Sunday, February 20, 2011


Sunday, February 20, 2011

This app is either going to be a huge lifesaver OR the bane of my existence. I'm not sure which yet.

Should I be alarmed that my normally frugal husband purchased the expensive software for my computer AND insisted that I have the $10 mobile version as well?

I have to go. More "things" need to be added to my list...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Fourth time's the charm...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Yes, it's a bit lame of me to post a fifteen second video that was undoubtedly aired during a timeout on ESPN this week. However, I just wanted a quick sneak peek promo of Survivor's new season, in which my beloved FAVORITE, Boston Rob Mariano, gets yet another shot to win the million. I'm not at all ashamed that I keep looking at the clock and eagerly waiting for the premiere to happen. I. CANNOT. WAIT.

What's up with my blogging drought...

I have been a lackluster blogger as of late. The few posts I have managed to churn out have been poor efforts at recapping my FAVORITE reality show. You would think I would have been all over the chance to regularly keep up with my all-star chefs! The fact that I have been so bad at it should tell you that I must have had good reasons keeping me from successful and healthy blogging!

The largest hurdle in my way has been the monstrous amount of reading I've had for my two courses this quarter. Taking multiple classes would have been a walk in the park in the days of yore college, when I had the ability to function on a mere two hours sleep and my entire universe was concentrated in the relatively few miles that made up my college campus. Now, I'm out of academic (and physical!) shape, have other additional responsibilities, and spend lots of time driving to and fro. Truly, I have loved reading the novels visible in that pile, but my aspiration to carefully complete each one has resulted in a necessary sacrifice of my time. Though I had read most of them before, I determined to read them all again, start to finish. I am proud to have completed my goal thus far, though we'll see how I can manage when we finally arrive at our last book for the quarter, Absalom, Absalom!

Each week we are required to write a brief paper (only a few pages long) honing in on an issue or thorny problem that stuck out in our minds while reading. It's given me a chance to scrutinize all my notes and highlighting, so I include a smattering of quotes here. My favorite book so far? Wuthering Heights, though I admit that my teenage notions of great love from my first reading were dissipated immediately when my more mature adult perspective saw Cathy and Heathcliff for who they really were. Most pleasant surprise? The Scarlet Letter. I should not have read it in high school, a time when most great literature is tragically unappreciated. It was excellent.

"Even where the affections are not strongly moved by any superior excellence, the companions of our childhood always possess a certain power over our minds, which hardly any later friend can obtain. They know our infantine dispositions, which, however they may be afterwards modified, are never eradicated; and they can judge of our actions with more certain conclusions as to the integrity of our motives." -Frankenstein, Mary Shelley

"My sensations were those of extreme horror and dismay. In vain I attempted to reason on the probable cause of my being thus entombed. I could summon up no connected chain of reflection, and, sinking on the floor, gave way, unresistingly, to the most gloomy imaginings, in which the dreadful deaths of thirst, famine, suffocation, and premature interment crowded upon me as the prominent disasters to be encountered."

-The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, Edgar Allan Poe

"My great miseries in this world have been Heathcliff's miseries, and I watched and felt each from the beginning; my great thought in living is himself. If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and, if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the Universe would turn to a mighty stranger. I would not be a part of it."

-Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte

"But there was a fatality, a feeling so irresistible and inevitable that it has the force of doom, which almost invariably compels human beings to linger around and haunt, ghost-like, the spot where some great and marked event has given the color to their lifetime; and still the more irresistibly, the darker the tinge that saddens it."

-The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne

"To add to the difficulties and dangers of the time, masses of sea-fog came drifting inland-white, wet clouds, which swept by in ghostly fashion, so dank and damp and cold that it needed but little effort of the imagination to think that the spirits of those lost at sea were touching their living brethren with the clammy hands of death, and many a one shuddered as the wreaths of sea-mist swept by."

-Dracula, Bram Stoker

"Here at present I felt afresh-for I had felt it again and again-how my equilibrium depended on the success of my rigid will, the will to shut my eyes as tight as possible to the truth that what I had to deal with was revoltingly, against nature. I could only get on at all by taking 'nature' into my confidence and my account, by treating my monstrous ordeal as a push in a direction unusual, of course, and unpleasant, but demanding after all, for a fair front, only another turn of the screw of ordinary human virtue."

