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Top Chef - Las Vegas - Ep. #11 - 11/11/09 (Spoilers)

OK, I fully expect there to be MANY comments re: the guest judge for tonight's Quickfire! LOL Nigella Lawson in one bed, Padma in the other, and the cheftestants serve them breakfast in bed. Have at it, guys! LOL

Interesting pairing - Robin vs. Eli, Michael vs. Kevin, Jen vs. Bryan.

So Michael's doing another banana puree? Hmm...and Kevin's dish looked HEAVENLY! Oops - did Bryan mess up with the vanilla?

Yup, I guess he did. Low = Bryan & Robin; and High = Kevin & Eli. The winner is Eli. Wow. He gets his recipe in the upcoming QuickFire Challenge Cookbook!

For the Elimination Challenge - they draw knives with LV hotel names on them. They have to cater a party at World Market for 170 guests of small plates inspired by the hotel names they drew. Going to be interesting!

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  1. So Michael gets New York New York - seems to immediately have a dish in mind.
    Eli - Circus Circus - he has no idea.
    Jennifer - Excalibur - she can't figure out what to do either. (come ON Jennifer - medieval times?)
    Robin has the Bellagio - wants to incorporate art into her dish.
    Bryan has the Mandalay Bay - sustainable seafood seems to be his focus.
    And Kevin - the Mirage. He didn't say much about his inspiration, except simple, straightforward food. Not sure how that will tie in with The Mirage, but knowing Kevin, he'll pull something out of his hat!

    9 Replies
    1. re: LindaWhit

      Brian is totally getting the "going home" edit...talking to his son on the phone, two interviews about how much he misses his family- I hope the edit elves are messing with us and its not Brian going home!

      1. re: karenfinan

        Do NOT say that! They *did* like his dish, thankfully....and Padma didn't like Eli's or Robin's dishes. I think they're definitely in the bottom - not sure who the third would be. Jennifer?

        1. re: LindaWhit

          Do they always pick three for JT? I thought so, but also thought so for the quickfire, but only two were selected for this one. Seems like the bottom two are clear, you're right- Eli and Robin, but not sure about a third. Frankly, I hope they skip a third if they don't really need to pick one, and just focus on the true bottom ones.

            1. re: karenfinan

              And Michael wins! That gives him 4 EC wins and 6 "High" positions. Lots of color on that progress chart! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Top_Chef...

              And Eli's getting bashed - could it be his turn before Robin? And Judges are even saying that Jennifer's hit a wall.

              Wow - I really think Eli's gone based on what the Judges are saying!

              1. re: LindaWhit

                I'm surprised too that Robin is gone after the bashing Eli received. Panna cotta is a very straightforward dish which Robin messed up. However, it takes years of experience to make a gritty, "I want to spit up", peanut soup... lol. I'm confused by the decision.

                1. re: dave_c

                  Based on comments, Eli should've gone home....

                  1. re: Ericandblueboy

                    I also thought Eli was going to go home based on the editing. I think Robin went home because Tom C actually liked Eli's dish (according to his blog). From past shows it seems that Colicchio's vote has the largest weight -- either that, or Colicchio does the best job of convincing others to vote his way.

                2. re: LindaWhit

                  Watching Robin in the QF and in the Elimination just got me yelling at the TV. Too bad they couldn't have eliminated both Robin and Eli. He will probably be the next, unless Jenn screws up.

        2. The original comment has been removed
          1. And it's Robin. I will be interested to read in the blogs how close Eli was in going.

          2. I have to say that the only reason for that brief interlude was to assure the Korbel product placement. Yuck.

            1. Michael won? With chicken wings? And a blue cheese disk that Toby said he didn't like the taste of? Really.

              9 Replies
              1. re: chicgail

                I was surprised at that as well. I will be interested to see what the blogs say. I really thought Kevin or Bryan had that one.

                1. re: LindaWhit

                  I thought for sure Bryan would win, esp. since they had featured him so much trying to make us think he'd go home. And yes, cuz Toby was so not into the cold blue cheese, I thought that would make Michael lose.

                  I'm really surprised Robin got the boot with the way it seemed as tho NO ONE liked Eli's dish (esp Nigella) but mostly just thought Robin's consistency was off. At least Eli didn't make a snide remark, altho there's always next week.

                  I'm sick of Jen. Let's see what happens with Kevin and the brothers. I hope he and Bryan are the final two.

                2. re: chicgail

                  I was rooting for Kevin (as always) but I did think that Michael's and Bryan's dishes were the two that best reflected the inspiration of their respective casinos...what does even a very nicely prepared salmon have to do with the mirage? I mean, they did show Kevin playing with the dolphins, but umm....dolphins aren't fish, of course.

                  When they first showed Bryan walking into the reef exhibit I yelled at my TV: "If you serve shark I will scream"...but fortunately, the small print in the exhibit encouraged him to serve a dish of sustainable seafood. I could also see the inspiration for that, and it looked delicious.

                  wings do say NY to me. Of course, I am not from NY....

                  1. re: susancinsf

                    I thought wings said "Buffalo," which admittedly is in New York State, but it's not New York, New York. Sorry, i just don't get it. While I obviously didn't taste any of them, I thought either Kevin or Bryan was going to take it.

                    1. re: chicgail

                      I remember reading on one of the blogs, maybe Tom's, that in these theme challenges you should just make your best dish and just make up some story. The food is what matters the story can just be an after-thought.

