Top Chef Season 4: Serve and Protect, Some Personal Notes and AND GIVEAWAY

Thursday, May 15, 2008

This is going to be a short recap today. I’m in the midst of a crisis here in SGCC Land and I have to devote my full attention to it for a little while until things are under control. My legal assistant and good friend is gravely ill. She beat cancer just shy of a year ago and now it has returned with a vengance. She is only forty years old. Right now, everything is up in the air. Her medical team is still trying to figure out the best way to handle the situation. For now, M. is on an indefinite leave of absence.

Aside from being heartsick over this, I also have a business to run. Although, I usually am able to do most of my work from home, I have had to spend a lot more time at my office now that M. is gone. I am also now faced with the unpleasant task of finding someone to take over for her. I have been placing ads and suspect that I will be doing a lot of interviewing over the next few weeks.

As if that wasn’t enough, I just got word the other day that another good friend and neighbor has been placed in a Hospice House. T. and his family were the first people we met when we moved into our house twelve years ago. They have become like a second family to us. T. was first stricken with cancer six years ago and was doing very well until this past several months. When my father was so sick and wanted to give up, T. was the one who came to visit him, offering encouragement, understanding and countless pep talks. He could do what the rest of us couldn’t because he had lived it. I cannot describe the sadness I feel knowing that this beautiful man is nearing the end of his time with us.

I apologize for being such a downer today, but I wanted to let you know what’s been going on. While I’ve been trying to keep posting, I know that I haven’t been responding to comments lately. Nor, have I been making the rounds to all of your great blogs, like I usually do. I hope you’ll understand that I’ve just been tired, cranky and really busy lately. I hope to catch up a little over the weekend. Thanks.
Now, on to Top Chef!
Last night’s episode was titled “Serve and Protect”. The focus in both the Quickfire and Elimination Challenges was on fresh, healthy and delicious food. Maybe it was just me, but I didn’t see one dish during that whole show that knocked my socks off. Nothing horrible, but nothing very innovative or exciting either. They were all just meh, in my opinion. Not such a great commentary on healthful cooking! Maybe the chefs were just still too tired from the allnighter they pulled for the wedding wars.


This week’s guest judge was Sam Talbot, fan favorite from Season 2. In the Quickfire, Sam challenged the Cheftestants to “put the sexy back into salad” and they were given 45 minutes to do just that. I thought it was interesting that they received an extra 15 minutes for this, until I remembered how long it takes to slice and dice ingredients for a salad.
Spike created a steak salad that was designed to make people “want to have sex after eating it” and won the challenge. OMG! Now, I’m thinking of who might have eaten that salad! Ew! Sam liked Antonia’s salad too, but Antonia just liked Sam. Lisa’s salad was dissed because it was too banana-y. I would have dissed it just because it was Lisa’s!
In the Elimination Challenge, the Cheftestants are directed to make a healthy box lunch for Chicago cops at the Chicago Police Academy. Each must include a whole grain, a lean protein, a fruit, and a vegetable in their dish. As the QF winner, Spike got ten extra minutes to shop for his food. He also got first dibs on one ingredient from each of the four food groups. No one else was allowed to use any of the four ingredients he chose. In the epitome of spiteful moves, Spike chose bread, lettuce, tomatoes and chicken as his ingredients.


Having those four foods taken out of the box lunch equation pretty much screwed the rest of the
Cheftestants, but also proved how much more talented and creative they were compared to that mean-spirited, a$$hat (MSAH) Spike. He obviously never heard the phrase, “What goes around, comes around”, or if he did, he was too stupid to care. To add insult to injury, MSAH Spike never even intended to use the bread, lettuce and tomatoes in his dish. He planned to just put them out on the table as a “display”. It wasn’t until Judge Tom questioned him about it, that he decided to use them as garnish for his chicken salad. Even at that, they were not actually part of his dish. Prick!


In another bit of drama, someone supposedly turned the heat up to high on Lisa’s brown rice. Lisa swears it was sabotage and goes ballistic in the Top Chef Kitchen. Everyone else thinks it was just a mistake. In any event, Lisa’s rice was ruined and there was no time to make a new batch. She had to serve it as it was.
I also think it’s interesting to note that Andrew seemed…um…shall we say, “zanier” (manic) last night than in prior episodes. I think I actually heard him say something about stabbing someone. For God’s sake! Someone go to CVS and get him more meds!!!
In the end, Dale and Stephanie had the most successful dishes, with Dale taking yet another win for his Lemongrass Mango Bison with Brown Rice, Cucumbers and Radish Salad.
As you might have guessed, MSAH Spike’s chicken salad sucked and he ended up on the chopping block, along with Lisa, for her ruined rice, and Andrew, for his salmon sushi roll wrapped in some parsnip-pine nut concoction instead of rice. As Lisa so helpfully pointed out at the judges’ table, Andrew neglected to use a whole grain in his dish as required by the rules. And we all know what a stickler Lisa is about rules!