-The Turn of the Screw, Henry James

And now for the REAL reason why I have difficulty taking a few minutes to sit down and blog about whatever recipe or movie is on my mind. Meet my nemesis:

Yes, my other course revolves around this hefty, inscrutable tome. It is my second on James Joyce, both taught by a lovely, gem of a professor who has been a faithful guide through the murky forest of Joyce's words. I knew I would certainly never be able to sit down with Ulysses outside of an academic setting, and considering its fame, I felt I should take the opportunity to study the book with a real expert.

I can't say that I'm full of regrets for the decision, but I can certainly tell you that I have never been challenged in such a way before. It is easily the most difficult text I have ever encountered. In the beginning of the course, I spent most of my time racking my brain to figure out what was going on, even sentence by sentence. Now, rather than get frustrated, I simply accept that I'm going to miss some things. I can readily identify the reasons why Joyce is such a huge literary giant, and will thoroughly attest to his talent. When our class finishes, however, I don't think I'll be returning for a second reading any time in the near future.

Just to get an idea of the sheer craziness that goes on week after week, try this rather tame quote on for size:

"A frowsy whore with black straw sailor hat askew came glazily in the day along the quay towards Mr. Bloom. When first he saw that form endearing? Yes it is. I feel so lonely. Wet night in the lane. Horn. Who had the? Heehaw shesaw. Off her beat here. What is she? Hope she. Psst! Any chance of your wash. Knew Molly. Had me decked. Stout lady does be with you in the brown costume. Put you off your stroke, that. Appointment we made knowing we'd never, well hardly ever. Too dear too near to home sweet home. Sees me, does she? Looks a fright in the day. Face like dip. Damn her. Oh, well, she has to live like the rest. Look in here." -Ulysses, James Joyce

Just over halfway done with winter quarter-here's to better blogging in my future!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

"He HAS to do a foam!"

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

By some miracle, I am now a mere three episodes behind in my recapping efforts. Granted, catching up requires several hours of television watching, but as the cursed water company has taken over the street for the day AND shut off my water, I figure this is just as good a day as any to catch up. It's not as though I can take a shower and prepare myself properly for any outings.

Opening scenes:
At this point, the least I can say for Jamie is that she put up an admirable effort in praising Casey's fearlessness for preparing chicken feet. The chefs spend a bit of time in the stew room admiring her and all secretly wishing Jamie was gone. I'm pretty sure they would have all devoured ALL of Casey's bad chicken feet if it meant she stayed and Jamie had gone home. Marcel uses his time to instigate a fight with Trying-to-Reform-Angry Dale. Something about how he cooks for the people, and for the challenge. Tre tries to stay out of the tirade, while Dale tosses back a few calm curses. Apparently, he has taken anger management, and is above all of Marcel's "saltiness." We'll see, Dale.

For some unknown and ominous reason, the chefs are up and 'at em at 4:30 in the morning. They head into the Top Chef kitchen and find a personalized note from Padma and Tom, accompanied by a map to Montauk. Must be a fishing challenge. Thank goodness the chefs have their Toyota Siennas for the drive.

Despite my slight prejudice against all wealthy areas of the country, I must admit that the lighthouse point where the chefs met Tom and Padma was quite stunning. It was made even more lovely by the early morning sun casting golden light on Tom's head. My favorite informs the chefs that they will be going out fishing in four teams, two teams per boat. They will be cooking what they catch in five hours for a double elimination challenge.

Team 1: Angry Dale, Carla, Tre

Team 2:Mike, Angelo, Tiffany D.

Team 3: Antonia, TIffani F., Jamie

Team 4: Marcel, Fabio, Richard

As they prepare to head out, Angelo displays a remarkable knowledge of shark biology and admits that he is terrified of the water. A bit odd considering that seafood is is specialty. Have some respect for your product, Angelo! Fabio, on other hand, is completely in his element, having come from good Italian fisherman stock.

Dale, also a descendant of a fishing expert, was the first to catch a fish. It's impressively huge. Antonia screams like "a fourth grader" when she picks up her first, and soon, the boat they share with Team 1 is loaded with fish. Afternoon crickets are chirping on the other boat, which has yet to pick up a fish. After three hours. I start to worry that those two teams will have nothing to prepare for the challenge. It's a bit odd, because it appear that the two boats are within sight of each other.

