Thursday, September 2, 2010

"I have no idea what you're talking about, I just know I loved the dish."

Let’s set it off with an Emmy, ya’ll!
Yup, after sitting and shitting on the pot for seven years in a row, The Amazing Race (finally) lost the Outstanding Reality Competition Emmy to none other than Top Chef! Say whut!?
If you caught the footage, you saw the judges (Padma, Colicchio and Gail) shocked and psyched on stage.
Apparently Padma knew the outcome right off the bat:

Now screw the accolades cause it’s down to five chefs!
The ep kicked off with Kevin shaving his chunky face and saying he was surprised Amanda (Pilly) had made it as far as she did (us too dood, I’m still shocked Pilly beat Kenny Q Sign!) Kevin admitted he dodged some big bullets himself and now it was “time to get down to cooking.”
Meanwhile on the patio, Angelo (Dusthead) held a little chat show with Indie Film Star Kelly.
Dusthead: “You must miss your husband…” Our Star admitted she and her hubby had never been apart for more than a couple of days.
Nice strategy Dusty, get Our Star to think about her husband and be all weepy and discombobulated and unable to cook! True to form, Our Star cried to Camera as she said this was a big challenge for her husband to not be a part of. Is Dusty’s plan working?
When they showed photos of Our Star and her hubby- eh- I gotta say, at first glance I don’t think this is the independent film where she ends up staying married to her husband. Sorry. I think Ben Foster as a Sous Chef is waiting in the wings to batter her thighs so to speak.

[Now, if I could speak to the Top Chef Producers and Editors for a moment- Hi Guys, I just want to say, upfront, without knowing the outcome of the show that I’m pretty sure you’ve already set it up for either Kevin or Indie Film Star Kelly to go home. Just sayin’. You might want to get less obvious with these types of things for avid watchers such as ourselves.]

But back to The Dushthead Show where, legs crossed, hair matted from a night sweat of no cocaine, Dust dropped another addict-like bomb: he was divorced last year! The studio audience gasps!
He and his wife had a son and her family didn’t believe in his profession (he should have been a doctor or a lawyer.) Dusty: “My passion is cooking.” Cooking jub rocks, yo!

When the five arrived at the TC DC kitchen there were many bottles of wine. Dusty said wine was one of his biggest passions.
Is passion one of your biggest passions too?
No time to answer, it’s the-

Quickfire Challenge
Padma avec des monticules, wore a gray single breasted suit jacket with black rounded lapels, white shirt, skinny black tie, black tapered pants and heels –is she taking over for the late Robert Palmer in an 80s music video? But she looked like a million bucks as always. Especially standing next to Food & Wine Editor-In-Chief, Dana Cowin who, in a lovely eggplant colored v-neck top that appeared to probably make a better dress (once you saw the wide shot) paled in comparison. Especially when you realized Dana probably couldn’t wear a the top as a dress because her legs were so skinny. Especially-ier when you looked at Dana again and saw that she was basically Linda Hunt with two and a half feet added.

Ed from Boston admitted he’s friends with Dana on Facebook “for some odd reason even though she doesn’t know who the hell I am.”
We know the reason, Ed. You hoped being friends with her would get you somewhere. We all have those Facebook friend dreams.

Dana, standing on her toothpick legs in front of the wines: “10% of pairings are just awwwweful” (over the top eye-roll and widened mouth for emphasis because…you know what, because someone like this probably took acting lessons for what will amount to five minutes of TV screen time) “and 10% of pairings are genius.”
They had to choose a wine and an amazing dish to pair with it.

