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 FabergĂ©.)

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



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