Thursday, December 16, 2010

"Angelo, he wear his pants a little too, too tight for me..."

Before we set this off, some news!
Apparently Elia has been dissing Colicchio in the press! Yup!
http://eater.com/archives/2010/12/02/elia-aboumrad-does-not-go-quietly-in-the-night.php
What’s up with that?
What’s up with that!
Guess homegirl is looking to be a fragrance lady at Macy’s for the rest of her life…?

Oh and a correction! Jenna says:
The museum of science always has sleepovers on fourth of July
and a couple of other dates through the year and has been doing it for years.
I know because we are members. It's fun! Tell your Mama.
I’ll let Mama know.
Of course unless we bring her princess chair (her battleship-sized, leather La-Z-Boy) and her flat screen teevee and the potstickers she likes from Trader Joe’s; she’s prolly not gonna go. Sheet, I’m thinking of putting wheels on that La-Z-Boy just to get her out the gd house these days.

Speaking of getting out- honestly- I still can’t believe Jen is done. I have so many questions!
Why didn’t she blame Jamie?
Why wouldn’t she at least accept the possibility that her eggs were under seasoned?
What the hell did her father do to her?
I imagine holidays at The Carroll House. An eight-year old Jen cooking for her family and her father not approving and beating her in checkers after beating her.
Awful.
White Tiff said Jen “went balls out” (again, this from a woman with actual testicles) and everyone continued to roll their eyes at Jamie needing two stitches.
Slimer said (to Camera) Jen was a better cook than Jamie. (I’m pretty sure Jen also had softer more manageable hair.)

The chefs entered the TC Kitchen to find Padma wearing the black leggings (still?) and some sort of jacket vest. I guess it’s in her contract to show her mysterious arm scar every ep?
Next to Padma, David Chang! Oh snap! If you played in the Pool™ or watched the show last year you’ll recall David was one of the judges in the Top Chef DC finale in Singapore. His empire includes the many Momofuku restaurants (which I still say to Mama because she thinks I’m swearing) and Ma Peche. Everyone was smiling and slightly intimidated with the exception of Jamie looked like she might need stitches again so she wouldn’t have to do any actual cooking. Wake up, Stitchy! It’s the-

Quickfire Challenge
They would be split into four teams of four. “You walked in here in a random order.” Padma said, indicating that they clearly had not walked into the kitchen in a random order. “That’s how we’re going to split these teams.”

Green Team: Angelo, Slimer, Black Tiff and Fabio: “Angelo, he wear his pants a little too, too tight for me but he’s a great chef.”
Oh Fab. Listen to you talking about pants as if there would be a need for them at my house. Freeballin’ Sundays were made for you and I, darling.
White Team: Punchy Dale, Carla Cos, White Tiff and Marcel.
Red Team: Antonia, Jamie (elbow on the table like ‘Are we still taping?’), Casey and Nice Guy Dale.
Blue Team: Tie Knot, Tre, Blais and Spike who said he was happy with his team and that Tie Knot could open a bottle of wine for them. (Sommelier Burn!)

They had to prep ingredients, mise en place style, and David Chang would make sure it was up to his standards. Casey was rattled, more on that later.
After approved prep, each team was responsible for making one dish using all the ingredients. BUT the first team finished with prep would hit a button starting a 15-minute clock leaving that much time for everyone else to be done cooking! Ouch. Angelo exhaled loudly like he was coming down off barbiturates.
Oh and…No Immunity, the winning team gets $20,000, that’s 5k each! Carla: “Woooooo!”

