Thursday, January 08, 2009

Top Chef New York Episode Seven

After two weeks of Top Cheflessness, we finally get a new episode!

Fabio cooks up what he calls "the breakfast of champions" for the cheftestants. Looks like the Bravo food budget doesn't go towards feeding the gang in their Brooklyn digs. I hate to see what the poor sequestered people are forced to eat.

Meanwhile, Gene didn't think his much-hated Christmas dish was all that bad.

And once again, Melissa has a thought.

Days? Try hours.

On the other hand, Hosea is well chuffed.

Jamie is still annoyed that she hasn't won more challenges.

Finally, the chefs rouse themselves from their reveries and head to the Sponsor of the Week Top Chef Kitchen. With Padma is some handsome European-type dude. (But is he superior?) Padma helpfully tells us that he is...

Apparently Monsieur Novelli is a hot shot in the UK. I suppose we ran out of US chefs to feature? I don't have a problem with recycling guest judges - I vote for the return of Johnny Iuzzini. He seemed slightly tool-ish, but hey, he's hot. And no weird accent!

As we all know, the cheftestants loooove dessert challenges.

The Diet Dr Pepper Challenge is to create the ultimate sweet treat...without the use of sugar. It's tough enough for the cheftestants to come up with desserts to begin with, now they have to actually put some deep thought into the task? To show they mean business, Padma and Engelbert physically remove all varieties of sugar from the kitchen.

At this point in the program, Englebert has not yet been allowed to speak. Does he have a funny accent? Find out after the break!

Someone who shouldn't be allowed to speak because she's either whining about not winning or mispronouncing something tells us about the dish she plans to make....

Jamie has decided to layer a bunch of slop together on filo. Psst, it's pronounced mas-car-PO-nay, but with an Italian accent. Just ask Fabio. (She probably says "chilpolte" too.)

Next up: frantic scenes of Cooking With Corporate Sponsors in the Corporate Sponsorship Kitchen!

Time's up and Padma brings Englebert back in, this time to taste the cheftestants concoctions and to actually say a few words.

Yes, he has a funny accent. It is Frawnch.

When Englebert and Padma get to Fabio, he serves them a chocolate mousse and tells them he is also Frawnch. Kidding! Anything to get rid of the stigma of coming from the suicide capital of the world!

Jamie realized her Misprounced Cheese on a Cracker wasn't very good, and she felt defeated. As she should: Englebert proclaims her dish to be in the bottom three, along with Ariane's and Carla's. He then chose Radhika's bread pudding (deemed "very adventurous" mostly because she didn't make it out of naan or add carrot halwa to it) as the winner. She gets immunity from elimination.

The next morning, the chefs consider their performance from the previous day.

And an ominous figure arrives at the apartment, just in time to thwart any bean-cookery that Fabio might be planning for the day.

Can you explain why you pronounce it slightly differently each time you say it? Sometimes "co-leek-ee-o" and other times "co-leech-ee-o."

requests that all of the chefs gather in one room.

The new "permanent" judge (why does that sound so ominous?), taking Gail's place as she and her boobies get married, is a dude named Toby Young.

The powers that be want Toby to get to know the cheftestants "food first." So the Elimination Challenge is to create a family style meal of each chef's choice that will introduce his or her cooking style to the new judge.

The dishes will be presented anonymously, so the tasters have no idea of who cooked what. Not only that, since nobody was kicked out of the kitchen last episode, this time two chefs will be asked to pack their knives and go.

The chefs draw knives to form two teams. Because she has immunity, Radhika gets to choose the one with which she prefers to work. Not surprisingly, she picks the one without Stefan because she still thinks he's the Antichrist.

Because they will be working in a small kitchen, Team A will go to Whole Paycheck first, then prepare their meal. While they are cooking, Team B will go shopping.

While Melissa manhandles the fish, Jamie decides to do seafood as well. Despite the slimy raw scallop debacle of the "Christmas" episode, she chooses scallops again. This time she will cook them.

While Team A takes over the kitchen, Team B takes their wee $100 budget and heads to the grocery store.

After Team B comes back from their shopping trip, they are led through a doorway into the dining area, where Padma, Tom, Englebert, and the fearsomely bald Toby Young are waiting. After being invited to sit down, these chefs who have not yet prepared their food realize they will be judging that of their competitors who are currently sweating in the kitchen.

Waitrons bring out Team A's food, then the chefs themselves come out en masse. They are not exactly tickled to see their compatriots at the table. Back in the kitchen, it's even worse....

...the chefs get to watch their dishes ripped apart live and in color on closed-circuit television!

The new kid on the block was in fine form. In a nutshell, here's how it all went down.

It wasn't all insults though. Some dishes Toby actually liked.

After the first round of eating, Team B goes into the kitchen to start cooking while the judges visit the bathroom to purge. As he prepares his duck, cabbage, and bread dumplings, Stefan remarks that elements of the dish hark back to his home in the Czech Republic. Hey wait - I thought he was French this week? And wait...wasn't he from California a few episodes back?

After everything was tasted and all of the insults were hurled, it was time for Judges Table.

Overall, Team B seemed to do better, but then they knew what they were up against. Jamie, Ariane, and Stefan were singled out for having the best dishes. And despite making scallops yet again, Jamie was awarded the win.

Not even your latest album? Cheapskate.

On the bottom were Carla, Melissa, and Gene. Carla's risotto dish would have been good had she not f*cked it up with a scallop (those darn scallops!). Melissa's cat food surprise was unimaginative. While Gene's fish with daikon "pasta" was imaginative, it was also overcooked and undertasty.

It was really no surprise who was given the boot this week. Gene and Melissa had been working up to it for a few episodes now.

Carla lives to cook another day. Will she be eliminated before her eyes pop clear out of her skull? Stay tuned!