Top Chef 2: Episode 9

Filed in ReviewsTags: Food/Wine, Top Chef, TV/Cable

When we moved into our new place, I decided to get cable - mainly, for Steph since she is home all day. One of the unintended consequences of that decision is that we are now both hooked on Top Chef: Season 2. Steph has been reading the chefs' blogs, but I've not really had the time to read them. So, as dinner is finishing and we're waiting for tonight's episode, I decided to have a look.

In Episode 9, Michael won both the Quickfire and Elimination challenges, and Betty was eliminated. The Quickfire challenge featured colors, with each chef creating a dish around a designated color. The Elimination challenge featured the Seven Deadly Sins, with the chefs serving a seven-course meal, and each chef's course created around a designated Deadly Sin.

Michael won the Quickfire with a salmon-and-carrot-chip dish (for the color orange) and the Elimination challenge with Trout and Salmon with Basil Aioli and Asparagus (for Envy):


Envy: Trout and Salmon with Basil Aioli and Asparagus
Photo © Bravo

As the episodes have progressed, Steph and I both began to sympathize for Michael for being the underdog, and to despise Betty for her treatment of Marcel. We were both rooting for her to be the next one eliminated, but I would have been equally happy if Ilan had been eliminated for his complete lack of professionalism in this episode.

Colicchio summarized the Marcel situation well:

Marcel is the kind of guy who has probably pissed people off his whole life -- dating back to the playground -- without really understanding why or how. Faced with people’s negative reactions he lashes back in even more annoying ways, creating a cycle. Under ordinary circumstances, the others may have been willing to brush off Marcel’s irritating behavior, but with little sleep and mounting pressure, they’re regressing instead into a group of petty sixth-graders. This reached a head for me when I saw the group decide not to serve his dish during the dinner party (Elia was the lone dissenter in this). I replayed the episode to see what Marcel had done to spark this little mob mentality, and realized he hadn’t done much, other than speak forcefully. Obviously, the group was primed to be angry with him over the slightest infraction. I wanted to see some leadership -- someone who would step up and say, "Marcel may be the most annoying guy in the world, but the show must go on. Let’s put our heads down and get this meal over with." Imagine if a restaurant line came to a screeching halt every time some cook pissed off another? Trust me; it would be the end of restaurant dining as we know it.

I can empathize with Marcel here; growing up, I had the same problem: I could annoy (or worse) people just by my personality, and not even know it. The problem is, the workplace is no place for personality conflicts. Of all the contestants, Marcel is the one that most models the professionalism required especially for a chef. Regardless of personality issues, he is the one always trying to help out his fellow chefs - trying to see that the show goes on.

I still think Cliff and Sam are the strongest two competitors, but I would love to see Marcel outlast both Ilan and Sam.

Episode 10 Prediction:

Despite his Episode-9 sweep, Mike is still the underdog in terms of talent. He showed that he can hang with the rest, but he is the one most likely to falter of the remaining six competitors. If he does, he will be done. If he doesn't, he has an equal shot of seeing Episode 11.

Cliff and Sam are the two strongest, followed (in no particular order) by Ilan, Elia, and Marcel. I don't forsee either of the top two being eliminated this week, and I think Michael has a decent enough follow-up to last week's sweep not to get eliminated. One of Ilan, Elia, or Marcel will go this week. I'm rooting for Ilan, but my instinct tells me it will be Elia (unfortunately, as she has been the lone supporter of Marcel).

We find out in about an hour!


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One Response to “Top Chef 2: Episode 9”
  1. Merryn says:

    Awww… at least you can watch it together! Don tends to wander off to read or play on his computer when I turn it on.

    If you just found the show now, you’ve missed out on a season and a half of fun! The first season was cool too, though I actually like the people better this season.