Thursday, July 08, 2010

Top Chef DC Episode 4 Recap

Last week, there was no recap because I was in Philly eating Jennifer Carroll's food instead of taking notes in front of the television. Sorry for the inconvenience. Maybe if you guys left more comments, I'd have been more inclined to put up something over the weekend. But if nobody's reading....(hint, hint)

On to this week's adventure!

The cheftestants wake up to a brand new day in Washington, DC. They brush their teeth and cook breakfast while the cherry blossoms bloom prettily here and there.

At the Top Chef Still No Blatant Sponsorship Kitchen, the Cheftestants find Tom and Padma waiting. This week's Quickfire Challenge is of a personal interest to our host and head judge.

They would like the cheftestants to take a turn at making food that will please both them and their offspring. In other words, cook something for the grownups, then toss it in the Magimix for junior.

This is a High Stakes Challenge, with a bonus of $10K each for two winners. And there's no immunity for the next challenge.

After 45 minutes of scurrying about, either whining that they don't have babies so don't know what they eat, or telling stories about their adorable offspring, the cheftestants present their dishes to Tom and Padma.

Tom calls out Tim "I AM the Bottom" Dean and Alex "Hookers and Blow" Reznik as his bottom two, and Padma frowns at Kevin "My Wife's Knocked Up" Sbraga and Kelly "Not Much to" Liken. Tom's favorites are Lynne "Monotone" Gigliotti and Tamesha "The Young'un" Warren, while Padma favors Inigo "There Will Be Blood Tonight" Montoya and Kenny "Alpha Male" Gilbert. A.K.A. Starsky & Hutch.

And the winners are: Tamesha and Kenny! Tamesha is highly enthused.


No time is wasted in presenting the Elimination Challenge. However, some real time had to have passed since the baby food challenge, because Padma is no longer wearing that seriously ugly muscle T with the appliqué that looked like a fake six-pack made of mesh and is now showing off her rack in a black dress.

Today's challenge is a tournament. The chefs must first pair up and be prepared to cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner. After breakfast, two teams will be declared safe, with the rest going on to make lunch. After two more teams reach safety by preparing an impressive lunch, the three remaining teams will battle it out to the death. One pair of chefs will be declared the winner, and one pair will be eliminated.

The chefs manage the difficult task of getting into pairs without the help of the knife block: Lynne and Arnold; Tim and Tiffany; Angelo and Tamesha; Alex and Ed; Kelly and Andrea; Kenny and Kevin; and since nobody wants to play with either of them, Stephen and Amanda.

One of the guest judges for this competition is Beth Scott, VP of Restaurant Concepts at Hilton, and so there's a perk to winning: getting a dish on the menu at the Hilton. But wait, there's more! More judges, that is: former cheftestants Spike Mendelsohn, Bryan Voltaggio, and Douchey Mike! Plus Nora Pouillon, of restaurant Nora in DC. And of course, Eric Ripert. As much as I enjoyed seeing Spike and particularly Bryan again, they are no match for the conspicuously absent Gail and the girls.

After a trip to Whole Foods to buy potentially three meals' worth of ingredients, the chefs commence to breakfast-cookin'.

Tiffany's a smart girl - she's taking the lead on their crabcake Benedict dish. Ed complains about Alex, saying he doesn't have "finesse." And Angelo flirts with Tamesha.

In a flash, time's up and the chefs present their breakfast dishes to the judging panel. The results are shocking: Tiffany saves Tim's ass from the bottom this week, and the other perpetual losers Stephen and Amanda are also safe in this first round.

Next up: Lunch! Teams Angelo/Tamesha and Ed/Alex are safe in this round. That leaves us with Kenny/Kevin, Arnold/Lynne, and Kelly/Andrea to make up some dinner.

Meanwhile, we keep seeing confidentials with Arnold, in which he tells us he has momentum, that he's a winner now and will go far. I start to have a sense of foreboding.

Kenny is pissed that he has to keep cooking because he's the Alpha Male, meaning he should have been safe two rounds ago. In his own mind. Lynne, who is also pissed, voices her disgruntlement in her usual unemotional monotone. She's an instructor at the CIA. I imagine her classes go something like this:

Chef Gigliotti: We. Will. Now. Beat. Our. Eggs. Until. Stiff. Peaks. Form.
Students: Zzzzzzzzzz.

Somehow Kevin/Kenny and Kelly/Andrea both decided to make short ribs. Kelly is confident.

