Last night's Top Chef was the second New York episode, with all the attitude and bravado that implies. With two people cut from the first day, it looked like they were all waking up to the seriousness of the competition, all except Ariane.
Quickfire: Well hello, Donatella. I think this woman is one of the most underrated food people. She's serious and smart and way cooler than most of the fluffy cooking girls on TV. The fact that the cheftestants had to create hot dogs? Brilliant. Every food pilgrimmage I've ever made to NYC has always begun with a street dog, so I was excited to see what they'd come up with. This is one of those challenges that seems simple but has high expectations. How on earth did Jill think she could get by without making her own dog? And then, with all her leftover time, she just wraps it in rice paper? Quit your giggling, and buckle down. Stefan also fails with his "world dog," which is, of course, a total shock to his ego. Already he discounts the judges, "What do they know," wah, wah, wah. In the end, it's Radhika who throws down a Indian-inspired dog to win. I don't get why they had to cook against the actual hot dog vendor lady. If one of the cheftestants had put up the exact same dog as Angelina, they would have been ripped apart. I was secretly hoping that someone would put up a Biker Jim dog, one made of elk, split down the middle, and stuffed with cream cheese, onions, pickles, and pepppers. Best dog I've ever eaten.
Elimination: So now the kids have to cook a New American lunch. The term New American is kind of like irony, it's hard to define, but I know it when I see it. Really, it should have given them an open road, but it seems to have befuddled them. At the store, Hosea, who runs a seafood restaurant, chooses canned crab meat. Really? If you were at your restaurant and ran out of crab, would you run to the store and pick up canned crab? Where do their brains go? He could have easily changed up his dish. Jill picks up an ostrich egg and is still giggling in her dopey, pot-smokin' way, and it hits me that she looks like Anne Hathaway.
So the twists to this challenge are that they'll be cooking in Tom's Craft kitchen and that they'll be serving the NYC-based Top Chef rejects. Snap. I can't wait to watch the re-run just to see all the self-buffing comments by the wannabes. During the kitchen flurry, Ariane runs around and tries to get approval from everyone. Hate that. Doesn't she know that this is a competition? I would never sabotage someone, but I would let them fail on their own. She just doesn't have the guts for this game, no confidence, no self-possession. She's biding her time.
At judgement, it's Fabio and his wicked cool olives and carpaccio that wins. The losers are Hosea, Ariane, and Jill. If Hosea really tasted his dish and thought it was fine when every other eater found it nasty, he's not sleeping well tonight. Ariane's dish is way too sweet, which SHE KNEW but didn't fix. Luckily enough, Jill's doobie-lovin' laugh and lame giggle-speak defense of her dish was more than the judges could suffer for another week. Buh-bye, Anne Hathaway, Ariane needs to go buy a lottery ticket.