Thursday, January 31, 2013

" I supposed to put this whole thing in my mouth?"

Model Boston is on the cover of The Improper Bostonian, ya'll!
Which can often be the equivalent of being in the Lower West Hartford Chronicle Weekly Gazette but the photo is nice and it's interesting to learn she can't go one week without eating chicken fingers.

Poolers (and Model Boston's new bff) CC mentioned that he doesn't think she did it. In his opinion she didn't win the whole thing but I'm more inclined to think that anyone on a competitive reality show these days should be recruited for the FBI and go deep undercover cause (win or not) I don't know HOW you can act like nothing happened for this long when you're on the teevee and people are asking questions and you're on the cover of the Lower West Hartford Chronicle Weekly Gazette!
Technically you should get MORE money for keeping a secret! Hmm...there's a reality show idea in there somewhere- don't bite!

This ep starts with Brooke breathing a sigh of relief and Valentine saying he was happy for the win and it was time for Josie to go. Brooke says she's often been in the bottom and she--

Oh Hi!
Translation: Oh Shit.

Pads says her black and red dress didn't get enough airtime and they'll be saying goodbye to Seattle and packing their bags for a cruise to Alaska.
There are smiles and several "I've never been to Alaskas." Then Killjoy Colicchio adds they're the last five and he's expecting a lot. Thanks for counting and making us feel inadequate, Dad!

Finally what we've all been waiting for...the packing/"I don't think I have a coat warm enough"/"we've been through so much together" montage! Woo Yeah!
So, just like last season of TC, we're leaving the city the show is named after to go somewhere else. Though last year we weren't treated to Stefan saying: "I brought PAYANTS. I bought camping PAYANTS." And telling us he wasn't a bad kid (according to this photo it looks like he was a kid that longed to be in a boy band) but
-his Mom signed him up for it (???) and then he says...he thought they were "going on vacation when they drove to Finland but" his mother drove him to an army base and said 'Pick you up in eight months'!
and then eight months turned into a year!!! No wonder he's so angry!!!
While there, he began to cook for his military mates and keep cigarette companies in business with his constant puffing.

I'll spare you a description of the chefs walking on board Product Placement Cruise Liner, wind blowing through their hair (or in Stefan and Valentine's cases, scalp and (certainly fungus lined by now) plaid hat, respectively) but I will intro you to Bravo's new reality show:
Cruiseliner Chefs!
(How much you wanna bet Bravo films the chefs while they're on the Top Chef Cruise (you know that's the reason why this whole thing is happening, right?
You've just been manipulated! And served! On the high seas! With the potential to eat your weight in deli meats!)

The 5 drink and hang out while the other guests (oh yeah, they wouldn't get the Whole Ship) look over the railing and try not to inadvertently drop their cell phones in the ocean (I wonder if there's an Apple store on board?) but Sheldon knows some seriousness is right around the corner and here it is.
Eh. Sorta serious.

Turns out they have 2 Hours to do this

Now let's talk about the joys of cruise cooking!
There's no fire in the kitchen. It's electric. Yeah.
And everything is built to withstand an iceberg (pun intended) so it's difficult to open doors because they have various latches and dials and fobs the way every door in Tim Burton's house does which is why guests often pee there pants. Hey, why do you think you haven't heard from Alan Rickman in a while? Because he got stuck in Burton's house after a table reading of DARK SHADOWS! Dude is eating foam movie props and monster make up in A Sleep No More-style closet as I type!

As the 5 run around and look for where things are and how they work let's cut to Stone and Pads, topside, drinking champagne and (the soundtrack would have us believe) listening to some Parisian-esque accordion fare.
Pads: "What would you do with lettuce?"
Stone obliges with like two options which is why he's a hot host and a mediocre cook.
Pads is anxious to see because she thinks the chefs seem pretty "freaked out."
Notice her devilish smile because this is what she does now. Laughs at their pain.

Downstairs, in the belly of the ship with the rest of the rats, Stefan says people underestimate Lizzie (who has just moved his mise en place away from where she's working); Sheldon says you have to treat the ingredients with respect no matter what they are; Brooke worries that her plate doesn't look good but knows her flavors are there and Valentine says something about how his dish is supposed to taste like...a wet salad?!?!?

