Thursday, November 15, 2012

"A really big one."

It was some weird ass setting in Blogger options.

Isn't it nice to see a proper paragraph? I heart them!
Okay I had some sushi, I cracked open an Angry Orchard cider- let's get right to it!
Our contestants enter the TC Kitchen and look at each other since, to be honest, they've never seen each other before.

Jazz Patch (Micah) starts giving everyone the "waterfall look like, who are you, what are you doing?" Oh that's what's it's called when you gaze up and down at someone? Cause My Mama would call that the precursor to getting your ass kicked. But wait, here's Pads in a light denim-ish dress (cute!) with

Whoa is that? Josie from Season Two, CJ from Season 3 and Stefan from Season 5?

1st thought- are they gonna let these TC veteran chefs get back in?
2nd thought- holy crap Stefan is short as a mofo. No wonder he's always so mad. And he's hunchy like a villain in an Jean Claude Van Damme movie. Can someone tell him that hunching makes you SHORTER?

Pads says who better to judge the first Quickfire than people who have been there before. Eh, I'd rather see Ryan Gosling judge anything (especially my panties) but... Pads tells them to divide themselves into five groups of three and put on colored aprons. Team challenge- Yuck!

Most Hated picks Kuniko.

He says maybe since she's Japanese she has incredible knife skills. RACIST!
(WTF is going on here? It's quite possible this will be the most sexist, racist season in Top Chef History™)

The Challenge
They get to use geoduck, razorclams, crawfish, dungeness crab and anything in the TC Kitchen, INSERT blatant commercial for GE appliances HERE, and they have 20 minutes so they better figure out who has to do what and fast. (Did I mention they all just arrived and don't even know each other's names?) Pads asks the veteran TCs if they have any advice- all of them repeat assigning jobs is key, then she tells them immunity is at stake, Most Hated starts whispering-

Pads: "Excuse me!"
Yeah Pads, crack that whip!
"I'm not finished. Can you listen up?"
This is a photo of Stefan suddenly realizing he may not go down as most hated.

Time Starts Now!

Lizzie and Chrissy are teamed with crazy Carla Pelligrino who talks over both of them. Carla is a chef but also a woman. "When I am cooking, I like to look good. I wanna be a James Beard..."

OMG I just realized who she is-
former gorgeous human and America's Next Top Model judge Janice Dickinson!

Here are some highlights from Crazeballs during the twenty minutes: "Tell me what you need chopped!" "Mama! What you want me to cut!?!" "Only garlic, no shallots, Liz! Gimmie the recipe!" "You should be telling me what you're doing!"

Valentine who is teamed with Danyele and Dry Eye (Erica) is glad that's not his team. Kuniko is not good at "expressing" herself in English and is happy to have Sheldon and Most Hated help her. Can someone explain the definition of racist to Poor Kuniko?
Meanwhile Model Boston grabs geoduck since it cooks quicker than Dungeness crab. She admits it looks like a penis. "A really big one."
See! She's not a lesbian you guys, okay? Stop asking.

Pads, former TC contestants Josie, CJ and Stefan all gather round the dishes and give a critique. The contestants watch from afar like they're at the kid's table.

First up-Vandaele Industries, JJ and Brooke's crawfish with pickled red chili, fennel and crawfish cream.
CJ says it's old school. Stefan says it has too much dill but it's good. Pads: nothing.

Next- Lizzie, Chrissy's and Carla's oven roasted crawfish with fennel and herb salad with chili drizzle.
Lizzie admits TO CAMERA it's not a great dish, it's messy and working with Carla is crazy and you can see that. The chili drizzle actually spells out "CRAZY" on the plate! CJ wanted acid, Josie liked the dish. Pads, again, nothing.

Jazz Patch, Model Boston and (basically non-existent) Tyler's fried sashimi geoduck with radish, bok choy salad and yuzu chili vinaigrette (lot's of chili up in this piece) has good texture but CJ wishes the geoduck were sliced a little thinner.
Pads: "Yeah, me too." Finally! What's up with you, Padma?

Sheldon, Kuniko and Most Hated's geoduck sashimi, ponzu, apple and cucumber dish goes over well but-
Stefan thinks it needs a little more salt. CJ loves it. (He's quite vocal. Tall and vocal.)

Finally Dry Eye, Danyele & Valentine's razor clam & grilled corn chowder w/fresno chili and grilled lime.
Pads said it seemed a little watered down. Stefan says it lacks seasoning. Valentine (TO CAMERA) proclaims Stefan a dick. (Not the first time we've hear that.)

