I gotta set it off with an awesome Tweet from Eric Ripert:
He slams so classily.
Now let’s dive in! Antonia reveals she was nicknamed the Black Hammer on her season because everyone on a team with her ended up going home. I don’t recall- Oh flashback, thanks, Bravo. Yup, three people were sent home. Antonia said it was a coincidence but if she and I are going to a Wu concert, she’s holding just in case.
The chefs entered Eric Ripert’s 3 Michelin Star restaurant, Le Bernardin, and were met by Anthony Bourdain (yay!) He mentioned his book Medium Raw (product placement!) and the person he penned a whole chapter about: fish butcher Justo Thomas. Between 7am and noon every day, Thomas butchers 700-1,000 pounds of fish.
Um, can we get some recession math? I don’t think there are enough people who can afford to eat fish at Le Bernardin these days.
When little Justo goes on vacation, it takes three trained Sous chefs to do his job.
They watch him work, Fabio: “See Justo clean fish give me tears.”
PAUSE MOMENT- Fabio honestly looks like he’s gonna cry. I like a man who openly admits that seeing fish well butchered can make him weep. Bawling up a snot bubble during THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE? Eh. (My apologies, Poolers, that’s a little payback for a photo of Jets socks someone sent me...)
The Quickfire Challenge
Cut two fish into Bernardin quality portions. Justo can butcher two in eight minutes; the All Stars were getting ten.
Carla (facetiously): “Woo hoo, I say to myself, Whoo hoo.”
Time Starts Now! Oh wait, this is Bourdain, he’s smoother than that: Chefs, get started.
(To Camera) Marcel says he was allergic the first time he butchered fish and his hands turned red and swole up but, being the chef he is, he kept doing it and eventually it went away. Just like his friends.
And most of his family.
And his dog.
3 minutes: Carla struggles miserably. Fabio’s knife goes through his thumbnail! But he is “not Jamie.”
Okay chef’s, time is up.
Bottom: Fabio, Carla, (super embarrassed) Black Tiff and Antonia. Top: Punchy Dale, Richard, Slimer and Marcel.
One of the four wins immunity if they make a delicious dish using- hey, remember when Sylvester the Cat turned over the top of a garbage pail, used it like a tray and picked fish bones out the trash? Yeah, that. Fish heads, fins and collars!
They have 45 minutes to make garbage great!
Slimer can’t find a shinwa (strainer) and asks Marcel where they are. Marcel: In the back. Slimer looks around, ‘Where?’ Marcel: In the back. Slimer tries to use Marcel’s.
Marcel: “No, dude, that’s mine.”
Slimer (To Camera) “…he’s a dick sometimes.”
Actually he’s a dick ALL THE TIME, Slimer, but get your own shinwa okay? Slimer asks for lemongrass. Lazybones!
Punchy Dale’s family was cooking from “nose to tail” before it was cool so he’s comfortable with this challenge (I ask again, how come no one picked Punchy to win?!)
Blais talks about his first job as fish cook at…McDonald’s. Favorite Mickey Dee’s meal shout-out! Filet o’ Fish, large fry and medium orange drink!
In the end, Bourdain complemented everyone except Marcel (his flavors were monochromatic- suckah!)
Okay- can we just talk about how, if Punchy wins this whole thing, I have to send you all your money back! This would be disastrous! Therefore, I need everyone to focus on Punchy doing something so horrible, so heinous, that he loses immunity. Ready? Lose it- Pun-chy! Clap, clap clapclapclap!
They enter the TC kitchen and find Padma in a milk chocolate colored strapless (again, the boobs defying science) with a chunky brown leather belt next to tatted up Guest chef and Top Chef Masters potty mouth: Ludo Lefebvre.
OMG Fabio and Ludo! Italy and France! (Foreigners in my pants!)
Bravo, can we please see this sitcom, please? Well, can they do a rap song? Come on, at least let ‘em narrate a book on tape!
Ludo just finished a pop up restaurant and half the chicks in LA, thus, the-
Elimination Challenge: RESTAURANT WARS!
