Thursday, August 27, 2009

Top Chef Las Vegas - I'm Not Ready To Play + 10Arts

I was mad that they started Top Chef Las Vegas on the SAME night as the finale of Top Chef Masters. I needed a break from all that worrying if my favorite chef was going to win. Plus in the beginning episodes, there are way too many folks to remember.

After one week this is what I know:

  • These folks are real chefs. Thank goodness.
  • There is one total loser (sorry, but it’s true), who looks like total hang dog - Eve.
  • There are two brothers, one of whom looks exactly like Josh Lucas. Actually, they BOTH kinda do.
  • There’s some guy, I can’t remember who…he says he’s gay. Whatever.
  • There’s a Frennnssscchhh guy with a cartoon accent.
  • There’s one gal with huge unsightly tattoos.
  • Most can cook and, by the complexities of the dishes, I think this season will be far more interesting, culinarily speaking, than previous ones.
  • The one to beat seems to be Jen, the chef de cuisine at 10 ARTS, owned by Eric Ripert.
  • Jen should have won the $15,000 chip, but some guy did.
  • The other thing I learned is that many of them like to drink A LOT, A WHOLE LOT.

By the way, I've been to 10ARTS. It's kind of weird, because it's in the lobby of the Ritz Carlton in Philadelphia.

It DOES have the most beautiful bathroom, though (off the lobby):

I don't remember liking the food that much, but it looks okay here:

After two weeks, this is what I know:

  • There are 3(?) gay chefs - one man and two women.
  • One of them, Ashley, is pissed off that they have to cater for a bachelor/bachelorette party. She thinks because SHE can’t get married that it’s wrong to make them cater that type of event. (THAT makes no sense. Of course, she should be mad about the issue of gay marriage, but cooking for a bachelor party isn’t exactly the same as cooking for the Ku Klux Klan, so I don’t really get her.)
  • Also after week 2, these appear to be the top chefs so far - the two brothers, Jen and bearded Kevin.
  • Eve got sent home. It's really better for her. She was NOT coming off well.
  • Oh, and it looked (again) like Jen should have won the $15,000 chip, but one of the brothers did.


Nandini Vishwanath said...

How I missed you Sue! I'm going to catch up on your other posts, especially the Masters ones! I felt good after Bayless won it coz I didn't really have a favorite. I like all of them :)

About this - Yay, I'm following it. I HATE Mike Isabella. Can I say that again? I HATE Mike Isabella!!!

That bearded guy, Kevin reminds me of this cute geek with brilliant ideas who 'may' get panicky in the end, but my money is on him. He is from Atlanta ( yay!) and has a great restaurant here. Apart from that, I love that Eric Ripert's sous chef - is she Jen? I like how she is so practical and does what I expect contestants to do. Worry about food! I saw on the promos for the next episode too, how she asked everyone to shut up and concentrate on food. Shows that she really runs a kitchen!

And the brothers. I wish they wouldn't constantly harp about beating each other, but I must say they're good.

Preeti Mistry - :( As a fellow Indian, am a touch disappointed. But then, who knows, she may do a Carla on us. ( As long as she doesn't do a Radhika!)

Ok, will you block me from commenting after this?

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

They have to stop putting this show on so late. Every time I try to watch it, I fall asleep in the middle. I depend on reruns and recaps.

The uptight lesbian kinda pissed me off. Not that I don't agree with her position, but you can't avoid weddings if you're in the food business, so you had better learn to suck it up. If the bride and groom were religious fundies who said to her, "I think you are an abomination and you should never be allowed to marry," I could see her point. But as far as I could see, no one involved with the show had an expressed problem with gays, so why make an issue of someone else's wedding?

Tom said...

@SDOC -- I didn't see the show. It sounds like her reaction may have been strong. And I assume the "clients" never did anything to her specifically, so you face the choice as a professional of accepting an assignment or not (obviously, not in a show like this). But let me tell you, I totally feel for her. Check out this article from today's Washington Post -- This is the kind of crap we face when we try to build the kind of life you take for granted every single day.

I find it more difficult each year to put on a happy face for weddings, and although I would never turn down a friend's invitation and am of course happy for them, it is extremely hard not to resent the fact that my partner and I have had to pay tens of thousands of dollars for documents that are a pale imitation of an attempt arrange our lives the way yours is by simply paying a small licensing fee. And all of this can be undone if our families weren't so nice and welcoming.

Sorry, Sue, I don't want this to delve into political commentary, and I won't do it again. But I had to say something.

Sue said...

Hi Nandini!
I don't actually know which one Mike is, but I'm sure he's horrible. I think you're right about Kevin. That's cool that you know his restaurant.

That's so funny what you said about Preeti. We haven't seen her that much, but she's definitely no Radhika (thank goodness).

I would never block you!

Rach, I wasn't mad like you were about Ashley's attitude. I just agree with you that food service may not be the exact right place for her. But she could find a really great niche, catering for gay weddings.


