Legendary British comedy duo Morecambe & Wise has been honoured with a special tribute in London. Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise recorded the majority of their popular sketches at Teddington Studios in Middlesex, England and a blue plaque has now been erected at the venue by officials at The Heritage Foundation to mark its significance in U.K. TV history.
Morecambe's widow Joan unveiled the dedication with her daughter Gail on Sunday (19May13) and she hopes the plaque will keep their memory alive for years to come.
She tells Sky News, "The shows still come across as being funny. They're still entertaining, even for new audiences and people who weren't around in the days of Eric and Ernie.
"People are very nostalgic about their shows; they hone into long-term memories because they worked in television for years and years."
Morecambe died in 1984, while Wise passed away in 1999.
S7: E6: Today the air inside the Top Chef country estate was hushed. The chefs faced the new morning with a determined sobriety. Timmy Dean (a father figure) was missed by all, truly. Andrea rises up from the ashes of Timmy’s destruction and vows to become better than average this time around. Amanda begins whining about something, Alex does a line off the toilet, Kenny and Angelo are furiously making out in the back pantry. Top Chef Cold War begins!
Today’s quick fire was the gross proteins challenge. This challenge is old hat, but how do we tie this in to the theme of the season? Probably Bravo is insinuating a similarity between the physiognomy of various senators and that of the distinguished animals who have sacrificed their corpses to the whims of television. There were the usual suspects, including ostrich, croc, rattlesnake, duck testicles, frog, yak, llama, and emu eggs.
Angelo is drawn somehow to the duck testicles (he thinks they are kidneys thanks to culinary euphemism) and designs to make a testicle marshmallow (as an homage to his days in the boy scouts).
The rest of the chefs started preparing their ghastly meats with relatively few complaints (except of course, Amanda) until Padma waltzes in and breathily commands them all to switch meats mid-preparation. TWIST.
The judge for today’s quick fire was Michelle Bernstein of Miami’s Michy restaurant in Florida. Michelle looks exactly like Andrea, and in fact, they know each other! This does nothing to debunk my theory that there exists an underground network of white girls who look exactly the same and who all secretly know each other. With one sharp exchange of barely contained venom twisted into forced maniacal smiles, it becomes clear that Andrea and Michelle also hate each other. Michelle Bernstein clearly took pleasure in adjudicating her frenemy, smoothly informing Andrea that her boar meat was chewy and placing her at the bottom, along with Alex’s dry ostrich and Steven’s “insipid” frog’s legs.
Kelly won for her creamy and delicious emu egg omelet! Kelly was definitely a Gollum earlier in the season but this episode I found her kind of funny. Hopefully she pulls it out and gives us someone to get behind finally, besides the bald Russian pervert.
The Elimination challenge was to prepare a dish to be served cold, just as America serves up a chilly plate of DEMOCRACY to your asses. The chefs were split into teams and are set to judge each other’s food - allowing them to decide who wins and loses. Bravo was able to squeeze many more humorous situational puns out of this particular challenge. This episode was called “Cold War”, and the chefs were split into teams and told they would be “planning” their “strategy” on board the USS Sequoia, a maritime Air Force One, and a place that saw the negotiations of John F. Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis and Richard Nixon’s arms treaty. This segment of the show felt cheap and tactless, and watching spoiled reality show contestants manhandle a historic space was a bit sad.
ALSO we were forced to sit through several minutes of Angelo trying to plan some kind of strategic moves with Tamesha and Stephen and any other weak-willed chef who would listen to him (by advising them what to cook, how to make it, etc), and Kenny fuming below deck that Angelo wasn’t paying any attention to him ("He never notices when I change my hair!”)
Also finally, someone acknowledged that Amanda is extremely annoying - Tamesha deadpans that she could probably strangle her in a second. Understandable!
Back in the kitchens, most everyone has decided to make a carpaccio, which is raw meat thinly sliced, and tartare, which is basically a meat cake patty made of raw minced meat. Essentially we’re looking at a lot of raw meat here. Angelo is making salmon (with pineapple tea) and again refuses to face facts that one should not actually consider animal flesh chunks “sexy”.
Oh, and Amanda put an entire chicken into a meat grinder and formed it into a cake. Sigh.
The judging was pretty entertaining, as each team judged the other and we saw some real psychological shenanigans going on. Groupthink! What a deft tie-in to relevant political themes from Bravo!
Angelo bashed almost every dish as not having “clean flavors” or being convoluted, lacking salt, or containing poorly sized chunks of vegetables. The others in his group mostly followed his direction, agreeing with him at every turn, nodding and frowning at appropriate moments. Even Amanda’s cartilaginous chicken jello-mold didn’t dissuade Angelo from his political crusade against Kenny and his lamb duo, and got him sent to the bottom.