Time Starts Now!
They attacked garlic cloves, racks of lamb and artichokes.
Nice Guy Dale said Casey couldn’t live down the “haunting” Season 3 mise en place. Flashback of her dicing an onion the way my nephew cut a beet one Thanksgiving—like the knife had wings.
Apparently lamb was easier. Casey quickly broke it down.
Fabio was surprised to see Antonia peeling garlic cloves one by one when they had a box full. He smashed forty in between two chopping blocks and peeled them like whatevs.
CHECK! Angelo is done with garlic already. One down for Team Green!
Tie Knot also peeled the garlic one by one. Spike moved him aside. Meanwhile White Tiff was—is that a slicer? She’s slicing garlic? What the-? CHECK! Green Team, done with lamb. No one else is even close.
Jamie finished garlic. But just then Green Team completed their artichokes and hit the red button!
THE CLOCK STARTS NOW!
Fifteen minutes as the three other teams tried to complete prep. Casey said just because they finished first didn’t mean they would come up with the best dish. Smack talk!
David Chang called Spike out for having a big clove of garlic in his container. Denied! Spike re-chopped as Blue Team started cooking.
Red Team got the nod, they had ten minutes left to make a perfect dish and decided on lamb carpaccio since it’s raw.
Blais on Blue Team took the lead because there was “no time for democracy” (but then everyone loses, don’t they?)
With 8 minutes left, White Tiff and White Team also chose carpaccio.
Tre threw down plates. Angelo laid out cooked lamb. Spike wanted to crisp artichokes with- one minute left!
TIME!
Surprisingly everyone was able to plate a dish –though I dunno if I’d want to eat it with all that mise en place flying around- who ordered the lamb with garlic skins and the back of a gold earring?

White Team: Punchy Dale, Carla Cos, White Tiff and Marcel made lamb carpaccio, artichoke chips and salad & garlic oil.
Blue Team: Tie Knot, Tre, Blais and Spike presented a crispy lamb chop (hmm, was that intentional or did someone leave it in the pan to long?) with artichoke three ways with fish sauce, garlic and lime juice. It looked painterly.
Red Team: Antonia, Jamie, Casey and Nice Guy Dale -lamb carpaccio (CARPACCIO BATTLE!) with capers, garlic, reggiano and salad with artichoke. “Raw?” David Chang asked.
Green Team: Angelo, Slimer, Black Tiff and Fabio –lamb with garlic, tandoori spiced yogurt, slivers of artichoke and dill salad.
Hmmm… two cooked and two raw. Who wins?
David Chang’s least faves: Red Team.
Nice Guy Dale made a face like ‘Excuse me?’ Chang said the cheese and parsley overwhelmed everything.
The other least fave? Green Team! David Chang said the thyme and dill blew out the yogurt. Angelo dropped his head.
Chang said the White Team’s dish looked straightforward but was complex and Blue Team’s crispy lamb chop was bold in flavor- but the winner was
BLUE TEAM!
Fist pumps all around for 5k, yo!
But there was little time to celebrate…

Elimination Challenge
The chefs would get to dine at New York’s finest restaurants (nice) and, the next day, had to prepare a dish that chef would be proud to put on their menu. (Oh. Well it’s better than going to those restaurants to eat and THEN learning they were going to do that, right?)
Each team selected knives…
Green Team pulled Ma Peche – David Chang’s French Vietnamese style food. Angelo was pumped, Fabio looked nervous.
Red Team – Townhouse, David Burke’s modern American fare. Blue Team – Marea, coastal Italian from Chef Michael White.
Team White - wd 50 The Little Dutch Boy, Wiley Dufrense, is back! Marcel was, of course, psyched to work with the molecular gastronomist who had also committed to a similarly odd choice of hairstyle.

They would go to the restaurants as a team but work as individuals. Their competition- their teammates. Ai-yi!
Casey was nervous because she thought Nice Guy Dale had the best chance to win with his style being similar to David Burke.
Then they learned: it’s a DOUBLE ELIMINATION.
Whose underwear is still clean?!
Oh, I guess everyone’s cause they put on street clothes. Most of the chefs looked a little bit like they were going to clean the kitchen they just demolished with the exception of nicely bloused Black Tiff, Carla Cos, Casey, Nice Guy Dale in a sweater and, of course, Tie Knot who looked as if he was auditioning for the stage version of Inherit The Wind.

