Thursday, February 7, 2013

"Smells like fish."

Poolers! Before I get to the meat of the matter- 3 quick things-
Jenna says Punchy Dale "ripped off" her tater tots that are currently served at The Lower Depths!
Okay maybe he didn't steal it.
Maybe it's best to say he didn't because Punchy Dale still has the propensity to PUNCH! Keep back 50 feet! Actually that should have been the name of his restaurant.

Second- Q and Holly! Send me your cheddar! Come on, the show's almost ovah, yo!

Third- there's gonna be an ELEVENTH season of Top Chef!
Last year before they settled on Seattle (and went to Alaska?) they were considering Portland and Boston. I'm thinking it's GOTTA be us or them, right? If it's us that means Pads and Colicchio could be tooling about our town.
OMG what if they bring Michael Voltaggio in to judge an ep? Or Sam?! OR Fabio!
FABIO! My panties are exploding with possibilities!

On the Product Placement Cruiseliner, Valentine let's out a little sigh that could have come from his ass as the final four talk about how Stefan was "good hearted." Really? And relay how he saved baby chicks at a farm once and kissed and coddled them before deep frying them for fun (there wasn't even a challenge!)
Valentine thinks about his wife and the baby he won't be there to see born. His wife thinks about this too and turns what used to be the nursery into a bedroom for him.

The Product Placement Cruiseliner pulls into Juneau and the four walk to Tracy's Crab Shack. Pads welcomes them. Now you KNOW it's cold if she's rocking REI separates!

She stands next to one of Valentine's culinary idols-
An extra from the broadway show Newsies!

Pads read in USA Today that Alaska brought in 76 million pounds of crab last year. Newsies tells them fishermen are risking their lives day in day out. Hey, we've seen "Catchin Crabs" on the Discovery Channel. Oh wait, that a Lifetime Movie.
The Quickfire seems simple enough-

But Sheldon who, though it's late in the game, may have to be renamed Soggy Tempura, has no experience with it. Crab is a "pricey" menu item in Hawaii. Um, so is Everything! It's an island! The only thing that's not imported are several exotic species of fish, weed and lava.
Newsies adds that he was on a flight for 13 hours "just to eat this Alaskan crab, don't let me down."
Thanks Ass!
Also, why didn't you stow away in the belly of the Product Placement Cruiseliner? It woulda been a great place to practice your show stopping song "Carrying The Banner."

Time Starts Now!

Lizzie chefs up a rustic king crab fritata; Brooke preps a delicate crab toast with a compound butter; Sheldon uses the innards of a dungeness crab to make a miso soup (he smokes pine needles with asparagus tips on top!) Valentine, confident that his cooking is like Newsies (huh?) makes a succotash with butter poached king crab and, you guessed it-
Brooke: "Sucker-tash?" Har!
I can picture Valentine's poor wife now: home alone, about to burst with child, glaring at his freezers-full of pork.

During the tasting, Newsies says Valentine's succotash "tastes like home" and that Brooke made some "expensive butter." During judging, he chastises Lizzie's "overcooked" eggs and crab...too many flavors." And......
Valentine- OH SHIT- because he "served succotash to a succotash snob." Newsies thought "the bacon was unnecessary and the sauce broke." KAPOW!
You hear that Valentine?! Your bacon was unnecessary!
Your wife is applauding!

He liked Sheldon's and Brooke's which he "didn't want to like because it was so simple" (jerk!)
The winner of 5k is...

The other three smile at him and pat his back when they really want to stab it with expensive knives.
Pads and Newsies give us a history lesson about bread and how early settlers would carry "starters" with them in their pouches (ew) which is what you use to make a loaf and then more facts about the fishing industry and, finally...
Oh man! Why couldn't they make more crab?! I was looking forward to more crab jokes!

Right away, Lizzie looks tense. She isn't familiar with baking sourdough. Pads tells them both of the ingredients are ones the Alaskans are very familiar with. They get to go to the dock to pick out their fish and then they have three hours to cook at the Gold Creek Salmon Bake before the locals arrive.

Pads: "You're serving them ingredients they're probably used to cooking themselves in a million different ways. Kinda like, serving succotash to a Southerner..."
Here comes the Valentine head drop.

Brooke actually says: "Oh shit."
This could go on record as The Cattiest Padma Has Ever Been In Top Chef History™.

