Iron Skillet

Culinary Punditry as Food for the Masses

Iron Skillet

Iron Skillet
United States
January 10
The home of Iron Pundit v. Iron Skillet ..aka the unofficial OS Top Chef Liveblog. Come here for your Top Chef fix and other forms of Foodie goodness. This kitchen never closes!


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SEPTEMBER 2, 2009 9:54PM

Return of the Iron Skillet: Top Chef Las Vegas ep. 3

Rate: 6 Flag




Greetings, and welcome to our first Top Chef liveblog in the new blogging space, “Iron Skillet.”

I have to admit that it’s been a crazy week, but once again, hubby is on vacation, and those of you who follow this blog more regularly know what that means – I get to cook what I want.

So I’ve been indulging myself in a new favorite:  carmelized onions and mushrooms over toast.  I’ve been making chipotle sauce again.  And last weekend, I hosted a baby shower for 30 people and wowed the crowd with my crabcakes on endives with hoisin sauce.

And tonight, to ease my re-entry into the world of the liveblog, I made some real, honest-to-goodness, not from a package hot chocolate.  The recipe is simple:  Heat milk, add shaved chocolate, whisk briskly until chocolate melts into the milk.  Drink.  Pure decadence.

First off, some thoughts on last week’s episode, which I did not get the chance to liveblog….

I understand how a gay person would feel completely left out at a wedding.  I liken it to when I was pregnant, and one of my friends was in the midst of fertility treatments because she could not conceive.  It was really difficult for her to be around me, not because of anything I did, but because I was pregnant and she desperately wanted to be.  That said, if you are a chef, you are sooner or later going to be asked to cook for a wedding or wedding-related event.  If you can’t handle that, you’d better get used to limiting yourself pretty severely.  You kind of need to be a grown up and realize that we all get asked to do things that are difficult  and sometimes uncomfortable for us as part of our jobs.

So here we go…..

9:54 p.m. -- The ladies are on the chopping block from last week, when Eve went home.  Quite frankly, that was an easy decision.  From the very beginning she was WAY out of her league with this bunch.

9:55 p.m. -- the interesting thing about Top Chef as opposed to other reality competition shows like it (Project Runway, I'm looking at you...) is that the winners of Top Chef actually do go on to do things once they have won, and even the ones that didn't win enjoy success.  Harold's reatuarant in New York by all accounts is doing well, and Spike just opened a place in DC.

9:58 p.m. -- Jesse is on thin ice on this show already.  It seems this year it is very evident who has got the chops and who doesn't.  Then again, if I remember correctly, the first eliminations are always somewhat obvious.

9:59 p.m. -- This week's episode is gonna be good.  And slightly a joke.  Just to give you a little "inside ball" -- the big joke among military people of all services is that one joins the Air Force for the food.....just sayin'.

10:02 p.m. -- Jennifer is really interesting because she's actually kind of a stone cold bitch. 

10:03 p.m. -- For the quickfire, they are at the Top Chef kitchen and they are looking at a plate of potatoes.  And Mark Peel of TCM is back.

10:04 p.m. -- Ron has really got potential, he can really milk those island roots.  Jesse could be in trouble choosing a soup.  But it's ashley who's got balls choosing a gnocci.

10:06 p.m. -- Preeti is experiencing water confusion.  And Ashley has a cow.

10:07 p.m. -- Ash is experiencing craziness with his ice cream.  This could get interesting.

10:08 p.m. -- Here's what makes Ash brilliant -- he calls it a custard, and doesn't let on he fucked up. Smart.  Very, very smart.

10:09 p.m. -- All of them are doing either 3 potatoes or potatoes 3 way.  Hector's purple potatoes look REALLY purple.

10:10 p.m. -- Laurene does a really unique potato burger.  Who'd have thunk it?

10:12 p.m. -- Mark Peel nearly chokes on Jesse's soup.

10:13 p.m. -- And once again, Jesse lands into the bottom. 

10:14 p.m. -- Ash's failed ice cream actually does well.  but Jennifer pulls it out.  Mike is mad because Jennifer is beating him like a dog.

10:27 p.m. -- the chefs arrive on base at Nellis Air Force Base.

10:28 p.m. -- Michael's attitude is awsome....we only have to do this once.

10:28 p.m. -- Preeti wanted to be a chef because of 9-11?  That's weird.  The world is blowing up and you want to cook......

