Thursday, December 8, 2011

"It probably goes in about a sixteenth of an inch."

I have recently returned from Miami with exciting news!


Let’s all go!
Sure I’ve been before but this time I went down for Art Basel and to visit good friends and had lots of laughs and walks on the beach and lunch at La Côte

annnnnd guess who I ran into at the Ruinart Champagne Party on top of the Dream Hotel? White-haired chef Geoffrey Zakarian from The Food Network’s Chopped and The Next Iron Chef!
Dood looks good in person. He’s relatively tall and doesn’t have one of those Zeppelin heads. He’s opening a restaurant in Miami. No, I did not ask him about this:
OH I also saw Bayate? Baitaye? Byate? (It’s pronounced BuyUhTay) from Bravo’s Work Of Art – The Next Great Artist. He was the video artist. The one who really just shouldn’t have been on the show at all. He was just walking up and down the street tryna get noticed. He shoulda been the stripper on the stripper pole on top of the Aphrodisiac van that sold ice cream.
I am not kidding.
See- let’s go to Miami. Please? Think about it.

After the judging and reminiscing about Cashew Chuy (and vacuuming of cashews from under couch cushions) the chefs sit split up, ‘boys v. girls’ style. Many thought Cashew Chuy would be there for a while smelling of nuts and waxing poetic about his father. Coke Mouth wants the guys to “rally” because all of a sudden this is a ‘boys v. girls’ competition. (At least that’s what his coke dealer told him to keep him coming for more bumps.)
They enter Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, their kitchen for the remainder of their time in Dallas, and Street Food says everything looks familiar since that’s where he went to school. Oh snap, I bet that doobie he hid in a shinwa is still there!

Pads wears a green tank top with a yellow shirtdress (always a great color on her) in button down shirt solidarity with Dean Fearing, a classically trained chef.

Fearing was Executive Chef for 20 years at Dallas’ Mansion on Turtle Creek who started his own line of restaurants with the Ritz-Carlton. He has books and a TV show but I think being business partners with the Ritz-Carlton is pretty much all we need to know.

Pads says this Quickfire will test their knowledge as a saucier. Nyesha would be a saucier if she had a choice. Really? You’d just make sauces? Can you make one for your hair?

They draw knives that have the names of the five Mother sauces: Béchamel, Velouté, Espagnole; Hollandaise; Tomate; glued to them. I’m imagining half the Top Chef budget is just for knives they tape words to and later discard.

Quickfire Challenge
Make a dish with a new sauce stemming from a mother sauce. 1.5 Hours to cook, immunity at stake- Time Starts Now!

Chris C. starts his sauce with a roux (flour and butter), which is how you do it traditionally. Baby Face Bev turns her sauce into an Asian one -Heather gives it the gas face! Dakota puts her scallops down too early! Grayson is nervous about all of her elements! Time!

Fearing’s Least Faves – Dakota’s peach infused Béchamel seared scallop, truffle and lemon crab which was “almost like a hollandaise.” Pads: “Yeah.” Dakota looks like she’s going to cry. Nyesha’s tomate sauce with coconut ras el hanout (isn’t that an Indiana Jones villain?) & braised lentils; had too many flavors. And Baby Face’s Bev’s crab maki roll with rib eye, charred shallots, peppercorn, sake & red wine; how do you even fit Espagnole in there?

Fearing’s Favorites –Grayson’s scallop, charred corn hollandaise & corn ravioli with blueberry balsamic reduction. Fearing: “…you made a ravioli! I don’t know if I could make a ravioli in an hour!” Um, don’t tell anyone that, chef. Chris C.’s butter poached halibut over mussels, andouille sausage, mushrooms & Velouté. And Street Food’s quail with picked and roasted mushrooms, garlic scapes & okra in Espagnole. (Even though he didn’t use a traditional roux.) But the one dish cooked to perfection with the most creativity is- Grayson’s!
Fearing: “Woooo!”

Um, she gets immunity, not a roll in the herb garden with you, chef.

The Elimination Challenge
Pads says this will be one of the toughest they’ll ever face. They must work as one team to create a four-course steak dinner for 200 guests.