She explains that a local baker who has been making sourdough for 31 years with the same "starter" has left it at their hotel. When my sister and I went to visit my Darling friend Hope who lives in Glasgow with her fantastic husband and adorable little boys that I call Darling-Minis, she had a "friendship loaf starter." It's a chain mail starter that's been going around for hundreds of years. You have to make five cakes from it and everyone you give a cake to you give some of the starter to so they can make five more and pass it on.
It seems as if this would spread the runs across all the continents but shockingly it hasn't and my sister said it was delicious.

They get to the hotel check out their "starters"
Jenna knows all about this- her hubby Chris makes bread all the time. The closest I ever got was rudimentary pizza dough when I used to make my own pizzas which was really a skill someone like me who craved copious amounts of cheeses should not have ever tried to master.
What's that saying? Teach a meth addict to make meth and they're on meth for a lifetime.
Until the shack combusts.

Everyone starts in on making bread-
Lordy, they just got off the ship, did a challenge and got to the apartment. How about a shower? A nap? A glass of wine? Two glass- A bottle of wine?! Nope.
I don't know much about sourdough or traditional bread making myself except to say it appears to be an extremely time intensive scientific-like process that no one other than bread makers really care about because, let's be honest, we're Americans! We're used to getting whatever we want in any store in the world without batting an eyelash. We're lucky like that. Shit, sometimes I'll buy a bag of groceries and just throw it in the street for laughs. GANGSTA!

Sheldon adds green tea and chives to his loaf cause he's from Hawaii. (Hey, that's not tea and chives!)
Valentine is making a black olive bread as a crouton.
Lizzie is making individual rolls and she's going to stuff the salmon inside. She's super nervous and wonders if she should make another batch. Valentine says he thinks it's enough. She asks again. He says better safe than sorry. Kill that noise, I'd make like 10 Fucking Loaves!
Now it's all about waiting for it to rise. (INSERT VIAGRA AD HERE.)

In the morning, Sheldon plays the ukelele and ponders his chances to become Top Chef. The chefs proclaim it his "Sourdough song."
Valentine has - HEY! Brooke: "Why do you have a phone?"
Valentine: "Cause my wife's having a baby."
By herself.

They go to the docks. Sheldon: "Smells like fish." Valentine: "Smells like fish." They watch a boat come in and unload a huge haul of salmon right in front of them. They get to pick whatever they want from four types! One is called chum! Gross!
They gut the fish right friggin there and innards fly out like it's SAW 8. Lizzie gets sad about her Dad who she lost recently and was a fisherman. Awww- hold it together Lizzie! Another woman needs to win this time! (This is what Meriden and I were discussing. 10 seasons and only one woman TC?)

3 Hours To Cook- oh hey-
Colicchio hits Valentine first and asks if there's any word. Apparently his wife is dilated and filling out divorce papers. When Sheldon tells Colicchio he's making pea soup (which he's never made before) and salmon Colicchio freezes. That's what he told someone he felt like: "I swear to God."
Sheldon: "BOOM!" He has an instant boost of confidence.

Lizzie works on salmon and citrus beet glaze. Colicchio is encouraged about her making the whole salmon and not cutting it up: "Thank God!"
He's very religious today.
When he asks Brooke why she's poaching salmon to order she gets flustered. No time to change it now- Go with your gut, Brooke!

They barely have time to cook, let alone trick out their stations when-
(That's Lizzie in the center there running.)

Pads was right- these people know their dough and fish- they start asking all kindsa questions when all of sudden, Here Come The Judge!
The band is back together! (With Newsies of course.)
Pads makes idle chit chat and we learn that Unibrow has never been to a salmon bake. Or an eyebrow trimmer. There's talk of the bears that are in the trees (there was a Mama and three cubs) and Colicchio says bears are his fan base.
Nice one!

Not content with cold beer- COLD BEER?! Haul out the scotch, it's freezin! They set out for grub.

BAM! says "Mmm-mmm" right away which is code for "Good"; "More"; and "A lot more." Colicchio likes the broth, it has a good amount of acid and he digs the mustard seed. Newsies agrees but Unibrow didn't like the way the seeds looked once "they melted down." BAM! thought she nailed the bread. Big smiles all around for the most part.

