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Talk Back: Bravo's "Top Chef" Season Premiere

Just when Runway withdrawal hit an all-time high after last week's finale, Bravo kindly offered us another reality fix with the fantastic launch last night of Season Four of culinary competition series Top Chef. (If you haven't already read it--and shame on you if you didn't!--you can check out my advance review of the Top Chef: Chicago premiere right here.)

While I gave the premiere a glowing review worthy of a four-star dinner (even with the appearance of the icky Rocco DiSpirito), I couldn't of course divulge the identity of the ousted cheftestant, due to some confidentiality restrictions from Bravo, who had kindly provided me with the DVD screener. Fortunately, now that the episode has aired, I can talk about this thorny issue.

I completely agree with the judges' decision to have Nimma pack her knives and go and my reasons had nothing whatsoever to do with her anti-social behavior on the first night in the house. Seriously, I get that this is a competition but to not even attempt to get to know your fellow contestants? That's just asking for trouble on a series that often throws its players into team challenges.

While some other chefs clearly weren't up to the rigor of the head-to-head challenge this early in the competition (like Erik and that disgusting excuse for a "souffle"), Nimma made some grievous and inexcusable errors in the kitchen. During the Quickfire Challenge, her Hunter-style pizza with mushrooms, onions, and Stracchino cheese was completely undersalted. Excuse me, unsalted altogether (did she not taste the mushrooms?)... and then to add insult to injury, she completely OVER-salted her other dish later in the episode, rendering her shrimp scampi almost inedible.

I'm sorry but a chef who can't properly season her food (or can't be bothered to taste her food) clearly isn't worth her salt in the kitchen. Not to mention the fact that her cauliflower flan was a disaster from start to finish; her decision to transform it into a "cauliflower scramble" was an even bigger misstep. Ouch.

It's never easy being the first Top Chef contestant to be sent home but in this case there definitely was a clear loser in the first elimination challenge. Sorry, Nimma.

Next week on Top Chef ("Zoo Food"), the chefs head to a local Farmer's Market for seasonal ingredients for their latest Quickfire Challenge and then have to cook and cater an event at a rather unusual location. All this and guest judge Wylie Dufresne? I am so there.

What's On Tonight

8 pm: Survivor: Micronesia--Fans Vs. Favorites (CBS); My Name is Earl/My Name is Earl (NBC); Smallville (CW); Lost (ABC); Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? (FOX)

9 pm: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (CBS); Celebrity Apprentice (NBC); Reaper (CW); Lost (ABC); Don't Forget the Lyrics (FOX)

10 pm: Without a Trace (CBS); Lipstick Jungle (NBC); Eli Stone (ABC)

What I'll Be Watching

8 pm: Lost.

Missed last week's episode of Lost ("The Other Woman")? Here's your chance to catch it again before this season's sixth episode at 9 pm!

8 pm: Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares on BBC America.

On this week's installment ("Fenwick Arms Revisited"), Gordon Ramsay returns to Lancashire to check in on Fenwick Arms and discovers morale at an all-time low. (A hint to those with some major DVR conflicts: the episode also airs at 5 pm and 10 pm PT AND at 11 pm ET.)

9 pm: Lost.

On tonight's episode ("Jin Yeon"), Juliet tells Jin that Sun will need to leave the island in the next three weeks if she wants to live; Sun threatens to move to Locke's camp; Sayid gets a message from their "friend" aboard the boat not to trust the captain; Desmond and Sayid come face to face with the freighter's mysterious captain.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Nimma was definitely the right choice to send home. She lacked confidence in her cooking and (obviously) proper seasoning skills.

On a brighter note, I really enjoyed the first ep. and think this is going to be another great round of Top Chef. There seem to be a lot of talented contestants, though, no clear front-runners yet.

And I didn't mind Rocco so much in this episode, even if he was still orange-colored.
Giulie Speziani said…
I'm really glad the contestants got to bring their own ingredients. It brings something to the series.
As far as the leads, it's still a mystery. So far, no one stands out.
In all the other seasons, you could tell right away who would make it to the top four...here it's anybody's guess. Maybe by the second episode I can tell who has a solid lead which hopefully would a woman this time.

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