Least successful -
Dry Eye, Danyelle & Valentine's dish. Totally under seasoned. Dry Eye says you can burn something and call it Cajun but you can't be guilty of under seasoning on Top Chef. 'Tis true.
The winner -
Most Hated, Sheldon and Kuniko.

The three draw knives to discover who has immunity.
Most Hated, hated even more!
He says he can have an extra glass of wine tonight. But maybe not...

Pads: "Chef's Stefan, CJ and Josie were here as judges. But now they'll join your ranks

as fellow competitors.

You know what this means???!!!
Well, for the competitors sure-

...but for us this means...Yep-
I had a long telephone discussion with Jenna about this- shocking I know! People still use the telephone! And I also know that Ellie Lee on the West Coast would still like to play and there are a few other potential poolers and- look, there are three new chefs, you gotta get to pick again if you want, right? So email your new picks before 9pm next Tuesday (Thanksgiving Eve Eve!) at 9pm or your old picks stand, sound good? Oh, in case you were wondering-
Stefan: "I drive a fucking GT3 Porsche" (I guess something else is short, huh?) "and I have eight restaurants."

As everyone gnashes their teeth and Valentine says he's gonna get into fights for suresies (that chef's a boxer?) even more bad news: they have to stay in their teams (Stefan, Josie and CJ being the newest) for the
Elimination Challenge

The rub? They're cooking at the Sky City Restaurant at the top of the Seattle Space Needle. They'll have 47 minutes to PREP and COOK one dish since that's how long it takes for the needle to go around once. Yipes!

The six teams all race to the proteins and produce and plot and plan (so many 'p's!) CJ is anxious for Colicchio to taste his food since he's been cooking at Noma.
What's Noma? Only the best restaurant in the entire world. It was voted that 3 years in a row.
From the looks of it they should have won for Tiniest Food too.

Kuniko wants to poach their fish in chili oil- Most Hated is excited "she's teaching me things." Um, this isn't your cooking school crooked teeth. You learn for the rest of your life. For instance, I'm learning I should have named you Mostest Hated.
Lizzie's fears are coming to life- she's still in a team sitch with Carla and yelling abounds!
Valetine, Dry Eye and Danyele pick up a headless fish that none one of them can identify. None of them!
Stefan asks CJ and Josie if they should bring eight quails with them to the Space Needle even though they have the freshest, most wonderful seafood in America.

They get to the TC apartment and everyone has wine, enjoys the view and bonds. Model Boston does a tally of who's married and who's not. She gets to JJ who wears a wedding ring but isn't married. JJ: "I'm engaged."
Model Boston: "She was like, you're going on TV, you're wearing a ring."
JJ: "He."
Everyone: "Awwww!"
JJ didn't come out until he was 25, his father didn't care (yay!) his mother did (boo!) but they've come to love his fiance (yay!)
Everyone asks why Josie would want to do this again- she, obviously, wants to win. She says she's seen the world since TC and has been "coined the Global Soul Chef" by...herself? If that's true I've been coined "Motherfucking Awesomes" how's that?
She tells everyone what you did yesterday doesn't matter, everyday is a new challenge and to "ride on and rock on rock stars."
She is not a writer. This we know. Also, she seems to be the only one hanging out with the new bucks. I guess Stefan is angrily smoking cigarettes and CJ is lengthening is spine.

The next day everyone suits up- it's going down! Two teams cook simultaneously: Sheldon, Most Hated & Kuniko are cooking and Chrissy, Lizzie and Carla. The other four teams watch.

For some reason this makes me think of when I used to watch my brother and sister playfight- I did play by play the whole thing on my red Panasonic tape recorder. The trick is to be close enough to see what's going on but far enough away so you don't get hit with a left or right.

Most Hated instructs Sheldon (on dashi) and Kuniko (poaching the fish) like an Executive Chef as he does the veggies, running his mouth through the whoooole thing. Speaking of which-
Carla shouts, rolls her tongue like Charo and generally does what we've come to know her to do in our short time of being acquainted.
The veteran team realizes everyone is doing seafood and decide to make quail to stand out. Risky. Stefan says they just have to add more cherry. Brooke overhears...or eavesdrops: "You guys are doing quail?" Yup. CJ is very happy about this and shakes his fellow teammates hands.

But hold up- here come the judge!

