Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Top Chef New York Episode Five

As this week's episode dawns, we see Melissa doing some heavy thinking.

Yes, there is a cheftestant named Melissa. She went to the same cooking school as Jill Snyder - the Baltimore International College. No word yet on whether or not she also intends to leave the culinary world in a cloud of self-induced shame.

We also find out at breakfast that a new sort of "bromance" is stewing.

I'm sure it's not all that difficult.

When the cheftestants enter the Top Chef Kitchen Sponsored by NBC Universal Majority Owner GE Appliances, they find Padma standing by her lonely self, clad in decidedly downscale duds.

She tells the chefs that their most important tool is their well-tuned palate. The Quickfire this week will be a variation on the tasting challenges of years past. First the chefs need to visit the knife block in order to get a partner for this challenge. Hosea gets stuck paired with Danny...

...and Ariane reminds us how creaky she is. Bitch. I'm two years older than she is and don't think I act half as ancient.

Also, Stefan gets a heavy "Asshole Edit" this week.


Everyone seems to have issues with the man.

The tasting challenge has a twist this year - the paired cheftestants are actually opponents. After getting fifteen seconds to taste a sauce, they must play Name That Tune with the number of ingredients each can recognize. After eating out of a communal pot, all I'd be able to think about was germs.

The winner of each preliminary round goes on to round two, those winners go on to round three, etc. Finally, we're left with Hosea and Stefan, who are asked to name ingredients in Thai green curry sauce.

That would have been *my* first guess.

Hosea manages to beat Stefan with his guess of "vegetable oil" and wins immunity in the next challenge. For that, the chefs once again draw knives.

Radhika doesn't want to be stuck with, you guessed it....

This time, the knives sport the words "old," "new," "borrowed," and "blue." I'm sure you can guess where this is all going. Someone is getting married and Padma is throwing a shower!

They're called "actresses," Gail.

The chefs gather in their prospective teams. Team Borrowed, aka Team Cougar + Two, is Ariane, Radhika, and Jamie, who decide to "borrow" from Radhika's culture. They are going to make rack of lamb served with a carrot purée spiced with Jamie's secret ingredient, vadouvan (an ingredient so secret nobody has heard of it), and raita.

And now you're doing it again.

Team Blue is Fabio, Leah, and Melissa. They decide that because there's no blue food, they will attempt to evoke the ocean. Which is blue. That means fish, but somehow not bluefish. Served with decidedly un-oceanic corn and Swiss chard.

Team New is comprised of Danny, Carla, and Gene. Gene, who can only make sushi, suggests that he make a surf and turf sushi. Danny is going to make barbecue sauce, and Carla is going to panic and wonder what exactly about sushi is "new" and how barbecue sauce and sushi work together.

Finally, Hosea, Stefan, and Jeff are Team Old, aka Team Baldylocks. They are doing a trio of tomato dishes.

At Whole Foods, the chefs have thirty minutes to shop and $800 to spend. Team Baldylocks spends a lot of time in the tomato section, where Stefan is being a bit overbearing, telling his teammates what to do with their dishes. He doesn't like Jeff's tomato sorbet idea, and he has issues with Hosea because of his immunity.

They in turn call Stefan an asshole.

After 2.5 hours of prep time in the Top Chef Kitchen Sponsored by GE, the chefs get to go home and worry about the next day. During this time, Stefan pesters his crush Jamie for a kiss if he wins.

While lounging on the balcony, Team Loser New decides to tweak their sushi dish by making it a "build your own" type of dealie, calling it, confusingly, both "deconstructed" and "panchan-style." Confusing because panchan is Korean, sushi is Japanese. Danny thinks it's a great idea. Stefan, seated nearby, tosses in his superior opinion that it's a stupid idea, and that women don't want to have to build their own food. Stefan has been married twice - to the same unfortunate person - so of course this makes him an expert on women and what we want.

The next day, the chefs head to the venue at Twenty Four Fifth Avenue and get started on their dishes.

Finally the fake shower's fake attendees arrive with their fake gifts and file into the dining area. Gail shares the seat of honor with two important guests.

Before the food arrives, Padma makes a toast with a new sponsor.

Tom comes in to hang around the kitchen; the shower guests don't want him around because he refuses to show off his boobies in a cute dress.

