Top Chef: Episode 4.7 Gourmet or No Way?
Have you heard? We're at a point in Top Chef 4 where THERE IS NO ROOM FOR ERROR. Just wanted to make sure you caught that in case you might have narcolepsy and happened to repeatedly doze off every three to four minutes when yet another chef said it. Again. Oh, Top Chef 4, I kid because I love.

So there is no room for error, but apparently there is a comfortably wide passage for sliding on through because Nikki Cascone survived once again, and veins throbbed in the foreheads of annoyed Top Chef viewers across this great land. But sorry, folks, I'm afraid this column will just add insult to your injury. Or injury to your insult, or freshly ground nutmeg to your mild affront or something. Why?

Because she and Mark Simmons also scooch out of harm's way in this article as well. After carefully reviewing the footage, I can find myself only dully agreeing with what the judges already decided in their panel.


So far on Top Chef, I've felt like Spike Mendelsohn's mouthy ego has a tendency to write checks that his cooking skills have yet to cash. But maybe all he ever needed was a chance to make some squash soup. I am generally bored by soup and I am not a huge fan of squash, but by the time his and Andrew D'Ambrosi's Squash Soup with Vanilla Crème Fraiche was served…danged if I didn't really want some squash soup! I think what sealed the deal for me was their care in seasoning. Seasoning a dish properly isn't flashy and doesn't make for good TV, but it can make the simplest of fare a revelation.

And I guess I'm one of the few people in the world who doesn't react with scorn when presented with tofu, so I probably would have liked some tofu in a good green curry no matter what. But Richard Blais's beef fat twist on the tofu was clever and I am sure did help to add some much-needed pizzazz to an admittedly mellow component. Like Spike and Andrew, Dale also seemed to really put a lot of care, thought and time into making sure his curry seasoning was extremely delicious.


I'm not even so concerned that Antonia Lofaso and Lisa Fernandes didn't incorporate the Polish sausage into their dish of Sea Bass with Purple Potato Puree, Chorizo & Tequila Sauce. I mean, I didn't like that because the whole point of the limitations of the challenges are to force you to be creative. But I'm mainly putting them in the No Way column because – despite the fact that the judges thought it tasted fine – I think it just looks and sounds pretty unappealing. If I saw this option on a menu, I don't think I would even linger over it for a second.

And although I liked Jennifer Biesty personally, and also believe that Stephanie Izard has shown she has the skills to go far, I just don't think their Menage a Trois of Orange, Asparagus, Salad and Olive Tapenade sounded very appealing. I also have a special loathing for dishes served with too-crusty bread that is difficult to eat. While the individual components sounded tasty, overall this just didn't have the appeal for me.

- Leslie Seaton, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
(Images courtesy of Bravo)