Thursday, June 16, 2011

“That’s you, Gael, you like it raw.”

This is It Poolers! Okay, I can't stand it! I’m just gonna cut to the chase here and now and tell you…THE BRUINS WON!
Let’s get this party started and see who’s gonna buy me celebratory Stanley Cup drinks!

The Masters walk into the TC Dining Room and the Critics are standing there! Uh oh.
Curtis is next to The Barber (James Oseland), Ruth Reichl and The Hat is back! (Gael Greene in this mutha.)

The Final Elimination Challenge
Create a three course meal of a lifetime: first course inspired by the Masters’ first food memory, second course by the meal that made them want to be a chef and the third course by…a knife pull. Awww, I want it to be a knife fight! Tough Traci would laser their hands off and cook their internal organs with her mechanically enhanced optics!
Floyd pulls a knife that reads: The Barber.
Apparently the Critics have memories too. The Barber asks Floyd to make a classic Indonesian dish called rendang; Sweet Mary Sue gets Ruth who requests a lemon soufflé and Tough Traci pulls The Hat who wants fried duck. Traci is immediately comfortable with this.
They must serve 12 guests, have 8 hours to shop and cook, can go to any specialty food store they want and Curtis tells them they “invited an extra pair of hands.”
I’m pretty sure this is the “I better not get Chef Tio” face:

In walk the Masters’ Executive Chefs, yay! Floyd hugs his like a life raft and says he knows he can make the food he needs to now.

In the TCM kitchen, The Hat explains she had fried duck served with a béarnaise sauce in Vienna on her honeymoon.

The Hat wore a hat even back then?! Geez.
Ruth tells Sweet Mary Sue that her parents brought her to Paris and she had her first lemon soufflé there and was mystified by it. “It’s like almost a living thing.” Yeah, it looks a little too alive to me. Also I bet you it’s just wet bread at the bottom. I HATE bread puddingy kinda stuff that absorbs liquid and gets puffier and moisty-er EW!
The Barber reminisces on rendang and how it transformed his idea of what food could be. Floyd says (To Camera) that a rendang is a reverse braised beef dish that can’t be forced. It has to be cooked slowly. The Barber tells Floyd the heat of the dish and layers of flavor blew his mind as a 19 year old in South East Asia.

I’m pretty sure The Barber, present day, would have sex with himself at 19.

The Masters discuss their own food memories that made them want to cook with their Sous Chefs who really just don’t want to be fired for effing up on TCM or by leaving their duties at their bosses restaurants. Sweet Mary Sue saw a friend whip up a shrimp cocktail, Tough Traci had a quail dish, Floyd went to a fancy dinner with his father and had whitefish; then they get in their product placement vehicles with their product placement smart phones and shop.

Sweet Mary Sue wants lobster tails at Whole Foods but they only have two, rather than go frozen she gives it up and goes with shrimp. Tough Traci goes to a butcher and gets two kinds of duck, French and Peking. She decides to put them both on one plate.
Sweet Mary Sue is an LA native: “It’s a pretty rainy day and I know traffic is gonna be horrendous…So instead of going to different markets we get our groceries from” Product Placement “and rush into our” Product Placement “vehicle and get back to the kitchen to start cooking.” I guess they figured Mary Sue was so sweet she wouldn’t mind doing two commercials for products in one sentence?
Tough Traci arrives at Whole Foods and discovers a lot of what she needs is gone. Uh oh. Meanwhile all of Floyd’s dishes need several ingredients. Annnnd here where you know there’s gonna be a problem. This is Floyd in THE FIRST OF SEVERAL specialty stores where he says he needs to shop. They’ve already spent over an hour in the car (welcome to LA!)

Notice Floyd’s hands: empty.

Sweet Mary Sue and her Sous arrive at an empty TCM Kitchen with over four hours to prep.
Floyd is now thinking he’s not going to have enough time to braise his meat. Floyd, honey, have you been to LA before? It takes two hours to get five feet in that city when it’s Not Raining. I was there in the 90s when it snowed half an inch and people left their cars in the highway and ran away screaming. Tough Traci finally gets to the kitchen and immediately starts to make it happen. She asks where Floyd is.
Um, Floyd is in the back seat of a car, Doods.

Sweet Mary Sue has a memory of what her German mother used to prepare for the holidays.

Lookit how sweet Sweet Mary Sue is!
Her mother used to make her steak tartare.
Ewwww. Sweet Mary Sue eating raw meats for Christmas? See, something’s not quite right. She’s a secret serial killer. She happily chops meat as OMG, Floyd finally arrives.
Floyd: “I hate your city, Mary Sue!”
Mary Sue: “I’m soorrrry!”
Watch your back, Floyd, she'll kill you and turn you into tartare!
He has just under 3 and a half hours left and starts to prep ox tail and short ribs (wait how many proteins are we working with here?) and when he opens the fish (HUH? What are we making, Floyd!?) he finds the filets are all broke up and there are scales all over everything…
Tough Traci: “That’s a crime.”
Hm. Did you commit it?

I’m just saying you’re talking like you had something to do wi-

Okay! (Thanks for lasering my eyebrows through the teevee, btw, my left one was a little long…)

From the microchip in Tough Traci’s robutt assassin brain that has stored her "human memories,” she recalls her grandpa in Louisiana who used to drive to the coast, 2 hours away, to buy fresh seafood. She makes shrimp creole in his honor. Mary Sue is also making shrimp, a hot rigatoni and a cold crab salad. The two of them seem extra chummy.