Punchy Dale (sent home after the War in his season) is a Captain, he gets to pick the other….oh noooo! Yup, to keep him as far away as possible, he picks Marcel.
Marcel cracks his knuckles and smiles and rubs his hands together. He thinks it a great compliment. Actually, it’s a great strategy. Who wants to work with this dickmobile?
He makes a Giant Show out of selecting his first person: Angelo who says he doesn’t mind Marcel and they get along. Then Marcel picks: Slimer, Antonia and Black Tiff who, when he asks if she wants to work with him says, “Suuuuuure” like that girl in junior high when the class a** asked her out cause she heard he had tickets to New Edition.
Punchy Dale picks Blais, Tre, Fabio and Carla.
Pads: “For the first time in Top Chef history- the DINERS will be Black!”
Psych your mind! (Boggles though, right?)
The DINERS WILL eat at both restaurants AND DECIDE THE WINNER!
Black Tiff thinks front of the house people go home but her team convinces her to serve. Marcel wigs when no one listens: “How many times do I have to tell you we’re putting down ideas, no one is deciding (dishes) until the end.”
Meanwhile, Fabio volunteers for front of the house. He says Punchy Dale picked people who can run a marathon and Marcel picked sprinters. Fab (laughing): “I’m sorry, you’re goin down dude.”
5 Hours to Prep at the outdoor dining and kitchen area!
Punchy Dale’s concept is a twist on a bodega. Marcel’s is Mediterranean inspired. Colicchio tells them the winner will get $10,000! Fabio finishes his prep and runs to the dining area to assemble tables and shake hands with everyone on the waitstaff. Class act! Meanwhile Black Tiff (wait, she’s the only Tiff left now so I can save some typing, right?) Tiff is still boiling six-minute eggs for her dish. Marcel yells that they peel better if she puts them in cold water after boiling.
Tiff: “Yes Chef, tell me how to boil an egg.”
She sees Fab in the front and freaks. When it comes time to peel the eggs…they aren’t cooked! Marcel complains they have to come up with a new dish and (To Camera) that if people listened to him they wouldn’t have problems. Tiff (under her breath): “Should have just cooked the egg the way I friggin knew how to cook the friggin egg.” Um, you shoulda said ‘Hell no’ when Marcel picked you.
Marcel says she needs to go to the front, Angelo promises Tiff her dish will be good. Yipe.
Tiff changes, steps out front and snaps her fingers as if calling, oh, a bunch of waiters, I guess? She yells that they had to have smiles and work fast. Yeah, motivate them the way Marcel “motivates” you.
In the kitchen, Marcel said he wouldn’t do foam but, surprise! Foam for dessert. Angelo is pissed.
Meanwhile Punchy Dale’s crew is super quiet and fast. Blais makes his jerky/smirky face more than he usually does which means he should prolly be wearing his mouth guard during the day.
Dana Cowin, Editor of Food & Wine Magazine, arrives in some sort of harlequin-ish patterned jacket. Linda Hunt in the house, yo! Tiff gives a fake “Welll hello” and quickly runs to tells her team Dana is there: “Not good.”
Why say that? Geez!
On Punchy’s side, the waitstaff is writing chicken instead of cod or pork on the slips and Punchy gets Punchy as they crowded the table to pick up plates. “Back the f*ck off”
YEAH, great energy Poolers! If Punchy punches a waiter he’s outta there!
Fabio doesn’t like Dale talking like that to his servers and asks him to be nice as he pats his back. Awwwww!
Antonia thinks the other team is intimidated by her team’s “elevated” food. Then their food is sent back- undercooked! Snap! Meanwhile Linda Hunt’s table complains to Tiff about her egg dish (ouch!) Tiff (sing-songy): “I’m sooooorry you had to experiiiiience thaaaaat.”
Tiff, you’re a horrible actress and it’s turning out that you’re a pretty crappy cook.
When Linda Hunt and Company go to Bodega, Fabio seats them, explains the concept and she grins immediately, exploded panty shards falling about her feet.
Hey, can we get Fab to work on foreign policy immediamente?
Hold up, here come the Judge!