Taste time! Stefan's pastrami and cabbage with roasted potato has an "intense flavor" according to Stone. Sheldon's Vietnamese lettuce wrap with pork and shrimp and pickled iceberg lettuce hearts is met with a guttural: "Mmm, oh, it's bright, it's fresh, oh, I would eat a dozen of those" from a cruise guest that looks like she shops at Chico's.
Lizzie's iceberg salad with crispy bacon and shallots is good. Valentine walks away after delivering his iceberg lettuce rolled with apple cider vinaigrette and bacon fat (again with the bacon?) and Stone says: "He walks like a chef." Pads smiles: "Yes he does."
So all chefs walk like they're wearing doo doo diapers then?

Brooke's bacon, lettuce and scallop wrap with caramelized onion and crunchy quinoa is a little bit more than Pads' bargained for: "Now am I supposed to put this whole thing in my mouth?"
Brooke: "You can make it a two-biter, I suppose.
Which is a good name for a small bites restaurant. Or any two rappers these days cause they're biting like mofos!

Most of the guests eat the one bites with a resounding "we want more" because, as I learned when I took My Mama on a Norwegian Cruise years and years ago, they serve breakfast, snack, lunch, dinner and a midnight snack that is basically breakfast, lunch and dinner combined. Oof!

The winning dish with incredible blahblahblah and brilliant use of blahblah is...

Sheldon: "That warmed me up."
Hey! Wait a minute! Where's your red hat?!? You're on a cruise to Alaska and you don't have your red hat? Sacrilege! Or shall I say, Hatrilege!
Sheldon wins an advantage in the Elimination Challenge and Pads tells them to explore the ship and relax. She's made reservations for them at a restaurant later. I mean, she had her assistant's assistant tell the production assistant to do it.

Free Time!
Sheldon and Lizzie get manicures (!!) and she speaks (To Camera) about how her Dad was an avid fisherman and passed away recently. Awww.
Meanwhile, Stefan: "Yay, finally some liquor!" and Valentine and Brooke drink like the fish that the cruise ship kills in the ocean. Valentine reveals that today is his baby's due date and he hasn't talked to his wife.
Oh- we've seen this before, Valentine. I speak for you wife when I say this- if you don't win, and I mean win the whole thing, you can just stay your bacon eating doo doo diapered ass on that ship.

At dinner that night, Brooke says 'Look at the chandeliers' and Valentine remarks that he said that a little while ago.
Brooke: "Oh, that must have been totally when I wasn't listening to you."
Valentine: "You should keep on not listening to me: Fried Chicken. Worked out good for you didn't it?"
Oh snap!
Stefan: "Whoa! Be nice, guys."
The cat calling then goes from "how many challenges have you won?" to "how many challenges has Stefan won?" to Stefan calling Valentine "pushed pork." Nice!
Before things can escalate further the "food" is brought out. Notice I used quotes. A waiter drops off sushi lollipops, disco shrimp (served in a caviar class that has a flashing neon light--no, I'm serious. There's a flashing light. It's like- huh- no it's like a stupid little light you that put on a bike or give to a trick or treater, pushed in the ice in this miniature fish bowl that the caviar dish sits on with the shrimp on it. The shrimp looks like cat food btw.) And then the main dishes. If you think the ones above sounds absolutely stupid check out how this shit is served:
Waiter: "Enjoy your journey!"

Into a dirty, food splattered, compartmentalized drawer?

In an effort to please his OCD-self (we're learning so much about him today!) Stefan begins to move the food around when all of a sudden-
Coulda called that one!
Lizzie feels an enormous wave of panic that looks like nausea.

A still hatless Sheldon does his best to roll his eyes which is tough for a Hawaiian cause they're so gd relaxed all the time.

Pads: "I hope you like what you tasted here tonight because tomorrow night, you'll be running dinner service."
Uh oh. But wait-It looks like they're making original dishes. (Not the crap that they ate...right? Cause that would suck ogre balls!)
They're told to be creative (okay, I guess they don't have to do what the ship did) and Stefan says surf and turf reminds him of a wedding but he's not worried. Yeah, cause he made something that could have been served at a VFW last week.

As winner of the the QuickFire Sheldon gets first pick of the proteins and once he does, no one else can have them. That means no one gets to plan their menu that night. The chefs all grill him (pun intended AGAIN) but he doesn't give anything up.