All three of these bozos acted like jerks to the judges. Did they really think that mouthing off like spoiled brats was going to help them? It didn’t. While I personally think that the judges would have loved to have sent MSAH Spike packing to show him what spite feels like, they gave the ax to Andrew, who graciously agreed to leave without the help of the TC security team. Whew!
So, what did you think? Is Spike a good strategist or just plain evil? Did someone try to sabotage Lisa, and if so, who? Come on people, lets dish!

And now, for our Giveaway winner…..
This week’s winner is………NEEM from Post-Collegiate Cooking à Deux!!! Congratulations Neem! If you’ll email me at stickygooeycreamychewy AT gmail DOT com with your mailing address, I’ll get your prize out to you. BTW, you have a choice of either a Top Chef Oven Mitt or a Top Chef Sticky Note Pad. Let me know which you prefer.
Remember, all you have to do to be eligible to win a Giveaway prize is leave a comment on this post by 10:00 p.m. next Wednesday. I’ll pick a winner using the random number generator.

Ciao for now!

26 responses to Top Chef Season 4: Serve and Protect, Some Personal Notes and AND GIVEAWAY

  1. On May 15, 2008 at 4:01pm, Michelle in Colorado Springs said...

    I have to say that even if there had been a gain on Andrew’s dish I think he would have gone home, it did not look filling at all. I think that Spike should have gone home a few episodes ago.

  2. On May 15, 2008 at 4:22pm, Judy said...

    My fervent wish last night was that the judges would send all three of the losers packing. I thought Andrew (this time) was the least offensive of the three, but I understand why he had to go. On that basis, Lisa should have been sent home several episodes ago.

    Best of luck to you.

  3. On May 15, 2008 at 5:10pm, David Dust said...

    I’m so sorry to hear about the turmoil in your life right now. You WILL get through it.

    Click here for DavidDust’s Top Chef recap.


  4. On May 15, 2008 at 5:37pm, Nanc Twop said...

    ”I apologize for being such a downer today”… No need to say sorry – you’ve had a bad day – much worse than ours, or Andrew’s…

    And ITA about MSAH Spike and “What goes around, comes around” – who of the remaining chefs would sous chef for him!? (note he’s been the kiss-of-death roommate too: Erik, Ryan, Mark & now Andrew!)

    Take care! Nanc
    …my minimalist recap

  5. On May 15, 2008 at 6:21pm, Psychomom said...

    Rules, Smules. Andrew was much more entertaining, weird, but entertaining, I’ll miss laughing at him. Spike is an idiot and I predict(k) he will be the next to go.

    Hang in there.

  6. On May 15, 2008 at 7:40pm, Obsessive Foodie or Food Addict....You Decide said...

    Please know you are all in our prayers.

  7. On May 15, 2008 at 8:15pm, StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

    Thank you all for your good wishes and prayers. Sadly, I’ve just learned that T. passed away earlier today. While I will miss him terribly, I am comforted by the fact that his suffering is over.

  8. On May 15, 2008 at 9:18pm, giz said...

    I feel like we’ve been on a parallel universe – my assistant at 38 was diagnosed with ovarian cancer – I don’t need to go into the uglies – you know it all – went into remission and then back with a vengence – just finished 2nd round chemo – the one thing I’ve learned – life just isn’t fair.

  9. On May 16, 2008 at 3:39am, Emiline said...

    I’m so sorry you’re having a hard time right now. I’m sorry about T.

    Good episode, but I was sad that Andrew got the boot. I liked that he was crazy and funny. Lisa is a &&@$*#^$. Seriously. She makes me so mad.

    But the real question is:
    Do you like Burritos?

    PS Sam is hot hot hot.

  10. On May 16, 2008 at 6:03am, Joanna Schmidt said...

    My husband is addicted to this show. I haven’t watched it yet, but I do love Hell’s Kitchen. How can you NOT love Gordon Ramsey??

  11. On May 16, 2008 at 7:18am, The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

    Big hugs to you on your loss of your friend. I’m sending goog thoughts to your assistant!

    I don’t watch regularly and get most of my TC info from these recaps, but from what I have seen, I’m actually glad Andrew went. I saw that episode where he rather arrogantly said he wouldn’t leave without a security escort. I thought it was incredibly arrogant and I was rooting for him to lose ever since then. I’m not hugely fond of Lisa either. But this isn’t a personality/popularity contest.

  12. On May 16, 2008 at 7:18am, Jescel said...

    I am sorry to hear about your assistant and your neighbor. I know how devastating that is. My mom passed away from breast cancer Sept last year.. the past 2 yrs leading to my mom’s demise were just difficult times for our family, to say the least. But tough times don’t last but tough people do. I always believe that nothing is impossible to those who believe in God…. Hope you’ll find the right assitant for the job. By the way, thanks for your Top Chef updates. I read yours whenever I miss an episode.. LOL…

  13. On May 16, 2008 at 7:50am, jancd said...

    You have had quite a week. I’m surprised you even had time to blog. My prayers are with your and your friends. Jancd

  14. On May 16, 2008 at 9:27am, Judy @ No Fear Entertaining said...

    I am so sorry that you are going through so much right now! You have really had a horrendous week. Take a break and relax over the weekend!