Ludo, Colicchio, Bourdain and Pads in a simple black dress with a little peep shoulder action (like a peep toe but you see shoulder on top. Cute! You like? I make up! Enjoy!)
Fab serves Punchy’s app: a bag of potato chips with fried herbs and sea salt. (Smart!) Then in a tuna can: Blais’ raw tuna belly & fried chicken skin with chilies and lime (MAN seeing this makes me wish I weren’t vegan. Or at least that I had taken the skin off a whole chicken and fried it before I- ugh, okay, I’m picturing that. I’m good, just beans for me, thanks!)
Some diners didn’t understand why it was served in a can. Cause it’s cute! You want your water served on a plate, MF?
Fab serves Punchy’s maple roasted bacon egg & cheddar cheese with homemade focaccia. Bourdain: “You put a runny egg on anything and I’ll like it.”
Excuse me, Poolers, while I add eggs to my grocery list and, later, my thighs.
Colicchio remarks he has never seen anyone run the front of the house the way Fabio is- he interacts with servers, instructs them and is supportive. Meanwhile Tiff ignores her waitstaff and floats from table to table sing-songy: “Hooow we doing over heeere?” TRANSLATION: I don’t give crap and what did the kitchen do to my egg dish?
Fab presents Blais’ chicken-fried codfish with Brusselkraut (his version of sauerkraut with Brussel sprouts!) and Tre’s pork shoulder on grits with cheddar cheese, Corona and lime sauce. One diner says he likes Corona sauce better than actual Corona. Score!
Bourdain says so far he would be very happy to have Bodega pop up in his neighborhood. Wow.
For dessert, Fab serves his amaretto cake with candied lemon peel and cappuccino mousse and Carla’s blueberry pie with dry milk ice cream. Bourdain loves it!
The Judge’s expect more magic at Marcel’s Mediterranean joint, Etch- what a horrible name. Hello, it rhymes with wretch!
Tiff wasn’t at the hostess stand (whoops) so a waiter brings them to their table. Ludo sees the staff standing around with plates of food. Ludo: it’s totally disorganized, Colicchio: Tiff has a great personality in her element but when she’s out of it, it’s forced (I concur), Pads says she doesn’t like to hear the host laughing over everyone else (Tiff cackles in the background.) And they have No Food.
Tiff to the Judge’s: “How we doin’ over heeeeeeeere?”
Pads: “We’re hungry.”
You do not want Pads telling you she’s hungry.
Tiff serves her frisée and shaved asparagus salad with egg and chorizo & Angelo’s crudo of fluke with grapes, pink peppercorns & lemon zest. The asparagus is weak and the crudo has too much of a finish.
Other diners complain about cold food, plates are sent back. Frustrated Marcel says they should put plates on the grill.
Slimer: “…Well, not right ON the grill.”
Marcel: “I got it, it’s fine, just keep on cooking, alright?”
Slimer: “Watch the way you effing talk to me, alright?”
Angelo: “Mikey, Mikey! Marcel. Marcel! Stop it!” (To Camera) Angelo said he would send Slimer home if it was his restaurant, he was there to support the “captain, Marcel.”
Then Marcel accuses Slimer of sandbagging his dish to do his own. Slimer protests. Angelo said when they argue it effects everyone. Marcel thanks him for his insight then: “No more comments from the peanut gallery.”
This MF needs his a** beat! Instead what happens? Angelo laughs!
Stop laughing your way through Marcel’s madness and take charge, Angelo! It may be the difference between winning and losing! Or to put it in your terms, an 8 ball and not getting one.
Tiff presents Marcel’s roasted monkfish with kalamata olives, and Slimer’s braised pork belly with octopus and cannellini beans. Then, Antonia’s ricotta gnudi, oxtail and arugula; and Slimer & Angelo’s slow-cooked lamb chop, cauliflower puree, turmeric and honey. Bourdain likes Slimer & Angelo’s dish, Pads says the gnudi is too salty.
In the kitchen, Marcel won’t let Antonia expedite.
Good Lord, what do we have to do here? Let Marcel think he’s a doctor and operate on someone and KILL them before this two year old realizes his sh*t not only stinks, it has whole pieces of corn with foam in it?
