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Friday, May 16, 2008

TV Kitchens: One Down, Two to Go

Posted By on Fri, May 16, 2008 at 2:13 PM

Catching up with this week's food wars:

BBC's Last Restaurant Standing finally came to end, and with few surprises. I was rooting for the twins, mostly because they seemed the easiest to work with. But it makes sense that Mr. Michelin Star and head judge Raymond Blanc would chose the Eight in the Country pair. Of course the Frenchman is gonna love the idea of eight petit courses over the goofy organic café fare of the twins.

And even the Big Showdown couldn't pull any drama from this low-intensity show. The finale included a pointless one-night-only opening in Blanc's hometown in France. Anybody hoping for added international crises would be disappointed to find the contestants muddling through fairly well on their high school French. Certainly better than moi could have done.

I swear Blanc took 10 full minutes to shake his big head and ponder who should win. But even though I've joked about the slug-like pace of this show, I've enjoyed it and hope they bring it, or some similar version, back. On Top Chef they only do one episode of running-a-restaurant, and there's certainly plenty of material to be mined from this set-up, a well-known business nightmare.

The knives are out on Top Chef as the contestants continue hatin' on each other, but this week's challenge was a bit of a dud. It doesn't take mad skills to remake a box lunch and the cooks seem uninspired by the task. I was surprised that not more soups and chilis were made – easy to make, easy to re-heat, easy to pack with healthy goodness.

But then I don't have two years' experience in nutrition.

Sorry to see Crazy Andy leave -- and take his two years worth of nutrition experience with him. He was the funniest contestant.

I'd have sent Spike home, not only for being a tool with his unimaginative lockdown of the basic lunch ingredients, but also for cruising on a thoroughly dull looking chicken-salad sandwich. Add to this, I'm sick of looking at his stupid hats.

Over at Hell's Kitchen it was another lazy one for the producers with the Matt/Ben drama continuing. Could we please get one more shot of Matt sneering at Ben? Or Matt saying how stupid Ben is? Or Matt saying how great he is?

I always love the taste-test challenges (would love to do this, I bet it's harder than you think), but how is getting your nails done at home such a great prize for the winning team?

During service, I felt sorry for Jen who rightly melted down when she couldn't figure out if Raging Ramsay wanted her to speak or shut up. Who hasn't had that boss?

Ben left -- no big surprise. Ben frequently complained that Ramsay had it out for him; I bet he did, but then again, why wouldn't he?

The elimination round was a little weird. Not sure if Petrozza picked himself because that was the blue team's original pan to deflect internecine criticism -- or whether he truly meant to fall on his sword. Either way, it made Ramsay call him a man, and it made that newly minted man cry.

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