Wherein we recap epidsode one and live blog episode two, of one of the best reality shows EVAR.
Exactly one week ago, a few of you joined me for the season premier of Top Chef: Las Vegas. Together, we good-foodies watched with breaths abated as Google’s Executive Chef, Preeti Mistry, took on a ginger who blew off MIT for cooking (he’s like the anti-brown!) and Michael Isabella, whom I know by name because I’m devoted to his restaurant, Zaytinya, even if he’s shaping up to be this season’s honorary representative from Massengill. Speaking of that currently-beloved epithet, this amusing blog thinks Preeti is one of three “Contenders for Top Douchebag”. Wow, not only are we a post-racial nation, we’re living in an era where a woman is nominated to be a “top” DB. That’s…something.
Like last week, you are invited to join in the chant by tuning in at 10pm, when you will be able to crash this live-blogging party:
Now about that Mise-en-place relay race from last week, which is ALL people can mention when I bring up Preeti…The Mise-en-place relay is a beloved Top Chef “Quickfire” challenge– they even made the Top Chef Masters do it, because it’s nerve-wracking and thus fantastic to watch. The seventeen chef-testants are divided in to teams of four– I know how your brown minds are working…you cannot escape your mathematical proclivities. How DO you divide 17/4? Easy. One lucky Chef who drew a golden chip gets to sit the drama out. Aside: get it? They drew chips instead of knives? Did you know they were in LAS VEGAS? DID YOU? HUH??
The first leg of the relay is to shuck 15 clams; second, peel 30 prawns; third, clean up five lobsters; and finally, butcher two chops from a slab of prime rib. Sounds like the makings of a good Vegas buffet! When someone thinks theyâ€™ve completed a leg, they yell â€œcheck,â€ and Tom comes over to approve the work and let the next team member move on to the next task. First team to finish all four tasks wins [link].
Sounds straight-forward enough, yes? Well it was, until Preeti turned to her team and asked, “It’s the same as an oyster, right? Clams?” Though I’m a life-long vegetarian, I had the sinking feeling that the answer to her question was a fat “NO!”. At that low point, I took a deep breath and started to give up on Team Brown.
Virgin clam-shucker Mistry, an executive chef at Bon AppÃ©tit Management Company who runs Charlie’s CafÃ© at Google in Mountain View, fell so far behind that her team never recovered.
“I wanted to do the beef,” Mistry told SFoodie. “After all, I was the sous chef at Acme Chophouse when I applied to be on Top Chef — Traci des Jardins suggested it to me, and when Traci says something, you listen! I gave it a shot, and when I made it, Fedele Baccio, the CEO of Bon AppÃ©tit, was really supportive.”
As for the clam debacle, Mistry said it really wasn’t as bad as it seemed — Bravo’s edits made it look worse than it was. “I did get through them all,” she said. Mistry’s now back at work, overseeing more than 2,000 meals a day at Google. [link]
After that disastrous Quickfire (not being able to shuck is one thing, hacking open your hand, like another contestant did, is another), the first episode’s Elimination challenge was to create a dish which was inspired by each Chef’s individual vices. As basic and boring as that “challenge” was, some Chefs still couldn’t follow through. Not our girl, though:
Preeti’s vice is a Maker’s Mark Manhattan. Did they pay for this product placement or what? Anyway, her dish is pork tenderloin with bourbon sweet potato puree and sautÃ©ed dandelion greens in vermouth. At least she followed through on the idea with both the bourbon and vermouth incorporated. [link]
Incidentally, a friend of mine who works for Google reported that last Friday, Preeti made everyone at the company her “Vice” dish. Fun!
I’m praying that Preeti actually gets to Shine (like a Coconut Moon) tonight, while using ingredients she’s comfortable with…though I know that wouldn’t make for great reality television. I don’t care, I want her to succeed and no, I don’t want to hear about how you were watching the sneak peek of this season like a HAWK, and you didn’t see her faux-hawk like, ANYWHERE in future shots of the show. I already heard you, loud and clear, on Twitter. Speaking of that micro-blogging service, Ms. Mistry tweets, too. I wouldn’t expect any spoilers, but the good Chef does display a hearty sense of humor about the competition; neither editing nor her performance last week has caused her to “clam” up.