Dusty picked the first knife, tasted two wines (it was a quick cut so truly who knows, maybe he tasted ten?) Tiffany said this was not her strength (with an added “Lawd have mercy” that would have made actress Marla Gibbs (Florence from The Jeffersons) proud.
Our Star’s husband (who will have a fist fight with Ben Foster in the pantry in my independent film version of this ep) is a sommelier so they “pair wines and do tasting all the time.” She thought this gave her a leg up.
Then Monty said it was their final high stakes Quickfire. The winner would be going to London and staying for six nights!
Time Starts Now!
They had one hour. Kevin asked Dusty if he had star anise. Nope. He put pork into a pressure cooker. Our Star asked for one sprig of thyme. No one answered. Tiffany said she already had a trip to Paris and wanted to go to London too, “hit them both up, you know?!” Then she laughed and her dimples shrieked because she and Ed from Boston were both making rib eye.
11 minutes left!

Kevin opened his pressure cooker to find….his pork was not cooked at all. So he grabbed quail. Raw quail, everyone!
7 minutes left!

He knew the quail wouldn’t stand up to the wine but he didn’t have a choice or time. (Yet, as he finished grilling, he still had time to ask if someone’s dish was burning on the stove.) He prepared his plates as sweat dripped off his nose. They did not show where that sweat ended up…
Utensils down, hands up!

Tiffany picked Two Hands Shiraz and prepared cocoa & black pepper-crusted Waguy (a Japanese cow (“now finally available in Europe!” says the website) that has a succulent Kobe-style beef) tenderloin with spring risotto. Monty said her meat was cooked beautifully.

Kevin’s Tangley Oaks merlot was paired with grilled quail with shaved apple, fennel salad and apple vinaigrette.
Dana said quail was delicate. Kevin looked blank. Also he had something on his lip. I bet, if you magnified it, it was a ticket home.

Angelo’s Evolution (from Portland, Oregon –OMG did you know Portland has a wine country? I went there. It’s crantastic!) with sautéed foie gras with black salt & fennel salad.
Dana said it was an interesting dish.

Indie Film Star Kelly picked the Federalist Dry Creek Zinfandel and prepared wild boar tenderloin, blackberry conserve, mache salad, blue cheese emulsion (foam.) Ed picked Il Poggione Rosso and made grilled Wagyu rib eye with spring potato risotto & mushroom ragout.

Least successful?
Kevin “…the quail was beautifully cooked but with the merlot? Not perfect.” Our Star’s dish was off the chart because of the blue cheese foam. Ew.
Faves? Dusty’s was “a nice contrast with the crispness of the wine and heaviness of the foie gras” and…Tiffany “everything worked beautifully, the reduction was elegant.”
And the winner…? The pairing she would “have to have tomorrow”?
Dusty: “Damn.” He shocked himself! Kevin thought maybe Dusty had his mojo back.

Then Monty revealed that for the first time in Top Chef history (so annoying when reality TV shows say this. “For the first time in MTV’s Jersey Shore history, Everyone gets an STD!”) Top Chef was going international!
The finale would taking place in Singapore!
Everyone said Whoa like three times. Dusty had a “tingle.” The tingle of a heroin needle piercing a vein in his foot as held by a Singapore whore.

Elimination Challenge
Monty sent the five chefs to NASA. They entered a room that looked not unlike the DeVry commercials with giant screens on the walls showing maps and shit.
Colicchio introduced an older woman with braces who was a food scientist. Braces pointed to a screen and a male and female astronaut on a space station (or maybe just on a soundstage in New Jersey, anybody see CAPRICORN ONE?) floated in front of the camera with a microphone one of the Beastie Boys used in the late 80s and read from a cue card.
The astronauts pulled out freeze dried scrambled eggs and chicken fajitas as a way to say that space food has come a long way. But not the actual space station. Nope. It looked like the inside of an upside down ambulance. The collection of papers and bags over their heads secured by black bungee cords kinda reminded me of the floor behind my bedroom door where the stacks of bank statements and misfit toys live.

