Thursday, August 27, 2009

Project Runway 8.27.09

A note - I am watching, but not blogging, Models of the Runway.  The only thing really worth noting from last week, I think, was that the poor model who was sent down the runway rocking nothing but an Elizabethan collar and a sheer sheet was sent home.  I guess her questionable measurement sheet will have to find some other runway to walk.

Heidi meets the designers on the Runway to introduce them to the next challenge.  They will be designing for a celebrity, indeed a supermodel.  There was speculation that it would be for Heidi herself, until a big pregnant form came up behind the screen.  It was Rebecca Romejn, who's name I have butchered, pregnant with twins (who have since been born and are adorable).  What she wants is something wearable, and the designers can choose pretty much any occasion.  She just wants something with a beautiful silhouette.  She likes form fitting.

In the workroom, they find that their mannequins have belly pillows to attach to them.  Sweet.  They have 30 minutes to sketch, $100 at Mood, and 2 days.

Louise is hand-dying lace in the bathroom.  Malvin is doing something strange having to do with chickens, I think.  He lost me along the way.  Mitchell has apparently designed commercialy for pregnant ladies.  Before he put the belly band in, he had a pair of shorts that multiple people fit in.  Hope that goes well for him.  Shirin is doing something very drapey and her initial work looks pretty.

Tim's Look Time!  He told Althea to give up making her very fancy (and pretty) dress into a day dress.  Louise worried that her dress was too nightgown-like.  Tim approves of Mitchell's vow to send his model down the runway wearing clothes, and liked Shirin's dress, but worried about her jacket idea.  And Malvin?  He was about to make jodpurs to look like chicken thighs, making the model's thighs look bigger.  Because of his concept.  Tim was worried.  I think Malvin didn't hear the "wearable" criteria from Rebecca. Ra'Mon is doing a colorblocked dress to try to fool the eye.  Ra'Mon says he doesn't want to be safe, and he wants to take risks.  Tim advised him to take risks without going cuckoo, because cuckoo's already happened.  That's right, Malvin.

Mitchell thought that Ra'Mon's dress looked like it had a bowling ball attached to it.  There was some hysteria.

Then it was time to get some models pregnant!  That's fun.  Carol Hannah's model has a 2 year old and really liked the dress, so that's cool.

Oy.  Johnny's jacket looked like a bad Florida Walmart print.  Hope he can work that out.

The day of the Runway, people still have work to do.  Malvin wants to make his look more literal.  I think he's going the wrong direction with that.  Final fittings are mixed.  Mitchell's shorts are a mess.

Time for the Runway show!

Monique Lhullier is filling in for Michael Kors and joins Heidi, Nina, and Rebecca on the judge's pantel. 

Logan's look is pretty sweet.  I like the leggings.  Did I just say that?  Maybe I should check my temperature... Anyhow, I liked the leggings, and the sweater was sweet.  I like the bare arms, and the scoop in back.  Very flattering.

Shirin's dress is lovely.  The coat actually turned out quite nicely, too.  I really appreciated the pattern on the inside of the coat.  I love the color.

Nicolas's dress was a little too figure hugging, in my opinion.  It didn't look like he had designed something thinking that a pregnant person would be wearing it, but instead said "oh crap" after designing the dress and put the larger belly room in.  The rest of it was ill fitting and pulled and bunched in weird places.  Watch the judges love it.  It was riding up like crazy.  Not good.

Christopher's look is really gorgeous.  Again, there are leggings, but the top is something else.  It drapes beautifully and is a lovely color.  I'm not sure how I feel about it being a bubble top (and by this I mean, it's gathered under and poofy at the bottom).  It would have been better for me without that.

Mitchell's model managed to walk down the runway like she wanted to be wearing those shorts, so kudos to her.  I wouldn't have wanted it.

Qrystal looked like she didn't do too much sewing.  It looked like a piece of (admittedly pretty) fabric draped around the model and tied around the neck.  I know that draping takes a lot of talent, but this didn't do much for me.

Epperson made a jumpsuit.  I hate him for that.  And I think it was satin.  A satin jumpsuit.  In white.  A world of no.

Louise's 20's inspired dress turned out seriously beautifully.  The second skirt layer was a good idea and brought it away from the realm of negligee for me.

Gordana's neckline was really interesting.  I wasn't digging the grey cardigan she put over it, though.  That looked like an afterthought.  The leggings (again) were kind of sweet.

Johnny's model didn't end up wearing the unfortunate jacket, but for some reason carried it down the runway tucked into a giant bag.  Weird.  The dress was interesting and kind of pretty, but I didn't care so much for the drab green color.

Malvin's outfit didn't look so much like a chicken and an egg as it did a woman carrying a baby in a giant sling and looking kind of disheveled doing it.  He didn't go with jodpurs, that goodness, but the fabric looked like muslin or a potato sack.  Not exactly flattering.

Ra'Mon's dress also looked kind of awkward and poorly constructed.  It was kind of rumpled.

Carol Hannah's dress is actually quite sweet.  The little rufflely jacket, which Carol Hannah was all aglow about, I was not so fond of.  The dress was much nicer without it.  The color was a nice vibrant green.

Althea's bodice is rather low cut, but really neat.  The skirt itself is way too long and I worried that the model was going to trip.

Irina's dress was really super sweet.  I *loved* that she had her model smile.  Thank you!

Louise, Althea, Mitchell, Shirin, Malvin, and Ra'Mon were pulled forward and everyone else was sent to safety.

Ra'Mon's dress was called too busy and sloppy, and the patchworky pattern seemed to be pointing at the baby.  Weird.

Rebecca liked Louise's dress even though she thought it did look a little like lingeree.  Everyone appreciated the fact that the dress was tiered in places to allow for growth.

Althea's dress was appreciated for it's look and it's fabric, but the judges wanted more room in the cups in case the boobs grew.

I love Nina Garcia because she brought up the fact that Malvin's outfit looked like it was a woman wearing a baby in a sling.  The judges wished that he had kept going with what he had going on with the black underlay feather thing.  It could have been nice.

Mitchell's outfit got dinged for being so poorly constructed.  Nina called the whole thing a mess.  The shorts were too short, the belly band was visible, and the shirt was too tight.  Not good.

Shirin's dress is really beautiful, and her waistband was smocked in a really interesting and beautiful way. Rebecca also loved the lining.  Monique told Shirin that she should get into designing maternity wear.

In the end, the winner was Shirin.  I'm glad.  Her dress was just fantastic.  She has immunity in the next challenge.

Ra'Mon, though his dress was not a favorite, is in.  It's between Malvin and Mitchell.  I think that's about right.  Malvin's weirdo design was his undoing, and he's gone.  That's two oddball designers out in a row!  How unlike PR!  They usually keep them around for a while for entertainment purposes.  I'm glad to see him go, though.

What do you think?  Did they make the right choice?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Top Chef - 8.26.09

Week 2 of Top Chef: Las Vegas is on!

Quickfire Challenge

Todd Englishman joins Padma and a GIANT craps table to introduce their challenge.  Each chef will roll the dice.  The number they get is the amount of ingredients they can use.  Salt, pepper, and oil don't count against them.  The winner of the Quickfire will win $15,000.

Lots of rolling and some pretty high numbers, except Laurine, who rolled a 3.

They pick their ingredients and have 30 minutes.

Laurine had three ingredients and made an asparagus, lemon, and leek soup.  Sounds good.

Jennifer had Salmon with Lemon, Garlic, Shallot, Parsley, and jalapeno emulsion.  She had 9 ingredients.

Mattin had 4 ingredients and made a carrot soup with ginger.

Eve had 8 and made grilled asparagus salad with pine nuts, golden raisins and some other things.

Michael had 4 ingrediens and made nitro gazpacho, compressed cucumbers, and toast.

Kevin, aka Red Beard had 10 ingredients and made an asparagus and celery salad with fennel and cream and a boiled egg.

Ashley had 8 and grilled lamb and made apricot moustada.  Padma commented that the lamb looked really rare.  Not a good sign.

Bryan made a poached black cod with carrot, ginger puree, daikon radish sprout with his 10 ingrediens.  He also got rare comments. 

Jesse had 9 ingredients and made scallops with chimichurri and smashed garbanzo beans with toasted garlic.

(I understand timing issues, but I really hate when they don't show all of the chef's ingredients)

Todd thought that a lot of the chefs had great flavor.  The least favorites were Jesse because she didn't have a sear on her scallops and her textures were mushy on mushy.  Eve had too much blue cheese and sloppy presentation.  Bryan also got low marks.

The ones on top were Michael, Jennifer, and Red Beard Michael, aka Brother Goatee, won the challenge.

For their main challenge, they are cooking for a bachelor/ette party.  They will be cooking women vs. men, and the men will be cooking for bachelorettes and women will be cooking for the men.  There are some bad feelings about the splitting of the teams by sex.

The bride and groom enter, with their three favorite shots.  They want good food to be paired with the shots. Each team needs to make at least 2 dishes to match each shot.  The bride eats fish but no meat.  She doesn't mind meat on the menu, though, and she has at least one vegan friend so she wants to have something for them.

Off to Whole Foods, and then back to cook!

Eve has her diploma in Wine & Spirits.  I think that's what she said.  That's something else.  Everything needs to get packed into Gladware and ready to go.  The guys gathered around Hector at the end to help him finish up the tortillas.  The girls were feeling good about being more put together.

