Thursday, December 23, 2010

“Ask a chef to cook without a tools is like to ask a surgeon to do an open heart surgery with only his finger.”

I just came from seeing the Wu Tang Clan!
Or as Mama calls them: ““Who” Tang?!”

Now I know what you’re thinking, the Wu Tang Clan- which started as a family (and will always be, I mean, they sang along to that family bidness song by Gladys Knight and The Pips- sheet is real) a close knit amalgamation of several rappers. Who would actually show up to a rap show in Boston?
Well- these were exciting times because not only did Method Man show up (yah-basically a show in and of himself. Colucci will tell you that Method Man starred on Burn Notice. But, what IS Burn Notice?)
And Ghostface Killah (Pretty Tone!)
and Raekwon The Chef- (Who should be doing Top Chef promos just for the eff of it- Hello? Calling Raekwon’s Management Team- sure that would prolly be his Aunt Geraldine and Uncle Duplonicious but get on that would you?)
along with U-God and Inspectah Deck and Masta Killa and Cappadonna- and
– are you seated? The GZA was there too. The Genius!
Which I guess makes the young Asian chick with him The Idiot cause when I went up to him in the lobby of (appropriately) the W Hotel and thanked him for the music she just pointed at him with her mouth open like “Yeah, yeah.”
(I’m sensing this action was going to be repeated in their hotel room laters.)

Oh hey, meanwhile on Top Chef, it was tough cause last week was a double elimination so they all decided to “head to the bar.”
Say whuuut?
Introducing…a bar, everyone.
One that has a distressed brick wall in the back that almost makes it look like chefs are gonna do stand up.
One where potentially everyone knows their name because there’s no one else in the bar BUT them.
Casey said Nice Guy Dale was a huge support and she didn’t know how she would survive without him. Let’s see…have you been alive and independent since Before you moved into the Top Chef All Star house with Nice Guy Dale?
Oh you have? I think you’re alright, dude.

Meanwhile White Tiff, sporting a navy zip up jacket that said Boston in white baseball-ish letters that I’m not sure I want her wearing because I don’t know if I like her representing my city; said she had been in the bottom twice and she doesn’t think the judge’s got it right (oh sure) and can’t let it happen again.
Slimer said he was glad Punchy Dale won because it was someone besides Angelo and (to Camera) Angelo was probably his biggest competition. Aside from his now giant stomach preventing him from seeing what he is putting in the pan.

They entered the TC kitchen and Padma wearing a cream colored strapless dress with a tie in the front and black panel on the side (at some point during the Wu, I received a text from Daisy that said: ‘wtf is Padma wearing?’ but I don’t think it was this outfit—right, Dais?) along with Top Chef Master, Tony Mantauno who owns the only four star Italian restaurant in Chicago. The chefs were charged with making stuffing.
Oh no, not so simple, my friends. They had to make it with no utensils. No knives, no kitchen tools.
Jamie: (LAUGHING AND SMILING) “Reeeeallly?”
(This is why people hate you, Jamie. And by people I mean the poolers who didn’t pick you and most of the Eastern seaboard.)
Fabio: “…how I’m going to do this? I’m going to crush potato with my head?”
And why would you want to do this? Oh, the prize is immunity AND $20,000. Carla Cos: “Woo hoo!”
Time Starts Now!
All the chefs crashed into the fridge and Casey peeled off because it was too much ruckus (Bring the MFing Ruckus! Yeah! Wu rocked that song. Sorry.) Carla said “what is meant to be will be” and what was left was quinoa so she went that route.
Fabio: “Ask a chef to cook without a tools is like to ask a surgeon to do an open heart surgery with only his finger.”
Bravo, may I have a book of Fabio-isms please?
Fab grated Parmesan cheese on a rack that held pans. Blais used the lid of a jar to stir his food. Carla tried to chop an onion with a pot. Tre used liquid nitro to freeze his ingredients so he could smash them since they didn’t have the aid of blenders. (Someone tell me their hands are clean.)
Time’s Up, Utensils Down!
(But they didn’t use utensils.)

