Top Chef’s wedding wars

Top Chef Chicago: StephanieI don’t want to recap Top Chef‘s Wedding Wars, I really don’t. You can read pretty good, thorough recaps anywhere, and I particularly liked the ones from Chicago Tribune’s The Stew and from Zap2It. But it took Trinity and I about two hours to watch the 1 hour and 15 minute episode because we kept pausing to comment and laugh.

I don’t know — maybe its in my own head, but I think I have a unique point of view when it comes to weddings thanks to my background as a decorator. I know there were a lot of people were looking forward to this episode, partly because it was veered from the much-anticipated Restaurant Wars from previous seasons. But I was looking forward to it because I know most people have no idea what its like to actually be behind the scenes at a wedding. Let me tell ya — its not far from what the episode showed — a lot of work, not much sleep and a LOT to be done in very little time. Thank God my mom is retired.

Bravo photo swiped from

First off, I freaked out when Stephanie’s team (incidentally, I am rooting for her, and I believe she’ll be in the last three with Richard and Dale) picked the bride. The bride?! They wasted their advantage on the bride?! OK, OK. It turned out to be not so bad; she seemed to be pretty easygoing with a straightforward taste in food. But, as I told Trinity, there is a reason why there is the term “bridezilla” and “how to” books for grooms. Grooms are simply less invested in the actual production of a wedding. Not to say that they’re not an important party; God knows if there was no groom, the wedding is generally bust. But in terms of wedding planning? Most guys say, “whatever you want, honey.” I gotta give Richard props for choosing to cook for the bride. Since he’s married, he must know all this, but maybe he’s just that confident in his food.

Second, I loved the wisdom that the bride’s team showed in keeping Andrew in the back, even as he muttered about being kept in the back. Seriously, that guy must be schizo or something. He needs to drink less caffeine.

Third, Stephanie pulling off a five-layer, two-flavor cake was an amazing feat that defies all reason. Guest judge Gale Gand said it best when she said something about her wedding cakes taking up to three days. That cake that Stephanie pulled off in 14 hours was as good as some I’ve seen in person, at real weddings. And I know that the judges liked the taste of Lisa’s better, but yikes. Someone (I forget if it was someone on the show or Trinity) said it looked like a battleship. It kinda did. What happened to presentation? My goodness.

Watching the guys shop for flowers was a crackup; I cringed when they stopped next to the sunflowers. Heheh, dudes, you’re decorating food! Also, Andrew’s constant references to food and sex (“culinary boner” “Popeye’s f*cking wet dream”) were giving us pictures we really didn’t need in our heads.

Finally, watching all of them at the end of their marathon cooking session was a crack up. Andrew even stopped talking and fidgeting! I gotta wonder — have they never pulled all nighters before? Wow. If that’s the case, they must be some sheltered, hoity toity cooks. I dunno, maybe because there’s such a variety of types of work I’ve done, an all nighter here and there is no biggie. Like I said before, I don’t exactly miss doing weddings because now I always get eight hours of sleep.

Anyway, I really enjoyed the episode, partly because even with the editing, they showed what its really like to work behind the scenes at a wedding. I’ve known way too many women who have come up to me out of the blue as I worked, gushing, oh, what is it like to work as a florist? And, oh, I would love to be a florist! And, oh, it must be so wonderful to work with flowers all the time! Heheh….no. I’ve always squelched the urge to tell them about the long hours, the sleepless nights, the dealings with cranky catering managers, the worn out knees in my jeans from kneeling, then standing, then kneeling again from decorating tables. Oh, and not only all that, shopping at the flower district, keeping the homeless guys from harassing you as you go back and forth to the van to drop off bundles of flowers wrapped in newspaper (thereby getting newsprint all over your clothes) and oh, the dripping stems fouling your clothes.

Yeah, glamorous indeed.