Next Morning-
30 Minutes to Pick!
The hat is back!

Sheldon takes...lobster and beef tenderloin? (everyone furrows their brow at his boring choice); Stefan takes eel and pork belly; Lizzie- scallop and pork; Valentine scallop and, of course, bacon. Brooke does frogs legs and mussels to be different. Are frogs legs turf? I guess they leapt on the asphalt but...

2 1/2 hours until service!
Lizzie butchers an entire pig. Stefan braises his pork belly in beer. Sheldon feels like he picked the wrong proteins (great time to figure that out!) Valetine is making scallop pasta but it doesn't have the texture he wants.
Valentine: "I have no idea what I'm doing right now."
Valentine decides to scramble his scallops like eggs. I don't like how this sounds or looks at all. In fact, I'm gagging a little.
Stefan: "Really...breakfast...bacon again? He only cooks one item."

Here come the Judge!
Colicchio, Stone, the Head Chef and the Cruise Director (I wish her name as Julie!) from Product Placement Cruiselines; the Hotel Director and Unibrow (caterpillar in full effect.)

But no two Judges are as spectacular as these-

As is customary with all cruise meals and the hideous restaurant we've come to know on this particular liner, all of the dishes will be served in the ugliest most non-sensical vessels available.
Brooke's is first-

Stone and Colicchio say it's inventive. Unibrow says it marries well as surf and turf and it's a modern view. Someone from the ship says she didn't know they had frog's legs- that's how much gd food you have on board? Ship those legs to downtown LA, yo! Give that food away!

Stefan makes a quick intro of his dish- OMJ could these plates get any cornier?!
Wait a minute!
There's speculation that Colicchio has lost a tooth while eating his pork. Unibrow tries to chew next-
with not a lot of success.
Stone says he loves the crunch and it reminds him of the pork belly his mother used ot make. Where he's from that's how you serve the pork belly. It's called "crackling."
Unibrow and Colicchio don't seem excited about this at all. Pads thinks he took a risk. He did. With your fucking veneers!

Valentine's food arrives in what can only be described as votive candelabra or something the cruise ship dishwashers swear at and break on a reg.
He explains he was going to make a pasta originally but didn't like the way it set up so he made this "scrambled scallop." Colicchio thinks flavor wise it packs a big punch and Stone is surprised and praises inventiveness. Pads didn't get enough surf with her turf. Har! Someone from Product Placement Cruiselines says they like the presentation. Oh don't try to justify your crappy 1980's Daryl Hannah's interior decorate character from WALL STREET's dining ware!

Sheldon is frustrated and says his food is uninspired and his tempura is soggy.
Um. That's a major problem Hawaiian Hat.
That said, he tells the Judges he's going to take them on a journey to Korea and Japan- then he HIJACKS THE SHIP!
Unibrow doesn't like the idea of tempura as a concept at all so he's miffed to high heaven before he even tastes it. Coliccio says the presentation is great but "it came out of a fryer and it's cold so it must have sat back there for 10 minutes." Everyone proclaims The kimchee, beef and scallions as amazing. But the Product Placement Cruiselines Chef didn't get the "dynamite lobster" and uses his hands like there should have really been an explosion. WTH? Then again he prolly approved the purchase of all those dumb plates and the fact that his waitstaff dresses like the giant wooden soldiers that used to stand in front of FAO Schwarz.

Lizzie tries to pull her cabbage rolls but "the steamer is off"! She's agonized and takes them out with just 4 minutes left to plate! Hurry!
Stone says it looks like dim sum. No one is thrilled about the cabbage falling apart but Colicchio likes the flavors of her dish even though it's chewy. Come on! That was faulty ship equipment! I bet the rats broke that steamer. The Ratatouille rats.

Album cover stare down time!
Judge's Table
They compliment Brooke's dish, she gets a little giddy. Sheldon admits his ingredients didn't speak to him. (Because they're inanimate food products.) Colicchio: "But you chose those ingredients."
Face it, Sheldon!

