Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fantasy Top Chef Update Week 1: Sleepers With The Fishes

After preparing for Nationals, going to Nationals, attempting to recover from Nationals, and so forth, it's suddenly Wednesday again - and Wednesday means Top Chef! Last week was the first week of our hotly contested Fantasy Top Chef, which means it's time for a recap! Exclamation mark!

Quick Fire Challenge

The Quick Fire challenge used a fancied up slot machine, where the chefs were given a mood, a flavour, and a type of cuisine. The biggest surprise? Apparently not many of the chefs are comfortable with Asian food, which I found strange.


QF Losers

Robin (Garthmeister J., -0.5): For some reason Robin decided to use curry oil for her Middle Eastern cuisine, which was the death stroke for her middling dish. Already Garth is beginning to regret picking her over Ash. Maybe.

Eli (Saunter, -0.5): Eli made another of those damned ceviches, and deservedly got punished. Seriously, enough with the ceviche. Sorry Saunter.

Jen (Saunter, -0.5): The biggest surprise in the loser category, Jen's scallops did not impress. Jen had explained that she was feeling really ill, so that could be an excuse, but still: Saunter can't be happy with that result from the overall #1 pick.


QF Winners

Mike I (Saunter, +1): The chef we love to hate comes through with his Asian mushroom salad, despite professing he doesn't do the Asian thing. Saunter fist pumps, as her second pick delivers the goods.

Michael V. (Garthmeister J., +1): The consistently high-scoring Volt brother got a nod with his yoghurty seaweed cracker thingy. Is it a surprise that Michael gets points for an Asian-style QF? Lord no, it would have been a shock if he hadn't.

Overall QF Winner: Kevin (Garthmeister J., +3): The outstanding Kevin takes home a QF challenge, with his char-broiled pork salad.


After the Quick Fire challenge Saunter was left with 0 points, her two losers offsetting her one winner. Daddy managed to whiff on both the losers and winners, and was upset that his stable of chefs appeared to be middling nobodies. Garth was the big winner, picking up 3.5 points as his big guns came to play... but will Robin continue to cause problems?


Elimination Challenge

The Elimination Challenge was another affair where chefs were partnered up to prepare a dish on short notice using specific ingredients, using their house kitchen. This presented some interesting situations, where the fantasy owners were concerned about who their horses were paired with. Notably Saunter was panicking, as the Michael I./Robin combination looked sure to cost her, and Garth was worried that Ash would drag Michael V. down.


Elimination Winners

Bryan (Daddy, +2): Daddy gets on the board as Bryan comes through once more. His and Laurine's halibut dish is a hit.

Laurine (Daddy, +2): As Laurine was partnered with Bryan, there was a great chance the dish wouldn't suck, and the format of this week's EC lets Daddy double-dip with their top finish.

Kevin (Garthmeister J., +2): Kevin and Jen being partnered almost guaranteed they would finish in the winner's circle, there's just too much talent on display here. Garth hits paydirt again with Kevin.

Overall EC Winner: Jen (Saunter, +6): Jen atones for her QF failure with a big EC win. It looked touch and go whether Jen would win for her sauce or Kevin would win for the beef, but the sauce has it! Saunter leaps into the points lead, and only has to sweat to see if she receives any negative points, or perhaps even loses a chef.


Elimination Challenge Losers

Michael V. (Garthmeister J., -1): Garth's fears come true, though it was due more to flaky electrics rather than Ash's mediocrity. A big sigh of relief for Garth that his star isn't eliminated.

Ash (None): The un-owned Ash doesn't punish anyone for having him in his stable, so Garth dodges a bullet here. At Judge's Table Ash simultaneously puts the focus on Michael as the star of the show, putting the Voltaggio in danger of elimination, while almost talking himself into getting the boot.

Eli (Saunter, -1): Eli seemed to do some serious damage to his dish, made in conjunction with Ashley), as he appeared to over-season the gnocchi. He also wussed out of cooking the prawns, which was simultaneously weak and smart, as that seemed to seal the deal for Ashley. Eli is the first chef to score negative points in both challenges. Sorry Saunter.

Eliminated: Ashley (Daddy, -1): And BOOM! Daddy is the first to lose a chef, his avowed sleeper, and his second round pick at that. From here on in Daddy has got to pin his hopes on Bryan going deep, and Laurine blossoming.


League Table

Saunter: +5.0 (+5.0 for this week)
Garthmeister J: +4.5 (+4.5)
Daddy: +3.0 (+3.0)


Saunter gets off to a strong start, with Jen overcoming an early hiccup to validate her being picked as #1 overall, though Saunter does have cause for concern with Eli. Michael I., on the other hand, might be hanging around for a while. Daddy has reason to be upset, losing his number one pick, and needing Bryan to outperform any possible negative scoring from Laurine. Garth must have a lot of confidence in Kevin right now, but there's a possibility here that Michael V. goes into an emotional tailspin, especially given the previews of tonight's show. And exactly how much is Robin going to cost him?


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For those wondering about Nationals, my team ended up playing horrendously on the first day, mathematically eliminating ourselves from contention. I didn't do much in the first game besides getting my nose smashed, though it only seemed to have caused me to bleed everywhere as opposed to incurring any real structural damage. In the second game I did kick a goal, but we were busy getting trounced at the time.

On the Sunday morning we had one more game against our arch-rivals New York. Naturally we absolutely destroyed them, knocking them out of the competition. I kicked two goals, and had a hand in another, but also managed to get crushed a couple of times. Looks like I have either badly bruised ribs, or perhaps I even managed to crack a couple of them. Good times! As the season is over I now have time to heal up, get fat, and think about whether I'll be coming back for another year. Right now March just seems a long way away.

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