Thursday, February 14, 2013

"I kind of pulled it out of the deeper place..."

Poolers, I am sick as a dog!
How sick, you ask?
I was supposed to go see Cody ChestnuTT tonight and I couldn't!!
Who is Cody ChestnuTT, you ask?
(You ask a lot of questions.)
Only the most awesomest rock & roll/r&b musician to ever make a double solo album and play all the instruments himself and never ever tour. I thought he might have offed himself or left everything to be a bus driver in San Matteo by now cause he's tortured like that but thank Buddha he hasn't! Here's a taste- really just an app because (it's his song) but he's only singing the hook on this version with The Roots:
Yeah. I know. I don't want to talk about it anymore. And actually I can't because I'm losing my voice. ARGH!

Our third to last ep (Awwwww!) begins with Valentine saying his wife is more than a week overdue and how he really wants to be there for his family.
Poor word choice, Yukon Cornelius.
You mean you want to win.
You want to tell your baby that you weren't there for her birth because you were winning Top Chef and insuring she'd go to a great school and get a VW Beetle for graduation.
Instead you'll tell that to a dirty mirror, glassy eyed as you eat uncooked bacon in a Motel 5.
(That's right, you won't even be able to afford a Motel 6 after your wife give you the boot!)

The chefs grab breakfast in the TC Alaskan apt and find a note amongst the store-bought looking pastries telling them to drive to their Quickfire Challenge. That's when Brooke sees this.

Brooke: "I'm not going in that thing."
Apparently a helicopter "epitomizes" all of Brooke's fears: enclosed in a tight space, no control, and, if it goes down, she'll have to eat Valentine and her cholesterol levels will skyrocket cause he's fulla pork!

The female pilot tells her it's a 15 minute trip and she'll be okay. Brooke asks if she can wait for the Xanax to kick in before she takes off.

She's gonna cooking on Xanax? Awesome!

Five minutes in she finally opens her eyes and sees the mountains and almost doesn't care that she peed her pants a little.

They land on a glacier and Sheldon remarks that there are sled dogs everywhere and he'd "die for some good reefer."
THIS, Lady and Gentlemen Poolers, is how you KNOW weed is gonna be legalized: Bravo left that in!
Bravo is owned by NBC Universal!
Who is owned by Kabletown!
Whose CEO is Jack Donaghy!
Whose president is Kenneth (formerly The Page!)
Also- e'rybody knows there's weed in your hat, Sheldon. Pads expects you to roll a fatty at the wrap party.

Okay so we've gone from a car to a helicopter and now, come on!

Note that Valentine has a separate sidecar-ish back sled so his farts stay downwind.


WAIT! We traveled THIS far for THAT outfit, Pads? That's not even a coat 1988 Big Daddy Kane would love!
Turns out they're at the Iditarod Training Camp where, according to Colicchio, the food is what you'd usually find at a camp

until now...

30 Minutes --GO!
They book it to the coolers (why do you even need 'em? you're in Alaska, just drop the shit in the snow) and then a makeshift pantry as they collect ingredients finally arriving in little kitchen where Sheldon and Valentine keep their sunglasses on. I guess you need them if you have to run back for more fixings?

Sheldon has never seen this much snow in his life but then again he's a weed head. I can't imagine him on coke.

Brooke isn't sure if it's the stove or the altitude but her fish doesn't seem to be cooking properly. Meanwhile, guess which Blues Brother is making breakfast?

Brooke's pan-roasted halibut and panzanella salad with red currant and beet vinaigrette is praised by a picky Iditarod-er and an even picker Colicchio.

Pads: "Let's move on to what looks like...a form of breakfast. I'm gonna guess that you made this," Valentine.

Ha ha! Skewered!
His cornmeal cake with bacon (YAWN) and cheddar cheese and salmon gets a "The eggs are straight up scramble?" from Colicchio. Which is not a child's board game like Ants In The Pants.

Sheldon also did a pan roasted halibut but with tomatoes, sesame fried bok choy and pickled radish. Colicchio says the halibut was nicely cooked but "the sauce had a salty flavor to it." Shouldn't it though? I mean, it's fish.
The winner by a snowy mile is-
All those tears and queasiness and she still came out on top!

Pads says she has another surprise and joins them in the helicopter- is that the surprise? They get to smell her?
Then the four of them get in a car- OH, this is the surprise- Pads knows how to drive!