At Green Team’s table (Ma Peche), Angelo began to talk about every single dish as if he made it. Slimer said the dish was so good he was surprised Angelo hadn’t thought of it before. Everyone laughed but Black Tiff was completely annoyed with Angelo for talking too much. You know what? Black Tiff has been sorta surly, quiet and tired. I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say she’s prego. Side bets welcomed.

At Marea, Blue Team thought they had the best restaurant. Tie Knot tired to get Tre to each sea urchin. Apparently Tie Knot ate at Marea quite often. He began to drone as if he was on top of a doubledecker bus in New York pointing out sights.

Team White at wd 50 were greeted by the Little Dutch Boy himself. Awww, looks like he’s gonna keep that hair style for a while, there’s a giant cul de sac brewing up there.
Carla knew her food was different but thought this was an opportunity to marry classic with modern. They ate a scrambled egg block and Punchy Dale made a decision to go with eggs right then.

At Townhouse, Team Red Team drank cocktails served in stem-less martini glasses that sat in an open glass with water that looked like a little fish bowl. OH that’s probably because there’s actually a live goldfish in the little bowl.
Hmm…cute but you know, there’s something slightly mean about that. What a shitty life for those helpless mollys. Why not just turn Townhouse into FratHouse? Collegians can drink the cocktail and swallow the goldfish?
Meanwhile Casey and Antonia were really concerned. How were they gonna cook for this guy?
Then dishes right out of the Christmas dinner scene from the Grinch showed up: A rack of lamb with roasted octopus!
Nice Guy Dale enjoyed the sense of whimsy and said he embraced that in his food.
Then: Angry Lobster appeared. The crustacean had been crisply cooked and cut (in the shell) sort of standing on the plate. If they really wanted to show that it was angry they shoulda put a little ‘Down with BP’ sign in its claw.

That night at the TC House (that I almost thought was another restaurant with Tie Knot was walking around talking to the seated chefs as if checking on their entrees) Tie Knot felt great. Well of course you do. You eat at -what is it called? Tyler Perry’s Madea restaurant all the time.
You’re a popular guy. Then everyone left the table and Tie Knot sat there alone.

The next day, each team cooked in the kitchens of the restaurants where they ate. Tie Knot: “Do we have a cork screw?”
Spike: “Doing wine already?” Ha! Jokes.
Slimer thought Angelo was the guy to beat. Nice Guy Dale decided to make popcorn butter. Pardon me? Antonia wanted to turn peas and carrots into a Two Star dish. Carla Cos put goggles on top of her already wacky glasses to man the nitrogen at wd 50. Blais said Tie Knot was sweating already.

But who’s getting out of that cab? (No driver?)
It’s Padma in a stunning peach colored, one shouldered, above the knee, gathered collared number, kapow!
Colicchio wore a suit and tie and HEY Bourdain is back! Looking like the fifth guy from RESERVOIR DOGS. Kate Krader (KK) Restaurant Editor of Food & Wine Magazine tagged along to try to raise magazine subscribers and of course, Michael White, the chef and owner of Tyler Perry’s Madea- OH Marea, sorry…

Tre presented a lively plate of grilled swordfish with braised artichoke, mushroom panna cotta & basil oil. Spike prepared seared branzino (European sea bass) with caponata & spicy proscuitto vinaigrette. Blais did a crudo of Spanish mackerel in the form of a squid with braised veal shank and fennel mostarda (an Italian candied fruit condiment.) I have to say the design on Blais’ plate was a bit distracting but I guess that’s how Chef White rolls. Tie Knot had coho salmon, black mission figs, broccoli rapini and fennel pollen served in a giant bowl that looked like the inside of a clam shell.

Spike didn’t do himself any favors using the words caponata but the fish was good. Blais’ fish was flavor forward. Tre’s dish was on the money. Bourdain said Tie Knot’s dish tasted like a head shop. And then he smoked it.

