Power and Politics - I am Not the Yellow Peril

The life and times of an Asian American activist who tells all the truth (and dishes news and analysis) but with a leftwards slant.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Yay! Top chef finale spoiler!!!!!

YES!!!!! Top Chef Hung is a Top Chef!!!!

Representing for all the immigrants out there - you could tell that Tom Colicchio was really pulling for him, and also that he was extremely disappointed in Casey's performance.

So now Hung has broken the chain of white male Top Chefs. Whoo hoo! I am strangely elated. I think it's funny because they kept telling Hung that he was cooking without soul, and then that burned him so much that he wanted to really work hard and prove everyone wrong - which is the quintessential immigrant attitude and boy, did he pull it off. Hung can cook with precision but also with fire.

Here's snippets of his interview with the village Voice a few days before tonight's live airing of the decision:
When I asked him what he thought about the fact that the other chefs expected him to help them when he finished cooking early, he broke out the Hung-ness: "I didn't know this was chef camp, where we all hold hands and walk into the rainbow together. I didn't know that's what competition was. If I had known, I would have done much better."

. . . About that soul-cooking stuff: "When was the last time you walked out of a restaurant and said, 'that steak was so soulful, I'm definitely going back?' No. You say it was cooked perfectly, it was seasoned perfectly. The colors, the flavors, etc. Why am I getting dissed for having some technical skills? The word technique is related to the word craft, and guess who owns the restaurants called Craft?"

. . .
I told Hung that Rocco DiSpirito had said he reminded him of himself, and Hung said the same about Rocco. "He's confident, he's cocky, he's good looking... his technique is on, his flavor profile is my kind of food. I respect him a lot."

I asked Hung if we were going to see his "soul" in the finale and he promised we would. "Oh yeah. Everything is going to make sense in the end, if they edit it right." About the judge's complaints that his cooking isn't expressive enough, he said "What does that mean, when [Colicchio] says 'We don't see Hung.'? What should I do, make sweet and sour chicken and wontons? I'm trained in French food. I love French food. That is me."

People forget that what Americans consider Vietnamese cuisine is influenced by French flavors and techniques - thanks to colonization. But I gotta admit, the fruits of colonization have never tasted finer. . . For me, Vietnamese food is epitomized by a good banh mi, which does this sweet, salty, tangy, meaty, creamy, crunchy, spicy circus in my mouth, and the kicker is you have to have the crunchiest, most flaky and tear-off-able French bread. All for under $5 and so good I can eat two at a time, sometimes for $5 total. Love it!

Also, must love Hung for defying stereotypes - I am really enjoying the APIAs that they put on Top Chef, from Lee Anne to Josie on up to Hung. Our reality tv show contestant keep getting better and better, and I'm looking forward to Project Runway.

I feel bad because Casey didn't even rank in the judges' final considerations - it was 2-2 Hung and Dale in terms of the 4 courses. The dish that I think raelly won it for Hung was his main course, a duck sous vide that one of the celebrity chefs there said it was 3 star Michelin quality.

Oh, I am so happy! I wasn't even this happy when Chloe Dao won Project Runway although I like that show better than Top Chef, if only because of the Tim Gunn/Heidi combo. But damn, the Vietnamese be representin'!!!

Some people (wonkette) have this theory that if Casey wins, then Hillary will win, but I figured out that Hung is Obama, with his immigrant striver story, and Dale (aka the Hair) is Edwards. How funny would it be if it played out like that in the political world?



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