Okay, you guys, I finally figured it out. I know who Chef Mehta’s voice reminds me of. Drum roll, please! … Hannibal Lecter! Yeah, totally. I told Billy that and he suggested that maybe in the finals, he should cook liver with fava beans and a nice chianti. I’m down.
Obviously the big news was Appleman’s takedown, but we’ll get to that. I want to save it for as long as I can to draw out the joy I’m getting from this. For now, let’s discuss how the producers totally handed this challenge to Chef Mehta. An Indian cooking challenge to make it into the top four? Really? I mean, I can understand how having an Indian Iron Chef would be good for diversity, but I can also understand wanting a Latino Iron Chef. But do you need to be so obvious? I mean, couldn’t you just pay off the judges to say the food is good? It’s not like we really have any idea what it tastes like, and it would be fun to pretend that this is an actual competition, right?
As far as Indian food goes, I’ve got to say that I am a total n00b. I’ve had exactly one complete meal of Indian food and thus far, my likes seem to be relegated to the least intimidating offerings possible, like naan and samosas. This episode left me feeling like I might want to try chicken tikka though, and Chef Freitag’s rice and potatoes business looked pretty good (and I love Jeffrey for loving food so much and always wanting to eat off other people’s plates), and in fact, if I could (had to?) eat one plate of food, it would’ve been hers. I thought it was a little comical that they gave the win to Garces, like NOT giving it to Mehta would fool us into thinking this wasn’t a total set up–nice try, but no. Not even just “no”–not even close.
It seems pretty clear to me that Chefs Mullen and Freitag really can’t win this competition. It isn’t that they aren’t good chefs, it’s just that they’re totally unnecessary to Iron Chef, because they would just be way to similar to Michael Symon (if he’s sticking around? I don’t really know who they’d replace) or Bobby Flay, whereas an Indian or Latino chef would really add something different. But I don’t know, I would’ve expected there to be a runaway winner by now and there’s not really, which is weird.
I was, however, thrilled that there was a runaway loser last night, and that was Appleman. I mean, he’s always a loser but in this case, he didn’t win the competition and OH thank god. If by some shitty twist of fate he had won, I would have never watched Iron Chef again, even to fall asleep on the air mattress to, because of how much I hate him and would want to protest. And really, after he won the first challenge, I thought we might be in some trouble.
Thank god, he really screwed the pooch on the challenge. I have no idea how someone can be such a cocky, arrogant bastard as to think that they know nothing about Indian food, have never MADE Indian food, and yet may not only not LOSE the challenge, but possibly WIN it. How delusional can you get? Plus, it’s like I told Billy … I’m no chef, but I’m preeeetty sure a gnocchi isn’t so much Indian. Eye roll. I just hate him so much, I’m glad to see his obnoxious, lying, little-man-syndrome ass hit the road!
Anyway, this challenge got me and Billy talking again about who we thought were the more talented chefs, this bunch or the cheftestants on Top Chef (and could I say “chef” a couple more times in that sentence?). In general, I think this is very obviously a more seasoned (pun alert!) group of chefs and they’re expected to know a lot more and really, it seems like they’re also asked to DO a lot more within their time constraints. It does seem like it requires a greater knowledge and deeper understanding to create actual, authentic Indian dishes, rather than to “make a dish inspired by the flavors of India!” or to “reinterpret a classic Indian dish!”, you know? That said, I still think that Top Chef’s Kevin would kick all of these people’s asses, but as of now, that’s just a working theory.
Anybody else care to weigh in on this topic? I know I’ve got some Top Chef watchers out there who might have something to add, so let’s hear it!