Meanwhile Floyd labors over a dish he used to have every day for snack at 4pm in India when he was little. He decides to add chicken stock for flavor and some diced vegetables but knows it’s a risk since it’s not very complicated. Overall he makes subtle dishes, working on the stocks for everything, knowing he doesn’t have much time and saving the meat for tomorrow (yipe.)
Tough Traci is still deciding how to prepare the duck dish with the two types she bought.
Mary Sue makes lemon soufflés and gives each Master, including their Sous Chef (!) a little ramekin.
Mary Sue: “This is a test.”
She’s the sweetest show off ever!
Floyd recalls that every time he’s gone up against Mary Sue he’s come in second. He eats the soufflé. It’s delicious.
Floyd: “Okay Mary Sue I’m gonna go home already.”

In the morning the Masters are driven into the Hollywood Hills.
Baby pardon? What’s going on here?
Are they cooking the finale dinner someplace other than the Top Chef Dining Room...?
Sweet Mary Sue: “What if they have another challenge for us? Because, I’m not doing it.”
Yeah, Mary Sue! Boycott this Ish! You guys have the meal of a lifetime to make and you’re knocking on a door to find…

Surprise! Curtis Stone in chef whites in some house the production company rented in a weak attempt to show he actually has cooking skills.
They have mimosas. Sweet Mary Sue (reading from cue cards most likely): “Curtis is an accomplished chef.”
He serves a hamachi app and sun choke soup but there are no ingredient rundowns or close ups of the dishes.
Uh huh, seewhatI'msayin'?
Sounds like Bravo catered a meal and wardrobe threw him an apron. SCAM!

Finally, they run into the TCM kitchen to finish what they started but Sweet Mary Sue’s lemon ice cream isn’t freezing -they don’t have an ice cream maker! (They don’t?) She has to Richard Blais it with liquid nitro!
Guests Arrive!
4 minutes left!
Tough Traci says it’s almost impossible to get someone's “food memory just right.” Floyd isn’t getting the flavor he wants in his polenta. He keeps adjusting. Floyd: “I’m thinking, man, this is not gonna work.”

Seated are Tom Colicchio, Restaurant Girl, The Hat, The Barber, Jody Adams (chef/owner, Rialto), previous TC Masters: Jonathan Waxman, Rick Moonen, Susur Lee, Grub Street Editor Systma and Susan Feniger (former TCM and Sweet Mary Sue’s business partner) who raises a glass to her as soon as she walks in.
Sweet Mary Sue says it’s a great boost to see Susan.

She jokes that she let’s Susan try things first (Susan tried TCM first and she used to be married to her husband. Susan “tried him out and then she introduced us.”) Okay. Okay, calm down.

First Course!
Tough Traci’s modernized version of her Louisiana grandfather’s shrimp creole is ambitious according to The Barber. Waxman says it’s deconstructed and ballsy.
Colicchio: “You’re thinking Louisiana cooking, you’re thinking spice, cayenne, things like that. I’m just not getting that here.”

Well you haven’t been able to get the hair you wanted in a long time, Colicchio, you got used to not getting that.

Ruth says the more attention you give Floyd’s wild mushroom upma polenta with kokum (a spice from the West Coast of India) and coconut milk, the more the flavors start bouncing around in your mouth. (Ohhhhkay.)
The Hat says Floyd’s dish is a little too simple. Waxman likes it. The Hat: “That’s a very Jonathan Waxman philosophy.”
Well Hello animosity!
Waxman: “Are you trying to blow people away with every dish? No.”
The Hat: “I think if I were in the Finale of Top Chef Masters I would try with every single dish, yes.”
Colicchio: “I agree.”
This is a table fulla haters, save Waxman. Moonen is just eating and saying nothing at this point.

Susan sings that it’s time to eat Mary Sue’s steak tartare. Restaurant Girl (seated with The Barber and Systma from Grub Street) tells her to try not to be biased. Susan says it’s impossible.
What you say no longer counts.

At Table Hate- Colicchio doesn’t think Mary Sue’s tartare went far enough. It needs more soy and sesame. Um, can we get you a Diet Coke, Colicchio? Or just another fat payroll check from Diet Coke. Someone is surly as sh*t!

Second Course!
Floyd’s rice flaked snapper with tomato & fennel broth and carrots. Rick Moonen thinks the rice is a bit crispy (uh oh), Curtis likes the spicy broth. The Hat says the fish is overcooked.
Waxman: “That’s you, Gael, you like it raw.”

Then he straight up laughs at her! Colicchio bites his tongue to keep from guffawing.

These two are gonna go at it!

Sweet Mary Sue’s duo of shrimp: shrimp & chervil (a parsley related herb) mousse stuffed rigatoni, crab & shrimp salpicon (which is just a fancy word for mixed) salad has a heavy sauce according to Restaurant Girl. The Barber loves the 1960s aesthetic. Um, screw aesthetics, it’s food? Does it taste good? Come on!

Traci’s roasted quail salad with sweetbreads, mushrooms & pancetta is met with Waxman asking The Hat what she thinks because she’s “the sweetbreads expert.”
The Hat: “You said that as if you don’t believe I’m the sweetbread’s expert.”
Waxman: “No I do, I remember because you said something many years ago about my sweetbreads and you were almost right.”

These two are either gonna scrap or ride the magic hobby horse!
Susan says this is what Tough Traci does all the time, she takes something precious and brings it down to earth. Restaurant Girl and Systma are like- Yah Right! You heart Mary Sue!

In the kitchen, Sweet Mary Sue jumps the gun on the lemon soufflé and whips her egg whites too early! Apparently this is a non-issue and Floyd and Tough Traci and their Sous help her plate. Then she and Tough Traci hug and Mary Sue spins her around a bit and then they both hug Floyd.

When they go out to intro their last dish, - more hugs?! Susan runs over to Mary Sue before anyone can speak and hugs her tight.