The next day, they got to cooking by the pool side.  Eve may be good with wine and spirits, but spicing isn't the best, and her vinaigrette didn't penetrate the ceviche.  Add salt and pray!

The guests arrived to opposite sides of the pool.  Mattin was sad that he couldn't take the time to flirt with the hot women.  Ashley is pissed to be taking part in a marriage challenge when she can't get married legally in all states because she is gay.

But, how's the food?

Robin made a duck mole with cocoa nibs and apricots.

Laurine made a moroccan lamb chop.

Eve made a shrimp & avocado ceviche with popcorn and salsa.

Jennifer did an octopus ceviche with smoked salt.

Eve's ceviche gets terrible reviews from the judges. 

Ashley did a watermelon carpachio, and a bay leaf pannacotta with cranberry powder and honey.

Preeti made Coriander and sesame crusted tuna with spicy eggplant and wonton crisp.

Jesse did a thai chicken cup with shitake mushrooms, shiso, and ginger beer.

The judge's thought that Jesse's dish was too complicated and Preeti's dish was called pedestrian.  Ashley did two dishes and didn't hit a homerun with either one.

Time for the men's team!

Michael made an apple sorbet with a goat cheese cookie, claiming to have used the same ingredients as the shot, but with all fresh ingredients.

Red Beard (that's Kevin) made a chilled almond soup with cucumber, king crab, and white grape. 

Both of them get fabulous comments.

Mike I. made Artic char with smokey caper sauce and cara cara orange.

Bryan made a (very odd sounding) sweet and sour macaroon, filled with guacamole, corn nuts, and corn puree.

Ron made a lobster cocktail with jalapeno tomato sauce.

Hector made a tofu, lemon-lime ceviche for the vegans in the group.

Hector got good marks, but Ron's was not spiced enough.  Mike I's dish didn't work with the shot, and his fish was called floppy.  Bryan's macaroon got great marks.  Interesting.

Eli made a thai tuna tartare with puffed wild rice.

Mattin made a bouillabase with aiuli crouton and petit basque croquettes.  That's a whole lot of French from our French cheftestant.

Ash made an Asian drumstick wingwith pickled pearl onions. 

Eli's tartar got great marks.  The croquette was off for Mattin and the bouillabase didn't match the shot.  Ash's chicken?  Very nice.

The boys (and I will not call them men) decided it would be a good idea to take off their chef coats and jump in the pool after the service was done.  I don't think that was the best idea.

Mike I. has some nicknames for people, but I like mine better.  He's just obnoxious.  Maybe I'll refer to him as Mr. Annoying.  That might work.  What do you think?

Judge's Table Time!

Bryan, Hector, Eli, and Michael were called back first.  That would make the men the winners. 

Eli's tuna tartar was memorable and exciting for Gayle.  It matched the shot well.

Michael's sorbet was called great from concept to execution.

Hector changed people's minds about tofu.

Bryan's dish was also conceptually brilliant.  And this time, he takes the win from his brother. 

They were told to send back Eve, Jesse, Preeti, and Ashley.

These are the least favorite dishes.

Jesse's dish was watery, and didn't add real ginger, just ginger beer, and that left it muddled because it was too complicated.

Eve wanted to do something with spice for the groom, but in the end, they could only taste the salsa.  She needed more salt.

Preeti's tuna was called cured and the shiso was wilty because of the heat, and the eggplant didn't seem to be cohesive, and none of it went with the shot.

Ashley's choice of doing two dishes was a mistake.  Her watermelon was great, but the pannacotta didn't set right.  Tom gave her a science lesson about tannins in bay leaves and how you shouldn't expose them to heat too much before they overtake the dish.  However, her watermelon got excellent marks.

The people the judges had a problem with most were those who really seemed to have no concept of where they went wrong.  In the end, it's Eve going home, and I think that was the right decision.  She defended herself on the way out, saying that the judges just didn't understand her cooking.  I think they just didn't like it.

Do you think they made the right choice?  I was hoping for Eve to go from the beginning of the episode.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Hell's Kitchen: 8.25.09

After last week's debacle and surprise elimination of Jim, will things get better?

Sabrina's feeling really lucky and apologetic. She vows not to undercook anything again. The men are plotting to get rid of Robert, even if he can return.

Challenge time, and they are presented with a ginormous craps table, with 12 letters on each of two dice (one for each team). Each will roll once and choose ingredients beginning with their letter. He warned them to choose ingredients that go together. They will have 30 minutes to cook their entree.

The women start with R and Suzanne chose Rabbit. Sabrina got the quote of the evening with "They're so cute and cuddly, they've gotta be good to eat." I like her a little better now. Hope she doesn't undercook Bugs. That could be the end of her. Amanda rolled an H and chose Haricot Verts. Good job - green beans. Yummy. Tenille rolled a P and chose Potatoes. Sabrina got a G and picked Garlic. The last roll was H, for Ham Hock. Very good ingredients.

The men are up. Andy got H and could only think of Henrietta, and Hippo, but finally went with Haddock. Dave rolled an F and chose Figs, ignoring Kevin's silent pleas for Fennel. Van rolled A and picked Angelhair Pasta. Kevin got another A and picked apples. The last roll is a T and Tomatoes are picked. Their ingredient list is kind of a mess. It sounds like a basket from Chopped. (If you don't watch that, you should. It's on The Food Network) It'll take a lot more effort to fix that into a good dish.

Cooking time! The men are stymied. The women have their plan and get going, though Suzanne can't stop herself from sticking her fingers in everyone's pies. There was some question about a garlic puree that was used (Tenille thought it should be evened out a bit with something else), but both teams got something cooked in the time allotted.

The Women served up a pan roasted tenderloin and leg of garlic with a roasted garlic and rosemary puree with hamhock stock and haricot verts. The rabbit got good marks, but the garlic puree was called "very strong."

The Men have a braised haddock with a tomato and fig sauce over angelhair pasta. Where are the apples? Anyhow, Ramsey really liked the dish and the men won it, because of the overpowering garlic puree. Tenille put on her best "I told her so," in interview.

The men are off to Vegas. The women are unpacking deliveries and cleaning and prepping kitchens. Miserable.

It would have been less miserable if Tenille hadn't dropped the first box, full of lemons. That does not bode well. As the men partied it up in Vegas, the women worked a neverending day of torturous punishment, including a late night delivery of wine that they had to bring in.

And the men? VIPs in Vegas with a pool table and jacuzzi in their room.

Those poor women got woken at 1:15 AM by more deliveries. Tenille was the grumpiest of the bunch. The next morning, the women were not happy, and then the men rolled in, and Robert was still missing.

Suzanne was still getting on everyone's nerves during prep time. The men were feeling like a complete team without Robert. Then, righ before service, in walked Robert. No one was really excited to see him. Apparently, the docs told him he has a small heart for his body. Maybe that's because his body is grossly oversized. Seriously, I worry for him. Robert blathered on about being a coyote on his own and not caring if he was liked. He then was filmed chowing down on a hamburger. Good choice, Robert.

For the first time in Hell's Kitchen, they are having Chef's Tables in the kitchens. One table for each kitchen, with VIP guests from some of Ramsey's restaurants.

The Men (Dave) start out rough by not giving the chefs any choice of menu, but just announcing that they are getting rissoto. And Ariel? She was completely ignoring the VIPs until Ramsey gave her a verbal smackdown. She was friendly with them once she remembered she was there. The chefs eating in the Men's kitchen appreciated Dave's gumption for cooking with his injured arm, and he produced very good risotto. Ariel's appetizers were not as good. They wanted more salt. Eh.

The main dining room was getting served seemingly well. Van was up for cooking seafood, and bragged that he does fish in his restaurant all the time. He sent them out, but ending up getting one plate with wax paper or freezer paper or plastic or something sent back. Not good. And then it happened again. Ramsey gave them a good yelling at. Suzanne was what Sabrina called "fake busy," basically bossing everyone around and making people call back orders again and again... Sabrina then got slapped for putting new garnish in a dirty pan. That's not nearly as bad as the Men's team forgetting about their Chef's table. Van was sent to chat with them, and did a bad job explaining what everything was. I mean, a disasterous job explaining.

The women were pushing dishes out, but Robert was having terrible trouble with his station. He was putting out awfully butchered meat and got a spanking. The Chef's table in the Women's kitchen was happy, but Ariel was having a terrible time getting pasta out for the final two tables. Kevin didn't listen when Ramsey told him to stop and listen, and that didn't go over well. Ramsey shut down their kitchen, as the women finished their service.

Comment cards were read from the Chef's table. Unsurprisingly, the women's chef's table diners would be happy to return, whereas the men's chef's table diners said "Thanks, but no thanks." Dave's one-armed appetizers got him the dubious title of best of the worst, and it's his job to decide who is going up for elimination. Robert did a lot of cursing at others, and Dave was in a quandry. In the end, he put Robert and Van up for elimination. I think those are wise choices. Ramsey also pulled Andy up. Yeah, that's about right. Ramsey scolded Van for the plastic in the fish, but put him back in line. Robert did a lot of yelling and defending of himself and downing Andy. Andy accused Robert of saving all his energy for service. There was more cursing from Robert, but in the end, he was gone. Ramsey told him he was gone because he has more services in Hell's Kitchen than anyone else on his team, and his last dish was sent up raw, and that's just not acceptable. Ramsey seems to genuinely like Robert, and seemed sad to give him the heave ho, but in the end, it was the right decision. Now, I hope he can get himself healthy.

