Project Runway and Top Chef – Stop. Saying. Taste.

So Project Runway had a ‘taste’ theme this week. You may have noticed that from the way that Angela Lindvall kept saying taste about a thousand times in the introduction. ‘There are many kinds of taste and taste comes from lots of places so this week we want to challenge your taste and have you show us your taste by making something in good taste from something with good taste which is to say gelato which tastes nice so you have to take the taste of your gelato and base a garment that is in good taste on the taste of your gelato’s taste. Taste.’ I know she doesn’t write her own scripts, so she’s not entirely to blame, but that shit was clunky as hell. I liked her at first, but now she’s kind of grating. Apart from the moments she SHOUTS RANDOMLY, she just drones. She sounds like one of the Fashion Club from Daria. Maybe she’s just tired from having nightmares about orphans who can’t afford ankle boots.

I enjoyed April saying that she didn’t understand some of the flavours and then mentioning ‘Fruits of the Forest’ like that was some obscure gelato arcanery that only gelato masters with secrets handed down the generations would understand. Rather than, you know. An ice cream. She did somewhat redeem herself when Joanna Coles was all ‘I brought delicious ice cream for everybody! DELICIOUS DELICIOUS ICE CREAM! Taste!’ and handed it to April, all ‘Refreshments!’ and April immediately just tossed it aside and caried on talking about sewing.

Joanna’s visit was weird, though. She wasn’t really giving them any advice or help; she was just serving as weird ‘Voice Of The Audience’ thing, asking simplistic questions about where they get their ideas and so on, which she as a fashion editor has no business asking. It seemed a really clunky way of giving information they thought the audience would want, when we (well, I) just want to hear her being mean to the designers.

Michael Costello continues to be the absolute worst. Gasping, hand-flapping, insincere little wretch. Spending any amout of time with him must just be exhausting. With him and Anthony and Jerrel all not being nearly as funny as they think they are but getting so many interviews, it’s all a bit wearisome.

They continue to all make horrible, horrible clothes. I know that the six hours time limit is a lot to blame in this instance, but still. Kenley’s dress was cute and, as always, very her. Mila used notblack! But still did colour blocking like a champ. Mondo’s was the least bad from him this season, but was still, well, an ugly orange kaftan. Rami’s was hideous in a similar way to Anthony’s. Trying too hard to prove they could do construction. I admired Kara for avoiding the obvious ‘chocolate is brown’ conclusion, but the result was … offputting. Jerrel’s was gross, again. I don’t know how he’s cruising through making these short in front long in back gowns in ugly fabrics with bondage accoutrements. Not good. April’s was a nice idea, poorly executed, but she’s grown on me and she is young, so I’m sure she’ll be fine. I’d rather she’d stayed than a lot of the people left.

Michael can make some prety gowns, but this was not one of them. It sagged weirdly in the middle and the colour was drab drab drab. He does give good back, though. His reaction to winning was typically obnoxious, but I loved how it became glaringly apparent that the ‘industry event’ Miranda Kerr was wearing this to was yet to be decided, and may end up being a trip to Michael to Jack in the Box in Palm Springs. Do they even have Jack in the Box in Palm Springs? Anyway. Clearly this was Schrodinger’s Industry Event.

Speaking of Miranda Kerr, she … isn’t the brightest pair of shoes on the fabulous Neiman Marcus accessories wall, is she? She mostly just echoed what the other judges said, about five seconds too late. There’s a weird inconsistency with the judges this year – genuinely capital F Fashion people like Diane von Furstenberg, or Badgley and Mischka, alongside derpy old Miranda Kerr and Miss Piggy. I did love how Angela said ‘Here’s Diane von Fursternberg to tell you more about the challenge’ and then DvF basically just stood there looking like the leathery beach skeleton she is, winking at people. I still really enjoy Georgina Chapman. She gives really considered, thoughtful feedback and seems to have actual opinions. I still pretend that Mizrahi doesn’t exist.