Carla Cos presented black quinoa stuffing undente because she knew it was undercooked. Chef Mantauno laughed as she offered him dental floss. Channeling Bill Cosby in LET’S DO IT AGAIN, Carla literally clasped her hands together and pursed her lips. Spike used lemongrass spears to plate his stuffing, Mantauno called that genius. Punchy Dale did a Spanish themed stuffing.
The worst? Carla Cos, of course. Chef Mantauno said if he poured milk over it it would have been a good cereal. Owch! White Tiff’s overly sweet fare (too sweet again?) and Casey’s stuffing that came off as an app. Casey laughed out loud (a la Jen. Watch it, Casey.)
The best? Tre’s southwest-inspired bread pudding and Marcel’s stuffing that was actually in the bird (he used a plastic wrap as a cone.)
The winner—Tre!
Tre: “OH MY GOD!”
He put his head in his hands and immediately hugged Chef Mantauno AND Padma!
It’s the Price Is Right! Come on down and hug everybody!
Now get back behind the cooking table and the eightball cause it’s the-

Elimination Challenge
The chefs were to cook at the home of the US Open. The players were on a strict diet of healthy, high-energy food. Padma brought out Top Chef labeled tennis cans (soon to be on the Bravo site, for suresies) and everyone picked a canister.

Team Orange- Fabio, Blais, Slimer, Punchy Dale, Marcel, Antonia and Carla Cos who said she was concerned about Fabio because he overthinks things.
Team Yellow- Black Tiff, White Tiff, Casey, Jamie, Angelo, Tre and Spike who said he had no allies on his team and was a little worried.
The teams had to serve their dishes head to head, whoever won earned their team a point. First one to four points wins the match. Players on the winning team were up for the win and whoever’s dish lost would be up for elimination. DAYUM.
Strategy ACTIVATE!

In the Top Chef House- Spike said they should put their weakest dish against the other Team’s best to waste their best. Angelo agreed this was a good strategy. Jamie was like whatevs because she wanted to avoid fighting- Hey Kids, I think you know what time it is.
List Of Things Jamie Doesn't 'Do' Or Know!™
-bridal showers
-canned goods
-open a restaurant
-clean sardines
-braise celery ("never before in life")
-make a sauce from ham
-complain (this is debatable)
-children (“ever”)

Carla wanted an ‘all over the world’ effect with their dishes, she also wanted to do a veggie African peanut stew. Punchy Dale was all, the US Open is upscale. No stew then? Guess not cause the next day at Whole Foods she was grabbing beans and broth. Carla is a runner, ya’ll. She (says) she knows what she’s doing and she believes in her dish, (SAY like Bill Cosby) haw haw!
Meanwhile Antonia admitted (to Camera and by default to her young daughter) that she never did sports in high school, she smoked a lot of pot and nothing else. Um, you understand you’ve been flagged for life now, right?
Fabio worked on…gnocchi. Again, Fab? I don’t know…
There was no paddle attachment in the mixer so he made the pasta with his hands. Jamie’s dried chickpeas didn’t look like they’d be ready in time. Then Angelo checked his mackerel- it was mucus-y!!! EW!
Angelo asked Tre if he could use some of his salmon.
Ah no.
Tre suggested he ask Black Tiff for some of her tuna and she obliged because she just wants the best chef to win. (By taking your ingredients?)
Colicchio entered and asked three members of Team Yellow their strategy. They all declined except Spike who (standing next to Angelo) revealed they were gonna put their weakest up against Team Orange’s strongest.

Carla Cos looked away from her dish for a moment and SLICE! She cut half her fingernail off!
Blood dripped like a leaky faucet! She said she could handle it even as the medics thought different.
Carla Cos: “Does it hurt, yes, am I gonna faint, no?”
Punchy and Antonia commended Carla (to Camera) cause I think we all know what Jamie DOES do- and that’s get stitches when she doesn’t need them.
Uh oh. Then Spike “butchered” his shrimp incorrectly? I’m not sure how. It looked like he was tasting everyone else’s dishes and went back to his own and…what? It just got soupy sales in the bowl or something? He tried to make another batch quickly “without love” as Slimer asked him what happened.
Time’s Up!

