Happy New Year, Poolers!
On this day I am full of pride but not food. Nope, no food at all. I started a Master Cleanse New Year’s Day. No comida for 10 days. Just two cups of tea, 32 ounces of salt water and 8-12 drinks comprised of fresh squeezed lemon, maple syrup, cayenne (all organic) and spring water.
I did it to give my liver a break (and I guess, inadvertently, my plumbing a work out.) I’ve been traveling quite a bit (remember those entries from Portland and Miami?) and drinking a bunch (hey, it was Xmas, I had to get through that materialistic, overwrought, drama bomb somehow.)
When Jenna heard of me doing the cleanse she thought it was ridiculous. She also said: “You’re gonna be a bitch.” Usually dems fightin words but I know what she means which is why I’ve kept myself in the house, busy with work and don’t intend to see anyone except my acupuncturist.
What I didn’t think about when I devised this plan is #1-How stupid is it to start a cleanse on New Year’s Day when you really want a burrito from El Pelon (Oh yeah, El Pelon reopened! HOLLER http://www.elpelon.com/) and, #2-How stupid it is to start a cleanse when you’re blobbing about Top Chef. Esp if it’s a super-sized episode. Here goes nuttin’…
Baby Face Bev is glad that Heather B. is gone (aren’t we all?) but says this To Camera. Quietly. Everyone eats bags of salty snacks (mmm…salty snacks) and discusses how it’s getting serious.
Coke Mouth: “At what point do we stop helping each other?” Someone says ‘Soon’ someone else asks what he means. Coke Mouth: “Do we stop giving each other recipes at this point?” Then he says Heather B. won two competitions off his cake recipe.
Sara does not Smile (to Camera) “Are you kidding me? If you don’t’ have the balls to say it while Heather’s here…” TRANSLATION If I didn’t stick up for her she’d use her meaty fists to bash my head in then crack an egg in my face and eat it.
Coke Mouth goes on to say that Heather B. didn’t know "the ratio" and shrugs: “What do you do? You play to win.”
Or you get high and lose. (Don’t do drugs, kids!)
There’s a knock on the door, room service has brought a delicious…set of encyclopedias?
It’s Modernist Cuisine by Nathan Myhrvold. And apparently it’s a big deal because eyes light up and whistles fill the air like the books have tits to show.
Coke Mouth says these books changed the game.
At six volumes and over 2,400 pages it’s “the most elite cookbook ever written” and now will be requested by Gbg as a bday gift. Get on it, Stripes! Hey she only carried your baby in your belly, for Buddha’s Sake!
A note from Pads tells the chefs to “study up.”
Ummm…there’s 1 set of cookbooks, how about you give them at least two? Meanies.
The next morning in the TC Kitchen, Pads, looking like an adorable pixie who has been doing upper body work, stands next to the guy who will now make Even More Money, Modernist Cuisine author Nathan Myhrvold.
I kinda wanna nickname him Hemorrhoid even though it’s not pronounced the same way but but it takes too long to type so let’s just call him Money Bags.
The QuickFire Challenge
The mid-1990s is when this trend of starting new techniques to delight diners began. Thus, the Modernist Cuisine movement (speaking of movements—okay, okay I won’t make the obvious jokes being on a cleanse and all. I mean, I was gonna do a butt soup tally but I don’t want to turn you guys off. Oh, too late?)
The chef who best illustrates Modernist Cuisine wins immunity and a copy of the books. TyLor God Of Cooking says the books were just published and apparently they’re too heavy to be at bookstores or something because these everyone is really giddy with the possibility of getting them free.
45 Minutes starts now!
Accessory Chef Chris who has never won a quick fire goes all out using nitro…
…a food processor and something called a Miracle Berry that makes sour turn sweet in your mouth. Doesn’t Starburst make those?
Then homie has the nerve to say “A lot of techniques in this book I’ve actually maybe done first.” Yeah, did I mention I did a Reebok commercial where we created a rig in the style of THE MATRIX years before THE MATRIX? Oh I didn’t? Hm, maybe because No One Is Listening.
TyLor God Of Cooking goes simple using tapioca maltodextrin and olive oil with a piece of watermelon. Adorable Street Foods can’t even pronounce "molecular gastronomy."
Awww! He's just nervous. I betcha he’ll be relaxed enough to say it after he and I ride the magic hobbyhorse.