I’m sorely disappointed that in a challenge that was supposedly about TASTE they didn’t really question the tackiness of some of the clothes. And that there was no Nina to say ‘We have concerns about your taste levels’. This truly is a show in its own mould.

As for Top Chef, wow, Sarah and Lindsay just continue to be utterly unpleasant don’t they? Grinning with delight when Paul forgot his shrimp. Their horrible self-congratulatory love-in of ‘I’d eat that every day!’ ‘no, I’d eat YOU every day!’ ‘IT TASTES SO GOOD’. I kind of yelped with delight when they lost to Grayson and Chris. And of course, they remained classy by implying that they lost because Cat Cora doesn’t like tarragon. Not because it was misjudged in that recipe, or because it was too strong, or any real actual reason. Or not even because Grayson and Chris simply made better food than them. No, it’s because Cat Cora doesn’t like tarragon, and is so lacking in professionalism that that would affect her judging of how well the food was made technicallly. Gross me out.

There’s not a lot you can say about the food, really. Two meatballs, two chicken salads, two Asian barbecues. They all looked nice enough. But that’s what you get when you make them serve food for 200 people in a short period of time, outdoors, in the summer, in Texas. At the risk of overusing a phrase, it’s Top Chef, not Top Caterer. (I would totally watch that show, by the way.) By all means challenge the chefs and make them do different things, and have a couple of ‘bulk’ challenges, but there’s been so many this season. The barbecue one, the steak one, the Quinceañera one (bring back Blanca Flores as a judge, by the way), this one… I dunno. I’d just like more ‘fine dining’ challenges that push the chefs in interesting directions, rather than ‘make lots of food in not enough time’.

Of course, the highlight of the episode was Grayson standing up to Tom. The judges on this show, and especially Tom, are hugely inconsistent about what they want, and what they expect, and it was great that Grayson called him out on it. And with such finesse. ‘Like a MEATBALL?’ said in three words what could have been a whole protracted argument about what they should do and how the challenges are set and so on. And he actually shut up! She’s signed her own death warrant, of course, because there’s no way Tom’s ego will let somebody who talked back to him win the competition, but at least she’s going to be on ‘best bits’ clips from now until forever. She really should be Fan Favourite, but nothing can stand up to the might of hausfraus in love with Malibu Chris (who really wasn’t that hot).

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3 thoughts on “Project Runway and Top Chef – Stop. Saying. Taste.

  1. Let’s face it, Grayson’s chances of ever winning this show/even making the final were nil regardless of her EPICMAZING Tom Takedown, so she made the right decision. Can you imagine how unbearable the season would have been if the Redemption Aprons (or w’ever) had gone to that touchy cruiseliner bitch and…I dunno the dumped lesbian or whatever, instead of Grayson and Edward (Beverley Impression <3)? Doesn't bear thinking about.

    Can you imagine if Heather The Hutt were still here with all the ASIAN food flying around? So scary…

  2. “Like a MEATBALL?” was amazing. I loved how neither of them seemed to know quite where to go from there, and it just turned into a sort of splutter-off, each of them so stunned and enraged by the other one’s cheek that they couldn’t quite articulate themselves. But it was glorious. Tom’s such an ass, it was great to see someone call him on his shit for once. Like Chris said, Grayson wasn’t winning this anyway, so she’s not really lost anything by doing it – and I think she knows her card’s marked now. But hey, if you’re going to go out for something, it should totally be for royally sassing Tom Colicchio.

    I was thrilled when Sarah and Lindsay lost the quickfire. I actually don’t mind Lindsay, but they’d both been so insufferably smug about how quickly they finished and how DELICIOUS their food was that they had it coming.

    Also, Ed coming back into the stew room after the losers had been to judges’ table and going “Sarah won!” was brilliant. He’s such a bitch. I also enjoyed Cat Cora saying something to the effect of “he thinks he can BS the four of us?!” at judges’ table. I was like “dude, one of the four of you is Padma. Most of the time I’m not even sure she knows where she is.”

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