Hyphen TV: Sorbet So Blah on Top Chef, Ink Blots on Project Runway

September 13, 2011

Olivier assumes his model doesn't need such frivolities as pants

Sally's still hangin' in there on Top Chef: Just Desserts, facing the Quickfire challenge in which the chefs had to create a new gum flavor with a delicious-sounding passion fruit piña colada (making it involved liquid nitrogen)! Though she could have really used the bonus money that came with the win on on this round (Sally is apparently still in debt from culinary school, despite the fact that she herself is a culinary teacher), she landed in the middle. Again, I would love some passion fruit piña colada, so get on it, Bubblicious or whoever.

I, for one, would enjoy more pineapple gums

The chefs broke into two teams for the elimination challenge, each tasked with presenting a pink party menu for some Real Housewife of Beverly Hills or other (don't watch that one, sorry). Sally was particularly delighted by Jiggy, the Housewife's tiny dog, and I am totally with her. That is one cute dog. Anyway, for her dish, Sally created a chocolate and raspberry tarte that came with a lychee sorbet and she had problems keeping the latter part cold and firm (where's the nitro now?). The judges zeroed in on this immediately ("it was like a puddle"), and when her team lost, Sally lost her composure to tears at the judge's table. Things didn't get better when her dish was analyzed; Gail called it "uninspiring," Johnny said it was "mediocre," and guest judge Hugh Acheson said that there was "not much technical skill" in what she made. It came down to Sally and teammate Nelson, and Sally barely eked out her safety in the end. Buck up, Sally! We know you're great, so let's get some wins on the board, please!

It was team time on Project Runway this week too, and once again Anya and Olivier found themselves working together with three other designers on "Team Chaos." The designers decided to start with the inspiration of an ink blot test and work from there to form both their collection and their runway presentation. Anya had the idea of using the team's video footage with a mirror effect, making the bustling city scenes in their video reflect both themselves and their Rorschach starting point. Did I mention that each team also had to design at least three different fabric patterns? There was a lot going on.

Anya's like, I need to make that for myself

What wasn't going on with Team Chaos was drama, as their working scenes were almost laughably contrasted against their competitors, who were fighting with one another from the get-go. You practically saw rainbows and ponies as Anya, Olivier, and their teammates laughed and joked together, while Team Nuts and Bolts (ugh, that name) was nothing but screaming matches and tears. The one conflict over in Happy Town was Olivier's now trademark slowness, as he was spending so much time meticulously working on a jacket that he had hardly any time left for the rest of the outfit (in fact, his teammates had to help him throw some pants together at the last second). Still, is it any wonder that chaos reigned supreme over nuts and bolts?

I absolutely fell in love with Anya's cocktail dress, which I would wear in a heartbeat (as much as I appreciate the design on this show, I rarely wish to wear any of the garments myself). Olivier's much-ballyhooed jacket did indeed look impressive on the runway, and Michael Kors actually said that it was "one of the strongest tailored pieces [they've] ever seen." Whoa! Nina added that "that's the jacket I want." Extremely high praise from a group that normally revels in mockery and nitpicking.

It really is a very nice jacket

Though Michael Kors reiterated during the judges' deliberation that Olivier's tailoring was "spectacular," Nina also pointed out that "Anya has a wonderful eye for prints." Though it seemed to me as though Olivier would take this one, Anya actually garnered her first win, and I absolutely agree that it was well-deserved. Congrats, Anya! If you care to slip that dress my way, I'm here...


And finally, CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta (full disclosure: he's an author who is published by my employer) appeared on the Daily Show to discuss his new special Terror in the Dust, which examines the health of first responders and others whose mental and physical well-beings were affected in the aftermath of 9/11. This is a topic that both Gupta and host Jon Stewart feel strongly about, and it was clear during the interview that it was tough to keep their emotions out of the discussion regarding the government's responsibility in taking care of those who risked their own lives to save others. Watch the interview here, and though it already aired, see info on the special here.


Dianne Choie


Dianne Choie's TV is in Brooklyn, NY. She has a cat, several reusable shopping bags, and other mildly annoying stereotypes of youngish people who live in Brooklyn.