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Green Bay Press-Gazette

Friday, March 6, 2009

"Top Chef" reunion: Ho-Hum Hosea and Leah da Ho exposed!

Though all of us likely swore aloud -- "No more 'Top Chef' after that Hosea debacle!" -- we sheepishly returned for another round of punishment during Wednesday's "Top Chef" reunion.

Usually these lame get-togethers play out as nothing more than a gratuitous clip show with few exciting tidbits revealed, but Bravo's Season 5 cheftestant reunion was actually quite satisfying. At least more satisfying than the hard-to-swallow crowning of Hosea (er ... that's what Leah said?)

In news Channel Surfing could have told you following our "Greatest Moment in History" interview of awesomeness, Fabulous Fabio was named Fan Favorite For Life. Meanwhile, Stefan was his usual blowhard self and Leah ... well Leah continues to really irritate the crap out of us.

Also, we saw the return of "that one chef who lost the minute she got off the airplane" and "that gawky looking girl who used an ostrich egg to disastrous effect." They didn't say much, so frankly, we won't waste our time with them, either.

So ... to close this sad chapter of "Top Chef" history, Thomas Rozwadowski, Sara Boyd and pinch-hitter extraordinaire Kelly McBride are offering their list of the "Most Useful Things Our Channel Surfers Learned During Season 5's Bald-a-Palooza Reunion."

(And no, none of them helped get rid of that awful Hosea aftertaste ... again, that's what Leah said?)

Foot in mouth: Kudos to the “Top Chef” viewer who asked Dilido Jeff about his People magazine critique of Tom Colicchio’s “boring” food. Right when the question came out of douchey reunion host’s mouth, I knew Mimbo was going to chalk it up to a “misquote” – the easiest cop-out in the world for people who get caught saying regrettable things. My bet is that Jeff was hot under the chef’s collar having been eliminated – perhaps unjustly – but a lot of that went away once he was asked back and almost made it into the final three. Dilido just needed some Emeril-inspired love to feel good about his complicated dishes again (the clip parade of his convoluted food explanations was especially hilarious). After all, would you want to face Big Bear Tom without engaging in some serious damage control? -- Thomas

“Nice dishes”: I’ve been severely bothered for days about Hosea’s win, so much so that the prideful part of me should boycott future installments. I’ve already compared his win to an A-plus student (Stefan) getting passed over by an inferior student for the Scholar of the Month award because he happened to get a C in phy-ed. Sure, Hosea is probably a decent enough guy (you know, except for the cheating on his girlfriend part), but Colicchio’s “nice dishes” comment last night really made me cringe. “Nice dishes.” That’s about as apathetic a compliment as you can pay a winner of “Top freakin' Chef.” That’s like saying Boyd is the best writer on Channel Surfing because she can “construct a good sentence.” C’mon! Where are our high standards, people? -- Thomas

Stefan and Fabio, aka: Stefabio: Don’t you love the things European men can get away with? The montage of the man love between Stefan and Fabio is enough proof to make us Channel Surfers realize, in addition to HoLeah, that there really should be the entity known as Stefabio. I mean, let’s be honest, a drinking game could’ve been crafted around every time Fabulous Fabs kissed his man lover’s bald noggin. I highly enjoyed the scene of Stefabio arguing like an old married couple — it was very Chris Farley and Adam Sandler as the old married couple on "SNL," minus the wig and um, fake ta-ta’s. How great would that be to walk into Fabio’s restaurant and see he and Stefan just chilling, exchanging poorly constructed English sentences? In all seriousness, though, Stefan probably has a better chance with Fabio than Jamie, so there’s that. -- Sara

Nicknames: Where were these all season? We knew about Ariane, who was looking particularly Cougaresque last night with her short new 'do and some well-done make-up. I think "Big Gay Rich" Sweeney and Patrick "Pocket Chef" Dunlea may have escaped our notice because they exited the competition so early, and Mimbo Jeff's "Don Sorbet Johnson" is so-so. Leah's "Black Widow" must have been left on the cutting room floor in favor of later, more Ho-esque monikers (Ho-Leah, Ho-fo-sho, anyone?). For me the winner is Pocket Chef, because it makes me giggle and I'd like to have one. And yet his time with us was so brief. Sweet Pocket Chef, we hardly knew thee. -- Kelly

The best of the bald: This one was staring us in the face from episode one, with everyone from early-gone Pocket Chef to Chefmaster Hosea sporting the low-maintenance look. But until last night's Bald and the Beautiful montage, I never really noticed how many lovely, lockless men there were in the kitchen. Does baldness equal culinary mastery? Tough to say, but it certainly reduces the risk of hair in your food. Credit the incomparable Tom Colicchio with making this a Cheftastic trend for the ages. Or at least for Season 5. -- Kelly