Finally, with practically an hour left to go, Teams 2 and 4 start reeling in some fish, despite having to resort to a rather intimate technique which Tiffany does not completely appreciate. Back on the successful boat, Dale ends the trip with the triumphant catch of an enormous striped bass, which he believes resembles Marcel in some ways.

Once they're back on land, the chefs head to a local farmer's market to shop. I loved this, despite the fact that I KNEW we'd have to hear from Jamie about how she feels totally in her element when shopping locally and within season. An especially great moment was witnessing the camaraderie between Richard and Fabio as they pulled a cute green wagon full of produce around behind them.

The next day, the chefs head to a beachfront area with an awesome view of Manhattan, where they'll be serving for an evening beach party. It's difficult to figure out what's going on with the respective teams in the midst of Jamie's myriad of complaints.

Fabio, Richard, and Marcel have opted to make one dish, which, as well all know, is a huge risk. "Baby-kisser" Fabio concludes that it's a great plan, because if they end up on the bottom, the judges will have a hard time figuring out who to eliminate. He also mumbles something about reverse psychology.

Carla informs us about the infamous bloodline of the blue fish. It's not the greatest fish anyway, but if the bloodline is not properly removed, it becomes downright unpleasant. I have a feeling this might become a problem.

As is his wont, Tom visits the chefs during prep time. Predictably, he questions Marcel's team for only cooking one dish and slightly chides Dale for not making his own flour tortillas. We hear more about the blue fish and its tendency to be overly fatty and delicate.

Tom and Padma are joined by Gale and Kerry Heffernan, a Long Island chef and close friend of Tom's. I read up on Heffernan after the episode, and through Tom and Gale's blogs, learned that he had never done a television appearance before. He was a natural, and it was enjoyable to see how much Tom enjoyed his presence.

Perhaps it was the lovely locale or lively presence of a beach party, but the chefs displayed an uncharacteristic calm and charm while serving. Catching the big fish was transformative for Angry Dale, and he prepared a delicious, perfectly appropriate fish taco. Carla's "ode to New York" lettuce wrap, ensconcing smoked blue fish and bagel croutons, was a huge hit. Antonia prepared the notoriously difficult porgy, crafting it into a delicious po-boy with Old Bay mayo that the crowd devoured with relish. Angelo, Mike, and Tiffany's dish suffered from too many components. It didn't help that Angelo referred to every one of those components as "beautiful" while plating. The curse of the bloodline came up with Tiffani's smoked dish, and Jamie's poorly cooked fish died a second death, drowned in cucumber water.

Surprisingly, Angelo's team was called out with Dale, Carla, and Tre for the favorite dishes of the night. It's starting to get a bit confusing, because the top group hasn't been consistently brought out first. This time, the winner would be Carla, who skillfully prepared a less than stellar fish in an inventive way. Her prize? A trip to Amsterdam. She is really starting to pick up some steam!

Fabio, Richard, and Marcel did indeed face criticism for preparing only one dish, but also because their dish wasn't especially fitting for the setting. Despite the disorganization of their dish and unnecessary components, their errors seemed minor compared to the lack of flavor in Jamie's dish or the mistake of including the bloodline in blue fish. Poor Antonia was put on the spot by a icy cold Padma, who asked if she could have done anything to salvage their dishes. On a positive note, she was praised for having Tom's favorite dish of the night, and informed that if she had been on another team, she would not have been facing the judges.

To no one's great surprise, Jamie was FINALLY sent to pack her knives. It was such a long time in coming that the remaining chefs (and me) barely noticed that Tiffani F. was the second half of the double elimination. I'll miss the brazen redhead, and only wish that Marcel could have gone in her place. He is simply insufferable. It was a nice touch to hear her final thoughts-they were refreshing humble. I didn't even pay attention to the last time Jamie appeared, and can only hope that we never see her again.

I believe 3 o'clock has arrived! My water has returned! This can only mean the end of my relaxing day...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

"I do hear the theme song of the Titanic in the background."

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Forget the levity and comfort afforded by the Top Chef bar last episode. Instead, us humble viewers are forced to relive Spike's departure and Jamie's descent into utter uselessness. I'm not sure her job was waiting for her when she returned from filming.