Grayson makes caviar that’s not caviar; someone breaks a bottle of white powder; Chris C. says he likes to think of himself as modern. He has a "modern-styled apartment"-
and yes, that’s a butt painting on the wall because he likes "to do modern art." Here's some more of it.
I wish I were making this up.
Baby Face Bev serves and manages to get foam on Pads and Money Bags. Bev (to Camera) grew up with "strict parents and wasn’t allowed to go to sleepovers" or have friends over so she focused on work which = socially awkward. Hey, Baby Face? Do Not get foam on Pads' wardrobe. You'll get a beatdown by her AND her stylist AND the product placement peeps.
When Accessory Chef Chris is greeted by the duo he says it’s an honor then explains what a Miracle Berry is.
Money Bags: “I grow it in my basement.”
Accessory Chef Chris: “Oh you do? I would love to visit your basement.” Everyone rolls their eyes. He leads them through his elaborate dish comprised of a wedge of lemon, a deconstructed dessert that looks like pebbles and baby vomit and a drink. This Ends Now!
Least Faves – Street Food (Aww!) “Not enough depth of flavor.” Baby Faced Bev who didn’t “go far enough.” Grayson’s simple dish “if you have something simple “it better be great.” (How’s that flesh wound feel?)
Faves – TyLor God of Cooking with his watermelon, vanilla bean honey, black pepper & salted olive oil powder (the powder turns back into olive oil when it’s in your mouth); Sarah Smile (even though she didn’t go molecular) with a breakfast raviolo, pancetta & egg yolk (inside the pasta); and Accessory Chef Chris (really?) since it was “nicely staged.”
And the winner who showed creativity and execution is GOD!
TyLor hauls the books to his station. I hope he doesn’t try to fly with them, that’s the weight limit right there!
Pads’ announces they’re moving from the modern to traditional, BBQ! Sarah Smiles like she solved the puzzle on Wheel.
They have to split themselves into teams of three. Uh oh.
Blue Team: Lindsey (who did Not want to work with Baby Face Bev), Street Food and Grayson.
Red Team: Sarah Smile (who is distrustful of) Coke Mouth & God.
White Team: Chris C. (“Oh…we’re the three left”), Accessory Chef Chris & Baby Face Bev.
They must cook for 300 guests at the Salt Lick (one of the best BBQ joints in TX) a place Sarah’s Smile’s fiancé Jamie, who is also a chef, loves.
“I want to win this challenge for him.”
Okay, let’s just try to win a challenge, alright? Not FOR anyone, just to win and stay in the game cause I can sense the tears welling already. Also, it's not like your fiance was fired from Salt Lick or lost a limb in a BBQ pit fire there he just likes eating at the place. Come up with a better way to honor someone.
They have all night to cook and they're gonna need it. Money Bags announces they have to make chicken, beef brisket and pork spare ribs with two side dishes.
Coke Mouth: “You can take elegance and throw it out the window, this is gonna be a real slamma jamma BBQ.”
I can’t even- Slamma Jamma???
30 Minutes to Shop/$1,000 at Whole Foods-White Team and Red Team are both doing coleslaw and beans as sides, Street Food decides to go Asian. Grayson: “If you take a risk you win, right?” Pretty much. If you Ace it.
30 Minutes/$1,000 at Restaurant Depot for meaty meats. Chris C. grabs Dr. Pepper for his BBQ sauce.
They get to The Salt Lick, eat and get a tour of the set for the next SAW movie.
The Salt Lick has been around for 100 years, seats 800 people and serves 2,000 on an average Saturday. That’s a whole lotta heart attacks!
When they eat, Street Food gets nervous about making BBQ that can compete.
Bellies swole with meats, they get in product placement vehicles (this is all the same day?!) and follow the Salt Lick Owner and his product placement pick up truck filled with oak to the BBQ pits and trailers where they have to cook. They start unloading at…10:18pm!?!
Street Food and his team get their meat into the smoker before everyone else. Meanwhile Accessory Chef Chris isn’t the only one with an accessory.
Baby Face Bev decides to “do the bourbon” inside and starts a fire in the trailer. Lindsay says Street Food is the visionary. Then their meat falls off the racks in the smoker. Luckily they were wrapped in foil so they don’t lose anything.