They wheeled their foods out on to the court, each team assembled at opposite sides so they couldn’t discern anything about each other’s dishes. Jamie said her chickpeas were still hard (even your chickpeas hate you.) Team Yellow had all tasted each other’s dishes. Everyone’s except Jamie’s.
Uh huh.
Spike said an uncooked dish is an incomplete dish and that’s the worst dish (to Camera) “which means, Jamie, you’re up to bat.” Or serve. Come on Spike, you’re on a tennis court.

Tennis fans entered and were set up at cabaret tables along the sides of the court. The Judges arrived- Padma wearing a light gray single-breasted suit jacket with round lapels, beige shorts and a navy tank top with one of the necklaces she’s tryna hawk. Hmmm, is the outfit Daisy was talking about? It’s sorta Women’s Wear Daily but the necklace and mile long legs sorta make up for it. But there’s no time to go back to the closet full of clothes getting divorced from Salman Rushdie bought Pads-
Send out your first player!

Fabio (Team Orange) was specifically asking to go first because he had the “best gnocch in town.” (Oh Fab, excuse me while I speak to Fabio for just a minute, Poolers. Fab, you’re so damn adorable. I love your confidence. Keep that up but enough with the gnocchi. Also, in the end it doesn’t matter because no one picked you so ultimately I’m going to have to ask you to lose so that I don’t have to mail everyone’s cheddar back but stop by my place for your consolation prize. And I do mean consolation...)

Meanwhile Team Yellow wanted to stick to strategy but they saw Fabio going up first and freaked. Suddenly Jamie: “We have to figure out who’s going!” Black Tiff said- Jamie. Jamie shook her doll head ‘No.’ She wanted more time for her chickpeas to cook.
“Team Yellow send up your first player!”
Casey (to Camera, sporting some awesome red lipstick) said she decided to go first. Spike had no clue what was going on. (to Camera) “What are you doing, Casey? Jamie has a weak dish.” Too late.

Padma (who sat with Colicchio, Gail- wearing some sort of navy blue tent, and Chef Mauna Lai- remember that Ocean Spray juice?) introduced guest judge Taylor Dent, billed as a ‘professional tennis player’ READ: retired. He looked like a poor man’s Taylor Lautner.
Fab presented whole wheat gnocchi with egg white instead of the whole egg, pork loin ragout, caramelized fennel (I HEART CARAMELIZATION) & zucchini up against Casey’s grilled port tenderloin (brined) with farro (OMG can we caramelize farro??!! Just a thought), cherries, sugar snap peas and vinaigrette.
Casey’s dish was too heavy, Colicchio said he never had whole wheat gnocchi that had as much flavor as Fab’s. He, Padma and Taylor picked Fabio’s!
Fabio jumped the net and dropped to his knees, fists to the sky!
Casey stood with tears in her eyes. (I think we’ll see these tears a little later on the program as well.)

Team Orange chose Marcel to go second but Punchy Dale’s dumplings were dying and he needed to go. Marcel was bitter because he halfway plated.
Angelo on Team Yellow thought they had to forget about strategy and go for the win. White Tiff was picked to go next.
Punchy Dale’s edamame dumpling, spicy carrot froth and crispy soy nuts went up against White Tiff’s sashimi of black bass, avocado & ponzu (citrus sauce) vinaigrette.
Colicchio said this was the strongest round yet… Gail votes for White Tiff. Padma for Punchy. Colicchio and Poor Man’s Taylor go…with White Tiff!
15 ALL!
True to form Punchy Dale cursed as he walked away.