Then they get back to the TC apt where the dining room table is set and then-
Okay- they have to cook for this guy?

That's not a surprise. That's kinda mean. Wait- this one too?

There's not enough food! Hey, is there any sourdough left over from the last Elimination Challenge? What?!- he ATE IT already?!

BAM!: "Roy and I have cooked you a special lunch in celebration of you being the final three."
Oh. Are you sure there's no hidden turn to this surprise like they have to make the exact same dish for the Judges blindfolded?

Maybe they'll have to wash dishes.

During the meal we learn that RC (Roy Choi) knows Brooke because she used to cook at the restaurant he "cooks at now." RC started the whole food truck revolution in LA.
Then he gets a little choked up as he tells the table he was "a scumbag" when growing up "you didn't want to meet me."
Hold up, are we still surprising here? Is this an intervention? Who could it be for?! They found the stash in Sheldon's hat?!
Turns out RC didn't start cooking until later in life when he was 25. And what did it was seeing "this dude on the TV."
BAM!: "Me?"
RC: "Yeah, to be honest."
BAM! was cooking braised short ribs in red wine and it "slapped him across the face." He got out of bed, wiped "the snot from his eyes" (not making me want to taste your food, Honey) and started researching culinary schools.
BAM!: "Wow."

BAM! then tries to compete with a story about how all the Portuguese bakers at the the restaurant where he washed dishes liked him and taught him how to make bread but it doesn't tug on any heartstrings unless you count arteries.
All I can think about is what kind of skid row situation RC was in, if they'll illustrate his story on Southland on TNT and if he serves Snot Eye Fries on his food truck.

At last the reason for the reminiscing-

Then Pads drops a gubernatorial-sized bomb: They have 2.5 hours TONIGHT to prep AND cook and a 1.5 hours the next day for a dinner for the Governor of Alaska and His Governess.
(I mean, his wife. Wouldn't it be easier to call her that though? I bet that's what she really is.)
2.5 to prep and cook tonight!? Jesus, anything else you need done?
RC (on the way out): "Ya'll can do the dishes."
I called it!

As the chef's plan, Valentine gets the call that his wife is headed to the hospital. She says it's okay that he's not there and she loves him cause that's what you do when you're married and this kind of thing is being televised.
Valentine: "I love you."

Hey, smart phones aren't waterproof yet!

Next Day-
Valentine asks Brooke what she's making, she has no idea: "I'm gonna keep asking you then."
Screw that, Brooke. Every time he asks what you're making ask him how close his wife's contractions are!
Not At Your Baby's Birth SLAM!
Sheldon works on a gigantic prehistoric gold fish that looks to have been surprised when it was caught.

He's doing an homage to one of the founders of Hawaiian cuisine. He had a cooking show Sheldon used to watch that validated his career choice. I wonder if he wore a red yarn hat.
Hold up- Colicchio in the house! First order of business: tell Sheldon that most TC contestants cook their fish too early. Sheldon makes a mental note.

Valentine's defining moment was when he first tasted foie gras during an internship for chef Alex Roberts. He makes a torchon ("dish towel" in French.) You have to devein, season, roll in cloth, poach, reroll the foie gras again to make sure it’s tight, chill and slice. This generally takes...
3 days and Valentine's doing it in 4 hours? No wonder he wasn't there for his baby's birth. He prolly thought you stick it in and 3 hours later you get a newborn.
Oh and Alex Roberts used to work for this guy AND Alex's torchon recipe is "probably his recipe-"

You just made your life a billion times harder, Pork Rind!

Brooke makes her mother's braised chicken since that was the impetus for her career. Well- sort of- she kind of can't remember because she was four when she caught the cooking bug and went from watching cartoons to watching cooking shows. Personally I watched both! I loved Julia Child and tried to imitate her accent when I played school with my dolls. (That's right, Colucci, my British accent has been cultivated since I was a child. It's bloody good!)

That night at the apt, Brooke discusses how painful it would be not to win having taken time away from her son.
Then the tear-stained uterus phone rings again-

Valentine: "I know, I wanna be there too."

There's lots of crying then-
HIS MOTHER IN LAW gets on the phone and says she's having contractions and can't talk.
TRANSLATION: "You are DEAD MF. DEAD! I can't wait for you to get back here so I can kill you for what you did to my daughter!"
So he takes his hairy legs down to the livingroom and decides to "wait." You're gonna be exhausted, Bad Idea Jeans!