6:30am - 3 Hours Until Service
No One has slept. Accessory Chef Chris asks his beer can chickens if they’re “happy where they’re at.”
Technically speaking, prolly not. Oh, I predict beer can chicken will be one of the top items Googled today.
With the sunrise comes Colicchio, looking well rested, chipper and slightly smug. “Hi, Chefs.”
Someone answers with “Eh.” (Hilarious.)
He gets to Team Street Food and asks whose idea it was to go Asian. Wild guess…
Grayson: “You’re gonna love it, it’s gonna be like sex in the mouth.”
That girl gets punchy when she’s overtired! (btw I thought that quote was too easy to use as the title of this post (plus it would never make it through your email filters.))
Before he leaves, Colicchio announces the winning team will get 15k to try to wake everyone up. Weak claps all around, objective not achieved.
As soon as he leaves, Chris C. worries about the pork, it’s too salty so decides to cut off the ends and add more sauce; Lindsay worries about her Brussels sprouts (Brussels sprouts?! Street Food, honey, you’re not cooking for Me! Yet...) Apparently the fire is too low and there’s no time to start it up. Code For: the Brussels sprouts are not cooked through.
Sidebar: Seeing those Brussels sprouts is actually the first time my Cleansing Self’s mouth has watered. Lordy, I’m a goner when the apocalypse comes. I’ll NEVER be able to eat meat! Human or otherwise. I best stock up on the canned goods starting tomorrow.
But wait, the temperature is 100 degrees, so now this is happening.
Sarah Smile goes inside and tells TyLor she’s feeling a little (waves hand around.)
TyLor: “We got it.”
She looks a little beer can chickeny. (Just sayin.)
She tells the paramedics she feel light headed, Lindsay sits next to her briefly and says "Breathe" great advice for someone wiht a mask on. Then goes back outside and tells Grayson they’re gonna call 911.
Grayson: “Nah ah!”
Sarah Smile takes the oxygen mask off “I didn’t come here to not compete.” They check her pulse-
Paramedic: “Call it.”
God tells her to concentrate on getting better. “This is the real deal, no joke.”
Colicchio returns to tell God and Coke Mouth they’re on their own and asks “if that’s okay” which is the equivalent of small talk. Of course it’s not okay Dood. Nice weather we’re having.
Coke Mouth (to Camera): “Obviously the first thing we both think is, ‘What’s wrong, is she okay is she dead?’ I don’t know, if it’s me I would push through it.” God: “Wow, we’re really gonna have to bust some ass.” The new team of two starts carving like crazy.
They were gonna cut to order, but now…ska-rewed
Coke Mouth: “Once you pre-cut meat and put it into a steam table you’re steaming meat, you’ve killed it. Basically you’re doing the opposite of BBQ, but it’s either do that or don’t have food at all.”
I say again, SKA-REWED.
Then hungry Texans start showing up. 300 of them.
Meanwhile Accessory Chef Ch- HEEEY!
Not This one, Jerko!
Without Sarah Smile, God & Coke Mouth must serve 300 people and they have 7 items. God: “We have 2,100 plates strokes to make and only four hands.” (That what she and her girlfriend said.)
Meanwhile a band that’s not Los Lobos but looks like one of them plays.
Oh it’s Tito & Taranchola who I actually thought WERE Los Lobos when they were in the movie FROM DUSK TO DAWN. Either way, they’re here to provide cutaway shots.
Pads, looking radiant in a pink off the shoulder number with one braid to the side;
Gail in a blah black tank dress, Money Bags (who won a BBQ Championship in Tennessee, you know, just to apply More pressure) Colicchio, and the Owner of the Salt Lick enter and get beers.
They immediately try Blue Team’s (Grayson, Lindsay & Street Food) Asian spare rib, chicken rib & brisket, charred Brussels sprouts & purple okra and watermelon with fish sauce.
Pads loves the chicken, so does Money Bags, and The Salt Lick Owner (he even digs the salad) but Colicchio says the Brussels sprouts aren’t cooked. Farts. (And I mean that in a disappointing way. I’m not farting. Hey, I can’t cause- oh sorry, sorry.)