Coke Mouth immediately checks his coke supply.
Ty-Lor God Of Cooking has “a lot of experience cooking steak.” He worked in a steak house for two years in NYC. (Okay, near a steak house. Near a library. Actually he just worked in the library. Alright, technically he didn’t work there at all everyone just thought he did. Really he just drew penises in all the science fiction novels.)
They must incorporate steak into 2 of the 4 courses, Fearing tells them every steak has to be medium rare, and the meal will be served at the Cattle Baron’s Ball.
Sarah Smiles because her grandfather has been a member of the Cattleman’s Association “for ages.” Yawn- I’m over her Texan history. She says the guests at the Cattle Baron’s Ball are “used to eating steak on a daily basis” and having heart attacks on a reg. (I’m pretty sure these are the kind of people who can afford defibrillators in their cars and homes though.)
The ball will be at the SouthFork Ranch where they shot the Dallas TV series and the winner of the challenge gets a 2011 Product Placement Car! Hurrah!

The one team breaks into course teams: First Course– Soup by
Sarah Smile, Baby Face Bev & Dakota; Second– Appetizer by
Accessory Chef Chris, Coke Mouth & Street Food. Third– Entrée
by Nyesha, Ty-Lor God Of Cooking, SadFace & Chris C. Fourth Course – Dessert by Lindsay, Heather and Grayson. Heather is going to do the same cake she did for the Quinceañera which was Coke Mouth’s recipe. He is not happy about this.

After shopping with $4k for 45 Minutes they have 3 Hours to Prep. Baby Face Bev is cleaning the shrimp for the first course, a watermelon gazpacho soup. Heather is not pleased at Baby Face’s concerns of 3 hours being enough time to prep. (Hey, just do like we did in the olden days, eat the whole damn scrimp! We were so happy to get scrimps back then we damn near ate the shell! I say leave the vein in. Or as I called it when I was little: “the doo doo line.”)

Oh! Now this is happening…

That’s not chicken being cut. That’s a medic tending to the God Of Cooking who jabbed himself as he was extracting bone marrow.
Ty-Lor: "It probably goes in about a sixteenth of an inch and it bleeds pretty well."
Ty-Lor needs stitches. He goes to the ER and no one steps up to say they’ll take care of his duties just in case. Great.

But wait, Ty-Lor returns! The Next Morning. Apparently there were 60 people in the ER. He’s delirious but presses on. (Hey, he’s God, Dood.) Technically he only had four stitches but that’s still more than Jamie had (for those who remember the screw faced, doll-hair headed chef most recently from TC All Stars who didn’t do sheet.

Everyone arrives at the SouthFork Ranch to the tune of something Bravo’s music supervisor secured that sounds vaguely reminiscent of the Dallas TV series theme song. You know if you were deaf in one ear and didn’t grow up with a TV. FAIL!

3 Hours to Left!
Heather finished the cakes the night prior so she and Lindsay pull tables and put out dishes in a giant room separate from the kitchen that they will use for plating.
Meanwhile SadFace is juuuust putting her gratin in the oven. Heather asks how long Baby Face is going to take with the shrimps. To Camera: “If that was my prep cook and he’s working on shrimp for two days, I would be THrough THa roof.”
Dakota says Heather is obnoxious and a bully. (Meow!) I’d kinda like to see Heather pick up Baby Face Bev and SadFace like 10 pound barbells and toss them in a corner of a basement near an old TV tube 27” Sony that’s broken that hasn’t been taken out of the house yet because, shit, where are you gonna put it? On the corner? Just leave it there? Well you gotta do that at night.

Uh oh, Here Come The Judge!

He goes to Heather first and immediately asks what she’s responsible for (yep, it’s gonna be one of Those Judges’ Panels later.) Heather wisely says she made the cake the day before and it was smarter and she has the most pastry experience, and she wasn’t prom queen at her junior high school cotillion but she was runner up, etc. etc.
Then Colicchio disrupts everyone else. To Dakota: “You’re not going to skin that pepper?” She breaks immediately: “Do you like that? Should I do that? I was in the bottom today, I don’t want to go home!”
My God, hold yourself together, woman! Dakota looks like she’s going to cry.
Meanwhile SadFace tells Fearing she’s not cooking the gratin in a double boiler. He stares at her.

But wait, the reasons cowboy hats are popular arrive!

And also Unibrow and Pads in a stunning red strapless that could set the ranch on fire.

Oh and the Chairman of Cattle Baron’s Org is there with a rep from the American Cancer Society- turns out this thing is the largest cancer fundraiser in the nation. Whoa. Both ways. Both ways whoa. (The irony abounds.)

Ty-Lor who cut his hand and hasn’t had sleep is now dealing with marking the meat (on a grill. Outside. Where it’s 112 degrees. (I’m not kidding.))