Do you think the right person went home?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Yay for a New Season - Project Runway

Ra'Mon Lawrence went to Med school, specializing in neurosurgery, and switched to fashion. I hate the superfluous apostrophe.

Logan is from Seattle, and called himself a guy's guy.

Johnny has tried out three times before. He had a meth addiction and didn't make it because of that. He's battled back, and makes nice looking clothes, so let's see.

Gordana is from the former Yugoslavia.

Malvin has some crazy hair. He likes to be androgenous.

Carol Hannah is a cutie. She calls her look pixie-meets-cocktail party.

I instantly dislike Qristyl because of her wonky spelling.

Shirin's name means sweet in Farsi. She likes designs with more than one use.

Nicolas is known in NYC as the feather prince, and likes lace and feathers.

Mitchell graduated from design school but is working in the business end now.

Epperson is tall and single-named, and has spent years dressing windows.

Christopher is from Minnesota. He did not go to design school due to a death in the family.

Ari likes to talk to her fabric.

Althea is a blonde bombshell. She's interned for Vivian Westwood.

Irina is a NYC girl and likes leather and her pocket dog.

Louise has a cute little bob. She's a vintage inspired gal.

Time for the rooftop celebration. Since this season was filmed so long ago, Heidi is not pregnant yet. She looked amazing and I loved her dress.

Their first challenge is introduced on the Emmy Red Carpet. They will be designing a red carpet event that shows true innovation and their own style. They get to the workroom, and are pre-assigned models. They have their measurements and have a two day time limit. Their budget is $200 for 30 minutes at Mood, and immunity is up for grabs.

Ari doesn't sketch - instead, she stood on her head. She wanted to meditate on the fabric. At Mood, she said she was going for weird hexagonal tesselation forms. Qrystal took matters into her own hands and bought her own scissors to cut her fabric when there was only one guy cutting. Stupid Q or not, I respect that.

In the workroom, Johnny was struggling and felt that he wanted to throw in the towel. I hope not. Tim came in to give him a pep talk. I swear, Tim is better than a therapist. He's like a fashionable therapist. Go Tim! He gave him the Make It Work, and Johnny went back to work.

Christopher has never heard of smocking before. Tim entered to do a look-see. He warned Christopher that he is going to have to be careful with styling. Ari's look worried Tim, and he said he worried it was going to end up looking like a halter diaper. Ra'Mon doesn't want to give his girl a big butt, and Tim agreed. Mitchell was doing a ton of smocking, and called Tim Mr. Gunn. That was cute. Tim let him know he can be called Tim, and worried about making his outfit more modern. Qrystal wanted more input from Tim, and Tim was less forthcoming than she'd like.

Enter models! Mitchell's model card didn't fit with his model and that was sad. He basically had to redo the whole thing. His leftover fabric is similar to pantyhose. Not good. He's scrambling.

Guest judge for the Runway is Lindsay Lohan, pre her latest bout with insanity.

Althea's dress looks like a prom dress gone wrong. It's creamy and ruffly on top and shimmery silver on the bottom. I don't dig it.

Gordana's dress looked a little tight but interesting.

Malvin's dress was neat and had a swing to it. It didn't look that well constructed.

Mitchell's dress was like an Elizabethan take on the toga. That poor girl. It was so sheer as to be embarassing.

Louise's dress was very shimmery and I liked it.

Christopher's dress was very neat. I liked it a lot. Very interesting.

Ra'Mon's dress is neat, and I liked it. Not sure how different it was.

Shirin's dress has a shawl that opens up to another part of the skirt. Very cool. I liked it.

Epperson's dress was dramatic and I like the kind of eggplant color.

Irina's dress was neat, but looked a bit like a night gown.

Ari's garment was nowhere near red carpet. I feel sorry for her model's hair.

Johnny's dress had fabulous color. I didn't like the shape at all.

Carol Hannah's dress was really neat. I loved nearly everything about it.

Qrystal's dress was ridiculously 80's. I mean, like something you would see on 227. Not good.

Logan's dress was a little too long it seemed. The dual fabric in the bodice was neat, though.

Nicolas's dress was a little blah. Didn't do much for me.

Shirin, Epperson, Gordana, Carol Hannah, Logan, Althea, Nicolas, Irina, Melvin, and Louise are all safe, middle of the pack-ers.

Qrystal was asked which award show they would be going to. She suggested the Emmy's, and thought that Miley Cyrus would like it. The front is called a mess.

Christopher's model is going to the VMA's, and Heidi liked the dress, but didn't love the bottom fabric. Michael called it cute and edgey. Lindsay also liked it.

Ra'Mon's dress was for the Oscars. Michael wanted him to pump it up and not be safe. Lindsay liked it. Heidi thought it looked like more than $200.

Ari wanted her ... dress... to be going to the VMA's in 2080 and then go accept her Nobel Prize afterwards. The model looked embarassed. They appreciated her conceptual design process, but thought it was important to create something that people would want to wear.

Johnny's dress is for someone who is obsessed with the 20's and going to her movie premiere. I like it much less on second look. It was not flattering to me.

Mitchell's look was called completely unwearable, and Michael called it a cool nightgown. Heidi advised him to never completely trust a model's measurements.

The judges in deliberation wondered if Ari was taking the whole thing seriously.

Johnny is in, but not the winner this time. Christopher is the winner of the challenge, smocking knowledge or no. I'm glad that he won. His dress was really neat. Good for him. Ra'Mon is also safe, as is Qrystal.

It's between Ari and Mitchell for the auf. In the end, Mitchell's sheer debacle was more acceptable than Ari's quilted massacre of a look. She can go stand on her head on her own now.

Project Runway Allstar Challenge

Lifetime Television, how I have avoided you up until now. But Project Runway? How can I deny my love?


Jeffrey Sebelia (Winner, Season 3) - I still hate his neck tattoos. I just don't get it. He's a good designer, though. He's added a stupid mustache to his look, and makes music with his girlfriend.

Daniel Vosovic (Finalist, Season 2) - He's written a book on fashion and is working on his collection.

Korto (Second Place, Season 5) - She attests that she should have won. She has a line of bags and a line of jewelry, and is designing clothes, too.

Uli (Runner Up, Season 3) -She's been making clothes for high end stores and things for select clients, and the things they showed were gorgeous.

Chris March (4th, Season 4) - He's still doing costume design, and worked on design for Beyonce's tour, and designed some stuff for Prince.

Mychael Knight (Finalist, Season 2) - He's designing, and has a unisex fragrance called Magic.

Sweet Pea (5th Place, Season 4) - She's done one of a kind pieces and a limited edition collection. She wants to rule the world.

Santino Rice ("Breakout Star" Season 2) - He called himself the breakout star, that's all him. He is designing for exclusive clients, and from the things he showed, he is designing things that make skinny women look like they have giant thighs. Huh.

They got a note from Heidi to meet them on the rooftop. Tim is up there with her. Champagne Toast time! Heidi is pregnant (and fabulous) and has the fake champagne. They all size each other up, and then Heidi and Tim tell them about their challenge.

They have to design and create a mini-collection of 3 looks, to show their evolution since the show. The winner will get $100,000.

And Holy Cow, Santino is tall. Super tall. Like probably 7 feet tall. He towers all over everyone.

They have a new workplace and it is beautiful. They each have a personal work area. Tim entered and told them that one of their looks has to be Red Carpet worthy, and they have $1200 to spend at Mood. They had some time to sketch, and Chris took the time to take a little nap.

They have 45 minutes to shop. There was some mix up with leather between Uli and Sweet Pea, and I think they worked it out. Time to sew! Turns out that Sweet Pea and Uli bought some of the same color pallete and similar fabrics. Santino is not only ridiculously tall, he is ridiculously loud and distracting. Korto called him a fool. He also broke out his very admirable Tim Gunn impersonation, but I still want him to shut up.

The next day, Tim entered and told them they had an addition to the lounge - a tv. Turns out, their Red Carpet look is for none other than Nicole Kidman. Shut the f up! (She's looking fab in her red hair instead of the stupid blonde she's been sporting). Well, their Red Carpet look is for the premiere of the movie Nine that she is working on. Maybe for her, maybe not. I'm still thrilled that she's got red hair, at least temporarilly.

Tim did a run through of the work room and was surprised to see Uli skip the prints, but seemed to like it. He was worried that Sweet Pea's stuff was kind of drab and "home sewing." Chris had one piece done which was really beautiful. Daniel is nervous about doing a red carpet look, because he usually does every day clothes. Mychael calls his own color story random, and Tim is concerned. Mychael gets the first Make It Work of the season. Did he spell his name with a Y in his season? I don't recall.

Next is model casting. Chris was falling asleep again. Does he have narcolepsy? Each designer picked 3 models and 2 back ups. Uli and Sweet Pea were fighting over models.

Santino broke the needle in the serger. What a mess. He fixed it by the next day, but still lost a lot of time.

Uli's models didn't show for her fittings. Sweet Pea's models were also no-shows, but one finally showed. Uli's models are not available for fittings, and the backups were also not available. She fitted the clothes on herself and hoped that they would fit the models.