As if to offer a pleasing succour to the bitterness swallowed by rehashing the last episode, the quickfire challenge is going to feature none other than Tom Colicchio! The chefs are informed that speed is critical to success in the restaurant world, and will thus be competing against the speed of an accomplished chef. This would be our dear Tom. They'll observe him preparing a dish as fast as he can, and will then create an award-winning dish in the same amount of time.

It's truly amazing to watch Tom work. He's extremely organized, and very, very fast, shucking oysters like he's the reincarnation of Hung. He finishes his dish, a concoction of black sea bass with clams simmered in a tomato and zucchini broth, in 8 minutes and 37 seconds. The chefs all agree that it's delicious. We should all remember that Tom, as a famous restauranteur and television personality, probably doesn't spend much of his time in the kitchen anymore. He has STILL GOT IT!

Though they are a bit distracted by the fact that once again, an extravagant prize (in the form of a Toyota Prius) will accompany immunity, the chefs engage in the typical "dash for the best proteins." Marcel decides to emulate Tom, Richard finds some "fois" (so obnoxious when they use all their pithy little abbreviations) and Angry Dale reveals, in an apparent lapse of sanity, that he's going to make egg noodles for pad thai. Did he think they had EIGHTY minutes and 37 seconds? And he thinks not having a wok is his only problem...

Jamie criticizes the idea of cooking for speed. Of course. Angelo goes against Tom's wishes and starts making a crudo. Angry Dale's noodles are a predictable disaster.

It's a giant mess in the kitchen as Tom and Padma begin to stride around tasting dishes. Fabio and Marcel both use Tom's ingredients. Jamie only produces one clam. Dale tries not to cry while Padma and Tom snicker at his single torn egg noodle. MIke Isabella's dish is plated beautifully, and because his dish comes right before Marcel's, the young sprout immediately assumes that bits of his flavor are cutting into the judge's opinion of Marcel's dish.

Dale, Jamie, and Angelo wind up on the bottom, basically for not finishing or following the rules. Richard's fois, Marcel's dashi, and Mike Isabella's dishes are the favorites. Mike wins the car, in a glorious display of happiness. Marcel fumes about flavor.

Elimination challenge:
Speed is clearly the theme of this episode, for the elimination challenge involves taking over lunch time rush at a dim sum restaurant in Chinatown. The chefs will have to keep their dim sum carts constantly filled throughout lunch, selecting dishes that will adapt well to their purposes. A few of them begin to plan while driving back to the townhouse in Mike's Prius.

The strategizing back at the house is complicated, understandably so. The challenge requires a chef to expedite the dishes from the kitchen as well as two chefs to perform the dreaded "front of the house" role, passing out carts and explaining dishes. Carla and Casey agree to "take one for the team."

Evening shenanigans at the house involve Tiffani's bra size and Mike's numerical calculations for how long it has taken him to win a car. Dale has a quiet moment in his room with a picture of his girlfriend. Aw, the angry one has a heart!

Shopping is slightly stressful for everyone but Dale and Angelo. Fabio is especially panicked, given his fear with dealing with anything not of an Italian nature. He's also crushed to discover that the adorable turtles he finds swimming around in a tank are going to be used for turtle soup. Casey takes another huge risk by making chicken feet, a decidedly popular but very specifically prepared dish.

While Dale is truly in his element back at the Chinatown kitchen, the rest of the chefs are nervous and unfamiliar with the equipment. Jamie's scallop dumplings are looking bad. Fabio fears he won't be able to braise his ribs. Casey has the unenviable task of removing the nails from her chicken feet. The kitchen is a huge steam bath, which is doing no favors for Tre's orange dessert.

In the last minutes before service, Mike Isabella runs upstairs to find a room completely full of Chinese diners. The guest judge is Susur Lee, a former Top Chef Masters participant. He is from Hong Kong, and eagerly anticipates the dim sum.

Service becomes a problem immediately, though Fabio's ribs and Angelo's shrimp roll are adequately distracting the judges. As they start to notice Carla's plain summer roll and the huge amounts of sesame seed on Tiffani's salad, things begin to roll steadily downhill. Richard Blais accurately describes the chefs' tendency to plate delicately, which doesn't fit the challenge. Eventually almost every chef heads upstairs to help.

