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S13.E04: It's A Dry Heat

Tara Ariano
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I think Philip is good, very good.  Sure he is arrogant but I expect to see him pull ahead of the others and make it very far.  He was good on GGG and Cutthroat Kitchen so much so that I was shocked to see the high level of dishes he pulled off on both of those junk shows.  

His record indicates otherwise. He has yet to be on top in any of the challenges. 


GGG, Cuthroat Kitchen or whatever other gimmicky shows he's been on are not comparable to Top Chef.

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His record indicates otherwise. He has yet to be on top in any of the challenges. 


GGG, Cuthroat Kitchen or whatever other gimmicky shows he's been on are not comparable to Top Chef.



Well, clearly.  I meant that he made dishes on those shit shows that were better than any I have seen, on those shows.


My thought was that he may 'pull ahead' indicating that he is not near the top thus far.  His ego may prevent this but I think he is capable if he can get a handle on that.   I know, I know, take the needle out of my arm.   :>)

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I had no idea this was back, so just binge-watched these first four this week, which is always fun. At least I know who everyone is very quickly!


You can all groan and shake your heads but I like Phillip.  I think he's the creative hippie type but a nice guy at heart who is just trying too hard to stand out.  I won't be surprised if he goes a long way in the competition.  I gathered from FN shows he was on that he's a very good cook.


I don't mind Philip all that much either. I do think he's trying a bit too hard, but honestly it's refreshing to see someone who isn't forgetting that this is basically one big sales promotion and/or job interview. Philip is obviously keeping a professional demeanor very much in mind -- he's got the potential to be kind of insufferable about it, but so far I kind of find it awkwardly endearing.


I met him at a festival earlier this year, and he and his hair are glorious in person.  


John Besh is one of my favorite people in the culinary world -- not least because of his tireless efforts during and after Hurricane Katrina (which were downright heroic). He's another one like Emeril who has a pretty good reputation for being kind-hearted and truly community-minded.


About ten years ago, I attended a demonstration of a different type of solar cooker; it was being given to women in the refugee camps in Darfur.  They had been cooking over fire, but wood had become scarce and they were having to venture further and further out from the camps to get wood ... which left them vulnerable to being raped by the Janjaweed.  The solar cookers allowed them to remain within the relative safety of the camps.


It was a very simple design and easy to use, but I'd have had no clue without it being demonstrated, so I'm assuming the chefs got a tutorial on their more complex solar ovens/stoves that just wasn't shown.  I wish they'd edited the Quickfire segment in a way that gave more insight into how they worked. 


I promote a client that has supported Solar Cookers International for over a decade now, and it's amazing how much of a difference these things can make, especially in areas with blazing heat and diminishing resources.


I guess that I have turned into a Top Chef fanatic that I am rewatching Season 9, Greyson's season. She seemed likable there but then there were some very mean women on that season and as far as I can tell Greyson wasn't one of them. But I am only into episode 8 so things may change


Here's the thing: I still like Grayson. Granted, this is partly because she built up a ton of goodwill from me in the awful Texas Season 9, but also because I still think she showed a sense of humor here and there, and think she's probably a lot of fun to be around. I thought she was delightful and incredibly funny in the Texas season (and she was never one of the mean girls), and no matter how she did here, she'll always remain one of my favorite contestants for the stuff she did then (the constant support for her teammates, the hilarious non sequiturs, the "Little Green Frog" song, etc. I love people who really seem to enjoy themselves, and Grayson seems like one of those to me.


Well, I'm all caught up and relieved that Grayson's somewhat baffling second tour of the Top Chef landscape is over and done.  Season 9 was pure punishment for nearly everyone involved, what with the unrelenting heat and the parade of meat that comprised all challenges.  She was one of the few contestants to escape that mess with a positive public image, but something was just way off with her entire stint on this season.  She seemed actively resentful and there was something going on with Tom that, lacking any explanation, just made her seem childish. It's a pity because whereas I am glad to see her go, the part of her personality that actually won me over last time, finally peeked out from underneath her mantle of constant irritation.   As puzzling as her "I lost some kind of dire bet and now have to do this as payment for my debt" behavior was, I did ultimately appreciate that she didn't attempt to heave Angelina in to the center of the wolf pack to save her own skin. 