Next, Team Yellow put up Angelo, Team Orange put up Marcel.
Angelo’s smoked tuna, yuzu (an East Asian citrus fruit) gelée, red onion & capers that all fit on one spoon and looked like a lougie with dill went up against Marcel’s cauliflower couscous with pomegranate seeds, golden raisins & yellowfin tuna with a touch of cream and butter.
Taylor liked both, Colicchio said he had a hard time tasting the tuna because the cream got in the way so he went with Angelo. So did Gail and Chef Mauna Lai.
Team Yellow 30 – Team Orange 15!
Angelo leapt into Tre’s arms and they both fell to the court in celebration.
Marcel: “Angelo always plates on a spoon.”
Hello? That’s where he cooks his heron, Marcelsonic Hedgehog. Tie off a vein and get down!

Jamie was hoping (of course) that the judges wouldn’t even have to taste her dish because they would win before that. Team Orange picked Antonia to go next so Black Tiff volunteered. As she plated, Angelo wiped the dishes. White Tiff said Angelo had his hands in everyone’s plates. Dood!
Black Tiff’s spiced tuna with fennel, peppercorns, coriander seeds on top of a lentil salad went head to head with Stoner Antonia’s sea scallop on top of china doll lentils (que?) with Indian spices, mint, dandelion greens [PAUSE MOMENT! Someone spelled dandelion wrong!] cilantro & chives.
Chef Mauna Lai went with Black Tiff, Gail with Antonia, Taylor went with Antonia, Padma with Black Tiff…Colicchio picked…Antonia!
30 ALL!
Black Tiff and Antonia hugged and she leapt into Slimer’s arms (maybe some love is cooking here...)

Team Orange put up Blais and Team Yellow put up… pensive moment as Jamie stood away from the team tasting her stupid a** chickpeas again…Spike. But then Angelo and White Tiff got aggressive. Angelo asked White Tiff about putting a little gelée in Spike’s dish. He asked Spike. Spike didn’t say no, Angelo began to put yuzu gelée on Spike’s dishes. Spike said Angelo was a little bit like a used car salesman. He didn’t think you could trust him and he admitted (to Camera) that this was not the dish he conceptualized…
Spikes tomato tamarind soup with olive oil poached shrimp, pineapple, tomatoes & dill went up against Blais’ “thai-bouleh” which was a take on tabouli with barbecued lean lamb loin, herbs & yogurt.
Chef Mauna Lai said the shrimp was bland and the lamb was gamey but Blais’ was better. Colicchio loved the soup but hated the shrimp, he went with Blais. Blais won!
Spike was mad at himself but mostly Jamie who he said was no where to be found. Jamie was now crouching down to adjust the heating element on the pan of her chickpeas as if not seeing her would make you forget she had a dish at all. Criminal!

Team Orange – Carla Cos (gasp!) vs. Jamie’s undercooked peas or Tre?
They picked Tre. But Tre has immunity so if he loses the rest of them are more at risk. Carla plates and Slimer realized it would be him against Jamie, nervous he began to prepare. Angelo asked Tre if he could do anything and started sautéing his salmon. Someone remarked that the fish was a little burnt.

Carla presented her African groundnut soup with baked sweet potatoes, adzuki beans & peanuts (YUM!) and Tre introduced his Coho salmon on top of parsnip puree, olive oil sauce laced with citrus, tomatoes & olives.

Speaking of laced, on my walk home from the Wu I saw a giant tour bus and smelled something lovely.
Wu bus, yo.
I went to the door. It was open and the driver wasn’t there…all of a sudden Masta Killa comes around the corner with a bag from 7-11: “Anyone come out?”
Me (wearing a kitty cat hat): “Nope and the door was open but I didn’t go in…” He entered and left me on the sidewalk, slightly heartbroken that I didn’t get to Richard Blais with Meth. Man, I’m glad Mama’s not reading this, I’m such a groupie…

Oh yeah, back to the show- Taylor liked Tre’s salmon, Chef Mauna Lai said Carla’s soup was fantastic. Padma went with Carla. Tre dropped his head. Gail said the salmon was a little bit “over” and the soup was spicy but she loves spicy food and-
Game Set Match!
They all celebrated as Spike thought they should have stuck to his strategy. Black Tiff said Spike’s strategy idea was stupid (yeah but if they went that way…) Meanwhile, Jamie admitted she dodged a giant bullet and said it “just kind of happened that way.” Bullet makers everywhere began to create a bullet the exact size of her body.