10:29 p.m. -- Eli is really funny, because he keeps talking about southern food and he's like so not a southern boy.

10:30 p.m. -- those troops, they loves them some chowder Ron.....and Hector is cooking hot food.  Anybody else thing this is going to be a disaster?

10:31 p.m. -- There is only one skillet, and there is more than one group that wants to use it.  The limitations are very interesting.

10:32 p.m. -- Jennifer really is a stone cold bitch.  I don't mean that as an insult.

10:34 p.m. -- This is really interesting, because it has to be transported to the humvees.

10:36 p.m. -- My cat keeps knocking stuff over ... so weird banging happens randomly in my home.

10:36 p.m. -- Preeti and Laurine are feeling weird about their pasta salad.  And seriously, Ron and Jesse were smoking crack with the chowder.

10:38 p.m. -- Here come the servicemen and servicewomen.  This is going to be crazy.

10:43 p.m. -- The carving station is going to be interesting too. 

10:44 p.m. -- I think Preeti and Laurine are on the chopping block, as are Jesse and Ron for the chowder.

10:45 p.m. -- Kevin is really awesome.  I like him.  A lot.

10:46 p.m. -- the brothers, Brian and Michael, are truly hot in completely different ways.

10:48 p.m. -- As crazy as it is, the chowder apparently is going over well with the servicemen. And they are totally in love with the pork belly/bacon.  Proving once again, the power of bacon is supreme.

10:49 p.m. -- And bread pudding.....chocolate.  Yum. 

10:50 p.m. -- As things wind down, we start to see who's cocky and who's nervous.  Robin is a favorite of mine too.....I think she's got an amazing spirit. 

10:51 p.m. -- You know, the personalities this season seem less...volatile and dramatic than last season.  Then again, I could be wrong.....

10:55 p.m. -- Can we get on with the elimination already?

10:58 p.m. -- And Ash sums up what we're on about between Bonnie and me. 

10:59 p.m. -- The Mikes, Kevin and Eli are in the of them won. 

11:00 p.m. -- Mike and Mike are interesting.  The interesting thing is Mike is now shooting himself in the foot.  They hated the shrimp salad.  

11:01 p.m. -- And the winner is Michael Voltaggio.  Bacon rules.

11:02 p.m. -- Mike is in the loser's bracket too!  HA!  And Preeti and Laurine as predicted.  Jesse and Ron have a reprieve. 

11:03 p.m. -- Mike is VERY defensive about being in the bottom.  It's really interesting.  Now the fact that he's a total dick is coming to the fore. The judges are really riled at him, you can hear the edge in Gail's voice.

11:04 p.m. -- Preeti once again is saying that she thinks the dish was good.  I think it's a toss up whether Preeti goes or Mike. 

11:05 p.m. -- Laurine is shooting herself in a foot.  And so is Preeti.

11:06 p.m. -- This is so weird.  It may be the weirdest elimination room I've ever seen.  Usually you can tell who's going home.  Right now, I do not know.

11:07 p.m. -- Tom hates the fact that Preeti is clueless. And Mike's defensiveness is really palpable and really hurting him.

11:10 p.m. -- This elimination will really be an interesting window into the mind of the judges.  How important is wanting to win?  How important is the cooking as opposed to the attitude?

11:12 p.m. -- Michael looks like a boy whose been found stealing from the cookie jar.

11:13 p.m. -- And Preeti takes a powder.  Makes a lot of sense actually....she's been hanging by a thread for a couple weeks now.

11:14 p.m. -- Next week they ar doing French.  And Jesse looks like she wants to die.


That's all for this week everyone!  See you next time!