Tim came in for a Gather Round. He told them that they had a dinner reservation for them for the night. They all flipped out because they wanted more time, but he said that they would have more time the next day, and called it a forced celebration. Forced happiness ensued, and they were enjoying dinner when Tim showed up and told them that they have an additional look and, in true PR tradition, they can use raw materials from the restaurant to make their look. They trashed the place. Ripped it to shreds. I wonder how much PR pays for that kind of thing. They had 5 minutes. Tim told them that 25% of their new look could have some of their other fabrics. Uli worried that they wouldn't be allowed back to the restaurant.

The fourth look needs to be innovative made from materials from the restaurant. Their hair and makeup people showed up for consultations.

Tim came in for a look-see about their 4th look. Uli admitted she was a little screwed. Others had not done so much with their 4th look, either. Sweet Pea seemed to be doing some neat stuff. Korto was using SOS pads on the shoulders. Umm... ok. Daniel found some weird tubing in the back and was doing something with that. Mychael seemed to not know what he was doing so much. Tim gave them a perfect Tim Gunn pep talk before leaving them for the night.

Korto's 4th look involved glue and rocks and beads. Santino was like a fabric store explosion and didn't have much done.

The morning of the Runway show, they all seemed to have a lot to do. Sweet Pea said she only had to steam one dress. Chris just had to take a nap. Tim looked on in wonder at the sleeping beauty. Models showed up and they were dressed and put into hair and makeup. One of Uli's models is not coming. Good lord. Poor girl. She's got her back up girls, though.

Runway Time!

Nina and Michael Kors joined Heidi, along with Diane Von Furstenberg.

Santino's first look was a disco rama and his second look looked like an ill fitting space suit. The 4th look was probably the best. The dress looked like something a hooker would wear on a good night. Seriously, his fabric choices were poor and tight and too shiney and not at all pleasant. I hated it.

Mychael's first look was a mini dress with pockets. The 4th outfit made a tornado of plastic on the bust. Weird. The other two looks were very 8-'s ina weird and unpleasant way. The fushia dress was maybe ok.

Uli's first look was very ruffley and very differnt. It was very feminine. The next one featured a ruffle in a weird place over her chest and stomache that made it look like she had something to hide. The third dress was kind of lovely and simple in a sleek way. I actually really liked the 4th look, and it had a lot of neat textures.

Korto's first look was an intersting asymmetric bodiced little hot pink or red dress. I can only assume the jewelry was from Korto's own collection. The construction seemed good. The next look was a high waisted pair of pants and a cropped vest. I didn't like the fit much. The restaurant challenge 4th look was really interesting and I liked it a lot. Her last look was an intersting print that didn't seem to go with the rest of the collection.

Chris' 1st look was ruined. He took the beautifully constructed jacket that Tim liked som much and paired it with a grey hoodie and bright orange leggings. Really awful. And she had the hood up. It was terrible. He did the same thing with the second look exceot paired it with fuschia leggings. The 4th look was actually the neatest, but I hated the giant pointy Madonna boobs. His last look (presumably the Runway look) was kind of neat, and was worn by Mountaha from Make Me a Supermodel! Neat. Unfortunately, it looked like she was wrapped ina tablecloth.

Daniel's make up look was cracked out zombie. Weird choice. His first look was a bathing suit and a puffy shiny skirt. His second look was a pair of yoga pants and badly fitting top with a weird vest. The Restaurant challenge was just bizarre with a zipper straight down her ass. The last look, the Red Carpet look, was pretty awesome.

Jeffrey's sequined green dress was very short but interesting. The shimmery second dress was pretty neat, too. The third look was oddly harem pant-y. The restaurant challenge didn't go with the rest of it and looked a little desperate.

Sweet Pea's first dress was kind of neat and pastely, and it was leather! The second look (worn by another Make Me a Supermodel Alum - Jordan perhaps?) was very Eastery and had a kind of 20's feel. The Restaurant look was akin like a flower pot on the model, and it didn't fit very well either. I really dug the Red Carpet Look. It was sleek and pretty. The whole collection looked kind of washed out, though.

Mychael's Red Carpet dress got good marks. The bright yellow and teal dress was a miss for Diane, though she liked the restaurant dress.

Nina missed Uli's colorful spirit.

Jeffrey's collection was called unfinished.

Santino's use of metallic lycra was questionable. Dianne called it a little vulgar.

These 4 have the lowest scores and none of them are winning.

Chris was flabbergasted that he was among the top. He was going for updated retro. The judges really liked the stupid looks with the leggings. Nina did not like the red carpet dress that poor Mountaha got stuck with.

Daniel's cracked out zombie in the Red Carpet dress was a favorite. It's the only look I liked in his collection.

Korto wanted to celebrate the women's body, and Michael liked the assymetry in the bustiers. Heidi really dug the Restaurant Challenge dress.

Sweet Pea's collection lived up to her name. Diane loved the Restaurant Flower Pot, but also called it a little homemade looking. Heidi said that the collection is not particularly her style, but she thought that it would be popular.

I think Korto should win, just for the way that Restaurant Challenge dress turned out. Heidi objected to Daniel's first model not wearing a bra. She notices such things. Michael thought that Daniel has grown the most as a designer since his time on the show. Heidi appreciated the wearability of Korto's clothes. They loved her Restaurant look. Sweet Pea's message and humor were appreciated.

Chris is not the winner. I'm glad because I don't like the encourage leggings. Sweet Pea's collection was not sweet enough. She's out. It's down to Daniel and Korto. Daniel's new confidence showed though and he was called innovative and modern. They see great talent in Korto, and loves how impeccably her clothes are made, and loves how wearable they are. The winner is Daniel, and I am really sad for Korto. I liked Daniel's Red Carpet dress, but didn't like much else in his collection. Korto was sad to be Bridesmaid and never the Bride again.

Now, for the real season to begin...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Yay for a New Season - Top Chef: Las Vegas

A new season of Top Chef (I don't count Masters) and I'm so excited. Padme!!! So much better than Not-Padme! Tom back on a regular basis! Cocky new cheftestants! And, what's this? Brothers? Very cool.

And it's in Vegas, baby.

Kevin is the first chef we meet - he got a full scholarship to MIT and ditched it for culinary school. Wow.

Preeti is next, and she didn't get much intro.

Ron grew up in Haiti.

Cheftestants arrive in droves. Eve is from Michigan and feels out of place.

Mattin is from France.

Eli works in Atlanta, and he loves to cook and eat.

There are three people from Atlanta!

Ash is the only one from NYC. And he also claims to be the only one with a same sex boyfriend.

Jesse did not go to culinary school and is highly pierced, tatooed and superstitious.

Jennifer Z. is also superstitious and is heavily tatooed and a mama.

Jennifer C. is from Philadelphia and claims to make boys cry.

Bryan is from Maryland and likes to always learn.

His brother is Michael and he became a chef because his brother was a chef. They live far away from each other and haven't lived together in a long time.

Mike and Ashley got quick intro interviews, with very little else about them.

Laurine is a caterer.

Hector is struck by Padme's beauty.

Enter the Top Chef Kitchen!

Hello, Padma and Tom!

Quickfire Challenge: They will be competing in teams of four, mis en place relay race!

Enter Show Girls! They will be drawing poker chips for teams.

Robin (who we didn't see before) drew the only Gold Chip and got a pass on the challenge, and immunity for the elimination.

The relay - shuck 15 clams, then peel 30 prawns, clean up 5 lobsters, and butcher 2 chops from prime rib.

Preeti was nervous about shucking clams. She was trying to open them like oysters, and that's not the right way. Jessica Z. cut herself shucking clams and got a glove. The black and blue teams are way out in front and Preeti's inability to deal with clams cripples her team. Jennifer Z.'s clams didn't do the green team any favors, either. The frenched chops were amazing and brought the blue team victory.

To determine the winner of the Quickfire (individually), there will be a cookoff between the members of the Blue Team, and the winner will get a $15K chip from the resort. Robin has the opportunity to trade in her immunity to compete for the $15K, and she decides to not trade it in.

They have 30 minutes to cook a dish featuring the ingredient they prepped for the relay race.

Jennifer C. made a clam ceviche

Mattin made lobster with bay leaves and star anise.

Jesse made shrimp grits with polenta

Bryan made a crusted rib eye with caramelized celery.

Tom picked Jennifer's dish for being clean and fresh, and Jesse's dish for having a lot of flavor for a half hour. Jennifer was the winner. Good for her.

For the elimination challenge, they will be cooking according to a vice. Robin decided to cook with the blue team. Wolfgang Puck is the guest judge. They each have $150 and 30 minutes at Whole Foods, and 2 hours to cook the next day.

They are cooking at Cut, Wolfgang Puck's restaurant at the Palazzo.

They are cooking individually, against the other members of their team, I think.

Gayle, Tom, Padme, and Wolfgang Puck are the judges.

The first group is:

Mike's vice is hot temper and his foul mouth. He cooked an Olive Oil poached halibut (to represent a bar of soap to wash out his mouth) over an eggplant puree.

Eli's vice is arrogance, drinking, and bitterness. He did a Buttered Scoth with Scallops, cashews and beer powder.

Ashley's vice is red wine and bourbon and she made a chicken liver ravioli with red wine demi-glace.

Hector's vice is smoking and he made a smoked ribeye with carrot puree & ceviche of celery.

Bryan's vice is bourbon and a cigar. He made a NY Strip Steak with parsnip puree and bourbon reduction caramel.

Mattin's vice is stubborness. He made a Buffalo Rib Eye with Madeira sauce, zucchini and mashed potatoes.

