Thursday, July 29, 2010

Top Chef DC Episode 7 Recap

Welcome to another snooze-worthy edition of Top Chef! I've always felt DC and politics were rather boring, and Top Chef 7 is fitting right into my negative view. Even the manufactured tension and fake romances aren't adding the punch in the 'nads this season really needs.

Before I fall asleep, let me get started here.

The chefs, as always, start the day with the usual titillating, edge-of-your-seat thrill of tooth-brushing, moisturizing, and contemplating elements of the previous challenge.

It's that very exciting beige bathrobe. Grr! So sexxxay!

After performing their ablutions, the cheftestants head to the Top Chef Kitchen at the Washington Hilton. So far the hotel is the most exciting thing about this season - it was where John Hinckley shot President Reagan on March 30, 1981. Note that said excitement is already 29 years old.

The cheftestants find Padma in the kitchen with a suit. He's definitely not a chef.

Today's guest judge is page Congressman Aaron Schock. He was born about two months after Reagan was shot, which makes me feel ancient since I was in high school at the time.

He tells the cheftestants that the first day of a new member of Congress is spent on ethics.

And then they never think about them again, right?

Padma goes over to the mostly-empty table next to her and lifts the cloche off of the single plate, revealing a tiny square of cheese stuck with a flag toothpick.

Recently, our government adopted the "Toothpick Rule." Lawmakers and Congressional Aides can no longer accept meals from lobbyists; however, they can eat hors d'oeuvres, or food that will fit on the end of a toothpick. Not sure if there are limitations to the size of the toothpick.

So, for the Quickfire, the cheftestants must create an hors d'oeuvre that not only fits on the end of a toothpick, but also packs the punch of a full dish. This is a High Stakes QF, with the winner receiving immunity AND a 20K bonus, most likely provided by the American Toothpick Lobby.

Three of the chefs decide to do something with scallops. Ok everyone, repeat after Fabio:

After thirty minutes are up, Padma and Aaron make the rounds. The Little Congressman is very generous with his compliments, while Padma displays her usual stonefacedness.

It's hard to tell what Schock doesn't like. He makes yummy noises for just about everyone, particularly Kevin's pork kabob and Ed's tuna duo. But no! He doesn't really like Ed's dish, and selects him for the bottom along with Alex the Pervert and Kelly. On top are Kevin, Inigo, and surprise surprise - regular bottom-feeder Stephen, who actually managed to fit surf and turf, potato, and sauce on his pick. He's already spending the 20K in his mind, but of course Inigo is given the win.

Kevin is bitter about it.

Seriously, Kevin? Chinese? Did you mean to spout that bit of bigotry? Are you that unfamiliar with ethnic cuisines? While Inigo likes to incorporate Asian flavors in his dishes, I don't think a single one could be pinned down as "Chinese."

The cheftestants are then immediately presented with the Elimination Challenge: to create a fabulous Power Lunch for movers and shakers who dine at The Palm, using the restaurant's own gargantuan proteins. The chefs draw knives to determine who cooks with what.

Kevin and Alpha both get lamb; Kelly and Amanda get Porterhouse steak; Alex the Pervert and Stephen get salmon; Ed and Inigo get lobster; and Andrea and Tiffany get swordfish. The cheftestants go to Whole Foods to shop for ingredients and then have two hours for prep.

Back in the Top Chef Your Name Here Kitchen, the chefs scramble to work on their dishes. Ed is completely flabbergasted by the size of the 4lb lobsters he must use. He and Inigo spend much of their time steaming and breaking down the beasts, but Ed does manage to make a pea purée accompaniment.

Amanda is breaking her steaks down into fillets and strip steaks because she thinks they are too big as is. Kelly is tsk tsking because the steaks are no longer Porterhouse, and that's the cut they are supposed to prepare.

Alex the Pervert has no idea at all what he is going to do.

After time is called, the Cheftestants head back home. Ed and Tiffany are buddies and they have a chat in one of the bedrooms. He's starting to doubt himself after coming in on the bottom in the Quickfire, and Tiffany is quick to build him up and make him feel good. But she is also quick to tell us that she has a man at home and is not flirting with Ed. Riiiight.

The next afternoon, at The Palm, the cheftestants receive a kitchen visit from Bruce Bozzi, owner of the restaurant. He says his grandfather founded the restaurant in 1926 and in all of these years they have never handed the kitchen over to anyone else. In other words - don't fuck things up and clean up after yourselves.

Speaking of fucking up, Kelly thinks Amanda needs to go home. She's too young and inexperienced and of course she cut that gorgeous steak up into pieces! And she doesn't remember to pack the necessary condiments for her dish. While Amanda begs for salt, Kelly decides instead to hoard and/or use all of her stash.

Tom wanders into the kitchen to make sure the cheftestants don't make a total mess of The Palm's kitchen. Plus you know he loves making them uncomfortable and insecure while they're cooking.

Meanwhile, Ed can't find his pea purée. He looks everywhere and Tiffany helps, but it's nowhere to be found. Then we see Alex the Pervert come up with the idea of using pea purée under his salmon.

One of those things that make you go, "hmmmm," isn't it?

Time for service! Kelly and Amanda go first with their steak dishes. Padma and Gail are in the dining room at two separate tables. Has Cleavage Wars come to a head?

The diners at Padma's table are: Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough from "Morning Joe;" John Podesta, President of the Center for American Progress; Executive VP of the Palm restaurant, Bruce Bozzi, Jr.; and Virginia Senator Mark Warner.