  15. On May 16, 2008 at 1:06pm, Howard said...

    Sorry to hear about your friend. I myself am a cancer survivor, and have been so for 16 years, but know the harrowing times. My thoughts are with all.

    Now, on to Top Chef. Best train wreck of a judge’s table evah! I like when the cheftestants are so stupid and cocky that Tom C gets that grinon his face as he slaps them down!

  16. On May 16, 2008 at 6:08pm, Mansi Desai said...

    Ok, I’ve never won a random generator contest, but maybe this would be my lucky time!!! pls pick me Mr. RG!:)

    I’ve been watching Top chef lately over FN challenges…sometimes I feel it focusses more on the chef’s personality than cooking skills….but let’s see, I’ll give it a few more weeks:)

  17. On May 17, 2008 at 8:49am, Mike of Mike's Table said...

    Sorry to hear about all the craziness as of late and I hope they get better soon. :-/

    As for Top Chef, it was another so-so episode, but I was just amazed at how childish the bottom 3 were with the judges. How could that have seemed to be a good strategy to any of them?

  18. On May 17, 2008 at 2:46pm, Tartelette said...

    I am really sorry to hear about your friend. We are in the middle of such a crisis too. My heart goes out to you, your family and hers.

  19. On May 17, 2008 at 2:54pm, greenman said...

    sorry to hear of all the issues in your life and those who are a part of it.

    thanks for taking the time to post a recap at all…

    so not that I’m a fan of hers at all but I am curious whatfore all the Lisa hatin? Cause shes has a mouth like a sailor? smokes? or makes bad food most of the time? Just curious.

  20. On May 17, 2008 at 3:31pm, StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

    Giz- That is a strange coincidence. I’m so sorry about your assistant. I pray that this time will be the last time for her. I hope she gets well soon.

    Jescel- I’m so sorry about your mom. I lost my dad to renal cancer a year and a half ago. I can relate to what you’ve been through. Faith is the only thing that keeps us going.

    Howard- How wonderful! God bless you. I wish you many more healthy years!

    Helen- Thank you. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your friend too.

    Greenman- My pleasure.

    I can’t speak for anyone else, but the reason I dislike Lisa is because she is so nasty and negative towards the others ALL THE TIME! She never has a good thing to say about anything but herself, and she had proven that she ain’t all that great. I must say, that I dislike Spike even more. He is just a slimy little snake.

    I think they are both terribly arrogant and disrespectful to the judges and their peers. You can never be truly successful that way.

  21. On May 17, 2008 at 4:49pm, Heather said...

    I hate Lisa. She is a charisma-free zone.

    There’s nothing wrong with Spike picking ingredients to screw everyone else, but then he just brought a failure pile to the table. My chicken salad is WAY better than his! Maybe I should make some Spike Fails Chicken Salad.

  22. On May 17, 2008 at 9:19pm, Deborah Dowd said...

    Thank heaven they got rid of Andrew- he got on my last nerve with his big ego and small talent!

  23. On May 18, 2008 at 5:31am, Jen Yu said...

    It’s not as if you haven’t dealt with enough tragedy and stress… I’m so sorry to hear of your friend, love. I know it makes you shake your head and wonder who the hell is in charge here? At least I’ve had that thought in my head a few times before 😉 I’m wrapping my arms around you for a big hug. Stay strong for your friend. It matters – for both of you. Sending you the most positive and loving thoughts and wishes. I really wish you didn’t have to go through this. xxoo

  24. On May 18, 2008 at 2:58pm, Grace said...

    sending some hugs and prayers your way!

    sam is a stunning man. antonia (one of my favorites) said it best: “tall, dark, and handsome, AND he can cook. sign me up.” :)

  25. On May 19, 2008 at 2:43pm, Amy said...

    I’m so sorry to hear about your assistant and neighbor. My thoughts are with you. Thank you for doing the recap, especially with such a crisis going on. I look forward to reading it every week. :)

    It was nice to see Sam again (he and Elia were my fav). I really wanted to see Spike go for being so sleazy, failing to make a good dish, and mouthing off to Tom. Oh well, hopefully he gets what’s coming to him (Lisa too).

  26. On May 20, 2008 at 3:47pm, Josie said...

    Lisa makes me want to rip my hair out. Please make her leave tomorrow night!!!!!!!!

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Hello and welcome to SGCC! I’m Susan, a professional writer, food columnist, recipe developer, wife, mother, daughter and sister, who used to be a lawyer in a previous life. My love of food comes from a long line of wonderful and creative Italian home cooks who didn’t always have a lot, but knew how to make a lot out of what they had. I hope that you enjoy yourself while you’re here, and visit often! read more >>

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