Tom was surprised by how harsh team Angelo was as evidenced by multiple blinks and eyebrow raises. Team Kenny was more even-handed, and Kevin Sbraga liked Angelo’s best, but Amanda rightly points out that Angelo only makes Asian food. In the end, Kenny committed to making sure that Angelo did not win at all costs! Tiffany’s crusted tuna was sent up to the winners circle, and Tamesha’s slimy scallops to the bottom.
Kenny was extremely sullen at the table, evidently feeling wrongly persecuted for being such a strong, capable, alpha male. Michelle Bernstein interjected with a swift reminder that having never tasted his food before or witnessing his extreme masculinity, she felt that his food blew. Luckily for the narrative arc of this season, Tamesha was sent home for slimy scallops and watery jus. Whew! We barely escaped that one - where would the show be, story-wise, if Kenny was eliminated? Where would the humanity come from? Bravo needs to be more careful next time. We don’t want to have to make Alex the Tan Russian the protagonist of Top Chef just yet.
Top Chef: D.C. Season Premiere Recap!
S7:E1: Thank god the original Top Chef is back -- after a few plodding months of the hippie-communist love-fest that was Top Chef Masters, the return to some fine American capitalist competition is going to be invigorating. Invigorating like the sight of Tom’s bald head shining like the dome of the Capitol building in our nation’s monument-filled capital city, Washington D.C. That’s right, this season Bravo has brought the show to D.C. (presumably to thematically explore some deeper political issues? Pastry tableaux of oil-spill imagery? Cuisine from war-torn and exploited foreign regions?? Gay Wedding Wars??!) and everyone could not be happier. Last season Bravo wove much campy Vegas cliché into the challenges, so I would expect to see copious portions of Obama-mania as well as some 'fifty-states' type challenges or 'melting-pot' sort of themes.
Top Chef has followed the same arc as other reality shows of this kind (such as Project Runway), and what started as a show in which line-cooks and stay-at-home moms had a fair crack at the top prize has turned into a prestigious publicity machine, attracting elite young chefs hoping to drum up press for their hotshot careers and West-Village restaurants. These ‘chef-testants’ come with a measure of professionalism and drive that kills the drama quotient (see the Voltaggios and Jenn last season - any self-respecting reality show would have turned that steam-cooker into a three-way). Of course, Top Chef Masters is the epitome of this rule, where the pros had little to no competitive spirit and instead cried at each others' eliminations, cooked each others' food, and even redistributed their spending money based on need! I hope this new season of more accomplished chefs doesn’t try to pull any of that commie crap in our nation’s capital.
The first episode of the season is always disorienting, so to ease us into it Bravo kindly structured both premiere challenges so that the large group was divided into manageable, bite-size chunks. We got to know some of the key guys after a few minutes of an awkward meet-and-greet cocktail party, including the obnoxious but kind-of-cute Angelo (does he have a weak French accent or is it a Madonna I-spent-time-in-France accent?), the short n’ fat guy (from Jersey in this case), a few bland white women (Jenns, Traceys, Laurens?), a woman with an impressive back-story (IHOP to Ocean Club) and the requisite stereotyped multiculturals. Bravo usually casts either a serious Asian and a goofy black guy or a serious black guy and a goofy Asian. This season it’s the latter with Kenny and Arnold.
Tom started the competition off right away with a Mise En Place. YES! I was pumped. Mice en place is one of the best quick fires because you get to see who the real rock-star chefs are, and you also get to watch the weak guys crack under pressure. That pressure, plus the knife acrobatics and flying chicken meat make for an exciting challenge. To add to the anxiety of this first quick fire, it was revealed that this challenge would be ‘high-stakes’ - meaning the winner would get 20 grand. This is some carryover from last season’s campy Vegas theme but I appreciated the extra stress it added to the contestants - it was obvious that the ability to keep cool under the weight of all that money was the most important factor here.
Coolio Kenny the serious guy won every leg of the challenge, peeling potatoes, dicing onions, and breaking down chickens faster than them all! Angelo did not like this! He was fast on his heels, along with Timmy Dean (shorter black guy with glasses) and Kevin Sbraga (from Jersey). The wastefulness of this challenge was a bit awkward, chopping up food into neat piles only to throw it away, but no sooner did the thought pop up than the top four fastest knife-wielders were instructed to make a dish with the pieces of stuff.
Angelo made wings with onion jam which Padme liked, while Sbraga made an herby-chicken with broth which was salty - but Tom is clearly watching his sodium-bloat and did not like that. Timmy Dean whipped up a creamy chicken dish with cherries, which was also apparently no good. And Kenny made a nice spicy Moroccan chicken doublet duo doppio plate (okay, chicken two ways) that Tom deemed a 'nice job.' However it was Padme’s favorite, Angelo, who took away the $20,000 with his onion jammy chicken. He was like 'meh' and then privately declared in his interview that he would to be the first Top Chef contestant to win all the challenges. Oh Angelo.