See, this is why I couldn't quite hate Grayson 2.0. Because I think part of what was going on with her was, "Oh, my God, I forgot how hard and occasionally stupid this whole reality thing was and I'm now older and have even less of a filter than before." Which I kind of get. So while I was glad to see her go, if she was going to remain miserable, I did still see glimmers of the humor and ability to laugh at herself that I'd liked before.


Here's just one example:  Mark Shephard.  Pretty recognizable guy, but he was a computer programmer for years and years (and may still be, although I think he finally got to the point where he could support himself through his arts gigs).  


<Plotzes> I love that guy so much. One of my all-time TV crushes. I can't believe I could have hired him to fix my computer. Sigh. I'd love for him to fix my CPU. In every sense. Ahem. 


It just doesn't bother me when people try to self-promote on reality shows.  They aren't a venue that will attract the shy and retiring and there's an element of self-promotion inherent in the process.  I've had a lot of fun watching Top Chef over the years, so for the most part, play through with the plugs, contestants of the world.  


Every now and then someone will irk me, but it's usually only people who return over and over and don't wear well in the repeat performances.  I will say though that I guess Richard Blais has finally worn down my defenses enough that when he appears, I have next to no other reaction than to check his hair for sanity progress,  


I'm much more patient and forgiving of contestants who are trying to stay professional and project a classy image than of those who go on shows like these and seem to instantly forget (WESLEY) that millions are going to see them cooking in filth, double-dipping, spitting food on the floor in a crowded kitchen, etc.


I've always liked Blais (or felt like I'd like him when he wasn't trying too hard for the cameras), and I have to admit, I've been softening on Blais the last year or so as well, and the final realization that I actually genuinely liked the big schmo came on his most recent "Cutthroat Kitchen" charity appearance, where he was honestly absolutely delightful. At one point, for instance, he was thrilled to lose an auction just to wear (and cook in) a suit of armor. I mean, his glee at having to wear the armor was the end of even the smallest irritation I had with him. It was too adorkable not to love.


So I'm okay with Blais now. Anyone who's that delighted to proclaim their own geekitude is my kind of people.

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I guess that I have turned into a Top Chef fanatic that I am rewatching Season 9, Greyson's season. She seemed likable there but then there were some very mean women on that season and as far as I can tell Greyson wasn't one of them. But I am only into episode 8 so things may change


I have to say that I really miss the stew room stuff and the extended Judge's Table that we aren't getting this season.


I'm embarrassed to say I'm doing the same.  What an ugly season.  I had a hard time with it when it was on, and I'm understanding why on a second viewing.  I've watched every season at least a couple times except this one.  I was also a Grayson fan in that series, at least she didn't annoy the snot out of me.  She was immature and unfiltered, but wasn't in any way a bitch.  That has changed.


I often bitched about how predictable the stew room stuff was, but now that it's gone, I miss it.  I also have always enjoyed the extended Judge's Table stuff, I want  to know how they are thinking and the rationale for their decisions.  I can't taste the food, I want to know what their perceptions are.  One thing I absolutely do not miss are the moronic obstacle competitions (I vaguely remember skeet shooting and chipping stuff out of ice to cook - not sure I will make it that far.)


I watched 5 episodes of 9 last night and then had a nightmare about Heather's ugly sneer.  Note that I did not call Heather ugly, but her entitled cruel attitude sure was.  Bev could be annoying but she damn sure tried her hardest to turn out great food, and often succeeded.  Heather was not only mean, but proud of it.  What a nasty waste of a human being.  Her little dog Sarah wasn't much better, and I was delighted when she didn't win, although I've always cheered on the woman.

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