Thursday, March 10, 2011

“Howard Johnson’s called, they want their garnish back.”

Here we go, yo. Here we go, yo. So what, so what, so what’s the scenario?
FIVE Top Chef All Star Finalists!
You know what that means: Welcome To Flashback City!
Antonia, Blais, Carla Cosby, Slimer and Tiffany arrive at a picturesque outdoor spot in the Bahamas inter cut with highlights of them all season long.
But wait- Blais now sports a beard and flat hair (huh???) as he speaks about how he will miss the pending birth of his baby for the finals. You know, Blais just doesn’t look like Blais with that chin music and his hair combed down like that. I’m gonna call him Blais’ twin brother, Sialb.

When they’ve all assembled with their knives, they turn the corner to find…the winners from each of their seasons!
Hosea from Carla Cosby’s, Stephanie from Sialb’s & Antonia’s, Kevin from Tiffany’s, Michael Voltaggio- OMG!
Handsomely-pissed-with-his-arms-crossed Michael Voltaggio is here! I’m hardly dressed for this. Or shall I say, undressed…
[Excuse me while I talk to Voltaggio for a minute, please?
Chef? Hi Chef. Hi. Um, I like how your hair is sort of brushed forth over your forehead in a half-Beiber. Ha ha, yeah.
So did I mention my Asian Twin, Ellie, lives in Los Angeles now? Oh, I’m Ellie’s Black Twin and she’s my Asian Twin. Huh? Well, we can talk about that over raspberry sorbet that’s served on your chest but um, Ellie emailed me an article about you in Los Angeles Magazine. Yes, Congratulations! So when I visit Ellie said she and I should stalk- GO. GO see you at your restaurant. So expect us there soon!
With a van.
And a tranquilizer dart.
Okloveyoubyenow!]

At first Slimer (to Camera) excitedly thinks he’ll have Voltaggio on his team if it’s a team challenge. (What a dolt!) Then Padma (splendid in a slate blue wrap dress and book ended by Eric Ripert and Tom Colicchio) announces the contestants are going head to head with the chef who won their season.
Slimer: “Oh f**k...”

The Quickfire Challenge!
A Colicchio-picked protein is in a closed box. The chefs must highlight that protein. If the contestants beat the TC, they win 10k. If they don’t, the TC gets it. Wow, th-
40 Minutes Starts Now!
Voltaggio & Slimer have a whole duck. Voltaggio asks if he can cut into it, Slimer says yes and thinks he can slow him down. Hey, he’s not gonna butcher the entire duck for you, Lazybones!
Hosea and Carla Cosby - lamb. Hosea (to Camera) needs to prove himself to the haters that thought he didn’t deserve to win.
Huh?
I believe I’ve said it before and I’ll say it now: Hosea, you have low self esteem. You Won. You’re a Winner already. Cross your arms, cook some lamb and bang some broads like Voltaggio does on a reg.
Kevin and Tiffany have a whole pig. Ew. True to form, Kevin says his back hurts already. All you’re doing is walking from one table to another! God, I don’t know why I picked you last time. You won and therefore, I won but STILL!
Stephanie cooks veal against both Sialb and Antonia. She wins 20k if she beats them. She’d have to beat them both with one dish though…hmmm. Half way through, Antonia and Carla’s burners keep going dead (now THERE’S a show! A cooking series where the ingredients and equipment are sabotaged?!? Yeeeeeeeeah, don’t bite. That’s mine.) Down to one burner, the Cos tosses her rice in with her lamb to cook it and immediately knows it’s a bad idea. We know it too, Cos.

Judging!
Tiffany’s stew wins over Kevin’s pork rib! (Tiffany’s FIRST and ONLY win of the season.)
Carla Cosby’s undercooked rice kills her dish, Hosea wins. Colicchio isn’t a fan of Stephanie’s dish or Antonia’s (ouch) and goes with Antonia; Ripert chooses Stephanie. Pads breaks the tie and picks…Stephanie.
Stephanie v. Sialb – Sialb’s veal two ways wins!
Voltaggio v. Slimer – Pads goes with Voltaggio, Ripert goes with Slimer and Colicchio goes with…Slimer- Wow!
Well, enjoy your consolation prize, Voltaggio. Me. I’m coming over to console you real good.

The Elimination Challenge
Pads tells the chefs they have to create a dish for a dinner being held for Bahamian Royalty. But that’s tomorrow. Tonight they get to
check into their product placement hotel - The Cove at Atlantis (boooo, it’s not really underwater.)
As Slimer makes a champagne toast to them all, Sialb says he’s prepared to chase down a goat and kill it and cook it. I think Bravo already has plans for that show. Ted Nugent is the host!

