Disher Wes Mantooth just sent me a love letter. “The D-Empire blogs are all boring as spit today,” he says. Anyway, he wants to talk about Top Chef, and I know there are several TC fans out there. His thoughts are below.
Top Chef is coming to a close. Who’s not going to make it? We’ve got 5 left: Kevin, Jennifer, Eli, and the Brothers. The easy call is that Jen and Eli both wind up packing their knives, but we’ve seen in the past that it only takes one little slip for an otherwise more-talented chef to get packing before their time was due, resulting in a less-talented poseur to take the crown (i.e. Josea). So, here’s my handicapping on who makes it to the Final Table:
The dude has given the Heisman to every challenge thrown at him. Guy has a pig tattoo but also swears off meat for the entirety of Lent? To paraphrase Winston Churchill, he’s a riddle wrapped in a mystery wrapped in pork sausage, then deep fried.
Even when he missteps, he doesn’t miss by much. He has confidence and maturity, something his brother desperately needs to borrow.
Something about him just screams high-wire act. He’s got the plays-well-with-others skills of Marcel but the culinary talents of a Blaise. I’d love to see Eli do something intentional to light Michael’s anger on fire and then he’d go down in a blaze of self-destructive glory. Because, you know, it can’t be a reality TV show without paying homage to Bon Jovi. Still, I’d rather have him as a third in the finale than that worthless Lisa a couple years back. Oi.
Eli used up all his goodwill last week when Robyn got sent home on her history of serving crap food and being out of tricks versus Eli’s history of mostly-good food despite serving up a hairball in last week’s elimination challenge. You know that the decision at Judges’ Table went like this: Eli’s “drink” was crap, but he won the quickfire and has been very good several times. Robyn just keeps skating by because someone else is worse than her; she has no upside. Eli had better pull something out of his hat or he’s gonna be done soon.
She’s worked for Ripert for the better part of a decade, so we know that she has the chops, but Top Chef is a marathon, not a sprint, and Jen looked like she’d pretty much hit the wall at the Excalibur’s Medieval Times presentation. I think that the day-in, day-out pressure of performing a new and different trick every day has just worn her out. I hate to say this because she’s probably my favorite chef on the show (not to mention the only one I want to see in the pool at the house), but Jen’s performance the last couple of shows reminds me of Ali in Zaire, only without the rope-a-dope.