Top Chef
Food For The People

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Keckler: B | Grade It Now!
TGI Top Chef

Hysterically, when Marcel tells people his flavor is avocado and bacon, he has people shaking their heads saying, "Sorry, dude." One woman in a light blue Grand Canyon Gilligan hat, shudders in disgust after tasting Marcel's. Mia tells us kids were actually spitting Marcel's ice cream out and then wiping down their tongues with their napkins. Shades of Tom Hanks eating caviar. Josie decides to do a little racial profiling as she announces her peach cobbler flavor to an old black woman and says, "I know you know what a cobbler is! Bwahahahaha!" Emily describes her Calming Chocolate with Lavender. I think that flavor and Son of Sam's are my virtual favorites -- they are the ones I'd order if I saw them on a menu. I think they would even taste good in the same bowl. As the camera centers in on one of LA's more generously proportioned citizens, Emily tells us, "I did have one lady telling me that she didn't think there was enough sugar in it." And here is what I love about this comment, Emily gets all Jersey-accent on us, and goes on, "The last thing you need wich yourah fourah teeth and yourah yooge ass is sugah!" I loved that, LOVED IT!

Back in the Kenmore Kitchen, the votes have been tallied, and Padmadala has traded her pap smear shorts for some jeans and a denim vesty tank top. Padmadala tells us the bottom three are Marisa (D'OH!), Emily, and Marcel, with Marcel being the absolute bottom of the ice cream barrel in getting only seven votes. Marcel is sort of funny with his reaction. He's all, "Oh, damn!" and bites back a smile at how awful he did. See, I just can't hate him. He's simply not as in-your-face-obnoxious as Stephen was. Michael jokingly slaps Marcel's back. In the top three, two are tied for runner-up: Son of Sam and Carlos. The runners-up air-knock knuckles. Cliff wins it all. Marisa tells us, "I'm feeling less confident because Cliff won, but honestly, I don't think it had anything to do with the quality of his ice cream." You know, sour grapes would actually be a good sorbet flavor. Think about it, Marisa.

Padmadala introduces Stephen Bulgarelli, the Senior Director and Executive Chef of the TGI Friday's restaurants. He's their guest judge this week and he wants all the cheftestants to create a dish that would appeal to the TGI Friday's guests. TGI Friday's is such a cheese sauce restaurant, and I really can't blame the cheftestants for being a bit annoyed by such a challenge. Emily was right when she said in her Chow interview -- sorry to keep going back to that, but I really did find it to be a mine of interesting information and I'm not just saying that because I work for them -- that most of the cheftestants (maybe even all) don't aspire to create dishes for TGI Friday's. To quote Emily, "This is not why you work Christmas, this is not why you live in rat-trap apartments, this is not what you aspire to."

Exactly -- if Tyler Florence's big, greasy face wants to do that for Applebees and become branded, that's his choice, but these are chefs who aim higher than a menu item at Friday's. I'd hazard a guess that if they wanted to be cooking for Friday's, they'd be doing it now. I don't find anything snobbish in that assertion of hers since it's just a fact. She works at Michael Mina's Nob Hill, she doesn't want to work at or for Friday's. I also think this was different from the microwave or gas station challenge of last year. Those were challenges that had more to do with how the cheftestants used their ingenuity in putting out food under extreme circumstances than anything else. The TGI Friday's challenge is just... very bland and middle-of-the-roadie. I also can't help but think that this challenge is really about Bravo making a lucrative deal with the chain and not about seeing how the cheftestants can perform to cheese sauce standards.

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Top Chef




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