On the way to Ma Peche, Bourdain said he wouldn’t want to be thrown in any of the kitchens they were going to. Meanwhile Fabio: “This is double elimination- you guys don’t want me here, I get it.”
Fab! Stop taking things so personally! You’re thinking negative. You’re on top! (Yes, take that any way you’d like…)
Fabio prepared roasted lamb, hoisin plum BBQ sauce, corn tomato salad, lemongrass and homemade chevre ricotta. Black Tiff made a crudo of summer flounder, pickled radish & peach purée (that Slimer thought should have taken all of 8 minutes.)
He presented a warm sockeye salmon, eggplant, marinated tomatoes & pickled peach. Angelo made turmeric marinated fish, dill, cilantro, salmon roe, chorizo & white chocolate (because addicts often dip their stolen fish sticks in a Hershey bar just before they pray for heron.)

KK from Food & Wine Mag thought the flavor of Angelo’s dish was exciting. David Chang said it was innovative (it looked like it pained him to admit this.) Slimer’s dish was flavorful, almost all of the components were from the dinner they had the other night. Hmm…Fabio combined a lot of ingredients David Chang wouldn’t have put together and everyone thought it was heavy.
Black Tiff’s dish was ‘missing one thing to take it over the top.’

At Townhouse, Casey said Nice Guy Dale had asked him to taste everything he put on his plate but she was worried because he had too much. Dale presented roasted veal loin, peanuts, popcorn, French toast, corn & thyme caramel.
What kinda circus acid trip is this?
Antonia made two purées, one pea and one carrot with seared scallop, mint oil and pickled carrot on top. The whole thing looked like a delicious edible bullseye!
Casey gave them a piece of halibut seared and cut to look like a scallop with tapioca ‘caviar’ & ginger-carrot emulsion! Jamie did a smoked tomato & bacon soup with heirloom tomato salad and charred onion vinaigrette.
BOOOOOOOOOOO-RING.
Did you pick it up at Dean & DeLuca, smirk face?

Bourdain and Chef Burke thought Jamie’s dish could have been better and had more wow. It didn’t even look like they ate the whole thing. Padma thought Nice Guy Dale had a sweet dish with veal, period. Chef Burke said it was too sweet. Everyone liked Casey’s dish and thought it was clever. They also liked Antonia’s and Chef Burke said it could go on his menu.

At wd 50, White Tiff thought she shouldn’t have frozen her melons. Well…I think that goes without saying…Marcel said White Tiff was showcasing technique just to showcase it and not thinking of the diner.
Punchy presented his version of breakfast: a sunny side up egg dumpling, braised pork belly, milk style ramen with bacon, beef and pork. It really looked like a sunny side up egg and side of bacon. Supasmart! White Tiff- three different heirloom melons vacuumed packed “hit with a little bit of nitrogen and broken” (this is a selling point?) with powdered ham and taleggio (cheese.) It looked like a rocky road ice cream with shards of Fruit Stripe gum exploded on the plate. Carla Cos gave her version of shrimp & grits with okra chips. Marcel- Vadouvan (an Indian style spice blend from France) lamb, tzatziki, pickled red onion & anti flatbread.

White Tiff’s dish was too much, no surprise there. Bourdain thought Punchy’s dish was great and Colicchio said the broth actually tasted like breakfast, yum! KK thought, given her background, Carla’s dish was a great way to go. The Little Dutch Boy thought and Colicchio thought Marcel’s dish was tame and needed some salt.

Stew Room
Tie Knot smiled and poured wine for people. Carla Cos: “you should have seen me using the circulator, ya’ll!”
Thanks for making an effort, Cos!
Padma asked to see Punchy Dale, Tre, Antonia and Angelo. They had…the favorite dishes!
Then Padma told them the winner gets a six-night trip in New Zealand!
KK said Angelo’s dish was exciting and I realized that she has a lisp. The winner was the chef who did a marvelous job and represented the kitchen they were cooking in and…
that was…
Punchy Dale!
I think this was the first time I’ve ever seen him smile without punctuating it with a one two punch.

