My apologies again for not being able to post yesterday- especially on such a controversial episode! Lordy Day!
But before we get underway- I need your opinion, please!
Which reality show should be the reality show I organize in the next Reality Pool?
Some have said Top Chef Desserts but #1-that starts soon, #2- it’s food again and #3-would YOU enter after just doing This one?
Please pick something that you know starts in September or October that would actually enter. My goal is to get that pool as deep as possible! Email me or comment below and I tank you in advance!
Okay, last week I forgot to mention that Brownie has me completely hooked on Chopped on The Food Network. Yeah, I know Ted Allen is a drip with his pinched “I’m smarter than you” AND I’m getting Queer Eye For The Straight Guy syndication dollars but he’s only the host and doesn’t give too much of his opinion. Last week on Chopped they had the chef from Beehive on it! Yup! I won’t tell you if she won or lost. (That’s right, Daisy, I’m with you, not those people who announce the outcome of reality TV shows on their posts without warning. I have two words for those people: “Spolier Alert!” Learn how to type them, yo!)
In Bravo Channel News: “Bravo is partnering with popular daily voucher site Groupon to offer discount coupons at 8 "Top Chef" related properties around the country.”
Also they will do a Dunk Tank with Alex aka The Villain. If the baseball hits the bullseye he falls into a tank full of pea purée!
But enough of these pipe dreams (meaning Alex gets beat with a pipe), this weeks’ ep began with Amanda aka Pilly saying “Good Morning” to no one because “her little buddy” Stephen was gone. Pilly pulled back the covers to reveal some god awful looking Yo Gabba Gabba striped pajama pants. Meanwhile, Kenny Q Sign was perplexed (or as my neighbor used to say to their kid "What are you chile, PER-PLEXT?")
Padma avec Monticules was already there when the Chef’s arrived. So was the tiny beige jacket she wore from the Jaclyn Smith Collection at Kmart. I gotta say Monty’s outfits have been slacking. She's still gorgeous, she just looks like the she’s been hanging out with the Project Runway losers (which she wouldn’t cause they’re slumming on Lifetime -HARVEY WEINSTEIN BURN.)
Pilly remarked that she saw blindfolds when she walked in and Monticules announced:
The Tag Team Cookoff!
Each four person team has 40 minutes to make one dish, each team member gets 10 minutes to help complete it –blindfolded. The chefs are not allowed to communicate with each other in any way during the process and immunity? No more! (NO MAS?!)
The only thing you get here is a piddly $2,500. (10k split amongst the four winning chefs. 3k if you’re Angelo aka Dusthead and can talk a sap into lending you five hundo for your “sick Nana in Glasgow.”)
The Chef’s pulled knives to find out the teams. Pilly pulled first and was stumped: a BLANK KNIFE?! Then Kevin and Ed pulled the first choice and second choice knives, respectively.
Kevin chose Kenny Q Sign. “Kenny and I are good friends. Basically the only person I trust is Kenny.” Will this remark come back to bite him in the ass?
Ed chooses PAUSE MOMENT as he puts a hand on the shoulder of Tiffany! Who glances at him and smiles knowingly.
Ed: “I was hoping to work with Tiffany throughout this competition. She’s super intelligent and she knows how to cook.”
Of course Dusthead gnashed his teeth at this one. (Didn’t I tell you you picked the wrong Black girl?)
Kevin picked Indie Film Star Kelly. Ed picked Dusthead. Kevin picked Pilly and Ed was left with…Alex! Alex could care less about being picked first or last. It made no difference to him. Really? Why you talkin’ about it then, huh?
Blue Team: Kevin/Kenny Q Sign/Pilly/Indie Film Star Kelly
Red Team: Ed/Tiffany/Dusthead/The Villain
After getting 45 seconds to decide the cooking order…Time Starts Now!
As the other six chef’s were blindfolded, Kenny Q Sign also know as “the preppin’ weapon" and Tiffany went first. She threw down some sautee pans so her teammates wouldn’t have to wait 2 minutes for a pan to get hot (smart!) Then she pulled out a snapper and began to prepare it but left the head on so they’d know the kind of fish it was (just brilliant! Tiffany, I apologize wholeheartedly for not picking you. You are a lucky woman, Kat Baker. And not just because you were hailed as hero in the crackdown of that unlicensed massage parlor operation in Somerville.)