Also, put on some jeans!

A few hours later and yet another woman is pissed Valentine isn't there.

Valentine: "She's got your pouty face."

Oh that's Exactly what you want to tell your wife as you're being recorded by cameras so, in the future, when cashiers ring her up at Walgreens and she can't find her change purse they can call her "Pouty Face."
They name her Georgia after Valentine's Dad, George (that's adorbs): "I instantly fell in love with Georgia the moment I laid eyes on her..."
-over a computer.
-from thousands of miles away.

1.5 hours til service!
Valentine: "Brooke, you figured out what you're doing yet." Brooke says (To Camera) she knows, she has just decided not to tell Valentine so she answers: "Working on it." Sheldon says Brooke has won more challenges than anyone else and she's the one to beat. All he can think about is waiting until the last minute to cook his fish.
And now, here come the judge!

Also known as The New Mod Squad - Tuesday nights on NBC!
Pads is with Puck, Colicchio, Gail, The Governor and Governess, BAM! and RC. No Unibrow in site- thankfully. One other thing I like about this Challenge: they're just cooking one dish. No dessert, no pairing bullshit. Just one plate of food. Good for you, Bravo Producers.

With 20 minutes to go, Sheldon starts to cook his fish. After he plates, he tastes his broth and-
"it's way too salty. I let it reduce way too much. I waited 'til the last second to plate up and it bit me in the ass."
Time to smoke the weed in your hat. You know, after you serve.

Finally some proper dinnerware!

Puck likes how he cooked the prawns, light and sweet. The Governor says the presentation was lovely. RC says the conception of the dish was amazing but it was a little too salty. Gail: "It's unfortunate because Sheldon is never heavy handed." Colicchio: "One mistake is going to separate you from going home or going to the finale and this is that one mistake so far."

Awww and Sheldon knows it.

He better say that right away and whip up some tears if he wants to stay.

After the jump, Pads asks Puck if he remembers when he decided to be a chef. Puck relays his mother was a professional chef and he used to help the pastry chefs in the hotel where she worked because he liked sweets.
Puck: "My father always told me I was good for nothing and nothing was ever going to happen and when I told him I wanted to be a chef he said 'cooking is for women.'

Puck: "...'that's not a man's job.'"

Um, nothing else to add, Puck?
Seriously, that's the end of the story? You couldn't throw in something like: "But I always knew cooking was for anyone who cared and that's what I told my father when I served him spit soup for the first time?
Wolfgang Puck - the last man in a long line of Chauvinist Fucks™.
p.s. That face Gail has there? That's the- 'Lemme-talk-to-you-Pads-cause-Puck-can't-be-on-this-shit-next-season' face.

Brooke explains she struggled to come up her dish when she presents and says (To Camera) "I feel like I kind of pulled it out of the deeper place and maybe that's why it was so hard for me."

They eat.
In silence.
Colicchio: You "can always tells when food's good, everybody's quiet."
Praises: very homey, wonderful flavors, looks simple until you break it apart and you see all these layers and different temperatures.
RC reveals that Brooke was a "prodigy in the city of LA." And that dish is her "on a plate."
Puck admits his quail is overcooked but if her mother cooked like that "I would come to her house."
You stay away from Brooke's mother, Dickwad!

In the kitchen, Valentine tells Brooke to feel free to help him plate. Brooke: "Sorry, Charlie."
His torchon didn't set up properly and he had to put it in the freezer at the last minute but he thinks his flavors are there. When he presents he uses the words foie gras three times because there are three foie gras dishes there. Foie Gras.

RC cleared his plate and thought the flavors were good on all three. Gail says the profiterole was great but the torchon wasn't set. Colicchio says he pushed himself but sometimes you have to pull back. BAM! liked the cornmeal because it runs through his veins and powers his heart. The Governor wanted more texture: "I wanted to chew on something." You're a public official. You don't want to be saying that. Ever.

Album Cover Show Down At The Governor's Mansion Where The Room Is Too Tight For Long Lenses And The Lighting Can't Be Controlled, Hence No Interesting, Moody Shots!

First bashed: Valentine.
He says he really wanted to go "excuse me, balls to the wall" and wishes he had a few more hours to do the torchon. Colicchio: "There's absolutely no way to poach it and form it and chill it in an hour. This has nothing to do with how good a chef you are, you just can't do it!"
Gail calls it veiny (Ewwwww) but loved the apricot.
Veiny is never a good word to hear. Unless you're a phlebotomist.