Floyd: “Can somebody come and hug me, please?”

Yeah, get yours, Floyd! Waxman obliges and has to hug Tough Traci too or she'll kill him.

Her crisp duck with béarnaise (pan roasted) and braised duck leg (cooked and breaded with mustard) salad is uneven. The Hat said one duck was wonderful, tender and full of flavor and the other was dry and hard to cut. Ouch.

Floyd’s rendang two ways: oxtail (braised for five hours) & short ribs (with wine) and tapioca pilaf with diced potato and peanuts was deemed “salt of the earth food but elevated,” by the Barber. Colicchio said it had heat and good flavors.

Sweet Mary Sue’s lemon soufflé with rhubarb compote and lemon hazelnut meringue cake AND lemon ice cream (KAPOW!) was the best dish Colicchio had all night. Ruth said she would have had an even greater love affair with lemon if she had eaten it years ago. She sounds like me and Hostess cupcakes. Sadly, or fortunately rather, that affair is dead and gone.

In the kitchen, everyone hugs like crazy. Hugs drive Tough Traci Robutt Mad!
And then, it’s time for The Final Critic’s Table…

Restaurant Girl was reminded that she’s a novice in this realm-

It was just Curtis, Ruth, The Hat and The Barber -BURN!

Then the ambiguity began: Ruth loved the texture of Sweet Mary Sue’s tartare but The Barber didn’t think her shrimp dishes spoke to each other. Ruth thanked her for another eureka moment, “that lemon meringue brought it all back for me.”
Ruth thought Floyd’s polenta was brave, The Barber didn’t like the rice on the outside of his red snapper but thought the rendang had soul.
The Hat was looking for a long-cooked creole flavor from Tough Traci but she said her grandpa used red wine. "It’s different for everyone." Ruth shakes her head in agreement.
The Hat told Tough Traci one duck was perfect and one was dry but the béarnaise was great.

Curtis sends the Masters away so the Critics can debate the millionth free meal they’ve had.
When the Masters return…he says only one of them can win and Tough Traci and Sweet Mary Sue look at each other.
Then Curtis announces that
the winner of Top Chef Masters is…


Floyd: “Oh my God! I can’t believe it! I’m shocked!”

Floyd’s charity, The Young Scientist Cancer Research Fund, receives $100,000!!!
Sweet Mary Sue is thrilled for Floyd. Tough Traci says getting this close is a little disappointing. I’m sure it’s MORE than a little…

In the final seconds Curtis tells Floyd he has one more thing for him:

Oh yeah, that’s great, he needed a rag to wash his Toyota Hybrid (WTH?)

And so that means Q, Jenna, Bertsch and Daisy are the winners of the Top Chef Masters Pool!!!!


And the city erupts!

OMG, Daisy is that you?

Thanks for another great season, Poolers!
Oh and Bertsch, you’re the newbie so here's the way it works, I’ve purchased myself two new pairs of shoes with the cheddar and I mail one shoe to each of the four of you!
You’re welcome to try to sell it on eBay or return it to me (that’s what everyone else does.)

I keed, I am keeder.
The checks are in the mail!

And the Stanley Cup is in Boston where it belongs!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

"I'm beginning to slice my beef and it looks beautiful..."

I learned a few new things today, Poolers.
#1- Q and I both wear the same bra- DKNY Signature Lace up in this piece! Now we can shop for each other on the Coasts since, as most women, we are constantly looking for bras and jeans, HOORAY!

#2- Ellie is (or rather continues to be) extremely generous. She bought me a LivingSocial to Upper Crust so I could get my favorite 18” thin-crust pizza: breaded eggplant, sun dried tomatoes and caramelized onions with no cheese, YAY!

#3- I can eat an 18” pizza by myself. Oof. Bad idea jeans.

I didn’t eat the whole thing, but I came pretty close and now I’m swole and sleepy. I apologize in advance for the attitude this food coma is going to bring. But, truly, I shouldn’t be upset-sure, I’ll never button my pants again but this is the second to last Top Chef Masters episode, it’s the Final Four, ya’ll!

Tough Traci, Naomi, Floyd and Sweet Mary Sue enter the Kitchen to find the stations divided and Curtis wearing a sea foam-colored polo. (Yes he is still using a pound and a half of hair product but not a clothing stylist.)

The Final QuickFire Challenge
Each station has been sliced down the middle and outfitted with identical set ingredients and utensils. The Masters must to cook a dish at that station in twenty minutes while advising a mystery teammate how to make the same dish. They don blindfolds- Mystery Teammates check in, please!

Unbeknownst to her, Mary Sue must instruct her sister Chris; Tough Traci her baby brother Mitch; Floyd his sister Debra and Naomi her father, Toby.
Hold up, how are these Chefs NOT going to recognize the voices of their own family members? SEE, there you go, Floyd already knows his partner is an Indian woman but, hmmm, he doesn’t know her voice??
Really? I could recognize my sister’s voice in a sea of women and squeaky carriage wheels at Ocean State Job Lot. Especially if I’m acting Tough like Traci and asking my Mystery Teammate to “chiffonade.”
Dood, just tell him to chop gd the herbs.

You know how many seasons I’ve been watching this show? I’ve never heard Anyone use the term “chiffon-

Okay, stop lasering me!

Sweet Mary Sue instructs her Mystery Teammate how to make a spinach salad. “Super simple.”
Too simple, methinks; Floyd prepares stir-fried shrimp; Naomi’s Dad doesn’t know what a shallot looks like.
Naomi can’t hear her Mystery Teammate.
Dad: “Not hearing you well…”
Naomi: “OKAY, LISTEN…!”