Meanwhile, Kenny Q Sign started in on a mushroom cream sauce with prawns.
Pilly from the Blue Team took off her blindfold and went to Kenny’s station. She stood there for a moment, literally using her hands to count and point to things like a seven year old and then, making a sort of ‘I got it!’ gesture right out of Head Of The Class, surmised Kenny was going for a thin pasta with a mushroom cream sauce and shrimp. Kenny began to smile and nod as she blanched the pasta and sautéed the mushrooms.
Alex from the Red Team took off his blindfold, saw fish and immediately seasoned it with “just a touch of salt.”
Huh? That’s the first thing you do? Season a fish when there are 20 minutes left so it’s gonna be sitting there in salt?
Tiffany (WITH A PAINED FACE): “We got thirty minutes basically, why are you touching the fish? Leave the fish alone.”
Kenny Q Sign gave Pilly a high five and Kevin took off his blindfold. He tasted everything, saw the basil and began to crisp parmesan.
Ed took off his blindfold, saw an aromatic broth and began to cut the fish. On the sidelines Tiffany asked if The Villain seasoned the fish. He said he had and Tiffany said she hoped Ed could see the salt on it and not “kill it.”
Indie Film Star Kelly (Blue Team) and Angelo (Red Team) removed their blindfolds and ran over to finish the dishes. The Red Team station was a wreck and Dusty couldn’t tell the direction. He quickly...salted the fish!
The Villain: “I had salt there.” (Oh that’s the way to get yourself out of this situation. Dood, it’s like frosting a cake pan before you bake the gd cake, Idiot!)
Tiffany: “C’mon be careful with the salt.”
Implosion Police, what’s your emergency?
Meanwhile Indie Film Star Kelly went to her station that looked clean enough to eat off or at least organized enough to figure out what dish Kenny Q Sign had started.
Dusthead added dill and cilantro to balance out the saltiness and both he and Kelly plated to cheers from their teammates.
Then…-chefs smiling-…The Guest…Judge…-bigger smiles-…arrived…Speaker…-lips cracking from the force of the smiles-…Of The House…-some sweating now-…NANCY PELOSI!
Nancy Pelosi and her face entered.
Kenny Q Sign, a true Alpha Male had immediate respect for the Alpha Woman aka First Female Speaker Of The Hizzy.
Kevin presented Team Blue’s dish: sautéed shrimp over angel hair pasta with a mustard sauce, marinated tomatoes and crispy basil.
Pelosi, a self proclaimed foodie and denture-wearer, hails from San Francisco where the first Top Chef was held (really?) and said the fresh ingredients reminded her of that place. Let’s remember she’s a politician, not a food critic.
Then she and Monty tasted The Red Team's Red Snapper in an aromatic broth, wilted greens and mushrooms. The Villain hoped it was a “$10,000 dish.” Pelosi said it was “wholesome, maybe a little salty.”
Tiffany: “Friggin Alex.”
Pelosi said a slight advantage went to….The Blue Team!
Kenny Q Sign smiled wide and Pilly highfived the bump on her lip.
Tiffany said Alex messed it up, shaking her head and speaking staccato, voice goin' up like a preacher at the end of each sentence as if she was Jackée Harry’s cousin on 227: Our dish was tiiight. It was gooood. Minus the salt.
Meanwhile The Villain looked through his giant car window sized glasses without blinking, serial killer style (yeah, that’s right, killing people’s dreams!)
The Elimination Challenge
Monty announced it wouldn’t be Top Chef without- say it with me: Restaurant Wars! Everyone clapped. The Chefs would be taking over the Redwood Restaurant in MD. Each team (OH SNAP THEY GOTTA STAY IN THOSE TEAMS, YO!) would be responsible for a three-course menu with two options for each course.
Kenny Q Sign said it was his chance to show Dusty that he was organized. What? You can’t do that at the Top Chef Residence by folding your clothes or something?
Tiffany said they were only as strong as their weakest link. (Here’s a hint: that link wears glasses.)