Fabio is a leetle flustered that Tom will be there the whole time.

I think he means "the Pope," but who knows? I don't speak Italian.

Team Baldylocks serves their trio of tomato dishes as the first course. The women rave over Jeff's Stefan-maligned sorbet. Stefan's terrine is under-seasoned, and for that they call him an asshole.

Team Loser comes next, with their deconstructed, panchan-style, build-your-own trainwreck sushi. Gene introduces the dish but neglects to instruct the women on how to eat it. Later, Daniel describes sushi building as a bit of this, "a splooge of that." Oh yum. He also said the women would be so happy with the dish, they'd be taking off their clothes and dancing. He's got a lot to learn about women. But probably not from Stefan.

Fabio, on the other hand, has us all figured out.

Team Old serves up a fairly tasty dish but it has the texture of "old people's food." In other words, Jell-O, Cream of Wheat, and a splash of Ensure. The un-oceanic corn and swiss chard duo turns out to be a lame attempt at forming blue by the combination of colors. Unfortunately, yellow + green = yellow-green, not blue, morons! But they're cooks, not artists, so we'll forgive them the gaffe only because Fabio is charming.

And Team Cougar + Two, after worrying about the rack of lamb - Ariane's dish - being cooked properly, pulls off a show-stopper of a meal. The lamb is perfectly cooked and everyone loves it. It makes Gail very happy.

Back at Judges Table:

Team Cougar + Two and Team Baldylocks get called out in front of the judges. Stefan seems irritated that Jeff's sorbet is praised. And Ariane is stunned that her lamb dish is considered the best of the evening, earning her the win and a set of Calphalon pans and small electronics. Jamie is upset that once again she's in the top three but she doesn't win. You made carrot purée, kid, get over yourself.

Next, Team Blue and Team Loser come to face Padma, Gail, Food & Wine Editor-in-Chief Dana Cowin, and Tom. Blue did badly, but not badly enough to lose. Loser, on the other hand, really lived up to its name. Carla was questioned about mushrooms at the bottom of her salad, making her eyes pop out. Danny admitted he had added them, making Carla's eyes pop out further. Gene was excoriated about his overcooked sushi rice. And Danny claimed he loved everything, had tasted everything, and was happy with their "sushi." It made him want to dance around and take his clothes off.

After deliberating, it was determined that Danny was just too dumb to be allowed to stay, plus they were worried about the disrobing thing, so Padma asked him to pack his knives and go.

Or "expecially," as Jamie pronounces it.

Next week: Does Radhika cook Indian food? Is Stefan still an asshole? Is Jamie still a lesbian?


David Dust said...

I am not sad to see Dumbass Danny go. Great recap. Love the "new bromance".

CLICK HERE for David Dust's Top Chef recap.


Nanc Twop said...


The 'superior European' pics? - genius!

'Ariane reminds us how creaky she is'
She exhausted herself just escaping NJ

'They're called "actresses," Gail'

Or, in the case of Food & Wine, 'staffers'
p.s. They brought gifties? Didn't notice; was distracted by the gails.

yellow+green = yellow-green, not blue morons!

(Exactly what we yelled at the tv)

sushi made'm want to dance & take his clothes off
- that of course, is why they booted him.
'ew' = peanutbutter oozing Dimbo Danny, naked

Thanks - great images!


p.s. my Top Chef post will be up later

the dogs' mother said...

>Next week: Does Radhika cook Indian food? Is Stefan still an asshole? Is Jamie still a lesbian? <

I think we have the makings of a classic drinking game here!

John said...

Ariane is starting to get on my nerves. She could win the Nobel Peace Prize or something and still look down on herself as being a tired old lady. Sheesh!

Stefan annoys me more, as you can see.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for not allowing Padma to end a sentence in a preposition. Hilarious as usual.

Cliff O'Neill said...

Sorry I'm so late ... again!!

Ariane's saying she's so ooold when I'm three years older than her makes me want to take a spatula to her head.

Baldylocks!! Why didn't I think of that!? Ha!

Don't even get me started on the ick I feel anytime I see Chico's "fashions." Shudder.

And still crackin' up over Da Poop!!

Miss Ginger Grant said...

OMG- I LOVE the way you spelled Fabio's accent. Classic? One more spoiler for the end:
"Will Carla's eye finally pop out of their sockets?"