Unibrow looks quizzical when he firsts sees Sheldon's dish-

When they chow down, Pads makes the gas face. Well, as gassy a face as one so beautiful can make.
Pads: "I love green tea. I love chives. I don't like them together." Uh oh. Gail didn't like the char on the salmon. Newsies didn't like that Sheldon had grinded the salmon down with his tongs.

He found it disrespectful. Because he knows that fish's father. Unibrow parrots his "grinding" action and reminds us that he prolly took an acting class.
And that he's a giant pain in the posterior.
While Newsies liked the soup, Unibrow called it too thick "it reminded me of baby food. A good baby, a healthy baby, a well flavored baby."
Technically the fish flesh WAS all ripped up in the bowl. It looked like fish pastrami.
Mmmmm fish pastrami.

But wait- Sheldon is getting grilled like his salmon!
"Why did you also use chum?"
"No one cooks with chum."
Sheldon: "Ahhhhhhhh...."

Valentine's olive loaf croutons look durty-
Uni says it's well cooked and executed. Colicchio says the garlic soup is very strong, he doesn't know if they go together. Diners say the salmon is perfectly cooked and fresh.

Lizzie wanted to do something different since everyone was doing soup. Can I just say something?

I was never a big lobster fan, I liked crab more but salmon was always one of my favorites and beets (which I adore) AND poppyseed butter?! Just hook an IV of that up to me right MF NOWS!
Gail: "I like Lizzie's pickle!" Unibrow says she's the only one who "got the beautiful crust on the bread." But he didn't understand the beet and citrus. Colicchio didn't understand why she didn't marinate the salmon in it. Newsies didn't taste the citrus flavor at all. BAM! said he wouldn't have done something so simple this far in. (He still eats it though because he's way behind on his 34 meal a day quota.)

The Judges then proceed to sit down with the locals and ask what they preferred. Perhaps Top Chef viewership is low in Alaska? Either way, unless there's a ballot, who gives a crap? You know, except for the Juneauaians.

Judge's Table is made out of Ikea furnishings and a couple of old Crate & Barrel entertainment centers.

Colicchio praises Lizzie's bread then criticizes her under seasoned salmon. Pads asks if she tasted the slider as she served it to them. Lizzie tasted all the components. Individually.
Pads (wags a finger): "See that's not the same."
Don't EEEEEEEEEVEN get her started, Lizzie. Didn't I warn you about this?
Lookit what happened to Model Boston!
Thank Buddha you're not wearing lipstick or a tight chef's coat. Wait- do you have modeling in your background? Pads will suss it out and will throw you onto a glacier IMMEEDS!
Gail says the substantial amount of bread aided the loss of the flavor to the salmon. The bread sopped it up, yo!
Newsies appreciates her confidence to do a simple dish but: "Simple food is the most difficult to pull off."
So are certain bras.
Then it begins to rain! On the chefs, not the Judges- CHEFCISTS! I'd be outta there, Dood. Black hair don't play that.

Pads turns her Mothra-sized fake lashes to Sheldon: "The locals never use chum, it's what they use to feed the dogs."
That said the locals thought the dish was good. Gail isn't sure if it worked. Hey, Newsies didn't say anything about him tearing up the salmon with the tongs! WTH? You have to avenge that fish's death!

Gail likes that Brooke did her dishes to order "very bold" but her fish was a "little overcooked."
Brooke says she doesn't want to make excuses but she hit her stride (cooking-wise) after the Judge's dishes were served.
Uni says "as chefs and restauranteurs" they recognized it and "saw that pretty readily on her face" when they walked up. Know what WE see readily on your friggin face?

BAM! tells Valentine how much he loved his croutons (har.) Uni says his salmon was stunning but knees him in the loaf for losing the fish in the boldness of the flavors. Gail says the garlic was overpowering. Colicchio asks if you're gonna use that much garlic (which is fine) "is poaching the salmon the best way to go?"
The answer: Yes!
The answer is no.

The Judges all agree on the winner and nearly all the locals did too-

Brooke gets a free trip to Costa Rica!
She's psyched because they've been standing in the rain wearing chef's coats in Alaska for hours. Oh, she can't leave yet?