Someone please, gag her with a spoon! You know she really meant to say, "I am awesome."

Arnold and Lynne are doing a seafood pasta dish with Arnold's signature pan-Asian flavors. The time is drawing to a close and Arnold is anxious to get the pasta cooked and the plating accomplished, but Lynne insists that cooking fresh pasta with 12 whole minutes left is too much time.

Finally the three teams get to serve the judges. There are lots of judges so lots of differing thoughts on the dishes, but the comments don't seem to point out any egregious errors. Kenny/Kevin don't have enough horseradish flavor in their jus. Kelly/Andrea's polenta is stiff. And Lynne/Arnold's pasta is...undercooked. Hmmm.

Although they had to cook all three courses, Kelly and Andrea turn out to be the ultimate winners with their short rib dish. Not only do they win a spot on the Hilton menu, but the hotel also ponys up for a trip for each of them - 6 nights plus air in either Venice or Barcelona. Sweet!

This leaves Kenny, Kevin, Arnold, and Lynne as the bottom four. I was pretty sure they wouldn't get rid of Kenny, and with so many "rah rah, I'm a winner" confidential moments with Arnold, I had a feeling his ass was grass. And so it was. I was liking Arnold more and more every week, so I'm sorry to see him go. Lynne didn't really get a chance to show off her talents yet, so I can't really muster up any reaction at all for her.

Next week: There's a preview video titled "The Chefs Get Crabs;" maybe Alex buys that hooker after all.


MCWolfe said...

If leaving a comment will ensure that you continue to recap, well, then comment I will. Your recaps are generally better than the show, especially this season (which is a snooze so far). I'm sorry to see Arnold go, although he was gaying it up a little more than necessary, I think. Alex makes my skin crawl, first with the intern comment then with the hooker/8-ball thing. Yuck.

Ellen said...

I second that. Thursdays (and Mondays now with Next Food Network Star recaps) wouldn't be nearly as fun without your snark. Kenny makes douchey Mike seem humble; I wish he'd gone last night, although it never would have happened. Also, it seems too quiet without Tracey, she was fun.

lou said...

De-lurking to say love your recaps.

By the end of the show I was rooting for Lynne to go home -- I'm only sorry she dragged Arnold with her. I had to rewind the dvr to make sure I heard this correctly, but she did try to blame Arnold. She was the one complaining that he wanted her to start cooking the pasta too early. Then she tells the judges she thought it was undercooked. now maybe the magical elves cut out her "and I take full responsibility." The scene playing on my television seemed to be a big hint that it was Arnold's fault. grrrr.

I didn't want Kenny to go because there seem to be so few talented chefs in this crew that the more talented really need to be saved.

Hope they don't do a similar challenge again. it seemed to really hurt the stronger chefs.

lou said...

I take back my comments about Lynne.

Bibbi said...

Finally de-lurking. :-) I've been reading your recaps for the last several seasons of top chef, and just adore them. They're insightful, funny, the best kind of snarky.... and your love of food comes through. So, many thanks for your work here!
I've begun to mute Padma - love your captions for her. They're so much better than what really comes out of her mouth. Here's my wish from last night: Wouldn't it be fun to watch the two "alpha males" Kenny and Stefan (from a previous season) duke it out?

Unknown said...

I just wanted to tell you that I really enjoy your blog, especially the hilarious Top Chef recaps. Keep up the good work!

John said...

Hope you keep doing the recaps, especially of the Next Food Network whatever. I can't even watch that show but I read the reviews.

Jeni said...

I liked Arnold as well. I was mad that he didn't mention that he was pushing to get the pasta cooked, and whats-her-name is the one who didn't want to cook it yet. I wonder if he would have mentioned that if only one person was going to be sent home instead of two.

I enjoy reading your recaps. I'm new(ish) here, but have laughed at every one of yours that I have read. Keep up the humorous work!

David Dust said...

Tee hee ... you said "tit"!

I will miss Arnold - he seems like someone who would provide recap-worthy soundbites.

That other gal, on the other hand, I won't miss one single bit.

Great recap. Loved the screen cap with the eagle over Bryan V's head.


Anonymous said...

Well, since you begged for comments... ;)

I loooooove your recaps. I read them often. The picture for episode2 where you had tom talk about $12 salads, I laughed for ages and then linked my friends.

Cliff O'Neill said...

Oi, Arnold. Glad to see him go. He did not amuse me one bit.

Damn, this season is getting really boring really quickly.