At Gail's table are: NBC correspondents Kelly O'Donnell, Luke Russert, and Savannah Guthrie; and once fat Chef Art Smith.

Amanda's duo of New York steak and filet mignon wins praise from the judges for its seasoning and doneness. Meanwhile, Kelly's is way oversalted. Andrea and Tiffany present their swordfish next. While Tiffany's fish is slightly overcooked, the judges appreciate her olive-raisin tapenade. Andrea's vanilla mustard sauce isn't such a big hit, although Padma says she doesn't mind the overdose of vanilla.

Alex the Pervert and Stephen then present their salmon. The judges rave over the lovely pea purée under Alex's fish and how well it goes with the salmon.

Survey says: YES! A whopping 90% of Bravo viewers who participated in this week's poll voted yes to the question, "Did Alex the Pervert steal Ed's peas?"

But...shall we go on? Stephen's salmon dish doesn't fare nearly as well and is called "a mess." Inigo and Ed are up next with their mutant lobsters. Inigo's is chewy and the non-foodie judges feel that his use of foam is strange. They just think it's foam. Ed's lobster is nicely done and the eggplant accompaniment that replaced his missing peas is also complimented.

Finally, Kevin and Alpha bring out their lamb dishes. Alpha's sauce is a bit too sweet for most palates and his dish "calls out for something green." (Here, Kermit, Kermit, Kermit!) Kevin's doesn't seem to please at all and garners complaints of too-strong flavors and overcooked meat.

After lunch, the Chefs go back to the Hinckley Hilton and sit in the Not Particularly Glad and Where's the Booze? Stew Room to be entertained by Stephen who is offering a seminar on Being on the Bottom.

I'm giving you permission to use your imagination in any way you wish.

Padma comes in after the nap the judges had to take after eating all of that heavy food and morosely asks to see Alex the Pervert, Ed, and Tiffany. Tiffany is sure that she's on the bottom because she knows her swordfish was overcooked, but to her surprise, the three of them are told that they had made the best dishes. While her fish was overcooked, it was still juicy and the rest of her dish made up for it.

Art Smith praised Alex the Pervert's pea purée to the heavens, saying he wanted a whole bowl of it. And that's good enough to get Alex the Pervert the win. His dish, possibly thanks to Ed, goes on the menu at The Palm DC and a caricature of him, with a hooker and an eight-ball, will go up on the wall in the restaurant.

The three cheftestants go back to the Stew Room and call Kelly, Andrea, and Kevin out to face the judges. Kevin's tomato concassée was too hot and spicy for everyone although he thought it was fine. He also got cut down for not cleaning the bones on his lamb chops well enough, which made Art Smith wonder about the care he did or didn't take with the dish.

Andrea's sauce was too vanilla-y, and her cous cous risotto was too "gloopy." (Is that a technical term?) And Kelly's food was too salty, which she knew. And which she cries about back in the Casa de Stew.

Boo hoo. Shut up. Biotch is probably going to win this thing because she's working my nerve.

After the final deliberation, Andrea is asked to pack her knives and go. She's a really good sport about it and has a minor hug-fest with Kevin and Kelly right there in front of the judges. This causes a cranky Padma to bark out, "that will be all, thank you."

Bitch. Go take another nap.

Next week: Still not over yet! And...please leave comments!


David Dust said...

"They just think it's foam" for the win!!!!! LOL!

I am SO mad I didn't think of that. Great recap.


Kristine said...

I was really taken aback by Padma pushing them out of the room like that. Maybe she had to get home to breastfeed.

Confounded Cook said...

Loved the happy to have found this blog.

Kristy said...

OMG! I LOVE YOU! I hate Inigo. In the beginning I was rooting for Kenny but if he calls himself "the beast" one more time I swear I'm gonna puke. After this episode I swore that I was totally over my very favorite show on earth (or at least in the last 6 years). I truly hated it and was ready to never watch again even though I do find Tom C. very sexy LOL. BUT...I have to continue on if for no other reason than to read YOUR BLOG which makes me laugh hysterically and confirms everything I am thinking as I sit in front of my TV and watch this show. Thank you, thank you thank you!

Miss Ginger Grant said...

We all know that no matter how badly anyone cooked, the Congressman would end up on the bottom! Wearing a pearl necklace worthy of fellow republican Babs Bush, no doubt!

Kat said...

Great recap as usual. Your recaps are a billion times more entertaining than the actual show.

Just to point out, in your second-to-last screencap you have Kelly saying she wanted to keep the salt from Andrea, but earlier, you said it was Amanda.

Libby said...

This show is killing me! I was glad to see Congressman Schock! He is a cutie!! Let me say that I agree with Kristy, if Kenny calls himself "beast" or "alpha male" again I will vomit!!!The way he talks you would think his food would be amazing!! NOT!!
Great recap!! Your recaps are the only reason that I'm watching this season.

theminx said...

Thanks, Kat! I'm glad that one of them is gone so I won't keep mixing up their names!

Jeni said...

I'm just bored this season. Even the dreadful "who stole the pea puree?" felt kinda like that song, "who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?" An underwhelming song, and an underwhelming obsticle, since Ed still managed to end up in the top 3.

Cliff O'Neill said...

Man! I just knew when they were going to do DC there would be a day like this when I wanted to break stuff.

That whole thing pissed me off so bad and for so many reasons.

Also ...

Thanks. Now I'm going to be having fever dreams about Stephen being on the bottom. Thanks a bunch.


Los Gatos Girl said...

You know, I thought it was just me that thought Queen Padma was a little testy....shockingly so.