The birthday curse: How hilarious was the lightning bolt? I'm still laughing. "Happy Birthday, pack your knives and go." I really don't know why producers didn't include this whole birthday curse into the final season edits. For five cheftestants -- Eugene, Radhika, Leah, Danny and Ariane -- to have all fallen victim to this curse has to make it more than a coincidence. Then again, if you recall the reasons each chef went home in said birthday episodes -- it seems well deserved. I love how Leah doubted the curse and then ... lightning bolt. Never doubt, Leah -- the "Top Chef" Gods will smite you. "Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Your dish made us quite sick, so we'll give you the s***stick. And many more ..." -- Sara

Drunks at the judges' table: I, like Mr. Colicchio, am quite surprised Season 5 marked the first time chefs headed off to the judges' table a little boozey-woozey. And not going to lie, I'm a bit surprised it was Ho-Leah and Jamie that were the first ones to take the plunge to Margaritaville. The whole thing was pretty hilar — especially watching Hosea trying not to bust a gut and then stone cold Carla, centered and just chillin’. I’m really curious to go back and watch that episode now and see if you can tell that DJamie Tanner and Ho-Leah were in the bag. Also, was it just me or did Miss Padma become a little judgmental? Seems like perhaps she could’ve used a drink herself. Though, I loved her “Leah – two words: national television” line. So true and yet after Leah’s scandals, it seems no amount of national television can deter this woman. -- Sara

Colicchio’s huge gay fanbase: So we all knew Big Gay Rich was quite smitten with our bald and the beautiful head chef. But little did we know ol’ Richy Rich has been building quite the gay fanbase for our Tomster at a club simply called “Pecs.” As soon as Richard said the name of the club, I immediately pictured that gay bar that the Sex and the City girls visit – tons of shirtless men, some dancing in cages, no women’s restrooms and a big framed photo of Mr. Hot Chef Colicchio. Oh, Team Rainbow. -- Sara

'80s bangs be gone! I don't know about you, but I was probably most relieved to discover that Melissa Lee Roth finally got a glimpse of herself beyond the bathroom mirror. I guess going on national TV looking like an Aqua Net-spraying '80s rocker who used to do the air splits for a living made her realize ... er, maybe it's time to visit the ol' stylist for a new 'do. Either that or she grew tired of Stacy London dropping by her front door step with a "What Not To Wear" camera crew. Nice look, Melissa. Let's hope you learned a lesson about those fish tacos, too. Also, what was up with Gangsta Gene being so slient? Did the guy even say two words or blink? Man, someone's totally gonna get stabbed ... -- Thomas

And the best (or worst) for last … Ho-Leah and the Ho-fo-sho: We all knew this question was bound to pop up eventually, even if our stomachs and gag reflexes hoped differently. But alas, annoying and obnoxious host Andy spewed the non-pressing questions, “Are you guys together? What happened the night of the kiss? Don’t you feel bad for ruining two innocent people’s lives on national television?” OK, he didn’t ask the last one, but still, he should’ve. As if we weren’t totally annoyed by Leah already, this interview definitely sealed her awfulness. When the video started rolling, the Ho-fo-sho gave an explicit response to her desires of wanting to see her slooooooty ways again. And don’t get me wrong, Hosea is no saint in this whole mess. The fact that Mr. “Top Chef” (ughhhh) states in the show, and later on a blog, that he regrets it and wishes it never happened then turns around for the reunion and implies they could be together if gosh darn it, they were just living in the same city -- well, it’s vomitacious. Aw, maybe they’ll open a restaurant together in New York … they could call it Ho Fo Sho, kind of a play off Fogo de Chao, except instead of filet mignon, they’ll serve herpes. -- Sara

Mmmm, a plate of The Herp. Can I get some Gonorrhea Au Jus with that? Er, I'm glad we saved this one for the end because I'm making myself sick now. My favorite moment was when Leah da Ho did the whole dumb-faced, "Do you have to (bleepin') show that?" during the kissy-kissy clip, then quickly caught herself on "national television" only to get all giggly goose at what will forever be her shining moment to the world. Leah, you're what, 26? You seem to have a decent professional career going as a sous chef. Might want to stop acting like a flirtatious 14-year-old and dishing out multi-colored bracelets to the boys at the locker room. Giggle, giggle, giggle ... -- Thomas

Fan favorite? Eeeeeets-a-Faaaaaaabio!

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