White Team (Baby Face Bev, Accessory Chef Chris and Chris C.) presents their beer can chicken, dry rubbed brisket with a spicy BBQ sauce & Dr. Pepper BBQ glazed pork ribs. Money Bags says it’s a good roast chicken but not BBQ. The beans weren’t cooked, the ribs…too salty and the brisket was really chewy. Money Bags: “It’s juicy, that’s the good news.” The Salt Lick owner says he likes the coleslaw because he’s not a fan of too much mayonnaise. Unless that’s some new style of meat he can BBQ. Then he loves it! Chris C. served a non-alcoholic aqua fresca watermelon drink that Gail (of course): “Needs alcohol.”
Oh here’s Sarah Smile, everyone. “Alright, where can I jump in? Is the chicken juicy?”
Coke Mouth (to Camera): “The only thing she’s worried about is her chicken.” She suggests switching where Coke Mouth has the chicken is so she can serve it. Really? They’ve already developed a system!
Coke Mouth: “No, no, no, no. We’re done. We got it, please.”
I’m with you CM! Coke Mouth to TyLor God Of Cooking: “Jesus Christ, we can go faster without her.” Then Cokie Roberts gets condescending.
Sarah says he’s sure he’s frustrated with the situation but it’s not something she did on purpose. Sarah Smile to God: “At the end of the day it is what it is.”
(Boy am I tried of that phrase being used by everyone in America.)
The judges arrive and suddenly everything’s awesome. Sarah: “I made the Texas style chicken and based it with a tomatoey sauce with a little spice.” God: “I’m from Kansas City so I made a dry rub KC style pork ribs and a typical style KC sauce to go with that.” Coke Mouth: “I made a salt and pepper smoked brisket.” Sarah Smile: “We made a big pot of pinto beans with a loootta bacon in ‘em, and then we made a summer slaw and of course we have to serve it with a slice of white sandwich bread.
The judges walk away and Sarah jets!
Sarah (not smiling): “The judge’s have their food and I start to get a little overheated again so I need to rest and drink some water and I have NO guilty feelings about it.”
Coke Mouth to God: “I love how she came back just in time to plate her chicken.” God is Switzerland.
Money Bags liked Sarah’s chicken, the Salt Lick Owner enjoyed the white bread and the sauce on the ribs (not a good sign) but he can tell they cut their meat too early. The KC sauce flavor was good but the texture, not so much.
Ooooooo, What Will Happen!?
At the end of service, God feels ill. He didn’t serve great BBQ “that breaks my heart.” Coke Mouth (to Camera): “Ty has immunity and Sarah came back just in time to pick out four nice drumsticks for the judges so the irony is if we’re at judge’s table, I could go home.”
As they wait to hear the news and Sarah Smile runs her mouth about how there was a breakdown and it prolly had to do with her exhaustion but there was a point where she thought “they all stopped communicating” (um, that’s when you were at the hospital, Hon) “when it came to my chicken I felt like…”
God: “That we weren’t supporting you?” Sarah Smile: “I dunno, there was just some weird vibe I was getting.” Hm, that Hate Vibe? Oh, sorry, My Mama would tell me to say “dislike.”
When Coke Mouth tells her not to be emotional and she says she’s just being honest. Then she dabs her wet eyes with a corn tortilla cause that’s how they do it in Texas.
Pads enters suddenly and asks to see Street Food, Lindsay and Grayson…
their favorite BBQ!
Gail: “The brisket was heads and tails above everyone else’s.” And Colicchio wants their chicken recipe!
They win 15k! Street Food now has 35k- I can’t wait for us to go to Hawaiiiiiiii!!!
The Judges ask to see BOTH teams.
Here we go…
Sarah Smile’s chicken was more liked grilled chicken, not BBQ. No smoke. (Ironic since she seemed to be inhaling a lot of it.) Money Bags says it was rubbery (ouch!) and it’s safer to make sure the skin is cooked before you apply the sauce otherwise it will never cook. Gail says God’s ribs were over seasoned. Money Bags replies that if he had boiled them and used the sauce, even though it would have been sacrilege, it would have been better. The orange mint (?) they used in the summer slaw was odd and according to Colicchio it may have started to ferment. Ew.
Then they nail them for pre-slicing the brisket. Coke Mouth says we were down one person. Colicchio says they still should have sliced to order. Coke Mouth didn’t want a long line of people. Sarah Smile wishes she had been there to help. Coke Mouth smirks and drops his head.
