Hyphen TV: Charlie Yi?

December 18, 2012

Sheldon needs all the pots

I like how Top Chef challenges align with the holidays they air close to even though they were filmed in the middle of the summer or whatever, don't you? For the quickfire challenge this week, the chefs had to create a holiday dish inspired by their heritage. I wish we could have gotten more time with everyone on this one, but we did get to catch a glimpse of Josie's sweet corn tamale and Sheldon's banana lumpia. Yum.

Josie loves grains

The elimination challenge had the chefs catering a housewarming party for super cute couple Anna Faris and Chris Pratt, both of whom are Pacific Northwest natives and adventurous eaters. Sheldon decided to steer clear of local flavors with his braised Okinawan pork belly with seared scallop and rice congee. Anna loved the mix of the sweet pork belly and the savory rice. "It literally felt like every bite was a surprise."

Kristen made a tortelloni with an amazing-sounding liquid center of cow's milk cheese. Dang. Chris said that a few of his friends called the dish their favorite, while guest judge Rick Moonen described how it was a "perfect bite" and couldn't wait to go back for another one.

Kristen shows off her whiskin' guns

Josie made Malbec braised short ribs, pork belly, and polenta with onions and fig. I agreed with Rick that the dish sounded great, but I was disappointed when he said that it didn't have enough contrast. Padma added that it needed more brightness and tartness.

Sheldon and Kristen both made it into the top four, with the judges praising Kristen's use of dried apricots and the way Sheldon created a melting pot that represented his soul. Neither chef took home the win this week, but it's only a matter of time, guys.

I have to admit that I'm getting ever more frustrated with Project Runway All Stars. This week the designers had to create dresses using materials from a Christmas store (there they go with perfectly timed holiday themes again), and Ivy decided to separate herself from her competitors by creating a very simple dress. I definitely see her line of thinking and she did succeed in creating simplicity, but I found her look too simple -- like student work simple. The judges commented that the proportions were off, it didn't look expensive, and the overall shape was boxy. Isaac said that the dress had a 60s juniors look because of the high waist, and guest judge Kylie Minogue compared the look to "a plucked chicken." I wasn't the least bit surprised when Ivy landed in the bottom two for the second week in a row, but once again she was saved in the end. Ivy was distraught over her friend Cassanova leaving the show, even saying that she would trade places with him if she could. Sorry to be the one to tell you this, girl, but I don't think it'll be too long before you guys are reunited.

I am not loving it.

It's always a treat when the hilarious and adorable Charlene Yi visits Conan, but her tale of gender confusion in Sri Lanka was truly top tier. I won't even say any more for fear of ruining it; just watch her tell it right here.

I honestly couldn't love her more


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.