Top Chef – prelims pt. 2

Well at least that’s over with.  I think the third group got shafted a bit.  Each of the other groups basically had an ingredient challenge while these chefs had a time element added.  Instead of having the same time as everyone else, some had more,  some had less.  This little twist really looked like it threw a lot of them off their game.  Based on their performances they looked like the weakest group.  Who knows how they would have done if given the same time as the others?  It’s Top Chef and part of the attraction is how they throw curve balls at you but if you’re having to cook your way on you’d probably like to compete on level field with everyone else.  Anyway… 

How do you not plate your dish and how, HOW do you screw up brussels sprouts?  The brussels sprouts one really amazes me.  How can you possibly undercook them in the time given?  Cheryl and I eat this much maligned vegetable a lot at home, and lots of restaurants are making them so it’s not like it’s a mysterious ingredient.  I mean seriously, in less than 20 mins you can throw some pancetta in the pan, then brown the brussels sprouts a little (halved or quartered depending on their size), then pan steam to tenderness in water, wine, or stock.  Ok, I don’t time myself but still…

So 3 of the group got jackets which left only 2 spots for the 6 “bubble” chefs.  The ones who got the jackets from the group stage definitely deserved them and did what looked like great jobs.  They also picked wisely and didn’t muck it up.  With the group stage over the cook-off continued with the bubble round!  3 chefs were good, 2 were bad (way overcooked shrimp and a scallop tartare? What the heck?), and 1 did too much.  They gave the jackets to the 2 chefs I thought would get them.

I’m still wondering why they went with this format.  And what was that at the end about an extra competition for ousted chefs that’s available to watch online, where the chefs can get back in?  Ugh, if they weren’t good enough in the first 3 rounds why give them yet another shot to get back in???  In the end it seems the best qualified chefs got in but why we had to sit through two weeks of prelims is beyond me (not really, it’s probably the ad money).  We can now finally get to the cooking.  Top Chef starts for real next week and I’m looking forward to it!

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