As the Judge’s sit, Unibrow asks if there’s a leader. Colicchio says: Coke Mouth started out but “Heather and Lindsay.” Then Sarah Smile presents the 1st Course she made with Dakota & Baby Face Bev: tomato watermelon gazpacho with poached shrimp & avocado mousse. According to Colicchio the flavors are there but “it’s playing it safe.” Unibrow says it hits a good opening note.

Can I just say something? This is lot of fucking work.

And where’s Ty-Lor? Oh-

Dood hasn’t even been in the kitchen. Suddenly, Lindsay is concerned that no one is firing the third course. In the other portion of the giant ranch-
Street Food shows off the 2nd course done by him, Coke Mouth & Accessory Chef Chris: a New York strip carpaccio, heirloom tomato salad, vinaigrette and mushroom “bacon.” Colicchio: “There’s no point of view with this.” Fearing says the steak was cooked well. Unibrow: “I would have peeled the tomatoes. They had a lot of time to work on this…”

Since no one has decided when to put the steaks Ty-Lor marked (on the grill) into the oven to flash cook them, Lindsay yells “I think I need to go back or Heather you go back.” No answer. Linds leaves the plating area tells Accessory Chef to put the marked steaks in the oven. (Can you see this coming?) When they’re perfect and ready to go out Heather says “I say we hang tight.” The guests are (and she’s right) still on the 2nd course.
Heather: “Hold on, everybody wait, let’s take the steaks, put ‘em on the speed rack and then” Coke Mouth “can be like ‘flash, flash, flash and maybe...’”
Street Food: “He already flashed.”
Heather: “He…already…flashed.”
Accessory Chef Chris goes to his quiet place.

ACC: “Flashing the steaks earlier is like when the meteor hit the earth and made the dinosaurs extinct? It’s that big of a deal.”
Then Ty-Lor comes back to see someone fired the steaks too early. He instantly knows he’s screwed.
10 Minutes waiting for the 2nd course to clear later--
The kale is cold and has to be switched out (switching out kale- sounds like durty) and the gratin is a mess.
Yep. Nyesha is wondering if her elements on the dish are enough to stand out on her own. (And this is before the plates even hit the tables!)
She presents the 3rd Course done by her, Ty-Lor, SadFace and Chris C.: grilled rib eye, creamy potato gratin, braised Brussels sprouts and compound butter.
Where do we begin? The steaks are over done, the gratin is undercooked. Unibrow: “It’s a mess.” They like the sauce and butter though.

Lindsay presents the 4th course she made with Grayson and Heather: a ‘right side up’ Texas peach cake with peach salad and candied pecan streusel.
Colicchio likes the cake and says Heather did a great job. Unibrow wants cream in the sugar, Colicchio doesn’t but overall he expected a lot more from them.

Ty-Lor: “I don’t need to hear anything, I just know it’s done for me. The most important thing was to make 200 steaks medium rare and that didn’t happen.”
In the Stew Room when Heather asks what happened with the steaks Ty-Lor says he was responsible (remember he and Heather are friends…) and he only “got an hour sleep.” No one comforts him with a “No, Ty-Lor, it’s not you, nooo.”
Then Heather: “Did everybody pull their weight in there? I don’t know, I mean Bev…”
Home girl says Baby Faced Bev spent a lot of time working on shrimps.
Heather: “I’m not sure what else you did.”
Bev apologies and says peeling and cleaning and poaching shrimp takes a long time.
Heather: “it’s all gonna come out.”

She announces that she and Lindsay’s asses are on the line, they were responsible for execution. Well, it seems to me that your girl Lindsay effed it up. I mean Ty-Lor is at fault too for expecting the kitchen to finish the steaks without checking on them but homie set the flashing in motion. I’m with Dakota, Heather gets Bully Status.

Pads asks to see Nyesha, Heather and Accessory Chef Chris.
Oh man…they did…
the best! Three-way hugs all around.

Heather: “Woooo!”
Nyesha: “I can’t take this sh*t.”
Lord above don’t let Heather win the car after this debacle. And with Coke Mouth’s recipe?! Whew.
Compliments abound. Nyesha looks like she’s going to cry when Colicchio says her brown butter “made the dish.”
The winner is-
When Heather enters the Stew Room she says: “Anybody wanna ride in my new car?”
Super B!! Was that necessary?

They ask to see Ty-Lor, SadFace and Coke Mouth.
SadFace: “Hugh Acheson is my mentor. Seeing him on the panel is comforting because he’s been where I’ve been before.”
Oh real quick. Unibrow will cut his unibrow for charity:
But I’m pretty sure he’s not cutting any slack for SadFace.

