Despite our best efforts, we couldnt resist getting wrapped up in the ubiquitous Top Chef hype. Immediately after every episode this season, were rushing to the computer for a breathless instant-message chat with one of our compatriots. This weeks episode was especially entertaining. After a spot challenge which left only early favorite Hung immune to ejection, the already-stressed chefs were charged with cooking gourmet barbecue, a seemingly simple challenge that flummoxed nearly everybody, including the ultraconfident Tre, a native Texan who announced that he could do this in his sleep. At the end, it was the mohawked Sandee, an obvious weak link, who got the boot. Afterward, we got online right away with New Yorks curmudgeonly restaurant critic, Adam Platt.
Platt: Okay, let me begin by saying that Sandee got robbed!
Ozersky: Please! That stuff she made was a mindless burlesque of barbecue. Its too bad they couldnt kick her out twice.
Platt: True. But her twirling, skunk-dyed hairstyle was very original. And Id be willing to bet that that dreckish lobster satay she made tasted better than Joeys dung-colored chicken dish.
Ozersky: That stuff did look bad.
Platt: I thought possibly some of the fruit-addled dishes in the first section of the show looked vaguely palatable. What they were precisely, I cant remember.
Ozersky: I think the reason for that is that all the dishes look so similar. Theyre all contemporary restaurant clichs the tiny, painterly portions, the one Asian ingredient, the feminized, fatless piece of protein
Platt: Im in agreement with you on that. But then these are all trained, or semi-trained, restaurant chefs. Theyre doing what comes naturally. But were only going by how it looked. Treys neon-colored salmon BBQ might not have tasted bad.
Ozersky: Whatever! It was great to see that smug Trey taken down a peg. Yeah, hes so Texas thats why he made a piece of glazed salmon.
Ozersky: But forget the chefs what did you think of the judges? I mean, isnt what theyre doing kind of a parody of your job? Can you imagine yourself on that panel?
Platt: Hey, its tough being a critic! I actually liked the lady from Food & Wine. I thought her comments were very precise and to the point. I thought her tropical-accented outfit was very nice too.
Ozersky: They showed it enough. Colicchio is the boss, but you see how much the camera dwells on Padma and Gail. What a genius move it was to pair them. Theyre like the Ginger and Mary-Ann of the food world.
Platt: Its TV, Cutty! Of course theyre going to dwell on them. But whos your favorite so far among the chef contestants?
Ozersky: Oh, obviously Howie, if only because hes so full of hostility. Id love to see him come back.
Platt: Howies got spunk. But if I were a betting man (which I am), Id say Howies doomed.
Ozersky: Do you want to lay some money on this issue, Platt? Ill bet you dinner at the restaurant of my choice that Howie makes it to the final five.
Platt: Yes, I will lay money on the issue. Howie is doomed. Though his bulldog character (and looks) may see him through.
Ozersky: The same could be said of you, Platt. Youre on.