Top Chef Episode 5 – Come on, let’s get going here

So far I’ve been pretty unimpressed with the season.  The challenges haven’t been all that exciting and the chefs aren’t dazzling very much.  Not to mention there’s barely any drama among them.  These guys are so blah the show can’t even edit in good drama to make it seem like there’s tension.  We really haven’t seen much interaction between any of them.  Normally I’d be really happy about this but we’ve had a lot of group challenges where everyone seems like they’re playing not to lose, which makes for boring Top Chef.  I hope it changes soon. 

In the latest episode they all left San Antonio and headed up to Dallas.  In the course of their journey they find themselves travelling on a road which has suddenly been closed.  Oh look!  There are picnic tables in the field next to the road, must be a quickfire challenge.  Padma (in shorts, very nice legs Padma!) appears and tells them they have to make something using the emergency survival kits they’ve been carrying in the car trunks.  This isn’t a new challenge, nor is cooking outside but the chefs didn’t make anything too wow.  They never do in this one.  Lindsay from Florida won with a club sandwich made out of crackers and sardines with French Onion soup and Vienna sausages.  Again, that’s the WINNER.  I know the purpose of this challenge is to see if they can make something edible out of nothing but this challenge always disappoints me.  The best one ever was way back in Season 2 when Mikey declared it a stupid challenge and handed the judges a Snickers ball topped with a lone Cheeto pointing straight up in the air.  Says it all.

For the elimination challenge the chefs were divided up into teams (yet again) and had to provide three courses for a progressive dinner party where you move from house to house eating a course at each.  Good idea except when you have the blandest people throwing the party.  One woman didn’t seem to like anything and one guy loved gummi bears (he had a gummi bear wedding cake!).  The chefs were not too happy with the likes and dislikes of these people.  The dish I remember best was the one the remaining Moto chef made which was something that looked like a cigar and a pile of ashes (because he noticed one house had a cigar humidor, such inspiration).  “A” for effort and idea, but if you’ve watched before you know gimmicks like that don’t work.  Once he brought that out you knew he was going to be in the bottom three.  And he was.  He didn’t get voted out though.  That honor went to Chuy, one of the other Chicago chefs who overcooked his salmon and cheese dish.  Veteran viewers know the things guaranteed to get you sent home are under/over seasoning, under/overcooking, and making a soup or salad.  So we lose another Chicago chef and are NOW down to four left (last week I wrote we were down to four since I totally forgot Beverly is also from here, sorry about that).

The winner was Paul who made Brussels sprouts.  See what I mean?  Brussels sprouts was the winning dish.  You mean to tell me no one made anything better than a side dish?!?!?!  How is this possible?  I am hoping the format changes soon and they get rid of these lame group challenges that don’t seem to be challenging the chefs.  It’s got to get better!

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