Top Chef Episode 6 – Can we move the show to a Post Office?

Because these guys look like they’re just mailing it in.  I’ve been annoyed (really, we couldn’t tell!) with the challenges but more and more I’m thinking it doesn’t matter what the challenges are.  These guys can’t even master simple team ones where they all work together on putting out meals.  Isn’t that what they normally do when back at their restaurants?  And they’re getting loads of time too.  This week they had an hour and a half for the quickfire and a total of six hours for the elimination challenge.  Also, I am not a fan of guest judge Hugh Acheson.  He seems to be a male Gail Simmons.  It’s nice they found someone who can replicate her annoying attitude so well when she’s not available.  I find her really negative and always get a chuckle when she goes all negative on someone’s dish, looks for Tom to agree, and when he doesn’t she comes back with “oh well yeah me too.”  Hugh did that last night with the cake.  He didn’t think the cake was sweet enough.  Tom says “that didn’t bother me, I don’t like too much sugar in my desserts.”  Hugh counters with a “me too.”  Bravo Hugh.  Gail would be proud.  Back to the chefs.

The quickfire wasn’t bad and I really liked it as a challenge.  Make an updated version one of the Escoffier’s classic sauces:  béchamel, hollandaise, tomate, espagnole, and veloute.  This is actually an awesome challenge in measuring their skills.  They were supposed to put their spin on the sauces and for the most part did really well.  The ones who were on top really understood the challenge and were creative with their sauces.  The winner was Grayson (who had previously worked as a saucier) with her charred corn hollandaise sauce.  It would have looked bad if she wasn’t in the top 3 being a former saucier!  Based on the what the chefs presented it was looking like we’d finally turned the corner with more creativity and risk taking coming…but that thought would only last one commercial break

For the elimination challenge the chefs had to prepare a four course dinner for the Cattle Baron’s Ball which was being held at South Fork Ranch (yes, that South Fork Ranch from the TV show Dallas).  The tricky parts to the 4 course dinner were they had to serve two beef dishes and make sure 200 steaks arrived at the tables medium rare.  Ty-Lor took on the grill master job since he had worked in a steak house, then proceeded to slice his hand requiring an overnight trip to the hospital for stitches.  And here’s where I start thinking it doesn’t matter what the challenge is for these chefs.  The entire crew puts together one of the most boring, basic menus I’ve seen on the show.  They’ve got a gazpacho, some beef carpaccio with a salad, steak with potato gratin, and a cake.  Now, good for them for executing the cake but it’s the same one they made a few episodes ago.  It’s a simple straightforward menu you’d find at any fundraiser…and they messed it up, mainly because no one was cooperating and everyone was directing.  The biggest problem was the steak.  Because of all the confusion in the kitchen (what’s that saying about too many chefs?) they cooked them way too early so the steaks sat and went from medium-rare to medium and medium-well done.  Not looking good for Ty-Lor.  Luckily for him Whitney, the potatoes gratin girl, undercooked her potatoes and totally ruined it, and Ed made a bad salad.  This is what they came up with in six hours.  Remember, you go home on this show for under/overcooking, seasoning, and soups/salads so we had a trifecta here.  Ty-Lor looked surprised when raw potato girl got sent home.  She deserved it though.  How do you end up with raw potatoes in a gratin with six hours to make it?

What were the favorite, winning “dishes”?  The sliced beef for the carpaccio (Chicago guy), the cake (Chicago gal), and…wait for it…the hotel butter one of the chefs made to go on the poorly cooked steak.  Seriously?  You mixed some herbs and butter together and THAT is one of the top dishes for the event?!?!  The cake wins, she gets a car (yay for Heather from Sable!  Go Chicago!) , and the butter person looks really sad she didn’t win.  I’m starting to look forward to seeing how much more these guys can mail it in.  I don’t know how they can top butter as a possible winning dish but we’ll see.  Maybe someone can boil some water properly and win.

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