I don't even know when it airs!
I sometimes catch Top Chef, but I am usually blogging in my spare time at home..TV not on:D I had better get more into the loop:D
Anonymous said…
these chefs just need to get over themselves. andrew is not all that and he's just way to jittery for me. so far i'm loving stephanie, although i really didn't think her dessert was all that inspiring. but in the midst of everything else, based on the judge's tastes, who knows, it might have stood out. and i'm all about some good old block party, backyard food, but come on. if you knew you were having chef's cater your block party, wouldn't you expect something more? sheesh.
Topher said…
I definitely agree that I miss someone like Marcel or Hung and that there's not really anyone like that (at least so far this season).
Patsyk said…
I'll be back to post my comments on this week's episode...soon as I watch it! Based on your summary I can't wait to see that brick of mac & cheese and the soggy corn dogs... what are these chef's thinking?
Anonymous said…
oy....its not getting better is it?

so far they have shown they dont know the basics, they cant pull off a cocktail party with uber good ingredients, they dont know how to make peasant ethnic food a fine dining experience, and they cant do a block party with ingredients from the pantries of million dollar homes.....i've eaten at bayliss' restaurants and the food had a lot more heat than i can usually take so i wasnt surprised the jicama spring rolls with the chili pepper rings on top beat the duck....cant these chefs hear the instructions? they said fine dining not street i like stephanie but i think its very telling that the winner of the elimination challenge won for a cocktail and fruit salad.....i felt like they really dumbed down the food and they didnt need surprised nobody made mac and cheese with little hot dog chunks.....and how many episodes before somebody says no to whichever dummy wants to deep fry something that isnt being served till hours later out of a steam tray! mainly i miss the fact that im not really learning anything....remember when lia poached the shrinp in olive oil? that was a revelation to me...and sam taught me how to mix salty and sweet and sour in savory concoctions....has anyone learned anything so far from this crop of chefs? their plating isnt even appetizing.

hell i miss mikey
Anonymous said…
What?!! We missed the party? Darn it! That's what we get for snoozing!
But congrats to PatsyK!
Patsyk said…
I'm back to comment, but since I wont last week you don't have to put me in again! :)

Ok, I really love Stephanie's dishes so far. It is a bit odd that she won for her dessert, but that just goes to show that the overall dishes were not that impressive.

And, the corn dogs? What was he thinking? Of course they would get soggy during a holding period. Between him and Zoi I would think that these chefs have been around long enough to make a dish at a higher level and have the guts (and intelligence) to speak up and say hey this isn't going to work.

Still loving the show, but would like to see more of their personalities. Hopefully, they will start to show more this week.
Dolores said…
I tend to agree with the judges that Erik should have realized that his "signature" corn dogs weren't going to hold up to transportation and a three hour lag between the fryer and the buffet line. But they *looked* amazing, and since I live in the bay area, I may go check out his restaurant and see how he does with the lobster version.

I like the look of Andrew's food, but he's an absolute train wreck. I'm rooting for Stephanie.
Anonymous said…
How utterly disappointing!

My wife performs as Bea Arthur and Camilla Parker-Bowles at local supper clubs and had already planned on using those oven mitts in a sketch.

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