Second: Brooke
Puck says her quail was a little overcooked. RC: "It was almost like an origami, really fantastic."
It turned into a paper swan?
Pads thought Brooke set up herself up with a difficult task. Colicchio: "...there was chicken, quail and two or three kinds of mushrooms just worked."
Time for 1/2 a Valentine head drop.

Third: Sheldon
Puck: "How can you cook the fish so perfectly and screw up the broth afterwards? I thought there must be a different person cooking the broth.
Sheldon: "As I was plating I tasted it, I seen the clock-"
Colicchio: "You gotta taste it beeefore you plate it, not after."

Pads: "Awwwwww"
Everyone laughs like he's a recently potty trained four year old who almost made it to the bathroom but shit his pants anyway. Possibly for the last time in front of them.
Gail: "...there was a lot of flavor but when the salt hit your mouth there was a harshness." (Also a nominee for Post Title, Tripp.) Pads says the fish and prawn were beautifully cooked.
The winner was unanimous.
She moves on! But only one of the Hat Wearers is going to the finale in LA.
Is this Top Chef Seattle? Where are we again?
El Segundo, right?

The Hatted Ones are sent back to Stew with a champagne-sipping Brooke.
At Governor's Table, there's frustration. Why did Valentine make foie gras three ways? Why didn't Sheldon taste his food? Why do we care if whoever is counted out can come back in Last Chance Kitchen?

Finally, Pads asks...

Valentine to pack his pork and go!
His wife will say the same thing soon.

Unless...he comes back.
He could still win it all.

This is...

When Valentine enters the Thunderdome-

Model Boston: "You look skinny."

Valentine: "I saw myself on television."

Everyone laughs.
Then Colicchio explains 'Save a Chef.'

Everyone stops laughing.

So it's CJ vs. Lizzie...and the public has spoken.

With 61% of the vote.

The chef being saved is...

CJ is bummed out. He's also DIS-MISSED! Just like that? No Second To Last Chance Kitchen?

Okay, later Dr. Lankenstein!

Lizzie vs. Model Boston vs. Valentine!
The Challenge-
Make anything in Colicchio's Craft kitchen in 30 minutes.

Valentine grabs venison from the walk in; Lizzie picks black cod and decides to make it in paper. She asks if anyone saw garlic. Valentine was looking for it too. Model Boston works stealthily, she's making FRESH PASTA (holy crap) with pea tendrils and kale (Oh Man! Ellie turned me on to pea tendrils! Little garlic and olive oil and wooo, I just drooled. I crave those things now!)
Colicchio asks Valentine why he's curing (coriander) his venison when it's 30 minutes.
Uh huh.
He actually finished first and stands around while Lizzie and Model Boston finish.

Colicchio's least favorite was-

His venison was still cold in the center. It needed a little more time in the pan. Maybe the time he took standing around since he finished first?
"Unfortunately, I'm gonna have to ask you to leave the kitchen."
Enjoy life at Motel 5!

Okay- it's down to Lizzie and Model Boston...he says: "You guys are making this tough."

He thought with 30 minutes maybe they didn't have to make pasta but those were the best parts of each dish.
When asked, Model Boston admits she never made that dish before.

She was editing as she cooked and actually added the pomegranates at the very end because the dish needed a crunch and she didn't want to use bread.

He tells Lizzie her dish was on the money, black pepper came through, the fish was perfectly cooked.

It's gotta be Model Boston because Pads has to realize she's gonna go down for being a hater right?
Though Lizzie did pull through in the end and kick crack and beat the pants of CJ to get back!

Colicchio: "And the winner of Last Chance Kitchen is..."

These words?

This typeface?

I don't need this shit! I'm already sick and missing Cody ChestnuTT.
Damn you, Bravo!

Well, one thing we do know.
I must officially ask Mari; since Stefan isn't coming back, unless it's to marry his wife he married twice for a third time; and Holly and Ellie, to pack their lovely knives and go.

So, next week we find out who our final three are for the first part of the Finale (not to be confused with the dessert restaurant, Finale.) I can't believe five people still have two picks in the race! I think this is the most people moving into the Finales in Top Chef Pool History™!
Guess I better stop spending that pool cheddar and get it together to send out!
I keed! I am keeder.

Until next week!

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

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