Trouble With Toast

Top Chef Las Vegas, Episode 8 | October 16, 2009

Okay, children, just a few more mediocre chefs to weed out before we REALLY get down to business.  Seriously, don’t you feel like we should be at the end of the season already?  I guess that’s what happens when you start with seventeen thousand chefs.

The obligatory first montage at the Top Chef compound finds Mike V. not wanting to talk about being in the bottom (let it out, dude), Robin doing pilates on the lawn, and Eli talking to his mom.  Who is also his roommate, as he still lives at home with his parents.  Ugh.  Sadly, this Oedipal theme (which I experienced with nearly every Jewish guy I ever dated, consequently) will reappear later in the episode.

In the kitchen, Padma and Charlie Palmer announce the quickfire challenge, which is to create a dish that pairs with one of the Alexia Crunchy Snacks that they’ve been noshing on at their house.  Ah, product placement.  Everyone scurries off to work, with the onion snacks appearing to be the most popular choice.  The Voltaggio brothers, both of whom have worked with Chef Palmer, jaw about who he likes better.  Ash mumbles something about cooking his own food.  At the end of the quickfire, Chef Palmer announces his least favorites: Robin and her corn parfait (it sounded AND looked disgusting), Ash and his cucumber soup (which was overpowered by the BBQ crunchy snack), and Jen’s overcooked pork chop.  The favorites are Eli’s potato clam salad with fennel and celery, Kevin’s riff on green bean casserole with confit tomatoes, and Bryan’s safe seared ribeye (though I give him props for cooking steak for Charlie Palmer).  Eli ends up winning, and he isn’t the least bit humble about it.  I love Team ATL and all, but Eli is really getting on my nerves.  I am now exclusively on Team Kevin.

The elimination challenge centers around Charlie Palmer’s “Pigs and Pinot” charity event.  The chefs draw knives to determine which part of the pig they will be cooking, and then they each choose a pinot noir to pair with their dish.  Eli trash-talks about peoples’ wine choices and his AWESOME palatte.  After the excursion to Whole Foods (they have $300 for 150 tasting portions), we see the chefs cooking dinner at home.  Robin is a chatty cathy as usual, and everyone is not-so-subtly glaring at her and/or making fun of her.  She tries to boss Eli around in the kitchen, and then gets passive-aggressive with him when he doesn’t clean up after himself.  Eli, in VERY mature fashion, huffs away with his scallops saying, “You’re not my mom!!!”  Sexy, dude.  Really.  All the girls are going to want you after this episode.

Time to eat pig!  Mike V.’s root beer braised pork cheek goes over well, which is NOT the case for Ash’s chilled pork tenderloin.  The judges like Eli’s braised pork belly, but they don’t think it’s a good pairing with the wine.  HA.  So much for that incredible palatte, mama’s boy.  Kevin’s pork leg terrine is delicious and works well with the wine, and the judges think the dish was a really smart choice.  Mike I.’s stuffed pork shoulder looks delicious, though the judges say that the orange flavor is overwhelming.  Bryan’s ribs seem to garner a lot of praise, as does Jen’s pork belly (which gets an audible “mmmm” from Padma).  Laurine’s rillettes…well…there is a cat food comparison.  ‘Nuff said.  Robin’s pork chops are not porky enough.

The favorites end up being the Voltaggios, Kevin, and Jen.  TEAM KEVIN GETS THE WIN, WOO HOO!  In his enthusiasm, Kevin shows the judges his piggy tattoo.  Awwwww.  For winning, Kevin will be a featured chef at the 2010 Pigs & Pinot event in Healdsburg, California.  I wanna go!

As for the unfortunate bottom three, they are Robin, Laurine, and Ash.  I was thinking to myself, THIS would be a great time to have a mass offing, as I could deal with all three of those chefs packing their knives.  The chefs left in the stew room all seem to want Robin to go home.  I guess I just don’t get all the hate.  She’s no more of a hack than Laurine or Ash, in my mind.  As for the judges, the criticism of Robin’s dish is that it didn’t have enough pig flavor and the sauce was gummy.  Ash talks about the dish he was originally going to do, and Tom asks him why he didn’t make THAT dish.  Oh, snap.  Laurine is informed that she does not actually know how to make rillettes.  At the end of deliberations, it is Ash who is sent home for his second-guessing.  He quips as he exits about making his original dish as as restaurant special and inviting all of the judges except Padma to a dinner party.  Hee.

Next week…Restaurant Wars!!!  YAY!!!  Maybe now things will start to get interesting.



  1. I thought the same thing about the mass off-ing. I felt they could’ve kicked out both Robin and Ash or Robin and Laurine.

    Comment by Jo — October 16, 2009 @ 5:40 pm

    • Yeah, we’re at the point now where we KNOW who’s going to go (minus a dark horse or two), it’s just a matter of when.

      Comment by bettyjoan — October 16, 2009 @ 10:47 pm

  2. All three of them seriously needed to go. Oh, and the twins need to go – zero personality.

    Comment by Jason — October 16, 2009 @ 7:05 pm

    • I don’t agree with you about “the twins”–I think they have personalities, they are just not APPEALING personalities.

      Comment by bettyjoan — October 16, 2009 @ 10:47 pm

  3. And then there is Kevin who is a great chef, has personality , and I want to give him a hug and pinch his cheeks!!!

    Comment by Mom — October 17, 2009 @ 12:18 pm

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