Ivy adjusts her dress while her model looks as excited as I feel
Top Chef started out with a pretty fun quickfire that had the chefs cooking with ingredients that were completely wrapped in aluminum foil, so they couldn't be sure what they were getting when they grabbed what they thought they wanted from the kitchen. They were also limited to using aluminum foil instead of pots and pans to cook in (can you tell that it was a Reynolds sponsored challenge?). Sheldon impressed the judges with his smoked scallops, but it was Kristen who shocked everyone with her almond and chocolate sponge cake (baked in foil, let me remind you), easily getting her the win and immunity in the elimination challenge.
For the elimination challenge, the chefs were paired off in head-to-head battles, each duo fighting to create the better dish using different berries. Josie decided to create a play on a California roll that used raspberries instead of avocados. Unfortunately, she ran out of time during prep and had to make her "rock 'n raspberry rolls" to order. Josie tried to distract from the delay with entertaining banter, but this only annoyed the judges and prompted Gail to ask, "Is she high?" Another diner observed, "I think she's actually killing the crab in the freaking cooler!"
As for how the rolls actually came out after the wait, the judges were disappointed. Gail liked Josie's creativity in using the raspberries in different ways, but she didn't get the bright raspberry flavor she was looking for. Tom seemed almost disgusted with the dish and with Josie herself: "For some reason she thinks that putting on a show is more important than actually making nice food," he said before expressing surprise that Josie appeared to use mayonnaise in the roll. When Josie eventually landed in the bottom, she wasn't surprised. Everything became about her demonstration because she was playing catch-up the whole time, and that was reflected in the heaviness of the dish and its muddled flavors. Josie was safe this week, but each challenge I fear it's her last.
Sheldon also made a roll to showcase his strawberries, choosing to create an ahi summer roll with strawberries and sweet chili sauce. The judges thought that the dish really worked, especially with the addition of some radish. They also thought he did a great job highlighting the strawberries, and so he landed in the top in the end.
But our big winner was once again Kristen, who didn't have a partner to face off against since she had immunity. Kristen was working with tayberries and served them macerated in a matcha goat milk custard. The judges found the berries, macerated in olive oil, to be one of the best things they ate all day, and Kristen got the win and $10K, a prize that will help her realize her dream of returning to Korea after being adopted at 4 months old. Stop it, Kristen, you're making me well up! This lady is definitely the one to beat.
Everyone's happy for Kristen
It's the same old story all over again on Project Runway All Stars. Here, too, we saw head-to-head challenges where the designers had to make 20s-inspired outfits that were appropriate for different venues. Ivy and her partner Anthony Ryan got "an after hours speakeasy," and Ivy decided to go broke at Mood with an embellished striped fabric that was $150 a yard, thus spending almost all of her budget on a yard and a half of material. Ivy described the angled chevron pattern she planned to make with the fabric, but I wasn't terribly impressed by what I saw in the work room, and I was even more turned off when she and Anthony Ryan were prompted to judge one another and Anthony Ryan gave her "a strong 7, 8" while she gave him a 5. I don't want to dislike Ivy, but she makes it tough not to.
Ivy once again had nothing to put on her model during the fitting, and on the runway she clearly fell in amongst the face off losers. The judges saw the dress as "Prada-esque, but a little too literal," and they commented on how the feathers she used were lost on top of the sequins. They found the back flattering, but they saw the rest as "so heavy." Thank you! That's the first (really the only) thing I noticed immediately! The fabric looks as heavy as it probably is, the silhouette is as shapeless as a bag, and there's just barely a hint of an angle to the supposed chevron pattern. I thought FOR SURE this would finally be Ivy's time to go, but she survived her third consecutive week in the bottom two. Hats off to you, Ivy, because you apparently have some kind of skill or magic that isn't coming across to me over the air waves.
What sorcery is woven into those seams?
The previous issue of Hyphen is available in its entirety for your perusing pleasure. Almost as good as having it right in your hands!