Jennifer C's vice is alcohol. She made a poached halibut with whiskey, bourbon, scotch and black peppercorn sauce.

Jesse's vice is also alcohol and excess. She made a Braised chicken with a whiskey reduction and yukon gold potatoes and a fried egg.

Robin's vice is pork (she said "I'm a bad jew" lol), and her gastrique didn't make it on the plate. She made a pork tenderloin stuffed with chorizo and green chili bread pudding.

Ash's vice is procrastination. He made a poached halibut and a ratatouille with parsely coulis.

Jessica Z's vice is her hot temper. She made a chile rellano stuffed with seitan and tomatillo salsa.

Ron doesn't know what a vice is, I think. He made jerk bass with collard greens and haitian hash.

Laurine took the vices literally. She made bacon and donuts with a chocolate and beer sauces.

Michael V.'s vice was a tribute to the plastic surgery in Vegas. He made a rack (of lamb) with coconut sauce and cauliflower gnocchi.

Preeti's vice is a Maker's Mark Manhattan. She made a pork tenderloin with bourbon sweet potato puree.

Eve is too complicated. She made a sauteed shrimp and scallops in a curry cream sauce.

Kevin's vice is procrastination. He made a Artic Char with Turnip Salsa Verde.

The judges had some good comments - both positive and negative. Honestly, I'm not feeling that great, so I'm not typing them out word for word. Sorry. I'll do better next time.

Judge's Table.

Back to the Judge's table first are Ron, Mike, Kevin, and Jennifer C. Each of them had the best dishes of their groups. Wolfgang particularly loved Jennifer's fish, but worried about her drinking habits. Tom was confused by Ron's definition of vice. Kevin's procrastinating char was the winner in the end.

Hector, Jennifer Z, Jesse, and Eve were sent back next. They had the least favorite dishes in their groups. They wanted Hector's dish to be smokier, and questioned his idea of deep frying his steak. Eve's dish was called underspiced. She said that she toned it down, but toned it down too much. Gayle thinks that she missed the point of the challenge. Tom said right off that the scallops weren't seared properly, the shrimp were overcooked, and the sauce wasn't good. Jessica's chile rellanos were clunky and not great. The judges didn't like the seitan. They wanted something that was tastier. Jesse's chicken was dried out and that was a problem. Wolfgang told her to work on the dish and it could be a great dish some day.

The judges appreciated that Jesse knew what she had done wrong. They thought that Hector was the worst of a pretty good group. Padme called Jennifer's chile rellano a vegan bar midnight special. Gayle really didn't like Eve's sad seafood, and her incomprehension of what she had done wrong was baffling.

Who is gone? In the end, the seitan was Jennifer's undoing. She stuck to her guns, saying how bold her choice was. I guess she didn't cook it with bold enough flavors, and that was what counted. Goodbye, Jennifer Z. Now, I won't have to use Jennifer C.'s last initial. I love eliminations like that!

Do you think the right person went home?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Hell's Kitchen: 8.18.09

Ramsey started out with a pep talk to Amanda, who he is concerned about. The guys (led by Robert) were full of cockiness. Tenille is pissy about being up for elimination.

The challenge is about a low calorie option - each team needs to make three dishes (one appetizer, one entree, one dessert) and the total calorie count for the whole menu needs to be under 700 calories. Awesome. Everything is weighed and calculated by nutritionists.

The men work in team - Kevin & Robert have appetizers, Van & Jim on entree, and Dave & Andy are on dessert.

Sabrina is excited because she works at a health club and spa and knows about calorie counts and the like. She helps with menu planning.

Van wants to do a pork chop with soba noodles and it's way too many calories. They trimmed... and the women got to cooking. Sabrina ended up helping Amanda a lot on dessert. The women seemed to be doing a beautiful job.

The men ended up at 597 calories. The women came up to 694 calories.

Tenille brought forth the women's appetizer. It was a beautiful looking seared scallop with a mango chutney. I want some. It got great reviews from Ramsey. The men have a Grilled Key West Seafood Salad. It was also called nice. Ramsey called it a tie.

The women's entree was cottage cheese and mushroom stuffed pork chop. Ramsey liked the portion size and loved the taste. The men brought up pork cutlet with soba noodles and brocollini. It was a tiny portion. Ramsey called it boring in terms of moisture. The women won the entree round by a wide margin.

Desserts are up. The women brought up a watermelon fruit bowl with lemon ricotta cream and coconut milk. Ramsey liked it a lot. The men produced an eggwhite crepe with berry compote and a cream on top. Ramsey likened it to bad hospital food, and the women won this challenge hands down. All three of the women's dishes are going on the menu. The men have to shop for ingredients and prep both kitchens. The women get to go to Venice Beach with a volleyball lesson from a famous volleyball player. They got rides to the beach in convertables. Jean-Phillipe met them at the beach, and their volleyball teacher is an Olympian. coool!

And the men going grocery shopping? They have to go on a weird 6 person bicycle. I think I've seen the like on The Biggest Loser before. They men looked miserable going up the hill.

The women bonded at the beach and enjoyed cocktails. Back at the dorm, they got Vitamix Blenders and cookbooks from Ramsey. Nice.

Men returned from grocery shopping to prep and Robert looked like he was about to die. He went to see a medic. Back to the hospital he went. I don't know who's bright idea it was to put the guy who was medically evacuated last year on a strenuous bike ride, but I don't think it was the best idea ever. He is in the ER and is missing the service that night at least. It's even teams for service.

Andy had problems right off the bat with Ramsey's accent. Ariel, meanwhile, was failing at scallops. They were inedible and she had to start over. Jim's appetizer in the men's kitchen was awful peppery risotto. Ariel's second scallop attempt was good. Tenille had way too much spinach and wasn't cooking to order, and then took offense when Ramsey was mouthing off at her. That's what he does and she needs to get over it. Jim's next rissoto was also awful. Kevin called it foul. It was bland, and Ramsey called it an insult to the grain of rice, and akin to babyfood. Not good. Tenille's portion sizes continued to be a problem. She didn't have enough mashed potatoes and got yelled at again. And ... Oh. No. She called Ramsey crap when he called her crap and he booted her out of the kitchen, much to the other women's consternation. Ramsey continued to yell at Tenille, who was totally pissed off. He let her get back into the kitchen and she returned pissed off and hopefully motivated to do better.

Jim meanwhile was still zombie-like on rissoto. Chef Scott ended up taking over. The men finally got some apps out. The women moved onto entrees, but Sabrina ended up with missing chicken. Not good. And Dave? He cooked the wrong garnish. Oh, not good.

Sabrina found some chicken but couldn't carve it properly. And Andy still couldn't count. He also couldn't cook fish. The women also sent out some raw pork. That is not good at all. That was Sabrina's fault. She said "Oopsie Doopsie" in interview. That's one way to put it. Or trichanosis. That's another.

Andy went to the other extreme and severely overcooked some halibut on his next try. Sabrina had more trouble with lamb temperature and was arguing that the customer was wrong about her meat temp. He shut down the kitchens. Both teams are deemed losers. One person from each team will be nominated for elimination.

The men consider putting Robert up for elimination because he missed the service. That's a cop out. The women put Sabrina up for elimination. The men put Robert up. Or, as Van said "I'm trying to figure out where Robert's at." Ramsey told them that they need to choose someone who was there. If Robert is not back by the next service, he's out. The men then put Andy up.

Sabrina said that she is a team player, and said that she doesn't quit. Andy "owned the piece of crap" he did tonight, and admitted that he has troubles with Ramsey's system and Ramsey makes him nervous.

Ramsey vetoed both of the nominations and evicted Jim, saying he can teach someone how to cook, but he can't give them heart. Best quote in a long time - "You're not the Tin Man, and I'm not the *bleeping* Wizard of Oz."

Next week - will Robert be able to return? Am I the only one who wishes he would get himself on The Biggest Loser or something similar before he dies?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Top Chef Masters - 8.12.09

Right off the bat, Not-Padme is ready to tell them all about their Quickfire. (It's their last one - the finale has no Quickfire). Time for the blindfolded taste test! They have 20 ingredients to identify. The chef with the most gets 5 stars, the next 4, the next 3 1/2, and the last 3.

Michael is up first and floundered on non-Italian ingredients. Hubert seemed to do ok. Rick was bold, but missed a lot from what we saw. Anita blanked on a lot of them, but got a couple of the harder ones (poppodums and dashi).

Hubert got 5/20, Rick got 6/20, Anita got 6/20 as well, and Michael got 7/20 and won the challenge.

For the Elimination Challenge, they have to "hire" staff, made up of prior Top Chef contestants, to help them with a buffet lunch for 200 Hollywood people the next day. They get 2 minutes to interview each chef before making decisions.

Michael was an ass in interviews, and demanded that people tell him is name and how to pronounce the last name. It was childish, in my opinion.

Michael had Brian, CJ, and Fabio.
Rick had Richard, Betty, and ... someone else who I barely remember. Dave?
Anita had Jamie, Dale, and Ilan.
Hubert had Spike, Antonio, and Elia.

Once teams were picked, Rick let people contribute ideas. Anita asked for ideas but didn't really want them. Hubert asked his sous chefs for input, too. Michael didn't have any interest in knowing what his sous chefs though.

They split teams up, $2000 between Restaurant Depot and Whole Foods, and then they have 3 1/2 hours to prep.