Floyd is shocked that she’s yelling and that makes him even calmer with his Teammate. Meanwhile Naomi doesn’t know what’s up with her teammate, “He’s clearly a quiet talker.” She SCREAMS even louder and now has a stain on her right boob that looks like she lactating. Her Dad tries to crack an egg into boiling water and has a hard time fishing it out.
Naomi (To Camera): “I am not getting disqualified because you can’t crack an egg, I ain’t going out like that!”
When the divider is removed…

Naomi’s Dad: “You didn’t know?”
Naomi: “No! Good thing I’ve been yelling at my Dad all day.”
Tough Traci is appalled.

Naomi says (To Camera) her Dad knows her personality and she has “an instant a free pass for acting like maniac.”
Her Dad says he thought she knew who he was because she talked to him the WAY SHE ALWAYS TALKS TO HIM in the kitchen. WT-EFF?
Some Chef needed their ass kicked when they was little. Still do.
Screamy presents The Father/Daughter fricassee of mushrooms, bacon & shallots with a poached egg and parsley. Curtis (eating solo today) thinks the seasonings are a little different but the flavors are very similar. She high-fives her Dad’s forehead with a knife. Naw. She doesn’t but I bet if she did he would apologize and buy her a pony.
Man I hate seeing kids (any age) walk all over their parents. Especially on national TV. Let’s hope Toby gets a damn fine Father’s Day gift. And I do not mean a macaroni necklace and a bottle of Brut (by Fabergé.)

Floyd is excited to see his sister Debra on the other side of the partition because she lives in Canada. They present shrimp, mushroom & asparagus stir-fry. Curtis thinks they look fairly similar and enjoys the depth and crunch of the plate.

Mary Sue, having seen the other guests, guesses one of her sisters is on the other side. Her sister is from Omaha Nebraska. Mary Sue: “That’s a long way to travel, to make…a salad.”
I think you just realized you’re out of the running for the win. Friggin shredded chicken salad on spinach with olive oil, toasted crumbs and sesame seeds? C’mon, Sue, you’ve been dancing around with lettuces and avocadoes since this show started. Curtis says pretty much the same thing he said for everyone else. Now I know why there are guests to judge these Quickfires.

Tough Traci is surprised to see her brother when the partition is removed and her eyes immediately laser in on his plate. Their halibut with asparagus in brown butter balsamic vinaigrette are basically identical. Better be or TT will laser his balls off.

Curtis’ least favorites – Floyd’s and his Sister (btw- I vote “No” on his sister’s Elton John Michael Jackson Liberace shirt)

Another least fave, Mary Sue’s non-difficult dish. I must admit, I think Mary Sue sorta skates by sometimes. Just sayin’...
That leaves Naomi and her Whipped Dad and Tough Traci and her Brother as his favorites. And the winner…Tough Traci!

Wow Traci has smiled and hugged 30 times in this episode. Sadly that means she will kill someone soon. Robutts can only smile for so long before they return to their death ray ways.

Curtis: “Great to see your family, right?”
Here comes the awful segue.
Curtis: “Well that’s great because family plays a big role in this...”
Elimination Challenge
The Masters pull knives: Mary Sue’s says Marine Corp; Naomi – Air Force; Tough Traci – Navy and Floyd – Army.
Four guests arrive and Curtis explains each of them has a relative in the Armed Forces. Most of these men recently spent time in Afghanistan. The Masters are charged with creating a homecoming meal (buffet-style) for their friends and family to thank them for their sacrifice. One main course, two side dishes, 100 people no prep cooks. Ouch.

The relatives help the Masters menu plan and share photos. The Marine Mary Sue is cooking for is from Guatemala so she's excited. Naomi’s serviceman is Hawaiian. Tough Traci’s Serviceman sent his wife a list of comfort foods he wanted: meatloaf, mashed potatoes, peach cobbler. Tough Traci says it’s much easier for her to make French food than casseroles since she didn’t grow up with them. (Actually she was in the Robutt Training Camp in Russia them, they just programmed those memories.)
Floyd hasn’t cooked buffet-style in a while and his Serviceman doesn’t like spices. No mustard, no wasabi, no horseradish, no peppers, hoo boy.

No shopping shown this time, just cooking.
Naomi: “A little quiet in here when I’m not swearing at my Dad, huh?”
Yeah, it’s pretty peaceful, Maniac.
They get one hour to prep at the American Legion Hall.
Naomi doesn’t usually wear a Chef jacket but in honor of the men and women in uniform she puts one on. Mary Sue has to glaze her meat, reheat her potatoes and dice avocadoes (more avocadoes?!) Floyd is thrown for a loop, he’s doing a tenderloin on a buffet that he admits is suicide since it can overcook and dry out easily. He waits until 18 minutes out to cut the loin (ew.)

Here come the Fams! They all take the stage and Curtis up there and welcomes the servicemen. The families clap and Chefs get teary.

Then Curtis introduces the Critics that no one there truly cares about because they’ve been eating incredible foods, often free, while men and women in uniform have been peeing outside, getting shot at and blown up and eating meat from cans with their hands.
I would like to go on record and say- I’m indifferent about this kind of display.
Yes we should honor the people who have served (how about with jobs and mental health support upon their return?) but isn’t it kinda crappy to have them come home and find out we’re all watching cooking shows and Housewives who spend 8k on a toddler’s bday party? For or against the War, this thing just makes me feel kind of ashamed.
Back in the hall, The Barber's sweater insures that he won’t get lost amongst the camouflage.

Ruth is there and smarmy a** Restaurant Girl who got access to a hot curler.

