Friday, February 25, 2011

Top Chef Power Rankings (02/23/11)

Well, my Power Rankings get rocked again. #1 from last week was sent packing. I was surprised he did so poorly in the challenge. When he choose Angelo I felt good for him since they basically cook the same food and Angelo would be a great chef to have since he is very quick at prep work. Alas, Dale got overwhelmed by the amount of people at the event and undercooked his potatoes while over seasoning his crouton. He was sent home and we have a new #1 this week.

Overall I didn’t think the challenge seemed too hard. The southern style might have thrown some people off, but I think it was the amount of food the chefs had to prepare in the short amount of time that really hurt them.

In the Finals

1. Richard Blais

Richard, who apparently reminds Fabio of his ex-wife, won the elimination challenge and conceptualized the quickfire’s winning dish. Based on his good performance, he has vaulted to the top spot. If I could gamble on this, I would put my money on him. If I could choose the field or him, I’m taking him. With Angelo and Dale knocked out in consecutive weeks, I see no real challenger to him. I am a little worried he is too intense and is going to over think one of his dishes these days. I also think he needs to lay off the liquid nitrogen a little bit to show he has a more rounded set of cooking techniques.

2. Antonia Lofaso

Anotnia had another top finish this week. She has been making good and simple dishes and is looking like a lock to make the finale. I think she’s the only person who has a shot to knock off Richard, but I don’t think it’s a very good one. I do think she’s a better chef then she gets credit for. She makes simple dishes that lack some of the pizzazz that the other chefs have. However, her simple dishes taste good and that’s the only thing that matters.

Pretty Sure they’ll make the Finals

3. Carla Hall

Carla had a 2nd bad week in a row including her performance in the quickfire challenge. I still think she has a good shot of making the finale, but she can’t keep making dumb mistakes. I think she was too worried this week that she was cooking southern food which is her comfort zone. She was worried that everyone was expecting her to knock it out of the park, and honestly, she should have. Maybe not a challenge win, but at least a good showing. If you can’t do well in your comfort zone, what are you going to do well in? I see her making the finale, but not a serious contender to win.

Might miss the Final

4. Mike Isabella

Congrats to Mike for winning his 3 competition ever in Top Chef history. All 3 have been quick fire challenges. the first quick fire he won was a cactus challenge, and he was the only chef to have worked with cactus before. This win, he was “inspired by” (blatantly stole) an idea that Richard had discussed with him that morning. I’m sorry, but Mike is no way clever enough of a chef to put the oyster part of a chicken in an oyster shell without being inspired by someone else. I’m glad all the other chefs know, I just wish Richard was man enough to call him out on it. On top of all that, Mike wouldn’t have won the quickfire if Antonia wasn’t an idiot and forgot to make a second plate. So this will go down as the lamest victory in Top Chef History (Is there a worse one?).Mike finished in the top for the 2nd time this season (lowest of the remaining 5 chefs and lower than 4 chefs who have been eliminated). He has cruised along only make mistakes twice to put him in the bottom. I see him having enough talent to outlast Tiffany, but not enough skill to beat any of the other 3 chefs in front of him.

5. Tiffany Derry

Tiffany was on the bottom again. She still hasn’t won and has been surprised the past two weeks when her name wasn’t called. She made it exactly this far last season, 1 episode short of the finale (and Singapore). I think this is where she stops again. I hope she makes it and Isabella doesn’t but not the way they have been performing.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Top Chef Power Rankings (09/16/11)

My How quickly things can change just that quickly. The Top 2 in my Power Rankings finished in the bottom last night and Angelo got sent home. Just like that, everyone moves to a different spot in the rankings.

The episode last night was pretty good. The Muppets doing the cookie challenge was a little too childish for me, but I’m sure some people got their kicks out of it. I thought the Target Challenge was a fantastic idea and a very demanding challenge. The strategy in it was compelling. Do you find food first and then go find the things you need to make the food, or buy as much cooking and chopping things as you can before figuring out what you can make. All the running seemed a tad unnecessary, but it looked like every minute counted.

1. Dale Talde

How can Dale jump three spots and become number 1? Yes I know the two previous weeks he finished on the bottom and very easily could have been sent packing on the Jimmy Fallon challenge. The reason I have him number 1 is for his wins. He swept the show last night winning both the quickfire and the elimination challenge, the first time it has happened this season. He has three elimination challenge wins which is tied for the most with Carla. He has won 3 of the past 4 quickfire challenges and has another team challenge win. That’s 6 individual wins and 1 team win. The next closest competitor is Richard with 5 wins (2 elimination, 1 individual qucikfire and 2 team quickfires).

2. Richard Blais

Richard moves up a spot based on a strong performance from him and a poor performance from Carla. I do think Richard tried to take a short cut on his Ice Cream “Cookies” and glad the Muppets called him out on that. Initially I thought Dale was going to win the elimination challenge, but after hearing judges table, I started thinking they were going to pick Richard because he was the only chef to get two proteins done, both of which tasted well.

3. Antonia Lofaso

This was the hardest choice of the power rankings. Should I have Antonia or Carla in the three spot? Carla was on a tear with 3 wins and 2 other top finishes the previous 6 weeks, but had an awful week this week. Antonia the past three weeks finished with a win and two top finishes. Based on the logic of what have you done for me lately, I put Antonia over Carla. Antonia has had a crazy season and has only had to not face the judges 1 time, week 1. Every week since then, she has either been in the top (5 times with a 1 win) or the bottom (4 times). If she can avoid the faults that put her in the bottom, she could move on to the finale.

4. Carla Hall

As discussed before, I was really tempted to leave Carla in the top 3. She is tied for the most elimination wins, but seemed so out of wack yesterday. I don’t understand why she spent so long shopping for stuff to make her table display pretty. The judges were served at a completely different table. She lost focus and wasted most of her night and was unable to get flavors to develop. Had she started cooking 45 min to and hour earlier like the other chefs, the food could have come out better. I never felt like she was in danger of going home, but if she loses her focus by that much again, she could be going home.

Chopping Block

5. Mike Isabella

Mike continues to cruise in the middle. Nothing to great, nothing too bad. If he wants to make the final, he’s going to have to start cooking better than just OK food. I don’t see the other 5 chefs making large enough mistakes to allow him to sneak in. He does need to stop acting shocked in the stew room at every announcement. Clearly you opinion is nothing like the judges so stop overreacting. Him still being alive shocks me, I expected him to be long gone.

6. Tiffany Derry

When Tiffany burst into tears at the judges table, I thought for sure she was going to be sent home. When she’s cooking she doesn’t seem to be emotionally worn down, but as soon as the confessional hits, you can see the back to back seasons are starting to take their toll on her. Angelo mentioned that as he was leaving, he’s done 40 some challenges all close together now, and it was taking it’s toll on him. I don’t see Tiffany lasting much longer for this very same reason. If she can somehow make it the next two challenges and make the finals. Some time off may help her regroup before the finale and my thoughts on her chances to win might change, until then, I have strong doubts.