It was then announced that the elimination challenge would be organized into groups, with each group of four chefs competing against each other only in heats. The top four were then rewarded with the opportunity to pick the group they would be competing against. Some strategic hijinks ensued, and we were left with four groups. Easy. The challenge was to create a dish that represents their geographic origins, which is very exciting for the contestants but not particularly for us, since this challenge pops up every year. We expect to see fish from the Northwest and fried stuff from the South.
Bravo then showcased the charming mansion the contestants were to stay in this season, and we were introduced to John Somerville, a very alarming and vaguely equine gentleman with shudder-inducing gray dreadlocks bobbing cheerfully behind his head. He sweetly confides that he wants to give the judges a piece of himself. Anthony the wacky Asian complains of potential snoring! Calm descends upon the house.
Finally, the challenge begins and we are introduced to the key players for this round; Bravo always spoils the winners and losers by giving them more screen time, an obnoxious but necessary narrative tool. So we see blonde New-Yorker Jacqueline planning to make chicken mousse. This sounds gross to me, but no doubt there is something conceptual about whipped chicken molded into cakes that I am just not getting. Our white pastafarian friend John buys pastry dough. He explains that maple runs through the trees in his home-state Michigan. This is both confusing and worrying: to the seasoned Top Chef viewer, dessert plus store-bought dough equals prompt elimination.
The cooking begins, and Timmy Dean’s group sets off first: Timmy himself is from the D.C. area and is making some Chesapeake rockfish. Alex is Russian and is making a 'deconstructed' borscht soup. K. Sbraga’s group includes Amanda from California, who is pissed that she was chosen for this group and dramatically vows to make Kevin regret his decision! If it’s the last thing she does! Eyes roll. K. Sbrags is making lamb bubbled in a water bath chamber. Jacqueline is also with Kevin, and she decides to leave the fat out of her chicken cake. This will clearly be an important decision for her during judging!
AHA! Angelo’s group is introduced, and it appears that he is in fact not French as his sneaky French name suggests, but from Connecticut. He is making Arctic char slices with bits on top and bacon foam (I miss Marcel). They then show him working with large amounts of bacon, which seemed like such a waste to reduce all that delicious cured meat product into some foam. Granted I have no idea how one makes a foam. Maybe one piece of bacon makes many pounds of foam. Perhaps foams are actually the most efficient way to feed large numbers of people.
Moving on to Kenny’s group: the larger white girl Tracey shows some sass, insulting team members left and right. I’m glad she didn’t go the nice-fat girl route. I hope she sticks around. Kenny describes his dish from Colorado and it sounds delicious. Cinnamon-Coffee rubbed trout with goat-cheese polenta. Mostly because I love polenta.
Some chef-testants have a bit of trouble, including dreadlocks-John who burns his nut crunch thing for the foreboding maple dessert, and Jacqueline who runs out of time and decides not to strain the meat smoothie before molding it. This seems like a mistake to me, but chunky meat cake cannot be much worse than smooth, right?
The time for judging arrives, and we see the chefs setting up for a cherry-blossom festival party. Padme and Gail sailed in wearing matching cleavage, wrapped in pretty spring-type dresses. Chef Eric Ripert is joining the judges this year for a much-needed break from the acrid Toby Young from the Vegas season. Ripert is so charming and French, just as Angelo wants to be when he grows up.
The judging gets underway, and we are able to see some of the other dishes from the group. Amanda tries to impress the judges with her pseudo-intellectual description of her fish slice as “neo-classical Wolfgang Puck-era California”. Tom snickered and rolled his eyes. Sbraga impresses with his lamb, and obviously the chicken cakes bombed. One guy apparently named Stephen made rib eye steak into little fried nuggets, which pissed off the judges. Plump Tracey’s food was bland but Coolio Kenny’s cinnamon fish went over great - he’s so cool and poised! Unfortunately Timmy Dean’s rockfish was weirdly big and still had the skin on it - this is wrong! Angelo’s bacon froth was a good move, the judges liked it. But they hated John’s maple dessert.
Angelo ended up taking the top prize for his bacon foam and fish plate over Kenny and Alex the Russian. As predicted, John was nailed for his store-bought puff pastry and Jacqueline’s chicken mousse was gross. In the end, John was sent home for his amateurish attempt at dessert. It was unfortunate that one of the kookier chefs was sent home so early, though we are still left with cross-dressing (what?) Anthony for some flavor.
This season will definitely have some strong personalities, so that at least is a relief. But I am not convinced of the entertainment factor of this crop of chefs - I haven’t yet spied a very likable, relatable contestant, perhaps because there are few young, easy-going and down-to-earth cooks this year. Though this premiere was impressive cuisine-wise, I’m hoping we see a little more humanity out of these guys if we are going to make it for the long haul.