The judges’ asked to see: Tie Knot, White Tiff, Fabio and Nice Guy Dale. As they walked out, Punchy Dale told them to stand up and fight hard. Carla Cos said not too hard, be nice.
Antonia: “Don’t pull a Jen.”

At Judge’s Table-
Padma reminded them that two chefs would be going home.
Fabio admitted Asian Vietnamese French was not his “expertise area.” Bourdain, perhaps remembering he and Fabio’s last row, gently said a painter, when he loses his way, tends to over paint. Colicchio said his dish was dry and even though Fabio didn’t see a lot of sauces in David Chang’s dish, he should have had more moisture.
Tie Knot was feeling a lot of emotions. He considered himself an expert in Italian food and wine. Fabio looked at Tie Knot and then the judges. Tie Knot said he put too many things in the dish (he knows reality TV, be contrite, it might save you) but then he said his dish could have won. Bourdain said he got an overwhelming sense of sandalwood from his dish. Yuck.
White Tiff admitted she was seduced by all the stuff in the Little Dutch Boy’s kitchen. Nice Guy Dale said Townhouse was like food with jazz hands. The judge’s seemed to like this description. He wanted to infuse humor and kitsch. Colicchio didn’t know the inspiration for Dale’s peanut and popcorn car wreck. He said it came from a breakfast dish of his own that he did. But no one wants a breakfast with veal. (Or popcorn or peanuts.)

In the end, Colicchio consulted the burn catalog. He told Tie Knot he might have great knowledge of Italian food, well Colicchio he has great knowledge of Led Zeppelin, it doesn’t make him Jimmy Page. (Nice!) If Nice Guy Dale’s starting off point was the circus they ended up with caramel popcorn and not much of a surprise. (Eh, okay.) White Tiff gave them a poor facsimile of a Little Dutch Boy dish. (That’s not that burny.) Fabio’s food was heavy handed, lots of combinations with nothing hitting the mark. (No burn there at all, Dood. Strong start but really you fizzled the eff out.)
Then…
Tie Knot and Nice Guy Dale were eliminated!
Nice Guy Dale?! Really?

Tie Knot entered the Stew Room and said it was a pleasure.
No reaction at all
Nice Guy Dale echoed his sentiment and everyone gasped and stood up to hug him. Because Tie Knot has a lot of ties but not many friends.
As they showed both of them packing their equipment, Tie Knot admitted he was cooking more in the past (ummm, so what were you doing on this show now? You’re not even cooking that much and you accepted? You’re that arrogant? Guess so.)

Nice Guy Dale said he would learn from this and maybe come back for Top Chef 16, Seniors. Awww, what a nice guy! Sigh. Not a good cook though. So, sadly Janina, I must ask you to pack your knives and go.

It looks like we're at the US Open in the next ep. Ooooo and Angelo is, cheating?!
Uh oh...until next time, Poolers…

TOP CHEF ALL STARS

COLUCCI Blais and Carla Cosby

LB Casey and Antonia

KAT Black Tiff and Carla Cosby

STRIPES Blais and Antonia

Q Black Tiff and Angelo

COLANTO Blais and Angelo

LUCY Blais

BROWNIE Michael and Angelo

HOLLY F. Blais and Angelo

KRISTEN K. Blais and Casey

JENNA Tre

ELLIE Angelo

GBAG Casey and Carla Cosby

NIKKI M. Angelo

DAISY Angelo

CC Blais and Marcel

MARTHA P. Angelo

JET Blais and Angelo

KEMP Tre

DOWD Blais and White Tiff

LOGUE Blais and White Tiff

RUBY Tre and Black Tiff

ME Tre and White Tiff

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