On a happier note, Dale's sticky rice and cheung fi are very successful. Tiffany's steamed pork bun is perfectly authentic and the judges enjoy it. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of Jamie and Antonia's long beans or Tre's dessert.

The service gets so bad, "daddy" Tom has to head down to the kitchen to figure out what's going on. Antonia and Tiffany spend their time yelling, while Dale enjoys a few snacks and looks at his shoes. The Chinese patrons are on the verge of leaving, and Casey's inedible chicken foot is not convincing them to stay. Not surprisingly, Jamie's scallop dumpling is plain and uninteresting. A final highlight, though not enough to save the meal, is Antonia's shrimp toast.

In an unusual twist, the worst dishes are judged first. Carla, Casey, Jamie, Antonia, and Tre attempt to dig themselves out of a very deep hole, but when it came down to it, there was simply no way to get around those chicken feet. Casey's decision to help with front of the house kept her from properly preparing her dish, and the judges literally could not eat it. By this time, most viewers and I'm sure all of the chefs were ready to see Jamie go, and she certainly didn't use this opportunity to redeem herself. Casey is also one of the more popular all-stars competing. Even if it's not a decision we can all be happy about, one has to at least appreciate the consistency of the judges-eliminating the worst dish or worst performance despite previous efforts.

Dale, Tiffany, Fabio, and Angelo found themselves on the winning side, and in the end, Dale's conscientious effort to cook what he knew best helped him garner a win.

Two episodes away from Restaurant Wars! My fave!

"How I do this? Crash potato with my head?"

We are granted a refreshing reprieve from the "Top Chef Kitchen of Doom" in the opening scenes, instead getting a glimpse of a bar cleared out for the benefit of our chefs after the perilous double elimination. I don't know why this is unusually special, because we all know they drink boatloads in the "stew room." Fabio wants to create a t-shirt emblazoned with "I survive elimination challenge." Tiffani fears she'll repeat her poor performance. Mike Isabella declares that he's glad Angry Dale won, because at least it prevented Angelo from taking another win. I underestimated his likeability in the Vegas season, I'll admit. I think he's goofy and fun, and the rest of the chefs really like him.

Quickfire challenge:
Tony Mantuano is the selected guest judge for the episode. I recognize him from Top Chef: Masters, or as I like to call it, Top Chef: Lite and Lame. His specialty is Italian, which one would have figured out when he begins to describe the ideal stuffing, replete with prosciutto and sage. Yes, that's right. It's another product placement challenge. Swanson is sponsoring, and the chefs must prepare their own delish version of stuffing. Angelo, who is clearly unfamiliar with traditional American comfort food, looks perplexed, and can barely concentrate as Padma then informs the chefs that they'll be preparing said stuffings without the benefit of kitchen tools. Ouch. As an incentive for their inconvenience, the winner will receive the double bonuses of immunity and a tidy sum of $20,000.

Carla chooses to be zen-like rather than mad dashing to the kitchen, which leaves her with the only thing left: quinoa. Fabio congratulates himself for his ingenuity in grating his "Parmesan-a" on the steel racks in the pantry. Tiffani butchers a quail with a peppercorn grinder. Tre has the ingenious idea of using the liquid nitrogen to help smash the necessary ingredients for his southwestern style stuffing.

Of course Jamie has to use a broth for her stuffing. Carla adorably calls her undercooked quinoa "undone-te." Spike is applauded for using lemongrass spears for service. In the end, Tre's spicy stuffing and Marcel's lovely stuffed bird are the favorites. Tiffani's overly sweet stuffing, Casey's appetizer-like offering, and Carla's quinoa don't pass stuffing muster. When Tre takes the win, Marcel can barely keep his composure.

Elimination challenge:
In an especially superior tone, Padma informs the chefs that their elimination challenge will take place at the home of U.S. Open, one of the "most prestigious" tennis competitions. They will be cooking healthy, high-energy food. Attention chefs! This is an important clue! She then reveals a tray packed full of tennis ball cans. They have conveniently removed the label and replaced it with a special Top Chef one. Thanks for not selling out, Wilson! The cans contain orange and yellow balls, thus providing a dividing method for two teams.

