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'Top Chef': Lisa survives another week. Am I missing something?

May 22, 2008 |  9:16 am

Lisa Is it just me or have the judges lost their minds?

Wait, let me back up. I should say that I'm perfectly aware that the deal with "Top Chef" has always been that a single dish can send a contestant home, no matter how good their past work has been.

There was real fan outrage last season when Tre, long considered a surefire finalist, was sent packing early for several botched dishes -- including a particularly bad beet-cured salmon -- and in spite of multiple winning performances. In that instance, there was no one but Tre to send home.

So I wasn't totally surprised to see Dale, who had won several challenges and been a top three contender, get cut after a particularly bad showing. Scallops doused in butterscotch sauce.... I can see how that might not work so well. And he was executive chef for the all-important Restaurant Wars round. Always a risky move and all the more reason to cut him after a team failure.

However -- and this is a big however --  there was just as much reason, if not more, to get rid of Lisa. I've said plenty here about Lisa's inadequacies already. This time, she smoked her laksa to death -- I don't understand how that even happens -- and, again, failed to cook rice properly. What is this girl's deal with rice anyway? It's the first thing you learn to cook in culinary school right after you learn to chop up a potato. 

Does Dale really get no credit for his past successes while the judges turn a blind eye to week after week of Lisa's poorly executed dishes?

I need someone to explain this to me. I know I can't taste the dishes and maybe those butterscotch scallops really sent guest Chef Jose Andres into sugar shock, a total embarrassment for Dale in and of itself. But Lisa screwed up two big dishes, dishes that she knows how to make, dishes she said she has made repeatedly. Lisa has also found herself on the chopping block more times than most.

The worst part is there are online rumors swirling about -- SPOILER ALERT -- all three females in the finale. Please, please, please let it not be true. I'm cool with Stephanie. I'd even be OK with Antonia. But Lisa? Before Richard? Even before Spike? No, no, no!

Thoughts? I'm dying to hear a defense.

--Denise Martin

(Photo courtesy Bravo)