Pads’ says the menu was underwhelming. Ty-Lor says he’s there because the steaks were overcooked.
Colicchio: “You had thirteen people back there, you had time…”
Ty-Lor says it could have worked it they had fired at the correct time…” but he says nothing of Lindsay’s involvement because he didn’t know or ask “ultimately it was my dish…” Jesus, why don’t you just pack your knives now while they’re talking to you? Fight, Cooking God, fight!

Colicchio hammers SadFace with: “Why the decision, when it’s 104 outside to do a gratin of potato?”

She says she thought something traditional like that would highlight the steak. Pads tasted some of Tom’s gratin and it was-

Tell ‘em gf. SadFace apologizes and Unibrow says nothing. In fact he looks a little teary.

He nods a bit as she swears that’s not the kind of cooking she wants to be known for but Fearing speaks: “Even cutting it, you’d have to have felt the raw potato. I’m a little baffled.”

Coke Mouth’s dish said a lot about the menu- cherry tomatoes on top of the meat (that Accessory Chef had cooked.) Peeps playing it safe. Coke Mouth says to their detriment they didn’t want to step on anyone’s toes. Unibrow says someone has to rise up. Like an eyebrow.

After the Judge’s take SadFace down like forty pegs and pees on her, Unibrow says he wanted her to do more. He throws in that she’s an assertive young chef who can run a kitchen. Colicchio says if Ty-Lor was putting them on the grill and running to the kitchen every dish would have been perfect. Coke Mouth’s dish was mediocre and not enough.

Most damaging from Colicchio at the end: “We chose 16 chefs and I’m thinking I chose the wrong chefs.”
Well gd!!!
Colicchio: “…Usually it’s difficult to decide who goes home but tonight you made it really easy.”
Pads: SadFace “please pack your knives and go.”

After she leaves, Colicchio: “If you can’t put together a great gratin in six hours, you have no business being here.”
Poor, poor SadFace!
But maybe she’ll get happy!
This is Last Chance Kitchen!
SadFace is excited when she gets the letter from Colicchio. Before she goes up against Cashew Chuy; Big Buddha, Accessory Chef Richie and Andrew from Austin are brought back to watch!
Cashew Chuy picks ostrich, SadFace picks elk.
The challenge: make a great burger. It’s interesting with the eliminated chefs watching, telling them to put pans on, asking what they’re adding and yelling out how much time they have left. Revs up the dramz.

Cashew Chuy is super smug as he presents his ostrich burger with ground pork, crispy onion straws and a Fresno chili aioli, sharp cheddar and bacon. The burger is too big for Colicchio to eat the whole thing. He tries the meat first.
Colicchio asks how Cashew was trying to cook it. He was going for medium rare. Colicchio raises an eyebrow.
Cashew Chuy: “…yeah no bueno.”

Colicchio manages to get SadFace’s elk and pork sausage burger with shallot, garlic, roasted tomato, sunny side up egg, aged white cheddar and pepper aioli into his mouth in one bite. Then he invites The Eliminated up to taste. Big Buddha goes right for Cashew’s burger, noting that he tasted his meat before he fried it.
In the end, Colicchio agrees with Big Buddha on taste… SadFace’s burger wins!
Whew- what a whirlwind! So SadFace is still in, Cashew Chuy is officially out and Heather is a B- bully or b*tch, whatever you’d like.
So until next week, Poolers- think about Miami. For reals.

LOGUE Grayson and Big Buddha
TRIPP Heather and Nyesha
ELLIE Street Food and Sarah
KAT B Sarah and Big Buddha
MAUREEN Lindsay and Nyesha
KEITH B Andrew from Austin and Heather
MERIDEN Grayson and Street Food
LB2 Chris C. and Coke Mouth
COLUCCI Accessory Chef Chris and Big Buddha
LB Coke Mouth and Ty-Lor God Of Cooking
KRISTEN K Lindsay and Nyesha
BERTSCH Heather and Dakota
ED K Accessory Chef Chris and Street Food
BROWNIE Nyesha and Street Food
ME Grayson and Lindsay
Q Coke Mouth and Big Buddha
GBG Sarah and Street Food
JET Street Food and Baby Face Bev
JENNA Nyesha and Big Buddha
DAISY Nyesha and Street Food
CC SadFace and Ty-Lor God Of Cooking
NIKKI M Sarah and Street Food
LUCY Big Buddha and Street Food
COLANTO Chris C. and Nyesha

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