Mary Sue: “I know that servicemen are hungry.” She has enough for everyone many times over. She dishes out tomatillo glazed BBQ ribs and avocado corn relish (yum!) with potato and rajas (roasted chili stripes with onions and seasoning) and cantina cheese and an apple & cream cheese bread pudding with crema (wows!) The Barber asks super lame questions- “You guys are of Guatemalan descent, right?” I mean, that’s what the Production Assistant told me. “How is it being back home?” Umm, it sucks? Come on, Producers, let's work a little harder here.

Ruth steps up to taste Naomi’s barbecue pork (with guava and coffee BBQ sauce), prawn and cucumber rice salad, iceberg wedge with tuna poke and panna cotta with caramelized pineapple & ginger tuile (sweet cookie.)
At the table, Naomi’s Serviceman tells Ruth that since he’s originally from Hawaii what he really missed is Spam. Hmm…that’s already in a can with a key. That stuff should be shipped over regularly.

Curtis samples Tough Traci’s meatloaf with mashed potatoes and Caesar salad that looks like a plate Alex made Week Two (sorry, Ruby.)

She also eeked out a peach cobbler. (I think we remember what happened the last time she tried to make a dessert.)
Floyd’s Serviceman (they all eat everyone’s foods) says he’s happy to eat a meatloaf he doesn’t need to slather in ketchup to taste good.

Floyd was concerned about the tenderloin but "I'm beginning to slice my beef and it looks beautiful inside." Score!
He tells the forces that they’re awesome as he serves them (he refuses to let them serve themselves.) Restaurant Girl thinks she’s being cute by wearing an army-green colored dress.

Inappropriate! BTW, you are not there to bag a guy from the army so you can stop showing so much skin, Restaurant Girl Outfit FAIL!
(Okay, I know "FAIL" is overused but it’s kinda fun to say. Or shout rather, it's ALL CAPS. CAPSLOCK!)
Floyd serves his tamarind margarita, a roast tenderloin with mushroom jus & garlic smashed potatoes; a spinach salad with pomegranate, broccoli, walnuts and bacon vinaigrette AND clam chowder. That's a lotta grub, yo.
At the table, Floyd’s Serviceman tells Restaurant Girl that he lost 26 pounds in Afghanistan because they mostly ate goat of questionable origin. You know, even when I ate meat I didn’t eat goat, though I’ve heard curry goat is delicious. Let’s just say that now that I know there are some goats of “questionable quality” I won’t even associate with them at petting farms.

Everyone votes for his or her overall favorite dinner and Curtis announces the winner onstage.
And that winner is

I really thought the way the way they were playing it was gonna go to Floyd. Curtis gives all of the military families passes to Universal Studios because they own NBC Universal owns Bravo. How about cash?

Then the Serviceman Floyd cooked for asked to speak to him.
“As a small token of my appreciation as to what you put forth I wanna give you this…” In the military when they appreciate something someone has done, they exchange coins. He hands one to Floyd. Floyd tears up a bit and put it in his wallet.
“I really appreciate everything you did for me. Thanks for making my time, coming back to the United States, special.” Awww.

Floyd says it will be his good luck charm. “When you get a gift from someone and it means a lot to them, it should mean a lot to you.”

Tough Traci sees and Floyd shows her the coin. TT: “Sweet, very touching.” She hugs him (another hug?!) and as they walk out she eyeball lasers his tear ducts closed because she just can’t deal with any more emotion. Oh she also gave him Lasik surgery. Come on, she’s not heartless!

In the back room-
Tough Traci to Sweet Mary Sue (prolly reconsidering the friendship): “Look at you, girl, big winner. Total dominance.”
Sweet Mary Sue (sweetly): “Well how long was I supposed to let you be in the lead?”
She pretends to shoot them with fingers. Dayum! They all toast with a tiny amount of white liquid. Vinegar?
And then Naomi and Floyd and Tough Traci trek out to the hall, leaving Sweet Mary Sue by herself. Now I feel that I should mention Ellie’s recent astute observation: she’s recognized that Sweet Mary Sue announced a viewer's party at her restaurant one week. The week she won. The next week she didn’t have a viewing party. She didn’t win.
Uh huh.
So Bravo can tell you not to tell anyone you won but they can’t tell you NOT to have a viewing party and announce it on Twitter.
Ellie is convinced Sweet Mary Sue is gonna skip all the way to the rainbow’s end with the win. Hmmm….

Critics’ Table
The Barber sets up the critique by saying “we’re at the splitting hairs stage” which means they get to sh*t all over them.
Ruth tells Naomi that half of her shrimp were undercooked and the rice salad wasn’t good.
Ruth says Tough Traci’s plate wasn’t very attractive (Ruth is playing hardball!) but Tough Traci says it was Americana. The Barber says the meatloaf was too salty. Tough Traci is surprised.
Restaurant Girl says Floyd’s Serviceman enjoyed the food and he gave him what he wanted but she wonders why he didn’t do more with the meat.
Um, let’s see, cause he wasn’t cooking for your Forever 21 dressed a**? Lordy.
She says she thought he was scared to be himself and Floyd says he received specific instructions, he wanted it very plain.
Not the best comeback, Floyd.
Then the Barber gets his hands working.

“For me the riddle was the salad. It got muddled. It’s like you’ve got your baby spinach and you’ve got your broccoli but then you’ve got pomegranate seeds…” Hm, Floyd almost went home for making a crappy salad at the Maroon 5 Challenge.
Floyd: “You can’t just place spinach on a plate and say here’s your salad. I couldn’t place heat in there because he didn’t want heat. And, ahh…I said I’m gonna cook what he wants.”
Curtis nods and smiles, eyes glassy. (Here we go, whip it out!)
Floyd: “He actually gave me this coin, as a thank you…” (getting choked up) “…which blew me away. I won today.”