Stone and Unibrow compliment Valentine but says it's a little strange. Pads says she was excited when she knew Stefan was doing eel but then Colicchio criticizes the sauce, the pork...and knocks on the table to illustrate how hard it was. Stone said he personally loves crispy skin pork but he could hear Colicchio chewing it from the other side of the table "and he was the first one to eat it so it made everyone frightened to pop it in their mouth."
No comment.
Colicchio slams Lizzie's dish. Then Unibrow praises it. Then Stone praise/slams it. WTF!
Finally...a winner is announced:
Hang your head, Valentine!
Brooke gets a 7 night cruise to the Caribbean which is ironic since she has a fear of ships. Pads tells Valentine and Lizzie...

they're safe!

Leaving Stefan to do some weird high five/hand holding gesture that Sheldon is Not interested in because he's in the bottom.
During the commercial- Save the Chef Stats!!

CJ 94%
Josie 6%

When they come back, Colicchio says he's not sure why Sheldon had a hard time because all season long he gave them great versions of surf and turf. Stefan had good ingredients but they didn't go together and his pork was too hard. Har.

to pack his knives and go.

Stefan, suddenly human (not to be confused with the Brooke Shields sitcom Suddenly Susan) thanks them for the second round and then gives hugs and says goodbye to everyone.
Stefan: "...sometimes it's hard to be doing what you're doing and get inspiration and that's what Top Chef does to you."
Deep. Especially if you're devoid of inspiration and, potentially, a soul.
Stefan: "I'm not going home yet, I got one more chance to cook, see you in...
Stefan: "...muthafuckah."

For this LCK, the peanut gallery is gone and the chefs are cooking...outside?
Colicchio welcomes Stefan and asks if he knows who reining LCK Champ is.
Stefan: "It's probably going to be" Model Boston "but if not it's Bart."
Vandaele Industries?!? That's who you'd pick to have beaten everyone?! You're just a sucker for any European, aren't you?

When Model Boston walks out from behind a tree:
Stefan: "Of course it's wifey I knew it."
Colicchio: "Wifey?! What's this wifey?"
(Poor naive Colicchio, not knowing what's going on behind the scenes and in the stew room of the TC house and not having the chefs fear him or pee on themselves when he shows up anymore.)

Model Boston says they had a fun, flirtatious relationship and thinks it would be "entertaining" to beat Stefan. Really? Stefan says Model Boston is like him 10 years ago, except she's gorgeous. And has hair. And is tan. And is nice. And never raises her voice or flips on people. People who deserve it. Like Josie.
Stefan is "gonna be super sad" but he "can't wait to beat her."

The Challenge
Colicchio reminds Stefan he's been on the bottom of the barrel four times. That's a third of the challenges! (Again, thanks, Dad!) So he gets..."bottom of he barrel as far as meats are concerned."
Here come the offal (which I love to call awful) which Stefan hates.
30 Minutes Start Now!

Model Boston grabs chicken livers since she can develop flavors with them quickly. Stefan takes hearts, tripe, liver and the tongue and is going to make dumplings.
As they cook-
They flirt:
"You look so handsome."
"You look beautiful as well."
MAN I bet if Michael Voltaggio was on the season with Model Boston they woulda screwed like rabbits and then braised one!

Colicchio says it was well balanced, the chicken livers were perfectly cooked, crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside. Really nice.

The dumpling was well cooked, really nice offal flavor, great job developing flavors in that short time.
Both really nice dishes but the winner...
Stefan: "Awesome." And he looks like he genuinely means it!
Colicchio asks who gets the house in the divorce, Stefan says he gets the cash.
Model Boston: "Nah ah."
That's three wins in a row!

So, with Save a Chef and Last Chance Kitchen and Two Chefs Out One Back In and Everyone Gathering Around the GD Mulberry Bush, that means, sadly, I must ask LB to pack her knives and go since Kuniko is out for good.

Next week, Lizzie gets emotional about her Dad, Sheldon decides to push it, fresh fish abound and Valentine's wife is fully dilated. EW!

Until then...

GBG Brooke and Sheldon
JET Model Boston and Sheldon
MO Sheldon
LUCY Valentine and Brooke
TRIPP Sheldon
Q Lizzie and Sheldon
KEITH Model Boston
JENNA Valentine and Brooke
MARI Stefan
KAREN E. LOGUE Lizzie and Sheldon
MERIDEN Lizzie and Brooke
GRACE Sheldon
COLUCCI Sheldon and Josie
DAISY Model Boston
ME Brooke

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