Team Yellow: Casey, Spike, Jamie, Tre, Tiffani, Tiffany, Angelo

Team Orange: Mike Isabella, Angry Dale, Antonia, Marcel, Carla, Fabio, Richard

Strategy comes into play immediately, as the chefs learn that they'll be competing based on tennis scores, serving one dish against another for points. This brings up the issue of whether or not to serve weakest dishes first, making sure to win the match points or to just come out of the gate strong. Before the teams break down their respective strategies, they brainstorm dishes. Angry "I've been to the U.S. Open" Dale wonders whether or not Carla's African peanut soup is a wise choice. Apparently they're quite upscale at the U.S. Open. I have been myself, and while the selection was vast, I still recall having something like nachos or sandwiches. Maybe I'm just a bit low class.

Team Yellow determines that they will be serving their weakest dish first, spearheaded by Spike. Team Orange's relaxed meeting occurs on the rooftop, where they basically applaud themselves for a diverse, global menu and spend no time talking strategy. During prep time, they continue to display a greater concern for the quality of their dishes. We learn that Fabio can make the gnocchi "with his own little hands" and that Antonia smoked pot instead of playing sports in high school. Team Yellow, on the other hand, are more worried about identifying the weak dishes. They are also beset by problems like slimy mackerel, undercooked chickpeas, and convincing the world that farro is a "delicious grain." Tom has to go all the way back to a dark corner of the kitchen, before the devious team of Angelo and Spike finally agree to reveal their strategy.

The only thing that really goes wrong with Team Orange is that Carla sustains a knife injury, which immediately leads the entire cast to recall Jamie's pathetic inability to cook with a tiny cut on her finger. For the record, Carla's injury looked much, much worse.

In the bright lights of the stadium, the drama is turned up a notch. Jamie's chickpeas are not cooked, automatically making her dish the weakest. The entire team had agreed on the strategy, but stubborn Jamie won't send her food out. Team Orange, on the other hand, has simply determined a set order, throwing strategy out the window. Casey takes the bullet, and heads out with her pork and fab grain farro, matched up with Fabio and his delish whole-wheat gnocchi. Casey's dish is too heavy, so Fabio takes the win, joyously leaping over the net mid-court. 15-0

A brief moment of tragedy is avoided at Team Orange when Angry Dale, who has turned into Emotional/About To Burst Into Tears Dale is allowed to go second instead of Marcel. Unfortunately, Tiffani F's light fish dish is declared the best. 15-15

Angelo brings a tiny spoon of fish out to compete with Marcel's tuna and cauliflower couscous. Unfortunately, the cream Marcy (nickname courtesy of Angelo) added to his dish distracts from the overall flavor. 15-30

Team Yellow sends out Antonia to face Tiffany D. Her sea scallops were beloved by almost all at the judge's table, giving her the smallest edge over Tiffany. 30-30

While Team Orange has been panicking about their lost strategy, Angelo and Tiffani felt free to manhandle Spike's dish, tossing in a yuzu gelee at the bottom of his soup bowl. When he heads out to face Richard's "thai-bouleh", his shrimp and soup simply can't hold up. Jamie hides behind a table, peeking her head out only occasionally to stir her chickpeas. 40-30

Carla prepares her healthy, bold soup, and the camera flashes over to Angelo yet again meddling in his teammate's dish. Tre carries out overcooked salmon, saved only by his seasoning. It's a tense moment, but Carla takes the victory for Team Orange. Jamie jumps out from behind the table and hugs everyone. She can barely control her glee at the knowledge that not putting forth a dish at all keeps her out of the bottom four. Her lack of remorse is infuriating.

Fabio, Carla, Richard, and Antonia are praised for their excellent offerings at the U.S. Open, and told about the grand prize, a trip to Italy. It's a bit distressing to see Richard there, as the lamb portion of his dish was weak. Any irritation there, however, is dispelled at learning Carla and her brave soup were deemed the best dish.

Casey, Tiffany D, Tre, and Spike are called forth to face judgment. Considering that both Tiffany and Tre did receive positive votes at the challenge, it's clear that either Casey or Spike will be going home. I have to admit to a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, as Spike's demise seemed sure. There was some chit chat about the possibility of Angelo sabotaging dishes, which Tiffany neatly avoided. Back in the stew room, Richard called Jamie out for not cooking.

As I feared, it was Spike's time to go. He's brash and wild, and certainly has not always displayed appropriate behavior, but I like the idea of having a scrappy chef like him in the competition. It already hasn't been quite as fun without him around.