In your butts, Critics!

When the Masters retreat to the back room, The Critic’s agree that Floyd cooked what was wanted. Ruth says he gave them “something better than they expected.”
The Barber cuts to the chase: “Okay but here’s the thing, do you guys feel that what Floyd cooked tonight was worthy of making it to the final round?”

Curtis says Naomi has never played it safe and had a difficult challenge having to incorporate raw tuna. Ruth says the family she made the food for was ecstatic and she loves Naomi’s work, “I really thought it was delicious.”
Restaurant Girl: “But tonight it was like eating a puzzle! What’s a panna cotta doing with poke, with a pork shoulder?!”
Yeah well, what’s your dress doing with your hair and your face? Why are you there? Ruth and The Barber belong. One of these thing is not like the other!

RG does say that Traci could have added a sophisticated touch that made her meatloaf and potatoes her own. That I agree with.
Ruth felt safe in Tough Traci’s hands but the saltiness of TT’s meatloaf didn’t make The Barber feel safe at all. His sweater makes him feel safe though because you can literally see it from miles away. Traffic cones are jealous.

When the Masters are called back...
Naomi is sent home. She made 25k for her charity. And she showed the world that she knows meat, how to control a kitchen and that she yells at her Dad on a reg.

And so, HEY, WT-EFF?! I gotta send Myself to the kitchen to pack my knives?
Crap. I hope I don’t eat more Upper Crust pizza while I’m there…ugh.

Next week the FINALE! Floyd (prolly the only Master who has never won a Quickfire Challenge or an Elimination Challenge) gets stuck in traffic! Sweet Mary Sue says she ruined her dish! And Colicchio’s in the hizzy! See you then, Poolers!


KAT Mary Sue

LOGUE Tough Traci

Q Mary Sue and Floyd

BROWNIE Tough Traci

LB Mary Sue

STRIPES Mary Sue and Tough Traci

ELLIE Mary Sue

DOWD Tough Traci

KRISTEN K. Tough Traci

LUCY Tough Traci

JET Tough Traci

JENNA Mary Sue and Floyd

BERTSCH Tough Traci and Floyd



Thursday, June 2, 2011

"That...really did spurt into your mouth in the most unpleasant way..."

Tornado Warning in Massachusetts?! Holy Crap! This is the most lightning I have ever seen before in my life! And I Love Lightning. I’m afraid of it right now though.
When you love something and you’re getting so much of it that you’re afraid? Problem. That’s why I’m off salvia.

I’m just back from dinner with the ladies- Gbag, LB and Daisy! Hey Ladies! It was Gbag’s first night out as a new mother and she hadn’t had a proper drink in 10 months! No, she did not take her top off. She does that for her baby on a reg.
LB regaled us with stories of meeting Mary Sue Milliken (the REAL Sweet Mary Sue in the flesh!) as we chowed on fresh salsa (eh) and fresh gauc (yum) at Zocalo on Stanhope Street. The slightly sticky table and light from the close-a** flat screen made me a skeptic but in the end it was well, why not read Daisy’s blob about it?
She should be posting a Zocalo entry soon!

Hey Ladies! Remember I said I was full and couldn’t eat another thing?

Dark chocolate with almonds and watermelon up this piece.
Now that I can’t move, I might as well blob…

We’re down to Sweet Mary Sue, Floyd, Tough Traci, Naomi and Friggin Unibrow!
At the top of the ep, Sweet Mary Sue says (To Camera) she’s happy to be one of the last five and that her friend Tough Traci is there.
Hmm, is this the Editor’s way of telling us Mary Sue is packing her color chef jackets and magic wands and going home? Pretty obvious… maybe it’s Tough Traci’s turn to get outta dodge…

QuickFire Challenge
Create a breakfast dish using a microwave and no other cooking element.
Eggs in a microwave, gross.
10 Minutes starts now!
Naomi grew up microwave free as a child and has never used one. I’m with you, Slice! I don’t like the texture of food from a microwave and don’t even get me started on Radon.
I mean, I have to use one for lunch when I’m working in an office but hide in another room while it’s running like it’s an x-ray machine! I just don’t dig it and I don’t have room for one in my kitchen. So maybe you can understand my surprise when, after a long talk with my sister about my microwave feelings and that it was prollllllllly not a good sign that I couldn’t hear her on her cordless phone when her microwave was on (it would get all choppy) and maybe she should to get rid of it or at least get a new one; my sister GAVE ME A GD MICROWAVE FOR MY BIRFDAY.
Is this on? Is this working? Sound check!
That machine stayed in its box, under my counter for 3 years and when her microwave finally kicked I gave it to her.

5 Minutes Left!
Tough Traci’s bacon isn’t crispy enough, Naomi’s eggs aren’t cooking, Sweet Mary Sue is making an…avocado sammy?
Time’s Up!

Unibrow debates that no one is gonna talk smack about his eggs cause everyone’s eggs are probably cooked poorly and snacks on his own leftovers and continues to do his best to look like some sort of creepy, disgusting munching marionette.

Then- well, someone must have complained that there aren’t enough Blacks on TCM because two Black comedians (no, not chefs) yes, comedians, appear to judge the foods with Curtis. They’re so inconsequential their title card comes up while they’re in profile!

Naomi says they’re Francis and Angela who are comedians better known as Frangela.
No, Naomi. As awful as the Black woman with the braids from the Pine Sol commercials is, I’d call HER a comedian compared to these chicks.
I’d type one of the ‘jokes’ they made here but they didn’t have any. Seriously. I’ve seen these chicks before in bit parts and never understood how they “made it” as “far” as they “have.”