Back at the kitchen, there was a spat about fridge space. Michael, of course, got into it with Dale, and Dale certainly didn't like it when he was called "young man." I want Michael to win much less now, after seeing how he acts with people.

The next day, they had 2 1/2 hours prep. And, Not-Padme entered with a twist... the party location is changed, and they have to pack everything up in 30 minutes and move to their new location, where they will have their 2 1/2 hour prep. Chaos ensued. Their stations are outside, which is a blow to the chefs. AND - everyone has to cut one person. Michael dropped Brian, Hubert booted Spike, Rick got rid of Betty, and Anita got rid of Jamie (who was taking too long for prep, in Anita's mind)

In the end, Anita served an Asian Raw Bar with lots of sauces and a couple other things. The raw bar made people nervous.

Michael served a very Italian buffet, with risotto, shrimp, swordfish, and a couple desserts. Gael Green's hat wasn't sure about the texture of the swordfish, calling it like old swordfish.

Hubert served an 18 dish buffet which got very good marks from the judges.

Rick did a Mexican Food Buffet, including Richard Blais' liquid nitrogen avocado ice cream. The judges seemed very pleased with his dishes.

At Critic's Table, Rick said that he loved working with his sous chefs.

Hubert had a super complicated menu and he did that on purpose. They loved it.

Anita's ribs got good marks. The raw bar, not so much.

Michael's shrimp was called unnecessary, and the swordfish had a "curious" texture, which Gael Green's Hat called furry and mealy. How unappealing. He is also unable to delegate anything to his sous chefs.

Rick and Hubert have the highest totals for the night, so they are both safe. That's about right!

Rick's total was 21 1/2 stars. Hubert's killed it with the critics and got 5 stars from all of them, bringing his total to 22 stars, and his charity (Make a Wish) got an extra $10K.

Anita got a total of 17 stars, and Michael got 19 1/2, so Anita is gone. Doesn't change the fact that Michael acted kind of badly with his sous chefs. It was Anita's time to go, though.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Top Chef Masters - 8.11.09

(I'm late, this is from last week's show)

Next round of the Champions Round!

The chefs entered the kitchen and saw a table overflowing with burgers and fries. Not-Padme introduced them to their Quickfire. They have to make burgers. Hubert sells a $5000 burger at one of his restaurants. Crazy. They also have to make a side dish. Spike from Season 4 will be judging them, along with Sang Yoon, who won best burger on the Today Show, and Morgan Spurlock, of Supersize Me fame.

Everyone worked on their burgers, and Anita decided to make a cheddar soup with mini burgers.. hum. Not the best decision, I think.

Rick did a Queso Fondito burger with 3 kinds of guac. Seems like the 3 kinds of guac was overkill.

Art made a corncake burger with fried green tomato chips. They seemed to like it.

Michael made an enormous hamburger with yukon gold potatoes and truffle something.

Anita made a cheddar soup with grilled burger and ketchup croutons, and onion rings. No one seemed to like it. Someone called it a Wish Burger. As in - I wish there was a burger.

Hubert made a Beff and Roquefort cheese burger with caramelized onions, with yukon gold potatoes. Didn't get grand reviews.

Hubert got 3 stars. Art got 3 1/2 stars. Anita got only 1 1/2 starts. Michael got 4 stars. Rick also got 4 starts.

For the elimination challenge, they will be catering a lunch party for Zoey Deschanel. I love her, but she's a nut when it comes to food. She is a vegan, and she is gluten intolerant and doesn't eat soy. No wonder she's so skinny.

They have to do lunch for 20 diners, and each chef is in charge of one dish.

Art went easy and bought rice ice cream, because he doesn't know how to make rice ice cream himself. Rick was helping out in ingredient help, because he is more familiar with the kind of restrictions. Michael found a quinoa pasta, which is gluten free. It's all about being flexible when your diner isn't.

Rick is making fresh corn tamales with black beans and mushrooms. Looked good.

Hubert is making a White Gazpacho, Timbale with avocado and asparagus, and a red beet salad.

Anita is making a spicy grilled eggplant with lentil salad, Indian style.

Michael is doing Quinoa pasta, salsa verde, and some pine nuts and meyer lemon.

Art has a strawberry soup mixed in with his rice ice cream (which he didn't like the texture of alone), and an almond brittle.

Zooey Deschanel is a huge fan of Top Chef, and is excited to have someone other than her mom cooking for her.

I love that these chefs work together, instead of sabotaging each other.

Hubert had a couple of his glasses of gazpacho fall over, but luckily, he had some extra. The diners liked his soup a lot. His avocado thing fell a little flat. Gael Green's hat loved the beet salad.

Anita's fish was kind of monochrome and black. Some of the diners thought it was a little overseasoned, and the lentils were a little "sturdy." That's a nice way to put it.

Michael's pasta dish was welcomed by Zooey, who missed pasta. Gael Green's hat had never heard of quinoa pasta before. Zooey said she wanted to go hug Michael for making her pasta.

Rick's tamales were called probably the best tamales Zooey had ever had. Good job, Rick.

Art's rice ice cream with strawberries, and strawberry champagne soup and almond brittle did not go over super well. Zooey prefers coconut milk ice cream, and while the brittle went over well, one diner said it felt like it needed more fat.

Time for Critic's Table!

Gael Green's hat picked up on my monochrome criticism for Anita's dish (and she left the eggplant sitting in oil overnight so that it sucked up the oil. Yuck.)

Art was criticized for buying his rice ice cream and then doing something lackluster with it. They were impressed with the butterless brittle (so was I)

Hubert ended up with 19 stars. Michael got 22 stars. Rick got 19 stars. Michael is the winner this week, and his charity gets an additional $10K. Anita's dish only got 2 1/2 stars from the diners, and it didn't get so much better from there. Her final total was 13 stars. Ouch. Art got reamed by the critics for buying the ice cream, and ended up with 12 1/2 stars, and he is out. Anita survived only because of Art's supremely poor performance, not because her food was anything to write home about.

Hell's Kitchen: 8.11.09

Problems with Dave's immobile thumb abound, before the first challenge. Ramsey is joined by a soldier's wife. The next night, the Cheftestants will be cooking for a welcome home party for his husband.

Robert and Suzanne were called to learn some things about the soldier's likes and dislikes. Each team has to come up with 2 appetizers and an entree. Robert and Suzanne are to debrief their team with Natasha's (that's the wife) thoughts.

Whichever team wins will have their menu for the party. Robert did a good job letting people what the Staff Sergeant likes. Suzanne didn't do nearly as good a job in communication.

Red Team presented a Caesar Style Salad with baked prawns. Natasha liked it.

Blue Team presented a spicy seafood style bouillabase. I think Natasha liked that more.

Natasha picked the Red Team for the first dish.

Second dish -

Red Team's next dish is Bacon Wrapped fillet with grilled shrimp.

Blue Team's next dish is Four Cheese macaroni, Stewed collard, grilled catfish.

The Blue team takes that one.

Entrees -

Red Team - broiled lobster tail with pasta.

Blue Team - Grilled lobster tail with steak.

Since Natasha had said that grilled lobster tail is something she couldn't live without at the party, it is no surprise when she chose the Blue Team as the winner. Their menu is on for the party.

As a reward, the guys get to be fighter pilots for the day. Fun.

The women will be redecorating the dining room for the party. Not so fun.

Ramsey's wife (who is a hottie) is going to be party coordinator for the event. How come it took him so long to pimp her out on the show? She's very precise.

My husband wondered if Robert would be able to get into the cockpit of the fighter planes. I didn't see him up in the planes, but if he couldn't do it, I'm glad that they didn't focus on it again.

And the women? Playing with helium.

The men have to teach the women their recipes, and there was sabotage galore. Ramsey will not be ok with the sabotage, I don't think.

Time for the party!

Super heartwarming when the soldier came in (it was a surprise party). His mom (who he hasn't seen in years) is the special surprise VIP guest. Fun.

Time for the cooking.

The Blue Team (Ben and Andy on apps) seemed to do very well and sent things out. Sabrina was having troubles getting stuffed mushrooms out not cold. Ramsey was really peeved because he sent the other apps on the table without the mushroom she claimed was on it's way, and it was cold. Table not served together = not good.

The men finished their appetizers quickly, and Jim is on the grill to work out the entrees. After the women finally finish the apps, it's time for Tek to be in charge of the grill. Tenille tried to help her organize her grill, but Tek wasn't interested in help. She needed help. It was bad. So bad. Ramsey was pissed. She finally got some help (well, they tried to help).

While the men's team was doing great, Dave was having troubles with his hand. Andy was more nervous about Dave's hand than Dave seemed to be. Ramsey was picking on Jim some, but Jim seemed to be doing well. Kevin looked to be taking some credit for Jim's work.

The men finished out the entrees and started on desserts and while Tek finished the steak, the surf and turf was missing the surf, and Amanda sent up raw lobster. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Because the women couldn't get their acts together, Ramsey sent the men (who finished their service) into the Red Kitchen to finish out the service.

Obviously, the men were the winners of the night, and, as Ramsey noted, had two injured men.

When Robert wins, he's hilarious. When he loses, he's unbearable, but when he wins.. it's funny.