Next Day - 2 1/2 hours of prep!
Sialb goes for spiny lobster with pulled pork and pickled turnips.
Antonia works on a royalty-worthy lamb, bacon, Brussels sprouts and blue cheese. Tiffany makes dirty rice while Slimer gets Antonia to peel his lobster (now that sounds durty.) Carla, who has worked in the Bahamas a couple of times, preps pork medallions and apple chips. Still rattled from being on the bottom in the QuickFire, she reveals to Antonia that she does better when she’s underestimated because she’s afraid of failing and (teary now) says “this” is for all the people who have tried something and been underestimated. Oh Carla Cos! You don’t have to take all that on, screw all the screwed over in the world and win for you!
Meanwhile, Slimer thinks all three women have played it safe all season and are playing safe now (huh?) This makes him upset. Well, why don’t you steal their dishes then? Just make what they’re making. Better yet, take a battered page from Punchy Dale’s book and punch them the eff out!

When they finish prep, a motorcycle brigade-styled police escort shows up and they’re transported in a black SUV through the island. Carla Cosby: “What if we walk into this mack daddy, amazing kitchen that is Ba-Dow?”
Um, is the entrance to that kitchen a time machine where that slang is still being used?
Then, suddenly, they hear a band playing.
Slimer: “It’s a festival?”
Sialb: “It’s Junkanoo, kid.”
Slimer: “Who?”
They pull up in front of a small wooden house with a Twin Brothers Steakhouse sign. A large band in feathers and headdresses performs on the lawn.
Tiffany (sing-songy): “Whut in the WORWELD? I don’t know if I should be hapeeee orra scaaaaaared.”
Slimer, dazzled by a half dressed Bahamian woman, dances. Carla does too, with the same woman. Then the music stops and Colicchio introduces them to royalty. The King of Junkanoo, a celebration of life in the Bahamas reminiscent of Mardi Gras.
SUBTERFUGE!
Colicchio says they’re cooking for the King and his crew.
Carla: “Duh, The King of Junkanoo, how could that have escaped me?” Carla! You worked in the Bahamas before, come on!
Antonia is worried, Tiffany thinks she has it in the bag.

One Hour To Plate Starts Now!
They sprint into the kitchen and find…deep fryers, a microwave and a flattop. That’s it. They have to cook for fifty people.
Antonia drops her plantains in the fryer as the one fryer full of oil that is on but not being used, begins to smoke. She thinks they should say something. Carla Cos tries to turn it down. Antonia says it’s going to catch fire and POOF! It does!
Alarms go off! Sialb throws a tray over the top of the fryer!
35 gallons of oil are up in flames, yo!
Chefs cover their food as someone on the crew with an extinguisher tells everyone to leave the kitchen.
The chefs sit in the restaurant (ah, not far enough away for me. I woulda been outside and across the street but not directly across the street in case there’s an explosion and it starts raining kitchen sinks and hot oil (not to be confused with Chocolate Rain.)
As they sit, Antonia thinks of changing her dish. Carla and Sialb try to convince her otherwise.
Antonia: “Don’t mess with me please, I’m already in a bad space.”
Sialb thinks he’s in her head (“intentionally”) and wants to take advantage of it. GASP! He really is Blais’ twin! An EVIL one! Unless Angelo left a coke-crusted piece of tin foil in Blais’ luggage. Please don’t turn into Angelo, Blais.

Colicchio checks the kitchen, realizes it needs to be completely scrubbed and tells the chefs ALL THEIR FOOD MUST BE SCRAPPED AND THEY HAVE TO START OVER AGAIN.
Say WHUUUUUUUUUT?!
Wow.
Now THIS is a Top Chef first. (Yeah I said it.)
The chefs can change their dish if they want but they still have to prep and serve that night (cause, you know, Bravo can’t be expected to get the same dancers and police escort and the whole surprise of it not being real royalty is blown so suck it up Doods.)
In a different prep kitchen, Sialb chooses to change his dish to cannelloni made from a pickled turnip and braised lamb. Antonia goes with a less formal shrimp and grits. Tiffany is pissed since she felt like her food was on point already.

1 Hour back at Twin Brother’s Steakhouse aka the Inferno!
Corny counter top fryers have replaced the older, flammable ones.
Carla Cos decides to deep-fry her apple chips and pork. Slimer thinks his execution is better than everyone else’s (maybe that’s what the Kuato baby that lives in his giant stomach (a la TOTAL RECALL) has told him…”Quaaaaaid.” ) Tiffany feels good. Carla’s pork is undercooked, she starts Macgyvering on the flat top. As Antonia plates, she doesn’t feel like the dish is her…