Finally, the challenge: They had to design a delicious dish that fit the space guidelines that the astronauts could eat. The winning dish would be flown to them via Jet Blue. (Jet Blue goes to the Space Station now, right?)
Colicchio said they’d be serving 8 guests including Buzz Aldrin (first he guest stars on 30 Rock, now Top Chef? This moonwalker thinks he’s Betty White!) And Braces gave parameters: the food had to be able to be freeze dried, couldn’t have a lot of sugar or large pieces (they don’t freeze dry well) and told them astronauts agreed: spicy foods taste good in orbit.
(Mainly because, in space, no one can hear your intestinal problems.)

Kevin was nervous. He couldn’t “wrap his head around how they eat in space.” Well, Kev, first they open the freeze-dried crap. Then they eat it.

After 30 minutes to shop and $200 each, they hustled back to the kitchen. Everyone seemed to go slightly spicy. Ed went for Moroccan flavors, Tiffany put her mussels in the fridge to get them cold and started on her curry. Our Star said she never freeze dried anything. Dusty drew up a short rib schematic on a paper towel. Kevin was going mainstream American with strip steak to give the astronauts a taste of home.
Then Colicchio entered.
When Dusty told him he was going to make braised short ribs Colicchio gave him the ‘Whatcho talkin bout, Angelo?” face.
Dusty: What was that look for?
Colicchio: “No reason.”
Colicchio asked if he had taken what the food scientist said into consideration. Dusty said he was going to go light on the sugar.
Tiffany began smiling and laughing as soon as she saw Colicchio.
She said she wanted to bring on the flavor because her flavors had recently been mild. She ended the conversation with another laugh-
which seemed nervous to me. Then she opened the fridge. Her mussels had frozen! They were dead! Uh oh…now what? Mussel-less curry?

That night at the TC DC house, Kevin said his mother was taken off life support six years ago but “…she just kept fighting and fighting” and that’s what he intended to do.
[We get it TC Producers and Editors. It’s Kevin’s time to go.]

In the morning before they left for the Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center to cook, they saw a note. It said their ride to the destination was outside and the winner of the challenge would take it home. They all ran down the brownstone steps like kids on Xmas morning.
It was a jet black Toyota Avalon with ‘all the bells and whistles.’ The doors were opened and cameras looked inside before anyone got in because this is a Commercial, people.
Somehow Dusty was in the driver’s seat. I’m shocked he didn’t take that car right to Georgia Avenue: “Got that Sasha and Malia, yo.” Hoorah, 8 balls for everyone!

As they scrambled about in the small kitchen, Tiffany told a story of how in the 10th grade when she worked at IHOP she was told that ladies can’t work in the kitchen. She said she was going to work harder than everyone else and get in there and she did. Dim-ples Pow-er! (please say that like “Pup-py Pow-er” or maybe not. I abhor Scrappy Doo.)

Meanwhile the judges entered the space dome!
Colicchio, Monticules (in a strapless dark salmon gown), Rippert, Braces, Buzz Aldrin, Anthony Bourdain (oh snap!) and astronauts Sandra Magnus and Leland Melvin (a Blackstronaut!)

Buzz smiled at Indie Film Star Kelly—wait, maybe this is the indie film where Kelly goes to the moon (if you count the back seat of a Nova as the moon.) She presented her pan-roasted halibut with artichoke & fennel barigoule (braised artichokes in wine) and salsa verde salad.
Colicciho said it was well done and nicely cooked. The Scientist said you couldn’t have that much liquid (that was in the dish) in space. Colicchio said they should be able to freeze dry it. Astronaut Sandra said they missed the crunchy texture in space. Bourdain was oddly quiet. Star struck by the moon men and women?

Ed from Boston presented his yogurt-marinated rack of lamb & grilled satay of lamb. Colicchio liked it. Rippert said it had too many textures and flavors.
Bourdain: “I need to express my disappointment with my comrade the Ripper over here.“ There’s the Bourdain we know and love! Everyone laughed. He continued: “I’ve been to Morocco and I think Ed nailed it.”

