Episode 2 came and went yesterday and the producers thought it might be fun to put an emphasis on one of the contestants' rant on the inequality found in the institution of marriage pertaining to the gay community. All this because the contestants were asked to--horrors!--cater food for a poolside bachelor and bachelorette party. Come on! Gay contestants on Top Chef are certainly not a new phenomenon but Ashley's passionate but slightly overplayed rant grated on my nerves a little. All I was interested in was to see what kinds of unique dishes the chefs on the show came up with and not listen to some holier-than-thou socio-political statement from someone who already knew a wedding challenge was in the cards coming into the show. I believe in equality and all that but this is a show about chefs and cooking. Let's try to keep politics to a minimum, shall we, Mr. Producer?
OK, that's the end of my own rant! And I do apologize. Let's just move on to what I love about the show--the preparation of food and the interesting personalities.
It might still be early but this episode unfortunately shone the spotlight on how weak the female contestants are compared to their male counterparts. I came to this conclusion not because the guys won the elimination challenge but the overall ideas, creativity and execution of most of the guys' dishes were much superior. The women stuck to tiresome tried and true appetizer ideas while the guys managed to push the envelope just a little further. About the only woman with any sort of talent is Jennifer.
But I digress. Let me backpedal a little and talk about the Quickfire Challenge. Each contestant was asked to roll two dice at a craps table and the total sum of both dice would represent the number of ingredients that each of them would have to use for their dishes. In this case, it would be better to roll a smaller number due to the complexity of marrying the flavors of too many ingredients. And to jack up the stakes even further, the winner walks away with $15K. This being Sin City, I'm sure we'll be seeing more and more gambling props used in future challenges.
The Quickfire was won by Mike V., one half of the Voltaggio brothers, essentially one-upping his older and more successful brother, Bryan. However, the tables were turned later on when Bryan notched up a win of his own in the Elimination challenge. Hector, sans a deep-fried steak, redeemed himself with a unique take on tofu, although his tofu ceviche dish didn't really made any sense to me. Kevin made another good impression but not enough to land him in the top 4. Ashley created a nice watermelon appetizer that the judges liked but made the mistake of adding an extra, unneeded panna cotta dessert that fell flat, dropping her into the bottom 4. And for the second week in a row, both Jesse and Eve went up for elimination again. Jesse escaped elimination last week because she knew what she did wrong with her chicken and admitted it. This time, she also knew that she made a mistake but can admitting her faults save her yet again? Well, just by the skin of her heavily tattooed arm, Jesse gets to stay for another week and Eve and her knives were sent packing.