I really hope I didn't come across as not caring about the issue. I do. I think it's so obvious that it should be non-issue. I can't imagine why anyone would want to stop anyone else from expressing the desire for a lifetime commitment to another person (as CRAZY as that may be for gay and non-gay folks alike). And it IS such an abomination that gay people can't enjoy the same, easily obtained rights as non-gay spouses. IT MAKES NO SENSE. If someone doesn't believe in gay marriage, then that person doesn't have to marry a same sex partner!!!

Interesting article. But that guy is so obviously a wolf in sheep's clothing that I can’t believe that anyone takes him seriously. I KNOW people do and it IS an outrage. Okay, y'all, don't get mad by what I'm about to say. It's not ALWAYS the case, but as soon as I see home schooling, I know those are not my people. Those are usually people who hold themselves apart as having higher moral standards, except I believe their moral standards are severely challenged by not giving every person in our society equal legal rights.

Having said that, I think Ashley would be perfectly justified in not wanting to participate in a catering job for that psycho Natiional Organization of Misfits, I mean Marriage. THAT would make sense. And maybe Top Chef should get with the times and cater a gay themed event.

By the way, my father is, among other things, a justice of the peace in a state that allows gay marriage and a great supporter of gay rights. So give me a shout out and I’ll hook you up.

Tom said...

Sue, I definitely don't think you're uncaring! (I don't think Rachel is either, so sorry if I gave that impression). You're absolutely right, it should be a no-brainer. I included the article because it shows that even the Post tacitly accepts that believing it's OK to deny people rights is different from bigotry. They let that part slip by without countering it. Yes, it's a profile, but they wouldn't let it just go by if race or religion were substituted for homosexuality.

Anyway, a shout out to Andy Cohen at Bravo for keeping the issue in the episode.

Cy and I will be attending our first gay wedding in Provincetown in a few weeks. We've been to commitment and civil union ceremonies, but this is the first wedding. I expect to clutch the pearls and bawl my eyes out!

Kathy and Judy said...

Sue, Mike Issabella is the smartass they show after every commercial talking smack about, well, everyone else. I hate him too, and I hope he leaves fast! I so want to see someone rub his face in the dirt (and I'm not a violent person, really...)

I completely agree that marriage between any two adult humans who are capable of making a contract ought to be a TOTAL non-issue. But I got her point the first time the gay cook said it, she didn't have to go on and on about it!! And of course, that was thanks to editing, too.


DebCarol said...

Great recap Sue. In these early days it is a bit confusing. I do like the later ones better when it is down to 6 or less competing. But I have to admit there are alot of strong personalities & looks like tons of talent so should be interesting season. But there is no one (never will be) like Carla from last year. I still think about her with a smile.

Sue said...

Love ya! And have a GREAT time. I've only been to one gay wedding and it was the most fun ever. The dancing was a blast!

Wow, Judy!
You know if you hate that guy that much, they'll probably keep him around just to annoy you.

And yeah, it IS all in the editing. For all we know Ashley is a prim and proper DAR member, and they just spliced her words together to sound different. NOT!

Hi DC,
How's your summer going? (I know that sounds like David Letterman, but I really want to know.)

I actually think about about Carla too sometimes. I do love her spirit, but please don't tell her I said this...I think this group has REAL cooking chops and her homey comfy type dishes wouldn't hold a the judges anyway.

Read this article to see what she's been up to:

Shays’ Rebel said...

Nandini, I hate Mike Isabella, too.

This looks to be the best season ever! I wonder if I say that every season. I can’t remember. Anyway, the chefs seem more talented than ever, and are much more interesting. (Hosea and Leah, ZZZZZ.)

Weren’t there two Jens at first? The first woman eliminated, the say-TAN girl, wasn’t her name Jen?

I actually LIKE political statements at “inappropriate” times and places as long as they are short and not preachy or speechy. The people who would use force, coercion, laws, amendments, and possibly incarceration to dictate marriage mores to others say “man plus woman equal marriage…” and there they stop. Why not use the coercive State to pass laws against divorce, since the Bible does not allow for divorce except for sexual infidelity? One of the three preachers mentioned in Tom’s link, John Hagee, had an affair with a younger woman and divorced his wife to marry her. James Dobson’s son is divorced. Why don’t these same preachers agitate for laws to force THEMSELVES to obey God’s Word as they would force others?

Anyway, I really liked the two shows so far. Sue, what does your bookie say?

Sue said...

Hi SR,
I forgot to say that...that the people that fight the hardest for their narrow interpretation of marriage are often the ones that treat it the most loosely.

Yeah, Say-tan Gal (that's funny) was eliminated the first week. I totally thought it would be the downcast and browbeaten Eve. I am sorry she appeared that way and it was definitely a good thing she got out of there fast. They would have been kicking her around by episode 3 otherwise.

My bookie isn't looking into Top Chef. I'll have to ask him why not. He does think that Van is the likeliest winner right now of Hell's Kitchen, but since I'm not watching it, that doesn't mean anything to me.

Tracy said...

I'm rooting for a native of my area, Laurine. But right now she's in the middle of the pack. But I can't keep anyone else straight at this point.

Am I crazy or do I remember them catering a gay marriage type of thing? It certainly is a gay-friendly show. Maybe that's why they put so much about the reaction to the bachelor party.