In The Stew Room-
Slimer asked if Jamie was upset she didn’t get to cook. She said Yes and No, she was upset that she didn’t get to present her food.
God I can’t stand you.
Padma asked to see Fabio, Carla Cosby, Blais and Antonia.
They scored the winning points and one of them would be winning…a trip to Italy-Awesome surprise!
Carla Cos said she would love to go to Italy and “eat her way around.” No comment.
But Cos gets her wish!!! Carla Cos won!!!
She accepted with tears in her eyes. She said (to Camera) she wanted to go “Na na, na na na!” but she didn’t. Instead she entered the Stew Room and let out some sort of Iranian celebration yell
Then she sent in Casey, Black Tiff, Tre and Spike.
As they left to enter the Thunderdome:
Blais: “Jamie, you got a story going now…”
Jamie said she was trying not to be offended by his remarks and asked what he meant. Blais: “It’s an odd story…”
Jamie: “Because I haven’t cooked?”
Blais: “Yah.”

At Judge’s Table-
Spike talked about their strategy, they said Jamie’s was the worst and Colicchio said Jamie wasn’t there so the strategy backfired.
Spike then told the tale of White Tiff and Angelo adding to his dish. Tre shook his head. Padma asked if Angelo asked first. Spike admitted he did but it was hard to say No.
Gail didn’t care because the yuzu didn’t factor, the shrimp needed salt.
Colicciho asked Black Tiff if she thought Angelo was sabotaging dishes since, in Season 7, this was an issue. Black Tiff said she thought this at first but ultimately you cook your own food. She said she’d rather go off her own instincts but then she sort of smirked and rubbed her forehead like she was holding back. (Um for someone who doesn’t like strategy, that’s a strategy, hun.)
Gail dissed the rub on Black Tiff’s tuna and the fennel salad outright. Chef Mauna Lai said Tre’s salmon was overcooked and it was their least favorite dish. Tre was shocked. They said it was good that he had immunity.
They told Casey her dish was too heavy. She protested teary-eyed and Colicchio said she was beat by a better dish, plain and simple.

In The Stew Room-
Spike said there were too many hands in his dish and Black Tiff said at the end of the day you’re responsible. Spike closed his eyes and did a neck roll, resisting the urge to turn into Punchy Dale.

When the losers were reassembled Coliccho said when you deviate from the system is when you get into trouble. (Could he be speaking about Spike’s strategy?)
But the person who was asked to pack their knives and go? SPIKE!
Yeah- no one picked you, Dood. Awesome.
Spike said he got screwed. Jamie clapped as he left using her palms with her fingers splayed like a three year old at a bday party who stole half the gifts and farted on the ones she couldn’t.
Spike (to Camera): “Listen, Jamie, this is a competition and at some point you’re gonna have to compete.”
Or at least comb your hair.
Spike still thinks he’s the best of the best but his best needs to be packed back into that wheelie suitcase and dragged to Penn Station. Keep your hat on, Spike.

Next ep- the chef’s go head to head against Colicchio AND they have to…run a Chinese restaurant?! I can’t wait!!!
Until then, Happy Holidaze, Poolers! Enjoy yourself.
In the mashed up words of Wu: My Mama’s Favorite Holiday Ain’t Nuttin’ to Eff With!


  1. spike didn't wear his hat much this ep- maybe that's where his mojo went...and his quashed balls.

  2. He quash his own balls on his pride.

  3. ah! it was the strapless number, specifically the close up shot of her boobs popping out! scandalous quickfire dress i thought you'd be all over it. PS Wu Tang sounds like fun!