Pads dismisses them so the Judge's can talk smack behind their backs:
Valentine's dish had a balance issue but Lizzie's bland salmon sammy? She should have made a dish instead. And Gail was amazed that she admitted she never tasted it all together. Newsies: "It's hard to forgive."
Your cap is hard to forgive. In fact I don't forgive it. I REBUKE IT!

Pads: "It was a sourdough/salmon challenge, Sheldon had problems with his sourdough and his salmon."
DON'T EVEN TELL ME Valentine is getting an automatic pass?! Uuuuugh! I want an All Female Finale™! Lizzie and Brooke and Model Boston- Sheldon has screwed up tempura twice- TWICE!

Okay, here's where I usually tell you about Save a Chef. Turns out this is "the last chance to Save a Chef"
which sounds too much like Last Chance Kitchen. (Come on, Bravo producers, can you try not to make one of your methods of bringing back eliminated chefs not sound like the other method of bringing back eliminated chefs?)
Either way they now want us to WATCH Last Chance Kitchen to find out who the last chef you can save is!

Back at MegaTable: Colicchio verbally slams everyone again cause it's fun and still raining, says it's the details "at this point" and turns it over to Pads.

Pads asks...



Come on! So What she made a bland sandwich- her bread was perfect!
Sheldon wrecked the bread and tonged the salmon like it was kale!
Pads: "It was so nice to meet you. Take care."

Shit. Lizzie shouldn't have said she didn't taste it together. That's what really did her in.
Lizzie says it was great to be there it possible she'll come back?

This is...

When she gets to the outdoor kitchen, Lizzie isn't surprised to see who the reigning chef is-

Colicchio admits he was surprised Lizzie was eliminated for fish. He challenges her to try again. Cook fish. But the only cooking methods are fire and smoke.
Model Boston: "Oh shit."

30 Minutes start now!
Lizzie guts her fish like a pro in prep for a fish stew

Model Boston decides to go "more Asian" (no comment) and makes...a fish stew.
Oh boy...

It starts to rain. I bet Bravo planned it!

Model is happy to be able to swivel the grill over the open flame to control the heat and quickly gets to work on the broth.

Colicchio: "...nice flavors, well developed the chili oil came through at the end. It had a little warm heat and the lime juice gave it a hit of acid."

When Colicchio eats Lizzie's dish she asks if he wants more broth. He says yes and dips the bread in it, going for seconds. (That never happens!) Model Boston is NOT encouraged. He tells Lizzie if she had made that dish she "...wouldn't be in the Last Chance Kitchen" and she "would have won the competition."

Colicchio admits he's lucky doing Last Chance Kitchen because he's "getting better food" than in Top Chef- OH SNAP!
One dish had more well rounded flavors.
OMG OMG if Lizzie gets it she could be up against CJ to get back in- or wait- no it would be Model Boston versus CJ and that winner goes up against Lizzie to see who gets back in via Last Chance Chef Save? Or they both get back in for Save a Kitchen? Or they bring back Josie for The Josie Show? I'm so confused!

The winning dish is...

Model Boston's!
Colicchio: "One more to go- how do you feel?"
She says doesn't want to get cocky but she feels like she "deserves it."
I guess that's as cocky as someone who could have stood up for herself at Judge's Table by saying one simple sentence: "Josie told me she was going to prep the bones to make the bouillabaisse and didn't", can be.

So in Save A Chef- it's CJ against Lizzie!
For now they're both still in.
Along with Model Boston.
And Sheldon and Brooke.
And Valentine.
And Valentine's wife's baby.
In her uterus, I mean.

Next week: helicopters, dog sleds and Pads in reflective sunglasses! See you 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
DAISY Model Boston
ME Brooke


  1. Hey DD,

    Great entry - just started reading these posts. Thanks for the laugh-out-loud references to Product Placement Cruiseliner and to Newsies, as well as for calling him a jerk. Have you ever noticed the palpable ego on these QF judges who, somehow, at the age of 30 have palates more sophisticated and expert than our poor plebeian tongues and the weird ways they find to put down others' efforts? I think the thing that bothered me most about the judging was the hyper-casual but decidedly chic scarf knots on display. West Village x Aspen realness.

    1. Joesph Logue?!? Thanks so much for reading and writing!
      Those QF Judges are only thinking of one thing when they're on TC: Their Own Show. Poops!
      I love that you watch the show! But more important, I love that you've come up with a name for new band: Plebeian Tongues!