Both Pads and Gail wear short numbers though Pads is the only one allowed to wear a bright color, of course cause, look at her-
She gets whatever she wants in life!

Colicchio, BAM! and Gail are in tow along with Guest Judge Tom Douglas. BAM! discusses how he's introduced him to the pleasures of the Northwest, including pink scallops. That just sounds too durty for me to touch.

Back in the kitchen, Kuniko burns the chili oil, she has to start another one.
Carla: "Let's plate, come on!"
Chrissy needs four more minutes.
Carla then announces that Chrissy is trying to kill her. I'm sorry, yells. She yells this. Then she later yells: "Three minutes heard!" and "Let's dance!" as the other chefs watch, laughing and saying again that they wouldn't want to be on her team.
I just want to go on record as saying: Hair in the eyes leads to hair in my food.
The End.

First teams- PRESENT!

Pads intros James Beard award winner and Seattle icon Tom Douglas and reveals that if he looks at you glassy-eyed and semi-smiley like this-
he's calculating how much heat he's going to need to bake your body.

Kuniko presents

Carla- in a low, even toned voice (dude, wtf- you have that voice in you? use it all the gd time!) presents:

As soon as Carla gets back to the kitchen she exhales "Ai- yi- yi- yiyi." and gets her "shit together" and promptly cuts herself on her knife in her knife bag.
Carla: "AI- YI- YI- YIYI!"
btw in case you were looking- New York's hottest club is Ai- Yi- YI! This club has everything- white pepper, black pepper, Salt -N- Pepa...
The medic gives Crazeball a giant gauze hand and tells her she didn't do anything to warrant wiring her mouth shut. She's hear (spelling intended) to stay. Wear earplugs.

The judges really like the sauce on the salmon, it's perfectly cooked and Most Hated's prawns are great, fresh and light. The chili isn't overpowering.
Gail: "The first thing to put in my mouth in Seattle, not bad."
"That came out wrong."
Oh Gail I'm so glad you're here, I can't wait for more wackiness!

Colicchio: "...both dishes are really, really well done. If this is what we're in for this season..." Compliments abound during the FIRST Elimination Challenge- Colicchio won't get the shits tonight! Wows!

Second teams- COOK!
JJ cuts the fish, Vandaele Industries makes the sauce, Brook- vegetables. JJ is used to discipline being from a military family (Ohhh.) Brook sees that JJ has seared the halibut on both sides and is concerned. It's not the way she would cook it.
Stefan works with the quail which is tiny. "I'm used to bigger breasts, normally.

CJ makes a cherry broth that, in his words, is "not super rad."
TRANSLATION: Josie: "It sucks!"
It can't be used at all. Josie: "There's no way I'm going home on the first challenge." She tries to rectify the situation with- wait there are only these many cherries left?
Good luck with that.

Second teams- PRESENT!

Pads: "Gail and Tom there are some familiar faces..."
Gail waves, Colicchio is non-plussed per usual.
I imagine Colicchio would be good in an apocalyptic sitch. He keeps things together and knows how to kill people and forage for food. I need to become acquainted with him so I can have a spot in his End Of The World cave (outfitted with Coca-Cola and saffron, I'm sure.)

JJ explains-
Gail thinks the wheat beer sauce taste like nutmeg and Pads describes the halibut as not just overcooked but "a hockey puck." Ouch.

CJ waxes poetic about-
Immediately:"The quail is overcooked." Then BAM! says the prawns are overcooked and he's getting a bitterness at the end of the broth.
Tom Douglas: "Wow, you guys are tough! I thought it was a pretty well developed dish." Note To Self: Don't eat at Tom Douglas' restaurants. Standards = Low.

Third and final teams -COOK!
Danyele, Dry Eye and Valentine still don't know what kind of fish they have until they break it down. It's cod. (Jesus.)
Valentine screams: "Hey, hey, where's my mushrooms?!?"
Maybe he caught something from Carla Crazeball? He says he's worked for a lot of famous chefs and he's going to use all of that to surprise everyone. As in, surprise, you're a secret yelly asshole?

Model Boston, Jazz Patch and the still basically non-existent, Tyler who used to head up John Elway's restaurants is Denver- hm, maybe that's why he's translucent, are making salmon. Jazz Patch usually takes the lead but he lets Tyler do it all.

Third and final team- PRESENT!
Model Boston announces-
The salmon is perfectly cooked. Gail says the texture of the prawn is lost. Tom Douglas does a commercial for seafood from the Northwest. Enough.