The women put Tek and Tenille was forced to tell Ramsey that the team decided to put her up, too. She let him know that she thought it was a load of crap. He also thought it wasn't a great decision, and pulled Amanda down, too. After he gave Tenille a chance to tell him why she thought it was a crock that she was sent up, he put her back in line. She's safe.

Uh oh. Amanda started crying. That's never good. Still, Tek was a mess tonight. Blessedly, she's gone.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Finale Alert: So You Think You Can Dance 8.6.09

The finale group dance is a re-do of the painting come to life piece from earlier in the season. Fun. I think they might have changed it up a bit to fill the bigger stage. Whatever they did, I liked it. It was very good. What a strong group this is! The final four got to be center-stage at the end.

Cat looks like she wrapped herself in her bed sheet because she was running late for the show, but at least she got hair and makeup done admirably.

Seven choreographers are in the front row with Mary and Nigel. L'il C, Mia Michaels, Tyce Diorio, Debbie Allen, Adam Shankman, Mary looking like she robbed a jewelry store, and Nigel, to be exact.

The other choreographers are in the audience, not deemed important enough for the judge's panel perhaps.

Montage of the season to here, ridiculously untalented and talented alike. This is me fast forwarding.

Recap of last night. Fast forwarding some more, since I just rewatched it with my daughter an hour ago.

Now, each choreographer on the judge's panel gets to pick a favorite routine.

Adam has chosen Phillip & Jeanine's hip hop, Mad by Ne-Yo, choreographed by Tabitha and Napoleon. Good choice.

Nigel's favorite dance was the Argentine Tango with Janette & Brandon. Fantastic choice. I wish Janette had been in the finale instead of Kayla. I still blame that terrible Celine Dion solo.

Debbie Allen's choice is Louis van Amstel's Waltz with Asuka & Vitolio. Not my favorite. Pretty, but kind of boring.

Mary's choice is Travis' Jeanine & Jason's contemporary. Yay. I love this routine. Go Travis. And go Jeanine & Jason. Beautifully done.

Mia's favorite dance of the season is Max & Kayla's samba from the first show. I wish Max had made it lounger.

For a bit of fluff filler, the final four got to join Kherrington for a showing of Fame. I'm a geek and want to see it. Probably not in the theatre, because I never go out to the theatre... but eventually.

Another of Debbie's favorites from the season is Dmitry and Tabitha & Napoleon's Latin/Hip Hop Group Number with the water table dancing (Calle Ocho). Nice. Very sexy.

The next guest is the winner of SYTYCD: Australia, Talia Fowler, choreographed by Sonya. She's a ballerina who proved to be, like Melissa, very versatile. She was very good, but I would have liked to have seen this routine danced by any of the top 3 girls this season...

L'il C chose Jai Ho as his favorite. Awesome. He used a lot of big words to describe why he loved it so much. My husband said it was his favorite dance of the whole season.

Time for some of the business at hand. The Top 4 take the stage (and what's this? Evan in the costume from The Butt Dance... I can guess what's coming!) and Kayla comes in 4th. That's about right, I think, for the favorite dancer of the season. She's right up there in quality, but she was missing some spark of personality for a long time. I think she easily has a super bright career in front of her. She'll be on broadway and in movies, no problem.

Adam's favorite dance of the season is Mia's Butt Homage routine. Awesome. Go Evan & Randi!

Mary's favorite is last night's Pasa Doble. Awesome. Go for it, Jeanine & Brandon.

After that gorgeous dance, Evan joined them on the stage to find out who is in third place. It's Evan, and I am unsurprised. He's so gosh darned lovable.

Nigel's next pick for favorite moments was when Mary admitted to heavy botox usage. For a dance, it was the Addiction dance. Is he saying that Mary is admitted to botox? It's Kayla & Kupono, and I was hoping to see it again.

Special guest act - choreographed by Tiffany Burton, the Rage Boys Crew. hey are so good. I skipped watching them before. The littlest ones are especially impressive, especially when they tossed one of them across the stage. He lost a tooth since their performance on the show from doing a back handspring off the couch. So don't try this at home, kids.

(May I just say that I am happy that there was a grand lack of Crump etc. this season? Thank you.)

Brandon & Janette's disco was Tyce's favorite. Awesome. Again, I wish that Janette had been in the finale instead of Kayla.

Mia's next favorite is Tyce's breast cancer dance. This one is winning an Emmy. Melissa & Ade are amazing. Turns out that Tyce's friend that he choreographed the dance for learned that she is cancer free today. Amazing news. Heartwarming. Cat looked like she was about to break out in tears announcing the dancers. I got chills over and over again watching them. Just simply astounding.

Next, it's a routine choreographed by Mia (the One routine), with the Top 8 dancers, and some very "special" performers - the judge's panel is missing, so I think they are making an appearance. And I am right. The Final 8 went behind their mirrors and revealed the judges to dance the last bit. It was very cute. L'il C was not there that I could see. And the crowd went crazy... padding, padding, padding. And here I am allout of buffer with which to fast forward...

Finally, it's down to Jeanine or Brandon. But first - recaps of their journeys thus far. And then, the winner is...


Yay, yippee, and good for her! And I like her because she thanked the Academy. She thanked her mom for making her continue with dance. Cat asked her what she is going to remember most, and she said "well, there's this right here." She said the whole thing was incredible. And so it was.

I'm so thrilled that there is a new season starting again in less than a month!

Here's waiting for September 2nd!

(And see, American Idol? This is how you make a live show end on time. They even had a couple minutes to spare. Cue superfluous shots of confetti and Jeanine freaking out.)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Hell's Kitchen: 8.4.09

Sorry I'm a day late.

After no one got sent home last week, there were a lot of sore feelings and lots of people seemed to want to send people home. Ramsey noticed that they weren't comfortable with each other, and wants people to be able to work together.

He paired up some people who don't get along -

Tennille & Suzanne, Van & Andy, Robert & Jim, Arielle & Sabrina, Kevin & Dave, Tek & Lovely, with Amanda sitting out (and none to happy about it)

Scott and Heather brought in a rack of sausages, and asked Tenille how thick she likes her sausage. Uncomfortable giggling, and Tennille said that she doesn't like sausage. He asked the guys the secret to good sausage, and Van said it's to hold it steady and pump it slow and easy. More giggling. Ramsey likes a 6" sausage, and showed how to make a good batch of sausages... and it was a little suggestive. Size matters, and everyone has to make 6 lines of perfect sausages (36 sausages total).

Tenille & Suzanne managed to work really well together. Kevin & Dave (the injury brothers) were the first ones to get some done. The other ladies flew through theirs. Robert & Jim had issues, with popping sausage skins. The men tied it up, but the women seemed to be about to bring in the win... until they hit a bad link. It didn't trip them up, though, and they brought the win in. Good for them. Robert & Jim sucked and didn't get any made at all.

As a punishment, the men have to scrub and clean the dorms. The women get an Oktoberfest style party.

Robert and Kevin got into it with each other. Robert is pissed at losing.

At their party, Tennille recanted and professed her love of sausage.

And back cleaning, Chef Scott got into it with Robert, who broke things in frustration.

Prep time, and the men were full of injury. Dave got a call from his doctor, and he is supposed to go into a long arm cast with no thumb movement. Meeting with Ramsey, he decided to stay on, cast and all. (It's on his non-dominant hand). I give props to him for that determination.

For the service, each team has a greeter who will welcome, present an amuse bouche, and go back to their sections. He put Arielle and Jim out there. The restaurant is full of celebrities tonight - Drew Lachey, Kristy Swanson, Tom Green, and more.

No other food can leave the kitchen before the amuse bouche is served. Arielle did a great job and got back to the kitchen quickly. Jim is slow slow slow and was lollygagging.

Suzanne was getting in Tennille's face, and it wasn't really necessary, but I think that Suzanne meant well. Tek's cappelini, though, was sent back because it tasted like a salt lick. Tennille helped Tek out when she flipped out about getting food back, and managed to fix the salty pasta problem.

The women finished the appetizers while the men were still working on it, but Lovely had an undersalted entree, which Amanda hopped in and helped to fix.

Over in the men's kitchen, Kevin cooked some perfect fish, but Andy couldn't get his meat done. On top of that, he butchered some chops very badly and it was ridiculous. He continued to get things wrong, and Robert lost it and was yelling loudly enough for the whole dining room to hear, and Ramsey had to talk him down.

The women seemed to be doing well, except Lovely couldn't remember menu items. Great. Good job.

Andy finally got some lamb out (to Tom Green). And the women? Suzanne had some bad butchery going on. Both kitchens had 3 tickets left (good service!) and Ramsey rallied the troops, telling them that whoever finished first would win. The men were about to send out their last table, but there was some raw meat, and Chef Scott got into it with Andy again.

In the end, the men sent out their last ticket first, and the women lost it because of their sides. Suzanne asked for a play-by-play, to see who she could blame, and Ramsey told her to suck it up, because they lost. He declared Sabrina the best of the worst, and told her to go nominate two people to put up for elimination.

Sabrina put up Tek and Lovely. Good choices. Ramsey pulled Suzanne down, too, and asked who she would send home. She said she would send Lovely home, and Ramsey agreed with her and Lovely is gone. Yippee! She was incompetent.

So You Think You Can Dance - 8.5.09

The final 4 dance!

Cat is Solid Gold, Baby. Her hair looks fantastic and shiny and slightly wavy. Lovely. Unfortunately, her dress, when you go to a full body view, looks like a bath robe mixed with a potato sack, all in sequined gold. She could have done better.