Kevin mentioned to Camera that all the other chefs had their own restaurants and celebrities they had cooked for (they do?) and he didn’t have that yet. Kevin is kinda starting to get on my nerves.
He presented his NY strip steak with bacon-jalapeno marmalade, corn purée.
As they cut the steak, Astronaut Sandra mentioned that spoons were very important in space. Buzz revealed that he still had his.
(How much you wanna bet he’s already sold 200 sporks on eBay saying they were the ‘one he had used in space.’
You know how Buzz do!)
Colicchio’s said Kevin’s food was well seasoned. The food scientist said the challenge would be to keep the onions on top crispy. Who invited this scientific wet blanket? Meanwhile the chick’s plate was damn near licked clean. I think they keep her starving on an asteroid or some shit.
Astronaut Sandra finally cracked a smile as she talked about the Russian Cosmonaut who was in space for a year and, when he came down, Russia was no longer Russia. Then Blackstronaut aka Astronaut Jones:
Unless he did and the Editors cut it out- SPACE RACISTS!

Tiffany did her dish sans mussels: pan-seared Alaskan Halibut with coconut curry & jasmine rice. Rewind Moment! Tiffany’s presentation of the dish and her super high and small voice.
I think this is the only time we’ve ‘heard’ her nervous.
Everyone tasted. Rippert wasn’t too excited. He didn’t see anything coming together that elevated the dish. Bourdain said there was one ingredient that sang, the fish sauce. Finally, Blackstronaut spoke! He said the last time they brought food to the space station they had ice cream for the flight crew. “Did they share with us? No.”

Hm, I guess maybe all Astronauts are nonplussed once they get back to earth. I mean after that, what’s left? X and crystal meth? Maybe that’s on Georgia Avenue too. “Got that moon, high. Get buzzed on this, Buzz.”

Dusty presented his ginger-lacquered short ribs and horseradish crème fraiche and wait, pea purée? Alex is gone you guys! But I predict, right now that there will be a pea purée montage in the reunion show.
Buzz said Dusty’s dish was very tasty and the pickled mushroom was a surprise. Colicchio didn’t care for the candied ginger, too sweet, but he liked it and thought it was flavorful. Rippert made a tiny disparaging comment. And- Bourdain: “Well I’m shocked by Rippert’s dark, cynical, snarky, negative world view.”
So Bourdain hates Rippert? I love it!
Bourdain said he thought the dish was very sophisticated and would be easily adaptable to an extraterrestrial situation.
Awww, can Bourdain stay? Sorry Rippert, you gots-ta go!

Meanwhile, Dusty sat on his haunches in a hallway with three fingers on the bridge of his nose the way he saw a homeless heroin addict in a nod-out do once. He said he felt like he put his heart on the plate and it was very emotional for him. Jesus, this guy.
Before they left the Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center for Judges Table, the chefs each tasted each other’s dishes. Everyone agreed the food was great. Then they left the kitchen a complete mess for Ronald Reagan’s ghost to clean.

Judges Table
Every stood there, nervous and tense. Colicchio said they all did a great job and the difference between winners and losers was really small. Then the compliments (and some criticisms) flew:

Bourdain to Ed from Boston: “having traveled to” Morocco “you pulled it off,” Colicchio: “Everything was done well.”

Rippert said Tiffany’s broth needed lime juice, some acidity. Colicchio he liked the dish but there were two things he could have gone without: the bitter pepper skin and mealy tomatoes. Ouch.

Colicchio told Our Star she nailed the artichokes. “they were cooked as nicely as I’ve ever seen an artichoke cooked.” She beamed. Rippert asked Our Star if she had been to Provence and learned techniques there. She said she had, Rippert said it showed. Wow! I think this is the Indie Film where Our Star ends up leaving her husband and Ben Foster for Eric Rippert!