Danyele (wearing too much eyeliner) intros-
Tom Douglas wants more peas, BAM! loves the apple and Colicchio says there should be more of it. He also says the sauce was garlicky. Potential death nell!

In the Stew Room
The veterans tells the rookies you second guess yourself over and over again in the Stew Room and that it's all on them since they've been there before.
Bricks are shat until Pads enters and asks to see...
Most Hated, Kuniko and Sheldon.

They served the best meal of the day!
Most Hated answers for everyone because he is hated. But all the judges want to know is who poached the fish in the chili oil. Ummm, Kuniko. And she NEVER did that before. She works in a French Brasserie! They loved the dashi and the flavors and said Tom Douglas mentioned the dish was the "essence of Seattle." The winner of three- Kuniko!
Here's the thing though- what do these wins mean, really?
Why can't they give a bottle of wine or some extra time or one of those brownie pans that always allows you to get a corner!?
Just sayin'.

The judges ask to see the veterans and some rookies.

ALBUM COVER STARE DOWN ACTIVATE! (Now with Zooming In and Out!!)

Pads asks Josie why she thinks they're there. Josie mumbles about something being imperfect.
Pads: "Clearly."
Josie says something about missing a little texture. Colicchio: "You think something as small as missing a little texture off a dish got you here? Really?"
Daddy Mad!

Josie: "Ummmm."
BAM! asks who did what. CJ says he thought his sauce was tasty for the amount of time he had. CJ you're annoying. Already.
Finally: "Who cooked the quail?"
Stefan admits he did. Colicchio asks how he likes it cooked. Stefan says rare, medium rare and it was a timing thing.
Colicchio: "Okay so I'll ask you again, why do you think you're here?"
Guess who's not getting to use Dad's car this weekend, CJ?
Colicchio: "How about the quail was overcooked?"
Stefan says- he actually says this: "The quail was so small."
Pads and Colicchio are both surprised. Colicchio: "I'm surprised, you guys have been here before."
Stefan: (finally) "I'm so sorry."
Man, I'm surprised too, Colicchio! Now let's talk about how to prep for doomsday. I want you in my hunting party!

When Colicchio says Vandaele Industries looks pissed off (which, btw, is a classic Dad Move, do not go for the bait, Vandaele!) Vandaele answers that he's surprised.
Okay, it's not a chat show. Drop the hand and start apologizing.
He says he took the lead. Brooke admits their personalities fought, she didn't want to do a poached dish. When asked what her style is she says she doesn't veer toward classic French of cuisine and that's where she and her teams techniques clashed. She's rustic. Brooke don't play that.
Pads: "Who cooked the fish?"
JJ owns up and BAM! asks if he reheated it. No. (He just cooked it beyond belief.) Gail says the fish had two hard sides and a dry center and Vandaele's sauce lacked any kind of flavor.

Dismissed! Back in the Stew Room-
Josie tells everyone that if you have any...doubt, they're gonna taste it. Oh, hey, that's better writing.
Stefan: It's like you're a zebra, you're wounded...
Beg pardon?

Back at Judge's Table we hear there were problems on both sides: Vandaele's sauce was flat; JJ overcooked the fish; the quail dish had no acid and was dark and murky and overcooked. Gail: "And he kept talking about how small they are, how small they are-
"...quails are small!"
A new children's book coming from Harper Collins in February.

When Pads calls them back to Judge's Table Colicchio says everyone cooked at a high level but there were flaws. And the worst...
overcooking the fish.

JJ is asked to pack his knives and go.
Pads looks teary as she tells him she's sorry they won't get to taste more of his food.
Bumsville! So overcooking fish is worse than overcooking quail? I dunno about that..maybe they just build up the veterans coming in so much they can't afford to let one go...? This may go down as controversial, but we have bigger fish to over-fry-

With this new wrinkle, You, Poolers, now have ONE WEEK to get me your REVISED TC PICKS which may or may not include the three veterans!
That means anyone who picked JJ gets a second chance!
Email me before 9pm TUESDAY, please. If I don't hear from you I will assume you want your ORIGINAL PICKS.
Sound swell?

Next week! They're making Thanksgiving Dinner! And BAM! and Colicchio are cooking too!
Yup, TC falls on Thanksgiving Eve.
Wait a minute, it's friggin Thanksgiving NEXT WEEK? Lordy. I gotta stop ALL CAPPING and start shopping.

Until next time, Poolers!

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