Then Monty dropped a bomb (no, not her bra, that would be dropping two bombs) the Guest Judge for Restaurant Wars? Frank Rooney, former restaurant critic of the New York Times.
You could hear sphincters tighten.
Oh yeah, some guys in suit jackets from Terlato Wines from Napa (also known as The Sponsors) came out with a magnum of wine and told the contestants the winner would get a special prize. The crusty doods who prolly told their entire families to watch them on teevee and labored over what they would wear for their 5 seconds of screen time wished them luck and the teams split to go shopping.
Mini-van one: Kenny Q Sign and Pilly in the front seat, The Villain and Tiffany in the back . He asked “What are we doing?” Tiffany told The Villain to do his own list. He said they should go to the seafood counter and see what’s fresh. Maybe call ahead. (What?) Tiffany told him to write it down so he didn’t miss anything.
Mini-van two: Kenny and Indie Film Star Kelly in the backseat, Dusty and Ed from Boston in front. Ed: “Tiff and Skeletor on the meat?”
SKELETOR?! Why didn’t I come up with that? Dayum Ed from Boston. Maybe you should swirl with me. (Naw, the eyebrow combination would be too much.)
Angelo said he didn’t really trust The Villain and Kevin overheard. They decided to put The Villain in the front of the house to minimize any damage.
As they shopped: 45 minutes and $1,500 to spend, Pilly and Kenny Q Sign watched Tiffany and The Villain grab stuff randomly and put it on the cart sans shopping list. Pilly: “Very dangerous.”
Back in the TC Kitchen, Dusty said he was Executive Chef. He told The Villain to cut all the proteins and then saw him later literally butchering the meat. Dusty took over for him. Kenny Q Sign watched the Red Team run about. Tiffany said she was nervous and The Blue Team seemed organized. Uh oh…
The Red Team (Dusty/The Villain/Tiffany and Ed from Boston) I guess let Dusty decide the name for their Mediterranean inspired restaurant: EVO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil.)
–Ugh, that reminds me of Rachael Ray. I know Mama, I know you like her. I can’t really stand her. It’s something about her monster mouth. Plus she yells and that drives me crazy. There are microphones already in place. Why are you screaming like a 14 year old on her iTelephone on the bus?)
The Blue Team (Kenny Q Sign/Kevin/Pilly/Indie Film Star Kelly) decided Indie Film Star Kelly would be in the front of the house. Kenny Q Sign called their restaurant 2121, the address of the TC DC apartment. The Blue Team was confident and comfortable and Dusty thought it was a dangerous thing to be too comfortable.
In the Kitchen everyone tried to find their way. The Villain was asked for an ETA on the lamb: “thirty seconds”
Dusty: “That’s thirty seconds too long.”
The Villain : “I have my own way.”
Dusty: “What is this, LA?”
(I'm not quite sure what that means but I bet in chef circles that's like saying 'your apps were microwaved.)
Kenny Q Sign said this was The Best vs. The Beast.
Dusty told The Villain: No Talking In The Kitchen. The Villain (REPEATING): “No talking in the kitchen.”
(OMG I want to punch him SO badly I’d let Pilly cook for me to do it. Jesus.)
To camera The Villain said he knew he wasn’t trusted and "that sucks." On the other side, Pilly had never worked with a wood burning grill before or grass fed beef and looked to be struggling. Meanwhile Tiffany had to re-prepare all of her fish since The Villain left it full of scales and bones. Delicious!
In the front of the house, Indie Film Star Kelly spoke really sweetly to the waitstaff while smiling and encouraging them. “My husband usually does this.”
The Villain? “I’m the chef here, you guys are helping me out today. It’s gonna be a lot of work. Everything is gonna be precise.” He actually SHOWED people how to wipe down a table. And he said he wanted the chairs wiped down too. “Like new!”
Now back in the day, Restaurant Wars used to have the teams splitting in half to buy food AND DÉCOR and filling a raw space. They wisely do not do that anymore (prolly in order to better focus on the food.) So I’m pretty sure Alex’s staff is THE STAFF for this restaurant.
Meaning, they usually work there.
Meaning know the drill. Also they’re on TV. Hello? They’re not gonna slack. But they will spit in Alex's food sometime in the near future.
