Thursday, November 20, 2008

Top Chef New York Episode Two

As the day breaks, we see the cheftestants stirring in their apartment in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. There was no way Bravo could afford a place big enough to sleep 15 in Manhattan.

Ariane is still upset from being thisclose to going home after the last challenge. She seems to be pretty close with fellow cheftestant, Carla.

Ariane, btw, your table manners are atrocious.

Superior European Stefan, who won both challenges last week, is inordinately pleased with himself. But he does show a bit of modesty when he admits that he does have competition in this contest.

Ok, maybe not so modest.

The cheftestants troop over to the Top Chef kitchen to find Padma and the special guest judge for the Quickfire Challenge.

You may be more attractive, but I'd bet Anthony Bourdain likes her better.

This week's Quickfire involves a food that is so beloved by Noo Yawkers, they spend over $100 mil per year on it. That's a lot of clams! But no, it's not clams. Bloombergers? nope. Trump-on-a-stick? getting closer. Ok, I'll give you a clue - it's pink, tube-shaped, encased in a skin.... geez, not that! (Well, maybe, in some neighborhoods....)

Padma continues to tease the group by calling out a person with whom the cheftestants must compete - Angelina D'Angelo, of the Dominick's and D'Angelo's hot dog carts in Queens.

The cheftestants get 45 minutes to create their own signature hot dog which will be compared against D'Angelo's Sabretts.

Most chefs set about making their own hotdogs, grinding meats and wrestling with casings. Except for Jill. What? 45 minutes wasn't enough time to season some ground meat and form two lousy sausages?

Needless to say, her store-bought hot dog wrapped in rice paper was not a hit. Superior Stefan's panini dog was also not popular with Donatella and Padma. Those they liked came from Fabio, Hosea, and Radhika, whose Indian kabob-style dog won her the Quickfire and immunity from elimination in the next challenge.
Padma then presents the Elimination Challenge. She starts off by saying that New Yorkers are the toughest of customers (yet they spend $100 mil on beef-lip sausages popularly cooked in dirty water?). The challenge is to "open" a Top Chef restaurant in Manhattan and serve three courses of New American cuisine to fifty diners. Each cheftestant is responsible for one dish.

Surprisingly, when the group tries to decide who gets to do what, we hear several volunteers to do dessert, a task most Top Chef competitors in the past have avoided like the plague.

Once organized, the cheftestants made a field trip to Whole Paycheck with the grand sum of $2500 to spend among the fifteen of them.

Hosea couldn't find fresh crabmeat anywhere, so he bought some crab-like stuff of unknown quality and origin in a can. I've bought that stuff before, and it's really not worth using in a dish where you need the crab to shine. If you want it to be slimy, on the other hand....

Back at the Top Chef kitchen...

Jill bought ostrich eggs and thinks they would be a daring ingredient to use in her dish. Hmm...a New American entrée made with vast quantities of egg..... Pondering....

Um, no. Not American at all, akshully.

Ariane was equally thoughtful in her dish selection.

Once settled in, the chefs start on their prepwork. Tom comes in to tell them about their new venue:

Carla is a little excited about the prospect of cooking in the kitchen of a world-famous New American restaurant run by a pre-eminent American chef.

Tom also announces that the fifty diners who will be partaking of their menu are NY-area Top Chef rejects. They are jealous and bitter, and most likely very hard to impress.

Fabio isn't fazed. He goes into some weird Superior European Medieval fantasy mode and talks about the "many dragoons to keel."

Back at home, we see that perhaps Fabio and Stefan are having a bit of a bromance, as they are cozied together on one sofa, chatting and laughing. On another sofa, we have Hosea and Leah, flirting shamelessly. Leah is very into having a boyfriend, and if she can't have Tom Colicchio, then a member of his fan club will certainly do.

The next day, the cheftestants head to Craft where they set up stations and work on their dishes for the day. Fabio is very inspired by being there, and he's making what he calls "spherical olives" with liquid centers without mentioning the words "molecular" or "gastronomy." Or maybe he deed and I deedn't undeerstan' his-a theek accent.

Out in the dining room, the Reject Chefs brag, bitch, and moan, even before they get to taste the food. They definitely got an "asshole edit."

Finally, we see the angry hordes eating. Some were impressed enough by a few dishes as to actually compliment them. Others didn't fare as well.

Back at Judges Table, Donatella, Padma, Gail, and Tom decide they like Jamie's corn soup, Carla's apple tart, and Fabio's tartare the best. It seemed to be a toss-up, but in the end, they chose Fabio as the winner of the Elimination challenge.

Now, who'sa going to be eliminated?

Hosea's crab salad was, as expected, not good, Ariane's lemon meringue martini was far too sweet, causing Padma to spit it into her napkin, and Jill's quiche tasted like glue and looked like dogfood.

Not to mention there was nothing New American about it. Tom went on a rant about setting American food back a few decades and blah blah.

The judges appeared not to hate Hosea's dish as much as the other two, so he was probably safe. Ariane feared for her life. And Jill, after disappointing in both the Quickfire and now the Elimination challenges seemed to be the surefire loser this week.

Gail said her defense was the lamest she had ever heard in the history of the show, and I have to agree. Jill was sent packing. Although disappointing to us Baltimorons, I think it was a good call. Bye Jill - we hope you have great success in your restaurant career, maybe even eventually working at one that has real tables and chairs, and maybe some good lighting....

Next Thursday is Thanksgiving, y'all, and I'm doing part of the cooking for our family feast. Look for my Top Chef recap on Friday or Saturday....


bernal_vernal said...

Oh my god! Stellar recap today! I fell asleep on the couch and missed the ending so this was the perfect.

I was very suprised that Jill used store bought hot dogs considering that everyone else made them from scratch. You also pointed out something I noticed last night, the GE product placements.

I love the way you write Fabio's lines with his accent, it makes me miss Rene from Shear Genius. The only thing better would be to have him appear on Top Chef.

Anonymous said...

I didn't want to insult your fellow "Baltimoron," but am I the only one that thought Jill also looked like an ostrich when she walked?! I was hoping you were going to use the shot of Carla looking up at the clock in the quickfire (I think) when someone shouted "one minute." Check it out on the replay. You'll see what I mean.

theminx said...

Hi Kristine,

Yes, Jill's posture is pretty bad!

And I get my images from the videos that Bravo provides on their site; I didn't notice any of Carla and the clock.

Anonymous said...

Thanks. I wondered how about that. If you get a chance to see the rerun, I think you'll wish they had that scene available.

David Dust said...


You do the BEST Eye-Talian accent (in writing) in the whole blogosphere. Great recap.

CLICK HERE for DavidDust's Top Chef recap.


the dogs' mother said...

Good job! LOL!
Next week I'll be recording TC in case the relatives arrive during the broadcast. Sure hope I'll have that time to put my feet up.

Nanc Twop said...

I am sorry that your home-girl got bumped,
she was sweet even if a bit clueless.

But the good news is I totally LOL'd at your
Padma: 'You can't even make quiche and hotdogs...'
Jill: 'Yeah, um...'

Great recap, Minx, thanks!

my Top Chef posts

Dara Bunjon said...

Minx, I've been waiting all day for your recap. By now you know Jill is no longer at Red Maple.

Getting on TV might be enticing but one has to be careful what they wish for.

Unknown said...

Is it me or does not that lady Carla look like the actress from that CW tv series Girlfriends?

Cliff O'Neill said...

Great recap as usual.

LOVED the Trump-on-a-stick idea! Can we get to work on that? I have my rusty paring knife all ready!

Anonymous said...

Great recap, as usual.

brooke/chef biatch