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

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 [1]!
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 [2]!!! 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 [3].

Ciao for now!