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'Top Chef' Season 3 Raises The Bar - Branford, CT, USA - I'd like to personally welcome all of you easy chair culinary pundits to another season of "Top Chef." This show is the best food competition on TV; you can take your "Iron Chef" and shove it.

The kitchen is no place for theatrics, just nifty knife work, refined flavor profiles and the usual reality show drama. All of your favorite nitpickers (Tom, Ted, Gail and Padma) are back for this season's culinary sojourn in the windy city of Chicago. The new locale will assuredly provide us with more and different challenges spawned from the flavors of the second city, so let us tarry not any longer and dive right in.

I'm not going to bother telling you where these chefs have worked. You can go to the Bravo website if you want to read all about them. Everybody arrived at the airport, told us where they're from and listed their qualifications and why they think they're the most awesome chef ever. The first surprise of the season was our first dating contestant couple: Zoi and Jenn. Way to be progressive "Top Chef," but could you have painted a bigger bulls-eye on their backs?

We found everyone at Pizzeria Uno, which...come on. They couldn't have sent them somewhere more iconic? There's a Pizzeria Uno down the street from me in a strip mall, and it's the last thing I think about when I think of Chicago. Then Tom! Padma! The first Quickfire (which may or may not be taking place in the back of Pizzeria Uno), required our cheftestants to create their own deep dish pizzas. It was an excellent challenge with the essence of Chicago and freedom to do what they want. Bravo.....uh, Bravo.

Knives flew, onions were peeled, sausage was sliced, sauces were simmered and my stomach started to rumble. Nicci's white truffle pie looked interesting, but Mr. New Zealand's marmite (a New Zealand vegemite ingredient) pie might be a surprise as well. In the first drama of the season, Richard stole Andrew's deep dish (his pan, not pizza). We care buddy, but you found a cast iron pan that will work just as well, so quit your whining.


Judging took place at guest judge Rocco Dispirito's house, which was....underwhelming, at least to me. I'm not going to tell you about every pizza, just the ones that looked good to me. Richard made a peach pie, which looked solid. Stephanie put together a basic pie with tomato sauce and prosciutto...mmmm...prosciutto. Zoi had one with broccoli, pesto and lamb sausage. It's interesting, but it looked like crap. Dale brought us a pie with sausage, pickled kohlrabi (a vegetable root) with Sriracha and scallions....mmmmm, I love Sriracha! Spike pulled off a Greek pie that I would gobble down in a hot minute. Nici's white truffle pie doesn't taste as good as it looked, for shame. And the winner one. According to Rocco, half of the cheftestants sucked and the other half didn't, and this factored into the elimination challenge.

It also turns out that the house where they found Rocco is also where they're living. Nice Digs. Chef hijinks! Drinking, smoking, cooking, smack talking. Andrew in particular distinguished himself as a quality smack talker. Loving him so far. Nimma went to bed early. She was all business and wasn't there to make friends, and so is Dale. But I don't think anyone is missing either of them.
Source : Originally Published - Branford, CT, USA, Mar 13, 2008
Celebrities : Tom Coliccho, Padma Lakshmi, Gail Simmons, Ted Allen
Categories : Top Chef, Celebrity Appearances, Celebrity News
Posted 3/13/2008 10:03:21 AM | Permalink
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