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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Rants and raves: Who's your favorite "Top Chef" contestant so far?

We're still not ready to dive into weekly Power Rankings -- seriously, who is Laurine and why did they try to make us care about her potential exit last week? -- but Channel Surfing still holds opinions about Season 6 of "Top Chef."

Strong opinions.

Three episodes in and Thomas Rozwadowski already has some favorites picked out. As usual, there are also quite a few super-annoying or downright ridiculous cheftestants who he'd love to see get chopped to bloody bits. Or at least swallowed whole by Hector, the Puerto Rican Paul Bunyan.

Lisa, doo-rag queen of the damned: you may have some company soon.


1. Dopey Face Jen: I just finished Anthony Bourdain's "Kitchen Confidential" and one thing that the "No Reservations" host emphatically points out is that it takes a strong woman to survive the rude and crude boys club. Jen is absolutely fearless, and her management of the "TC" kitchen didn't show someone who simply gets by because she's (ahem) witchy when she wants to be. Despite her dopey facial expressions, she commands respect. That's quite an accomplishment. Her early dominance may also have something to do with her stellar credentials -- she works for frequent "Top Chef" guest judge and renowned chef, Eric Ripert -- but Jen has what it takes to put macho dudes in the dirt. I hope she starts with Misogynist Mike.

2. Viking Kevin: Just seems like a happy-go-lucky dude, the kind of guy you'd want to actually hang out with, perhaps stroke his beard for a bit. Mainly though, he makes me think of the "Saturday Night Live" Big Red commercial parody and I find myself smiling while playing the theme song ("He's big, big, big and he's red, red, red!") in my head over and over again.

3. Michael Voltaggio: Don't have a snappy nickname for him. He's simply the least yawn-inducing of the Voltaggio brothers. (Seriously, Bryan. Talk as though you didn't just wake up from a 10-year coma.) Comes off as the most creative chef in the bunch and I liked how in the most recent challenge, he made sure his dish (despite some reservations from others) was served exactly how he wanted it. The guy has vision. Dig that.

Least Favorite:

1. Misogynist Mike: Have you ever wanted to throw a blender at a male "Top Chef" contestant's face more than this meathead? Appears to make decent food -- his shrimp salad throwaway notwithstanding -- but just oozes with pomposity. A friend of mine called it "guidoesque douchebaggery" on Facebook -- actually, she wrote something slightly less family friendly -- but the spirit still fits. Nothing is worse than a guy that's talented, but loves to make sure everyone in the room knows it. Toss in a healthy dose of Bobby Riggs-era male chauvinism (Women can wield knives, too! Gasp!") and you have, at least in my opinion, the kind of villain that could rival Cross Armed Lisa.

2. Jesse and her rising sun cleavage: Fatty McLipRing hasn't shown anything worth salvaging after a fluky episode one Quickfire win. Plus, she always starts crying and turns beet red whenever the judges toss an ounce of criticism her way. That lack of confidence annoys me.

3. Whiny Ashley: I want to like the lone he-she left (Preeti, we hardly knew ye), but after her uninformed tirade about not wanting to serve at a bachelor-bachelorette party because gays and lesbians can't get married ... um,. what? Trust me, I'm sympathetic to the cause, my liberal sister. But that's not even a principled stand! It's not like "Top Chef" made her put on a wedding dress and hum Canon in D while dishing out her crappy panna cotta. What, do you not serve married couples in your restaurant? Perspective, Ashley, perspective.

So fellow "Top Chef" fans, who are you rooting for? Or even better, who do you want to see go the way of Neck Tat Jennifer, Eve and Preeti? Leave a comment below!

"Top Chef" airs at 9 p.m. Wednesday on Bravo.

-- Thomas Rozwadowski,



Pretty much, I'm with you on Kevin and Jen -- both are solid in the kitchen -- but I wish the competition between the Voltaggio brothers was a bit more fired up. They're so boring that their competitivenes comes off looking a bit like a producer-induced tactic. However, their food is great, so I'm pretty sure they're both going to go far.

Whiny Ashley needs to take a hike, but sweet Laurine (is that her name?) gets my vote for the ax this week.


By Blogger Press-Gazette blogger, At September 9, 2009 at 2:05 PM  

Agree on the rivalry. But maybe it'll become more heated when the stakes are higher. Right now, both appear to be shoo-ins to survive this first wave of inept losers. I don't think anything, short of shock treatment, could wake Bryan up, though.

Tonight promises to be spectacular solely because of the Quickfire-loser-goes-home catch. Also, glad you agree on Ashley.

-- Tom

By Blogger Press-Gazette blogger, At September 9, 2009 at 3:18 PM  

I'm appalled by the number of uglies on this season's cast. My eyes are still adjusting. I guess I was spoiled by a season of Fabioliciousness - yum! Even though it's not her food that's grossing me out, my vote is for Jesse to take a hike.

By Anonymous Mary, At September 9, 2009 at 3:56 PM  

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