They are in the Kodak theatre for the final performance show. What fun.

The Top 4's enry solos are very good all around.

Adam Shankman is joining Mary and Nigel tonight.

Final Top 4 Group Dance - with Wade Robeson. They are playing football jocks hitting on cheerleaders, who end up being more than the jocks can handle. Fun. The song is Boys Boys Boys by Lady Gaga. They all got to act some, too. It was cute. I especially liked the bit with the boys and the pom poms. It was a really fun dance, and they danced it super well.

Jeanine & Evan (Contemporary, choreographed by Sonya. Song: Heartbreaker, by MSTRKRFT, feat. John Legend) It's about a man who's trying to keep his girl, and she has had enough of him. She gets to get violent with him, and it looked like she had fun in rehearsals. Poor Evan. I like Evan when he's got the pinked up hair. It's cute. It's fun choreography because he is so into her and she's just tossing him around. Well acted, really well danced. Evan brought it and Jeanine was right there with him. Adam said he never saw Jeanine coming, and she has dominated every week. He says he never saw Evan in the Top 4, and now the show will never be the same. He called Evan the molehill that became a mountain. He complimented Sonya for choreographing to their strengths. Mary thought that they were a great partnership, though Jeanine stood out a little, and Evan was no punching bag. Nigel said that since the stage is so enormous, they have to bring the dance to the stage. He thinks that Jeanine was great, and didn't think that Evan was quite there, but thinks he could get there if he keeps it up.

Cat had sit downs with each of the final 4 before their solo. (Well, the interview was done back on their normal stage) Brandon is first. His entire body is in pain, but misses Janette, and loved their tango most of all. Cat asked the Mia question. He was happy to have proven himself to her. Time for his solo - He went skin to win again, this time in prison striped shorts. It was pretty good, but I hated the music, which sounded like a cd skipping, and distracted me from the dancing. Adam thought it was a take no prisoners solo, but didn't get the board shorts. I'd agree. Adam called it a bit frantic, but wished Brandon luck. Mary got goosebumps from Brandon, and said he is born to dance, and broke out in tears. Nigel agreed with Mia's current thoughts on Brandon and said he is outstanding.

Brandon & Kayla (Broadway, choreographed by Tyce Diorio. Song: Bye Bye Love, from All That Jazz) It was a really fun routine, with kind of a hard hitting vibe. Brandon did this one move where he spun Kayla round like the hands of a clock, and it was impressive. They both did great. It was a hit routine from Tyce's sometimes hit and miss playbook. Adam got up and jumped around when asked how it was. He said that he saw the two of them in the finals, and thinks it is heaven to see them dancing together. Mary did some screeching and called them rockstars and dance stars and said that they have never disappointed. Nigel said that they just showed whey they are in the top 4 and loved their side by side pirouettes and then he did some sucking up to Tyce, and said he's named after a cookie. There's another blogger I read (on HitFix) who calls Tyce "Toasty Oreo," so I wonder if Nigel has been reading the blogosphere. If he's reading my little blog now - Hi, Nigel!

Time for Cat's sit down with Jeanine! Her mom pushed her to keep dancing when she was a child, even though she went through a time when she didn't like it so much. She bemoaned the Russian Folkdance, but loved the contemporary she had with Jason choreographed by Travis. That was an insanely beautiful routine. She also brought up that their kiss at the end was not choreographed! Nice going with the flow, girly! For her solo, she brought some fun tango to it, rose in teeth and all. What fun. She had a beautifully controlled pirouette that was really impressive. The judges gave her a standing ovation. Adam loved the pirouettes and said it was a risky solo and she killed it. In a good way. He threw some love at her, but didn't like the flower, saying she is the only beautiful thing that was needed on the stage. Mary said that she saw Jeanine coming, and thinks she is peaking now, and loved what a great partner Jeanine is. She said that the solo was the best thing she's done on the show. Nigel said it was a brave solo and she pulled it off, and placed her securely in the final 2. That's a mighty big thing to say when there are 2 dancers left to do their solos.

Evan & Brandon (Pop Jazz, choreographed by Laurieann Gibson. Song: Nasty, by Janet Jackson) There were some points where they were not in sync and I don't know if they were supposed to be. It was a fun routine. Adam said that Evan got a little dusted on the routine, and I agree. He was really sad when the audience booed him. He said that Evan's natural sweetness was still there, and it felt like the nasty was a character, while Brandon's was all nasty. Mary then said "Evan, what's the nastiest thing you've ever done?" And yes, it sounded like a dirty thing to ask. He is just sweet, it's hard to see him as nasty. Mary also gave the routine to Brandon. Nigel said that Evan's work ethic is beyond reproach, but he's just way too sweet and doesn't have a nasty bone in his body. He said poor Evan just didn't sit naturally in the routine, and on top of that, Brandon outdanced him. I would agree with both of those statements.

Kayla & Jeanine (Contemporary, choreographed by Mia Michaels. Song: The Four Sections IV, full orchestra, by Steve Reich) It's a journey, and with every step they shed a layer, from one side of the stage to the other. It was the most complicated strip routine I've ever seen. Jeanine seemed to get caught in one of her snaps a couple times, but they both danced it beautifully. I would have prefered something a little less weird. Adam said it was like watching the world's longest wardrobe malfunction. He called the piece special, but I'm not sure if he meant that in the good way. He said it was a trifecta, of the two of them, and Mia, and said it was absolutely beautiful. Mary said it was a relevant routine, and loved the layers peeling off, and looked about to cry again. She said that the two of them are the strongest two women ever in the final 4. Nigel likened it to the Two Princes with Neal and Danny. He said it was a modern version of the dance of the seven veils, and wanted the routine to go on longer (or maybe more clothes to come off?)

Evan's turn for a sit down before his solo. We remembered Evan's brother (hope to see Ryan get through to the fall season's Top 20). He misses his family. He thinks that people call in for him because he's different, and said his favorite routine was the homage to the Butt. That was a fun one. Solo time! It was very cool and very very Evan. He did a funny bit with his hat at the end. I love him. He is so charming. Adam said it was like a variation on his audition piece, but says that what Evan does, he does unbelievably great. Mary said that the solo brought the unique Evan-ness to the stage, and said he has inspired young people to remember the style of Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire. Nigel thinks that Evan brings the "Awww," factor to the show. As in, isn't he adorable. He doesn't think that Evan has grown enough on the show, and doesn't think his solo is as strong as Jeanine and Brandon so far. The audience loved it, though. I agree - not as strong, but oh so wonderful.

Evan & Kayla (Jive, choreographed by Tony & Melanie. Song: T.R.O.U.B.L.E by Travis Tritt)
Kayla is wearing cowboy boots, and Evan is wearing heels, too. He had some fun lifts and spins with her, and it was a really fun dance. I think that Evan again had trouble getting the quick flick in his feet like he needs for a dance like the jive, but what do I know. Adam threw out the love for Tony and Melanie, but wasn't sure it was a finale level choreography routine (and he got booed again). Mary thinks he just hates country. He loved the lift series and thought Evan had good bounce, but didn't think it was competetive. Mary sucked up to the choreographers, but brought up again the fact that Evan wasn't getting the kicks in right, and thought they were two dancers dancing in their own worlds instead of using each other for power and speed. She thought that Kayla stole the show, though. Nigel thought they both came out with guns blazing. And then, oy! The crowd started chanting for Evan. Nigel wondered where Kayla's personality has been all season, because it's here tonight. He thought Evan's retractions were fine. Hmmm.

Kayla's interview included crying grandparents (in a good way). Montage of Kayla's awesome comments from the judges. She loved the addiction routine with Kupono. I would agree. That was incredible. Her solo is to Sweet Dreams, which will always be the Table Routine to me. It was a less flaily and better thought out solo than she's had in a long time, but I think Jeanine's was stronger. Adam said he solo was fine, but thinks that during the season, but thinks that she has joined Travis, Will, and Danny as some of the best dancers in the country. Mary thinks Kayla has been touched by an angel, and loves Kayla's lines and legs. Nigel thinks that Kayla has had a hard time because she's gotten so much love from the judges, the voting people are lacadasical about her. He thinks she justly deserves to be in the Top 4.

Brandon & Jeanine (Pasa Doble, choreographed by Louis Van Amstel. Song: Tetsujin, from The Matrix Revolutions) Finally a good Pasa this season!!!! This was awesome and Jeanine has some great feet! I've been waiting and waiting for a good, powerful, passionate pasa doble, and here it is. Adam says that the transitions and the small bits were full of the intensity and the movement and power and strength that needed to be there. I agree. Mary gave a Mary Scream, and sucked up to Louis and almost started crying. She said that the portrayal of the pasa doble was perfect. And then, good lord, she screamed them onto the hot tamale train. Nigel then had a little scream off with her. He said that they carried off the pasa doble perfectly. He got a little dirty old man and wanted to do things to Jeanine. He said that these two are just edging out the other two for the top spots tonight, and I would agree.

All done - who do you think is going to win it? I actually think that Jeanine has a really good chance for winning it, and I hope she does. They are all great, though, so no complaints at all.

Cat asked the judges who they think is going to win. Adam couldn't choose. Mary followed suit in indecision. He called Evan a lovely lovely lad, and reminds us that Ryan is coming in the next season. Nigel went right out there and said he thinks that either Brandon or Jeanine is going to win it.