                      1. re: chicgail

                        My husband said - wings are not NY, NY - they are Buffalo ! How could he win with something that does not say NY NY?

                        1. re: jeanmarieok

                          I thought that, too, Jeanmarie, but Michael's inspiration apparently was the little fire boat in the moat at NY, NY. and he was thinking about firefighters, who probably eat Buffalo wings, wherever they are.

                          1. re: ChefJune

                            Since the link to the place only needs to be 'close', I suppose it's fine.

                          2. re: jeanmarieok

                            I think the challenge was to create something that was inspired by the venue. It doesn't have to be something directly related to it. Inspiration isn't always logical.

                    2. Again they showed Michael dissing Kevin's cooking (on upcoming preview) saying something like "I cook dishes like his on my day off". Not surprising his brother called him a d**k, he really does act like one. Obviously Michael feels Kevin breathing down his neck. Kevin seems genuinely nice and grateful for the experience and I don't recall him dissing other peoples efforts. I hope Kevin takes it all. Michael has an ego that needs to be taught a lesson.

                      13 Replies
                      1. re: Axalady

                        Kevin is this season's Stephanie. Neither of them said an unkind word about any of their competitors. I hope he wins this season.

                        1. re: ChefJune

                          Agreed. The preview of Michael dissing Kevin *yet again* really ticked me off. And I'd almost be fine with him NOT in the finale. I think Kevin and Bryan should be the Top 2. Not sure what's going on with Jennifer, unless she's hit that wall as Tom C. is now saying. If Eli gets into the Finale, then he's this season's Lisa, IMO. He just doesn't deserve to be there.

                          1. re: ChefJune

                            Kevin has been a class act all along. He hasn't said anything bad that's made the editing. And, I love how calm he is with his cooking and presentation, the antithesis of Robin.

                          2. re: Axalady

                            I thought that was really cheap when he said that. I'd eat Kevin's food over Michael's any day.

                            1. re: Axalady

                              I really don't care whether Michael disses Kevin's cooking (this ain't top humble chef). I thnk they're both talented but Michael has more tricks up his sleeves (so does Bryan). It'd be interesting to see either Michael or Bryan vs. Kevin in the finale because of their contrast in styles.

                              1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                Yes, Michael certainly does have more tricks up his sleeves, but a really great chef doesn't need to rely on tricks - Kevin is a perfect example of this. Kevin's food has real heart and soul to it where Michael's seems so heavily over-manipulated. Besides, there isn't a trick in Michael's repertoire that the judges haven't seen.

                                I'd love to see a Brian vs Kevin match.

                                1. re: Axalady

                                  <I'd love to see a Brian vs Kevin match.>

                                  Somehow, I have a hunch we will see that.

                                  1. re: Axalady

                                    Are you one of those people who think that no innovation is necessary or wanted? Those "tricks" are simply innovative cooking techniques. If used properly, makes the food taste better. If overused without thought, you'd get Marcel on season 2. I don't know why people think Michael is a one-trick pony. Everytime he disses Kevin, he's implying that he already mastered what Kevin is doing. Arrogant, possibly baseless, but there's no evidence that Michael can't cook just as well as Kevin even without his bag of tricks.

                                    1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                      I think most people's beef with Michael's comments is that he seems to assume that because Kevin isn't using advanced techniques his food can't possibly be as good as Michael's, let alone better. Using advanced techniques can make food taste better, but sometimes all they do is make food more interesting, which isn't the same thing.

                                      1. re: gastrotect

                                        I agree with everything you (Gastro) said. In fact, since they rarely taste each other's dish, Michael's complaints don't hold much water. My point above is that most people go too far by saying that all Michael can do is party tricks or that innovation CANNOT improve taste. In Tom's blog, he specifically said that Bryan's dish and Michael's dish are much better than Kevin's and that between the two - "Michael edged out his brother by taking more risks and doing something more interesting." I read that as saying if two dishes are equally good taste wise - the more interesting dish wins.

                                        1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                          To some, more interesting tastes better. To others more interesting is too different, therefore it tastes worse. So it is a subjective thing.

                                          what it all comes down to is whether you are eating for the sensual experience or for the intellectual experience.

                                          I sometimes like eating something for the pure sensual experience, the textures, the familiarity of the taste, the depth and breadth of flavors, the interaction of the different compoenents. While at other times, being challenged intellectually is what people are aiming for.

                                          I think where Michael gets it off kilter is that he is equating "better" with the pure intellectual experience, and that is not always the case. Both take skill and creativity, they are different dimensions of a very large subject.

                                2. re: Axalady

                                  That comment was particularly off-track because Kevin's dish as he described it was quite complex and sophisticated. He just doesn't go for gimmickly molecular gastronomy tricks, which Michael seem to think mark a top chef. I'm pretty sure molecular gastronomy will soon go the way of all food fads, especially as it is so labor intensive and reliant on expensive equipment. Michael will be be crying at home in his foams.

                                  1. re: Axalady

                                    The cool thing about that statement was that it was actually a backhanded compliment, though I don't think Michael meant it as one.

                                    I doubt michael meant to imply that he cooks bad food on his days off. Instead, he implied that Kevin cooks like a very skilled chef who is turning the over-the-top 'wow' factor down and presenting dishes that are delicious, simple, and immediately appealing. In comparison to Michael (not to most of us), that is what kevin is doing. And it's working.

                                    That said, I don't think Michael would be the chef he is without a degree of arrogance.