Angelo said he took a submissive role in creating his dish, he really wanted to focus on precision. “The short ribs, I felt like I made love to them,” Ed from Boston did a double take and Rippert blinked, “I mean, I constantly heated them up, then I glazed them and then when I thought I had glazed them enough I re-glazed them.” Dusty finished with the same nervous laugh he had the first time his mother busted him stealing money from her wallet.
Silence. Then-
Bourdain: “I have no idea what you’re talking about, I just know I loved the dish.”
Hmmm, I wonder if Bourdain recognized a little of himself in Dusty. Anthony used to be a pretty heavy vein hitter himself according to Kitchen Confidential.

Kevin’s steak was perfectly cooked, Colicchio said the only negative thing was he preferred the steak to be cut thicker. Bourdain told Kevin he may have played it a little safe.

Then the chefs went to the Stew Room. Bourdain said Ed cooked his heart out. Rippert said Our Star cooked without a tightrope. Colicchio said the tight rope was “that wide,” his arms thrown out. Bourdain said points should be given for originality (as in her dish wasn’t.) Rippert said in terms of originality you’re right, it’s a classic. (I’d like to see these two in a cage match.)
Monty liked Dusty’s dish, so did Rippert and Bourdain “a lot, a real lot” but Colicchio didn’t like the candied ginger.
Kevin gave the astronauts something reminiscent of home but, Bourdain: “Sirloin, it’s Top Chef- sirloin? For God’s Sake.”

Tiffany’s dish tried to deliver authenticity, Bourdain loved the broth. Monty asked Colicchio she compensated for the lack of mussels by using too much fish sauce. Colicchio said he didn’t have a problem with it but harped on her not delivering by removing the skin of the pepper.
Whew, it’s get hot in herr, ya’ll!

The chefs were called back to Judges Table.
They were told the winning dish would be served in space and, also, the winning chef would get to watch one of the two remaining shuttle launches as Cape Canaveral. Wow. Now that’s pretty dope!
Bourdain announced..
Bourdain gave him a copy of his new book and Monty gave him keys to his (horribly edited VO) new Toyota that he promptly sold for rock.

Colicchio reviewed everyone’s dishes and said he wished all four could go to Singapore. Then Monty asked…
Tiffany to pack her knives and go!!!
Kevin: (softly but right there in front of everyone, including Tiffany) “Thank you Lord Jesus, thank you.”
Tiffany’s eyes welled up. She started to laugh and said thanks for the opportunity. Ed from Boston had tears in his eyes too.
Tiffany to Camera: “The worst part is you made it that far...”

[WOW TC Editors and Producers. You got me. You totally set me up to think that Kevin or Indie Film Star Kelly was going home and then the one person I just KNEW was going to the Finale was cut?! I’m sad but I must commend you for the subterfuge. Well done.]
When Tiffany went to the Stew Room Dusty stood, ready to hug/welcome her into the finals but she told him she was leaving.
He was shocked.
Meanwhile Kevin said ‘Good job guys’ and hugged Our Star and Ed from Boston.

Holy Crap dood, Tiffany is gone! The friggin mussels knocked her out?!
Ed said Tiffany brought so much energy to the competition.
She said Congratulations guys as they all entered the Stew Room. Ed hugged her for a long time.
Tiffany: “You just have to know that you did good…” She smiled through the tears (–man I can’t believe it) and continued to smile and then walked out of our lives forever. The kitchen lights will definitely be more dim.

Thus, with a heavy heart, I must ask Kat to pack your knives and go.

[Hey, the TC DC finale isn’t untll September 15th? Whoa… see you Doods then!]


LB Ed Cotton

STRIPES Kevin Sbraga

GBAG Kelly Liken

LUCY Kevin Sbraga and Kelly Liken

COLANTO Kelly Liken

CC Kevin Sbraga and Angelo Sosa

HOLLY Angelo Sosa

BROWNIE Kelly Liken

JENNA Ed Cotton

Q Kevin Sbraga

JET LI Kelly Liken

MY MAMA Kelly Liken

ME Kevin Sbraga and Kelly Liken

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