In the end, the “comedians” didn’t like Mary Sue’s sammy or Tough Traci’s Oeuf en cocotte (egg casserole, mushrooms and bacon served in an egg shell, pretty!) Floyd’s omelette and Unibrow’s baked egg are their favorites and...
Uni wins. Yawn.
Floyd can’t believe he’s never won a Quickfire Challenge; Uni gloats and the “comedians” go on to portray Black Clerk Numbers One and Two in an episode of America’s Most Wanted on FOX.

The Elimination Challenge
Five Scientists walk out in lab coats and…whuuut?
Okay, lemme just make this easier on youse and I- they relate a food to a scientific principle.

Asleep yet?
Unibrow picks emulsion (a mixture of incompatible liquids demonstrated by the Scientist he’ll work with using oil and vinegar). Tough Traci picks acidity (acids that change the color of other foods, demonstrated with beet juice in water and lemon juice.) Floyd (who used to a biochemist- HUH?) takes beef (no, he doesn’t fart, beef represents the Maillard Reaction- how the flesh browns when exposed to heat.) Mary Sue takes viscosity (liquid friction), and Naomi is left with elasticity (illustrated using pizza dough.)
They must demonstrate and create a dish to represent their scientific principle that tastes good at an edible science fair.
But don’t furrow your brow just yet, cause they’ll be cooking using these.

Test tubes, beakers, Bunsen Burners and induction burners and nothing else. And they have to serve their food in Petri dishes.
The Chefs split up and talk to their Scientist Helpers. Unibrow’s Scientist talks over his head (something Unibrow doesn’t understand?! Please can we have a whole episode of this pompous giant-eyebrowed ass being out-assed?) Uni says he’s just going to a basic emulsification of oil and vinegar.”
Uni’s Scientist: “But I already did that.”
YEAH Scientist!
Uni: “Yeah I know you did, I’m doing it again.”
Good! Go home for doing it again!

Meanwhile Floyd tells his Scientist he had WHOA! Floyd has his MASTERS in Biochemistry?!
This Master HAS A MASTERS, YO!
He relays that his father was disappointed when he left that profession to start cooking and he wishes he had lived to see the success he’s had as a Chef. Awww. My heart just silk screened a ‘Team Floyd’ t-Shirt.

After 30 minutes of shopping at Whole Foods ($300), the Masters get to the Kitchen and Naomi puts her Scientist to work like a Sous Chef. The Scientist digs it! Naomi is going to make pizza pockets with three different doughs but she can’t seem to get enough heat from the induction burners they’re allowed.
Tough Traci chooses to make a ceviche and cook the fish with lemon juice (citric acid) so she doesn’t have to use the burners at all. Floyd is going to make a Shabu Shabu beef and show how it does or doesn’t turn brown based on the temperature.

It’s official. Top Chef Masters has jumped the shark fin soup.

The next day the Kitchen is tricked out for the edible science fair with Periodic Table Charts and boards that describe each Chef’s scientific principle.
Mary Sue’s burners won’t get hot enough- she’s making dulce de leche with different sauces to show viscosity.
Meanwhile- Unibrow’s Scientist argues with him. (Yay!)

He says he thinks “it would be a really good idea to put the mayonnaise in the dish” so the kids can see it being added and it carries the theme. Uni isn’t having it.
Uni: “It’s already in there.”
He wants to do a before and after and say: “this is a mayonnaise based dressing I’ve already finished.”
The Scientist backs off and starts cleaning.
Uni: “We’ll play good scientist, bad scientist?”
Scientist: “You’re not a scientist. You have to be curious to be a scientist.”
Uni: “At what stage do you not think I’m curious?”
Scientist (under his breath): “Ahhh, let’s just forget it.”
Yeah. That’s what Uni’s wife says every night.

Then, oh, someone decided there weren’t enough Latinos on TCM either so they bussed in a bunch from the Bronx.

Mary Sue has the perfect ‘teacher voice’ as she explains viscosity to the kids who don’t give a crap. Sue: “I bet what you really wanna do is eat” and then in walks the dish.


I like how Pads strolls in before Curtis like- ‘This is the house my breasts and smile built. What up?’
Oh yeah The Barber is there in suspenders and a bowtie and Ruth Reichl is back but the hell cares, Pads is in the hizzy!
(You watching this ep, CC? I bet you are.)
As you know, Ruth has been missing for quite some time but not because she visited a beauty parlor that uses conditioner (talk to Gail’s Stylist, Ruth.)

Mary Sue presents her viscosity principle with dulce de leche churros, chocolate mousse and spiced café de olla and Pads eats it up.
Unibrow shows off his emulsion study: fried okra salad with tomato, fennel, bacon and green goddess dressing and shallots.
The Barber says the mayonnaise is barely a mayonnaise because so many herbs have been added to it. He’s not tasting it.
Uni: “No, no.”

Uni: “You’re looking at me like I’m wrong. No.”
Honestly is this the way you talk to people who are going to be writing about your food in the future?
Then Uni (To Camera): “James is contesting whether it’s broken and it’s not broken, he just doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”
Again, I weep for his wife and children.
The Barber says he’s waiting for his lightbulb moment and he “hasn’t gotten it yet.”
Uni: (to Scientist) “Yeeah, you explain that.” Uni steps back from the table, then: “He’s needs a lightbulb, he needs a scientist.” (Dood!)
Scientist Who Hates Uni: (to The Barber) “An emulsion is just a combination of those opposite things, the polar and the non-polar.”
Uni makes the sound of a bell: “Ding!”