Money Bags thought Baby Face Bev’s coleslaw should have been more acidic to cut the richness of the BBQ, “that’s it’s whole function in the meal” (okay, Home Boy really knows what he’s talking about- he’s throwing out gems left and right. I mean - I don’t want his $450 cookbooks or anything but he has earned his Money Bags title.) Gail says their traditional coleslaw didn’t show any of their personality. The beer can chicken is called “a very French Grandmother’s roast chicken more than it was a Texas BBQ.” Accessory Chef Chris cooked all the proteins and no one was pleased with that. (Yipe.)
And Chris C. shakes his head and says: “Cause it’s from Texas, you know.” as the reason why he decided to do a Dr. Pepper BBQ sauce.
He says “I dunno” it just seems like ever since they’ve been there he’s seen everyone drinking Dr. Pepper. “I dunno.” (Really? I dunno? Twice!? That's your answer? You're cute but you're a dolt.)
Colicchio: “The ribs were so salty it was inedible.” He ends the day's tutorial telling Baby Face Bev her beans were undercooked.
Pads: “Thank you.”
So was it the saltiness of the rubs and sauces (Chris C.) or the BBQing (Accessory Chef Chris) that made the proteins awful? Baby Faced Beans weren’t cooked. Coke Mouth’s brisket was bad but not inedible. Sarah Smile’s chicken wasn’t that bad but it was rubbery. And if God didn’t have immunity they woulda jettisoned him into outer space.
In the end, anyone could have easily gone home but Pads asks Chris…
C. to pack his knives and go.
He thanks everyone for the amazing experience and mentally makes a note to paint Pads’ boobs when he gets back to his "modern-style" apartment. He admits that maybe he was playing it too safe, sitting back instead of taking command. But it was a great experience and “the sky’s the limit now.”
Is it really? Or is it just cause you're getting in an airplane shortly so you'll be flying in the sky? OR maybe not...
cause it’s The Last Chance Kitchen, Poolers!
Chris C. gets to the TC House and reads the note from Colicchio (man I hope they let him shower and sleep first.) He goes to the Kitchen and sees Nyesha. Betcha he’s regretting that beer that he started chugging as he packed.
Nyesha is ready to pounce: “I like Chris but this is a throw down.” Word! Colicchio announces The Challenge – cook with limited resources.
Make a dish using ingredients found at a gas station. $20 to shop and half an hour to cook!
They jump in their product placement vehicle (oh, that’s how they’re going to work that in) and head to the gas station.
Nyesha gets polish sausage and pork rinds. Chris C. is thinking…grilled cheese? When they return to the Kitchen he's surprised to see, The Eliminated.
30 Minutes To Cook
It’s still difficult for Chris C. to wrap his head around what’s going on. Um, do you know that you’re cooking?! Oh, a panini?
Really? Cause...Nyesha tells Chris his soup is about to boil over. And then, Times Up!
Nyesha intros beer glazed smoked sausage with pork rind twill and a green chili and nacho cheese sauce.
Chris C. presents Togarashi (Japanese chili pepper) spiced tomato soup with spicy pork rinds, grilled cheese (with jack cheese, fried ham & pickle.)
The Eliminated get a taste and eat like they’ve been kept in a cold freezer in the basement (Money Bags’ basement.)
Colicchio says Nyesha made a restaurant styled dish. Then he says Chris C.’s soup didn’t taste canned and his grilled cheese was “perfect.” The winning chef is…
NYESHA! Three time champ! Hits from the boooong!
She’s ready for another shot (see, you’re still in it, Colanto!)
Next week, I’ll be one day off the cleanse and ready to watch this show with some wines! Oh coincidentally, next week is
AND it’s Boys vs. Girls!
Until then, Poolers.
TOP CHEF TEXAS!
ELLIE Street Food and Sarah
KAT B Sarah
MAUREEN Lindsay and Nyesha
MERIDEN Grayson and Street Food
LB2 Coke Mouth
COLUCCI Accessory Chef Chris
LB Coke Mouth and Ty-Lor God Of Cooking
KRISTEN K Lindsay and Nyesha
ED K Accessory Chef Chris and Street Food
BROWNIE Nyesha and Street Food
ME Grayson and Lindsay
Q Coke Mouth
GBG Sarah and Street Food
JET Street Food and Baby Face Bev
DAISY Nyesha and Street Food
CC Ty-Lor God Of Cooking
NIKKI M Sarah and Street Food
LUCY Street Food