Indie Film Star Kelly let the staff taste the dishes. The Villain clapped his hands and said his waitstaff should clean up and do it quick.
“You have ten minutes! Rapido!”
He really said that ish!
Then when he saw a smirk he told them to stop smiling: “You want five” minutes?
He also said his description of the food was so great that the staff didn’t need to taste the food.
There was a quick costume change before the guests arrived. Indie Film Star Kelly wore some sort of wool poncho vest in the shape of a gray Pop Tart. The Villain morphed into a SCARFACE extra in gray pinstripes, maroon shirt, unbuttoned (ew) with some God Awful chain that looked like it was made of brass. He also was Not at the front of the house to greet The Judges!
EVO First Course-
Angelo’s confit of tomato soup, squash and olive crouton & Tiffany’s crudo of black bass and yellowtail snapper with Meyer lemon pepper relish. Now let me say right off, maybe I’m being picky but it seemed like Alex was sort of fudging the ingredients. More on that later…
Gail said Tiffany missed the subtly and it was amazingly salty. The NYTimes Critic said Angelo’s soup made him want to taste his cooking.
Dusty spun like a top out of control in the kitchen. Kevin seemed calm and collected. Almost like he was on a different reality TV show. One where we watch the contestants stand on their feet and look back at the camera.
EVO Second Course-
Tiffany’s bass with stewed spinach and chorizo and clams & Ed from Boston’s Turbot eggplant caviar and black olive jus. Tiffany’s fish was dubbed overcooked but had nice flavors and good presence with the chorizo. The NYTimes Critic LOVED Ed from Boston’s fish, said nothing was overwhelming and you got the Mediterranean flavor.
EVO Third Course-
The Villain presented his own: “braised, boiled pork chop…”
Coliccho: “Pork chop?”
It was a pan-seared LAMB chop on English pea puree (ALEX MADE PEA PUREE AGAIN?! COME. ON.), smoked bacon and Parmesan foam & Angelo & Ed from Boston’s rib eye with potatoes, walnuts, balsamic fig reduction.
The NYTimes Critic said he wished The Villain’s plate had more texture and overall the service was hit or miss. His water glass was near empty and they felt unattended. AND The Villain didn’t even say goodbye!
At 2121, Indie Film Star Kelly was there to greet the Judges and told them they were serving “progressive American cuisine.” Monticules was excited about the cheese and dessert courses.
In the kitchen, Kenny Q Sign said it was all about what was the best for the team and egos were checked. Everything seemed to go smoothly, no yelling.
2121 First Course-
Kelly’s chilled sweet corn soup with Maryland Blue Crab salad & Kenny’s beet salad with chorizo-citrus vinaigrette.
Coliccho said there was no flavor in Indie Film Star Kelly’s dish. NYTimes Critic said Kenny Q Sign’s salad was loaded with a lot of stuff. Too much.
2121 Second Course-
Pilly’s Oakwood grilled strip steak with roasted Sunchoke & Maitake mushrooms & Kevin’s pan roasted halibut with slow cooked white beans and tomato fennel marmalade.
NYTimes Critic said you could look at the steak and tell you weren’t going to get what you wanted. He loved Kevin’s fish and thought the presentation was beautiful.
2121 Third Course-
Kenny’s crispy aged goat cheese and strawberry rhubarb relish on a salad & dark chocolate ganache tart with a blackberry chunk ice cream.
Gail liked the tart and salt but Kenny’s cheese was determined soapy, salty and too big. Uh oh.
Overall The NYTimes Critic hated the EVO name, called Kenny Q Signs goat cheese a monstrosity and the service at 2121 nice (Kelly checked in on them!) But the NYTimes Critic said both teams started out with a premise they didn’t necessarily deliver on.
In the Stew Room-Monty asked to see Ed from Boston, Tiffany, Dusty and The Villain. As they left and Pilly was confused, Kevin said “My mind will be blown if we’re on the bottom.”
Monty…CONGRATULATED them. OMG THE TEAM WITH THE VILLAIN WON?!
Compliments abounded but when Colicchio asked who was responsible for the lamb everyone looked nervous and Dusty said The Villain came up with the lamb dish but he and Ed tackled it. Hmmm….Colicchio didn’t pick this apart like I thought he should have.