Colicchio, Ripert, Gail (where’s Bourdain?!) and Padma arrive. Pads wears a flesh colored off the shoulder top with ruffles and brown shorts that the King of Junkanoo likes.
Yes, the King likes this very much.
All five judges squeeze into a wooden booth (hilarious!)
I guess this is why Colicchio introes the dishes and not the chefs themselves? Just not enough room for a camera to maneuver around and get reactions.
Carla’s fried pork medallion with sweet potato puree, applesauce & apple chip is good, Ripert likes the apple but then says it was very close to a dessert. The King likes the sweet but, uh oh, Gail’s pork is raw in the middle.
Antonia’s fried shrimp with grits, cilantro and pickled vegetables doesn’t have a lot of flavor and the shrimp was overcooked. Colicchio: “Howard Johnson’s called, they want their garnish back.” Owwwwww. I think that’s one of the worst slams yet!
Slimer’s sous vide chicken, mushrooms, yams and lobster sauce & lobster hash (yum) has “surprises” and a lot going on. The King says it was a dish fit for him. (You know he stayed up all night writing that one.)
Sialb’s roasted lamb loin and malted braised leg with pickled turnip and mustard is delicate and clever. But Sialb is disgusted with himself and tells himself so in the kitchen. Tiffany tries to talk him out of it.
Meanwhile her roasted spiced pork tenderloin, dirty rice, curry slaw and tomato jam is good but simple and not exciting. Hmmm…Slimer is right?

I gotta say, I’m alllllll turned around by these events.
Royalty?
A fire?
Chefs re-prepping and starting over?
Judges squished into a booth like they’re at a KFC?
I really thought it would be Antonia, Carla and Blais/Sialb in the end but now…

The Judges ask to see everyone.
Colicchio talks about Carla’s pork not being cooked but Ripert says Colicchio was jealous because His piece was perfect. Carla smiles. Antonia’s dish is called “mystery meat,” her eyes began to well up. Tiffany begins to tap dance when Ripert says he wanted to see something complex.
Tiffany: “…it was weird to me with riiiiiice annnd, I dunno.” She says she lost focus. Slimer’s meat was rich but Gail’s chicken was dry (what’s up with Gail getting the crap dishes?) Ripert says it was complex but made sense.
Sialb says he hates everything he does, to be candid. (This poor self-immolating, teeth-grinding, baby on the way, nitrogen huffing bastard.) Ripert thinks his turnip cannelloni was too soft. Sialb says he left it in the pickling liquid too long and then launches into how, if he gets through tonight, he needs to work on his vegetable cookery (yeah, this is not the Blais we know.) He also says he will get better if allowed to stay. (Nice save!)
Ripert: “you fro dut you mastered a lot of techniques fro my uh appreciated that…”
??? ??? ???
Blais looks as puzzled as I am and I got to rewind that six times!
Ripert then announces the most harmonious dish
- Slimer’s.
WHUUUUUUUT is happening here?!
Slimer thinks beating Blais changes his mental game since Blais gets stressed out because he cares so much.
Pads then says Sialb is also safe.
Sialb (to Camera): “…second place sucks.”
Dood. Ease up on you.

They all return to the Stew Room which is some sort of lobby sans alcohol. (Scratch that! Slimer has a beer!) Carla Cosby talks about her dish and says one of out four (Gail’s piece wasn’t cooked) doesn’t cut it. Antonia thinks she blew it and is going home. Tiffany sings songs in her head.

When Antonia, Carla Cosby and Tiffany are called back,
Padma tells
Carla Cosby!
REEEALLLY?!
Wow.
Hey, how the eff is Tiffany sliding by? She’s won ONCE. She’s been in the bottom at least five times. Gail said she won’t talk about her dish the next day and wouldn’t remember it. But… I guess, since Gail couldn’t eat Carla’s pork? Oh and since Colicchio called Carla’s dish a glazed donut cooked in grease.
Man…at least Carla wasn’t there to hear that. She would have cried a river and surfed it back to the States.
So, Gbag, I must ask you to please pack your knives and go.

Carla thanks the Judges and (to Camera) says they made the right decision because she didn’t have the winning dish. She and Tiffany hold hands as they walk back to the Stew Room. Tears fall from Carla’s face as she talks about accepting of herself through this competition and how that’s a personal victory. Awwww.
When she walks out she says: “Make Mama proud!”
Say it with me, ya’ll: Carla is great. Give us the chocolate cake.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sRmN4KnfPxQ&feature=related

Next week- Bikini-clad Pads proves she lost the baby weight and GUEST BLOBBER, Colucci!

TOP CHEF ALL STARS

COLUCCI Blais

LB Antonia

KAT Black Tiff

STRIPES Blais and Antonia

Q Black Tiff

COLANTO Blais

LUCY Blais

BROWNIE Michael

HOLLY F. Blais

KRISTEN K. Blais

CC Blais

JET Blais

DOWD Blais

LOGUE Blais

RUBY Black Tiff

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