Wow. What a child this guy is!
The Barber: “Okay I’m on terra firma.”
Okay, I don’t really think The Barber is on terra firma, I think he’s more like- I’m done being embarrassed so I’m out. And poor Ruth. I think she’s thrilled she’s missed so many episodes seeing the kind of abuse Uni has been throwing out.

In Toughville, Traci shows Pads and Curtis what happens when acid is added to tuna. She present a tuna carpaccio with ceviche and then a tuna tartare ceviche. She’s concerned her food doesn’t have enough bells and whistles.
Get Uni to pretend there’s a lightbulb over it, Ding! What a floppy phallus!

Naomi tells The Barber and Ruth that she has kids touch different dough and then explains elasticity in foods: pizza dough, mushrooms, etc. Her Scientist looks on, pleased. The Barber looks bored. Me too- I’m over it! Who won this thing?
Naomi made fried pizzeta with mozzarella, salumi & green olive marinara and then a mini calzone with truffle, mozzarella, chanterelles, arugula and balsamic gelée.

Floyd’s Maillard Reaction spice curried beef, mushrooms, asparagus & fried potatoes and beef Shabu Shabu style with potatoes and asparagus.
I had Shabu Shabu once. Ellie and Brownie and I had it together in Chinatown. I enjoyed it but honestly, if I have to cook my own food on the table in the broth I think the food should be cheaper.
After all the boringness, The Barber says he actually learned a few things. Like Uni is a bigger a** than he ever imagined and if the school kids at the edible science fair miss the bus to the Bronx they have to actually take the subway home, not a cab.

At Critic’s Table everyone assembles so they can all stare at the babetastic beauty of Padma.

Favorites – Mary Sue and Floyd!
The winner who gets 10k for their charity?
Mary Sue, AGAIN!
Awww, poor Floyd!
On way back to the kitchen Mary Sue says “I’m sorry to steal it from you.” As they wait for the deliberation he reminds her he’s gone up against her three times for the win and she’s won every time. Mary Sue didn’t know. At least she says she didn’t because that’s what someone sweet like her does.
(I know she as a basement full of human remains that she and Tough Traci killed in Russian in the 60s. She prolly uses them for broth. Delicious!)

CUT TO- Critic’s Table!

Now, honestly- it’s impossible for women to look good seated on a stool.
Pads does a pretty great job but there’s just nothing you can do with your legs!
Men are easy, they always have their legs open saying it’s cause they need “room.”
Yah Right. I’ve been in cabs with male friends who take up the whole back seat! (Dood, you don't WALK with your legs wide open.) Okay I just took a bus to Tangent City. Bottom line a medium shot coulda been employed.

So The Barber tells Naomi her dish was too complicated and she was trying to show them too many things. Pads tells Naomi the gelée with the melted cheese made the pocket soggy.
That’s why Pads gets the big bucks.

Uni says he wanted to get kids excited about mayonnaise.
Hold on. I gotta take a laugh break on that one.
The Barber says that particular “emulsification came apart.”
Uni: “Yeeeeah, but we talked about that earlier. How emulsifications can become looser.”
Hey, let’s see how tight we can get an emulsification, Unibrow. One shaped like a leather strap wound tightly around your Mfing neck.
The Barber gesticulates…

"There was a firm or core to the mayonnaise and that it was starting to come apart."
Unibrow: “That was the tomato juice.”
The Ruth hits him where it hurts: “I thought it was the most obvious thing to do and I was disappointed.”
Now shaddap, Uni!

Ruth plays hardball and tells Tough Traci she was the only one who had flavor to play with out of the five elements and all she used was lemon juice. Pads adds she would have liked to see yuzu, tamarind…TT says she did play with some stuff beforehand (no you didn't!)

NO dead laser eyes. Charring. My soul!

When the Masters go back to the table, the Critics tear Uni a new one. Ruth stands up for Traci’s food and The Barber says it wasn’t great and didn’t do it for him. Pads says it was too obvious. Curtis wonders if he missed Naomi’s demonstration because there wasn’t really one. She just had dough where you could check the gluten content. Pads harped on the gelée issues and not able to bite into something crunchy and something gooey. The Barber: “God it’s true, that melting gelée did really spurt in your mouth in the most unpleasant way.”
But the chef leaving tonight…
Unibrow: (in a weird, super mellow fake voice that prolly means he’s going to stab a cab driver on the way to the airport) “All good.”
Sure yah right.
Curtis says he was fantastic and made beautiful food.
Unibrow: “It’s all been fun.”
Curtis tells him he’s raised 15k for his charity.
Unibrow: “Well thanks.”

As he shakes everyone’s hands he says “All good, all good.” Um, no one was crying or trying to console you, Dood.
To Camera he says” “it’s been fun to show off and have fun with it.”
“…I hope that shows through to everyone and I think it did.”
Soooo, you knew you were being a tool? You reveled in it? You hope that showed? Your toolness?
Lordy Day.
Uni tosses out phrases like ‘Good luck’ and ‘Enjoy it’ and then his hairy ass marches into the sunset to terrorize other.
Good riddance, ASS-O!
And so, Nikki, I must ask you to return to the kitchen and pack your knives.

Next week, Naomi yells at someone as she instructs them to cook through a partition, some soldiers come home to a meal prepared by the Masters and we never ever have to see this again:


KAT Mary Sue and Naomi

LOGUE Tough Traci

Q Mary Sue and Floyd

BROWNIE Tough Traci

LB Mary Sue

STRIPES Mary Sue and Tough Traci

ELLIE Mary Sue

DOWD Tough Traci

KRISTEN K. Tough Traci

LUCY Tough Traci

JET Tough Traci

JENNA Mary Sue and Floyd

BERTSCH Tough Traci and Floyd



ME Naomi