The individual winner- Ed from Boston. He received a trip to Napa and the giant magnum.
Then the Losers lined up. Holy Crap. I gotta say I’m in shock here.
Kenny Q Sign immediately said (before any feedback was given) that, from his perspective, sitting back and watching the other team and hearing the mis-communication he was pretty shocked they were up there. Gail said they just go on how the food tastes and how the service runs and that was it.
The NYTimes Critic said Indie Film Star Kelly has a clumsy charisma but it was charisma nonetheless.
NYTimes Critic told Kenny Q Sign said his beet salad was done through the guise of Hamburger Helper.
They told Kevin they loved his dish and when it arrived everyone smiled.
The Critic said Pilly’s lamb was overcooked and a jus can’t save a piece of meat. It was like having a great pair of shoes with a bad suit. The shoes can’t save the suit.
I like this guy! He should stay!
Then Kenny Q Sign said: if Angelo wasn’t in the kitchen they wouldn’t have gotten anything done. He told them the team didn’t have faith in The Villain’s cooking ability and Kevin jumped in and said that Alex did NOT make that lamb dish.
Colicchio: So you’re saying Alex did not conceive that dish?
Kevin: He did not conceive that dish. Ed and Angelo did.
Kenny and Kevin Colicchio asked if they thought Alex should go home?
Kevin: Absolutely, I’ll say it and I’ll say it in front of him, I’ll say it in front of anyone: Alex needs to go home.”
Back in the Stew Room-
Indie Film Star Kelly, teary, said: “Can we just be honest here?”
Then EXPLOSION TIME as Kevin yelled at The Villain: “You didn’t do nothing. Your ass should be going home.”
Then he Stood Up!
“Your group threw you under the bus! Your ass should be going home.”
Kenny Q Sign said the reality is everyone is supposed to conceive their own dish. Not Angelo saying I’m gonna take your lamb and put this thing together. Everyone is supposed have a hand in prepping.
The Villain: “They asked me to fillet the fish, they asked me to scale the fish. This is what I did and I did what I could do with it.”
Angelo (QUIETLY TO THE VILLAIN): “There’s no need to justify it.”
Indie Film Star Kelly’s soup: too thin. Pilly’s meat: not savory or satisfying. Kevin didn’t do much but his dish was delicious and Colicchio said he couldn’t see sending him home for that dish.
OH SNAP it’s down to Pilly, Kelly and Kenny Q Sign?!
They said Kenny had two poor dishes but Gail said as the chef of the team he did work well and keeping them organized and on track was something they had sent people home for in the past for Not doing…
NYTimes Critic said the other team had questions about what Alex did and didn’t do but they understand that if a team prevails everyone is safe. At least for one night.
Everyone nodded except me. Cause let me tell you that ish seemed like one of the TC Producers came in and made him memorize some legalese from an index card.
When the four were called back to the Judges table something shocking happened that will change this competition forever…Kenny Q Sign was sent away…
Colucci, Ruby and poor, unassuming, why-did-I-enter-this-gd-thing-in-the-first-place-and-No,-no-I-will-not-do-another-reality-pool-I-don’t-care-what-you-say-or-do-to-convince-me-huh?-yeah-yeah-my-birthday-is-in-November-yeah-I-like-the-circus-well-if-you-take-me-to-the-circus-it’s-my-birthday-gift-you-can’t-bribe-me-with-a-birthday-gift-and-make-me-do-a-pool-well-if-I-get-to-ride-a-pony-maybe-I-dunno-I-gotta-whale-on-my-calves-Douglas, please pack your knives and go…
TOP CHEF DC POOL
LB Ed Cotton
STRIPES Kevin Sbraga and Alex Reznik
GBAG Kelly Liken
LUCY Kevin Sbraga and Kelly Liken
COLANTO Kelly Liken
KAT BAKER Tiffany Derry
DAISY Alex Reznik
CC Kevin Sbraga and Angelo Sosa
HOLLY Angelo Sosa
BROWNIE Kelly Liken and Alex Reznik
JENNA Ed Cotton
MATT Alex Reznik
Q Kevin Sbraga
JET LI Kelly Liken
MY MAMA Kelly Liken
ME Kevin Sbraga and Kelly Liken