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What's with the craze for duck fat? And, even though potatoes are the basis for the quickfire, someone has tried to turrn it into the dreaded risotto,
Mike is probably one of the better chefs technically, but I cannot STAND his personality....he's the one doing the "risotto" potatoes. Oh, and duck fat is basically high-class bacon. And as we all know, nearly everything you cook can be improved by bacon....
Jennifer is the one to beat. Mike is dreaming if he thinks he's in her league.
We vegetarians take a dim view of duck fat. All of these guys should tithe to PETA.
Chowder and chili on a hot day? Are they on the side of the enemy?
So how is the judging going to work? Who takes the hit for the team that fails? Or do they both go? (And I'd work for Jen anyday.)
What the hell is Padma wearing and why? Salman Rushdie's revenge?
I noticed Padma's leopard print too! All I could think is that the servicemen would be secretly wolf-whistling in their heads.....or out loud....ah the wonders of editing.
Dying to see whether the airmen (airpeople?) like the chowder.
Is the butt-kissing/suckingup by the potato salad twins a bit over the top?
So the chili's a hit. The judges may like the chowder a lot less than the troops.
I'd feel better if they avoided the pro-war propaganda. I feel sorry for those soldiers trapped in endless assignments in Iraq where the reality is NOT that they are giving their lives to save ours. They were exploited by an administration that misused our military for their own purposes. I always feel these segments are cheap sentimentality. But then again, that's why they make chocolate and vanilla.
I think Preeti and Laurine are on the block, as are Jesse and Ron. I think Jesse is going home. I think Jennifer has just made herself the one everyone else is gunning for. I think she's tough enough not to care.
Is this a cooking show or an Air Force recruiting commercial?
Hey, knowing how many of the product tie-ins on the show involve money changing hands, maybe the Air Force did pay a fee for the unrelenting glorification? Wonder if it will be revealed in the credits?
On the one hand, Bonnie, I agree with you that these servicepeople are being placed in harm's way needlessly, but I gotta say, being married to a vet who was deployed more than once, that you really do need to separate the troops from those that send them to fight. The troops really do selflessly serve the country, and deserve the unconditional support being expressed here. I think it's possible to do that and still not agree with the war that is being fought.
Mike always seems surprised to find he's not on top
Mike is entirely too full of himself.
BTW -I actually thought that setting up a carving station was a dumb thing to do. Then when the Bro gave Jen a hard time and wouldn't set up plates for people to pick from, I thought he was doomed. Further proof that since I an anosmic vegtarian with celiac disease (gluten free) who is lactose intolerant, I may not be the right choice to be commenting as if I'm a foodie.
Hate to see Preeti go based on personality, but she always seemed to be close to the bottom.
You do have a point though in the fact that when you are talking about a buffet, there is a foo to setting it up so that the line moves. I was at an event this weekend that had a buffet lunch where the line didn't move because the setup was botched (too many dishes on a small table). People got really irritated, and even though the food was really good, the experience in the line marred the whole thing for me.
At the judge's table, Micheal V. threw Mike under the bus and backed it up and ran over him again. I don't like Mike's attitude but hate to see that kind of 'unsportsman like' conduct.
Padma seemed exceptionally stern last night and a wee bit pissed off throughout the entire episode. What was up with that?
Thank you for your comments on the "why ask gay people to cater a wedding" thing. I have never heard such an asinine comment from someone who is presenting themselves as a professional. So, what, infertile women shouldn't do anything for people who have children? I mean you could make up a whole list of people we wouldn't help in our jobs depending on our own life situations. ( I personally would no longer lift a finger for any athletes, as I was born without athletic skills.) The point of being a professional is that you serve the people who hire you, period. You don't go all whiny baby about your own life. I can't believe how immature that was.
Here's what I don't quite get: If a couple of contestants got their noses out of joint last week for catering a wedding oriented event when they can't be married themselves, how come they didn't complain this week about catering a military event when they can't openly serve in the military?
Are they clueless? Or do you think that perhaps they were admonished and advised to back off from those "political" statements and focus on the food competition?
"the hookers have arrived!"

- when Padma climbed out of the humvee.

worst, absolutely the worst, tightest, shortest, stupidest jungley print dress I have ever seen on a body off 10th ave.

as an aside: what's going on with Padma's outfits? looks to me like she's being dressed by either transvestites or madams or 13 year old boys. this is a gorgeous woman. it's a damn shame they're dressing her like this. or maybe she's dressing herself. that's a scary thought.
Walter, we said the same thing while we were watching.

I guess no one asked so no one told.
Walter, my hunch is that the Air Force picked up the production tab in exchange for the "recruiting poster" - and the show was edited to make it seem that all the chefs were delighted to be serving the troops. Remember that they sign their lives away in those contracts. This is crass "product placement" at its worst, I suspect.
Jennifer is a *crackerjack* kitchen manager. I haven't noticed anything particularly mindblowing about her food, but her 'executive chef' skills are outstanding.
Jesse is pretty painful to watch.... I have a low tolerance for the "I'm so weird" bit. And she needs to make something other than soup. I'm a Texan. Chili in the heat, yep. Clam Chowder? Totally on crack.