Speaking of foam-
Pads: “There’s something steaming...”
Bourdain: “Of course it is.”
Marcel’s dessert duo of peaches, coconut foam & powder on top of dry ice has arrived! Bourdain called it a perfect storm of sh*t. I think that puts the punctuation on the meal perfectly.
Blais was concerned that they had lost. Marcel said he was proud of the food they put out. Antonia disagrees and Marcel calls her Debbie Downer and a psycho.
Pads asks to see Black Tiff, Angelo, Marcel, Slimer, Antonia.
Pads: “Chefs, the diner’s picked your team, Restaurant Etch…”
Tiff and Angelo look happy…
Pads: “…as their least favorite in restaurant Wars.”
Whoa! You can stop sucking each other’s dicks!
Turns out only 17 out of 76 diners favored their establishment.
Antonia tears up (oh Lordy), Slimer looks like he’s going to vomit. Angelo says someone should have broken off and organized the kitchen.
Colicchio: “Who should have played that role?”
Now the slaps: Gnudi- salty and sticky. Pink peppercorn- guess what, Angelo, it’s not from the South of France, Ludo says so. No flavor in the asparagus. Bourdain to Marcel: “Why the foam? Why now?” He called Marcel’s dish a thumb in the eye!
Tiff: When you’re having arguments on line it’s a lot. It’s hard to control…
Colicchio asked what the argument was.
Tiff: “Uh oh.”
Hey, you said it, honey, let it out. Nope, Slimer quickly explains the argument he and Marcel had. Then Marcel stabs Slimer in the back. Slimer asks if he wants to go there and reveals Marcel was plating dessert in the middle of pick up. He calls Marcel a time bomb no one wanted to deal with. Marcel protests. Tiff tries to get him to calm down and Marcel stabs Her in the back with her own asparagus!
Angelo said he was embarrassed and it was a sh*t show. Tiff laughs. Pads said what happened in the kitchen wasn’t funny.
Yeah, them dimples ain’t getting you outta this one…
When the winners arrived at Judge’s Table Colicchio said they killed it. Punchy said he was Executive Chef. Blais said he was technical Advisor and Punchy agreed. Carla said Blais elevated everyone’s dishes. Fab’s dessert was great and service was perfect. Punchy’s egg dish was stoner food at his finest according to Bourdain. Tre’s was balanced, Carla’s dessert worked perfectly.
Ludo announced the winner: Blais! $10,000k can buy a lotta new mouth guards.
When they entered the Stew Room, Tiff stood up and sing-songed: “Congratulaaaations.”
In the end, The Legend of Black Hammer Lives!
Marcel was asked to pack his knives and go.
He strutted to the Judge’s table like a mini-wannabe Pimp and shook their hands.
He said he “didn’t actually make any mistakes.” (Huuuuuh?)
The only mistake he made “was picking the wrong team.” (OMG, delusional!) And that he was probably known as the most notorious, diabolical, contestant in Top Chef history (you’re really not that important, dood) and also the most misunderstood because he’s actually a nice guy.
Did anyone see this kid do anything nice for anyone? I don’t even think he brushes his teeth.
“I’m sure this isn’t gonna be the last time you’re gonna see me.” Yeah, odds are you’ll be at some party in NYC and have yet another glass thrown at you. Not saying I’m at that party but I'd consider tossing cheddar into the kitty on the sly for that to occur. (G'head, try to bring that last sentence to your lawyer. You know that mofo jetted when your dog did. Seeya, Dick!)
Next Week, Lorraine Bracco! At least I think that’s her under that Botoxed, chemical peeled, Restylane-injected face mask. Eeesh!
TOP CHEF ALL STARS
COLUCCI Blais and Carla Cosby
KAT Black Tiff and Carla Cosby
STRIPES Blais and Antonia
Q Black Tiff and Angelo
COLANTO Blais and Angelo
BROWNIE Michael and Angelo
HOLLY F. Blais and Angelo
KRISTEN K. Blais
GBAG Carla Cosby
NIKKI M. Angelo
MARTHA P. Angelo
JET Blais and Angelo
RUBY Tre and Black Tiff