Thursday, October 8, 2009

'Top Chef' Las Vegas, episode seven: What's with the attitude?

Posted By on Thu, Oct 8, 2009 at 3:10 PM

That a boy, indeed!

Red beard sporting, southern food cooking Atlanta chef Kevin Gillespie took home a win, and $15,000, in last night's episode of “Top Chef” Las Vegas for his venture into Asian cuisine, proving he can cook more than just bacon jam. Kevin's Vietnamese inspired grilled pork with herb salad impressed guest judge Tyler Florence and his gusty move – choosing the $15,000 over immunity – caused an outburst from otherwise calm and collected Padma (“That a boy, Kevin!”). And while his confident attitude (“At this point, I'm not concerned with immunity”) could have read as cocky, Kevin still managed to come across as a good guy. I hope Jen buys him that suit.

The same cannot be said for Eli's attitude, however, which seems to be growing by the episode. I'm convinced some of his showy attitude is an act (and I'm sure some of it is editing), but his constant need to speak so highly of himself is quickly getting old. He may just be “looking out for number one,” but he should be looking out for his food, which slipped through the cracks during both challenges last night. While his quickfire mushroom ceviche with avocado was at least an interesting idea, his contribution to his team's elimination dish, radish sauce and super salty gnocchi, was beneath his ability, and I kind of think he let Ashley take the blame for his mistake.

The only attitude that rivaled Eli's last night was Michael Isabella's, who took out a thesaurus to describe how mad he was about having to work with Robin (“I was livid, I was upset, I was angry”). Although he seemed to learn some coping strategies (letting Robin talk and talk, redoing everything she did), his immediate panic – I'm working with Robin, so I'm going home – was irritating. Sure, Robin should've packed her knives a while ago, but she's capable of the basics, and Mike should have recognized as much.

As for Ashley's departure, I can only say it was expected. She had a decent showing, but her food couldn't stand up to the likes of Bryan or Kevin or Jen, who cooked through the flu, and managed to win the elimination challenge.

The bigger question of last night's judges table was how Ash got away with admitting to playing sous chef to Michael Voltaggio. Even if Voltaggio is a Picasso (and I think he's more of a burgeoning surrealist), Ash shouldn't have been “let off the hook” for basically following orders. He showed no intuitive of his own and no confidence in his own ideas. I'm hoping he's next to go. Either him, or Michael Isabella, whatever.

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