Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Top Chef 5/14/08--"Serve and Protect" summary

Previously on Top Chef: Rather than have Restaurant Wars, the producers thought they’d have the teams battle it out at some poor couple’s wedding. So everyone had a Quickfire relay race that caused Dale to flip out when his team lost, and then they stayed up all night cooking, and then had to work the buffet line the next day. Richard won, for leading his team and making good food. He graciously gave the win to Stephanie for making the wedding cake, which didn’t look half bad. She then graciously shared her Crate and Barrel gift certificate prize with Richard. Dale’s team had a huge menu but it was not done well. Everyone pointed fingers at each other, Dale most of all, but in the end Nikki went home. The groom wanted Italian food, but Nikki refused to take any responsibility for anything and made it very clear she didn’t want to be in charge. Spike continued to be an asshat. I’m getting pretty tired of him.

Stephanie plucks her brows in a mirror that appears to be in the hallway. She says it kind of sucks that Nikki is gone. Richard says they only got a few hours of sleep. True, the second day is worst. The first day you can pretend you just had a nap. Spike complains that Dale is a little bitch, and for some reason because Dale doesn‘t want to make friends that will haunt him, or something. Andrew says he’s the only one “still all crazy” today and he’s either going to stab someone or make great food.

The guest judge for today’s Quickfire is Sam from season 2. Antonia drools. Padma says they have to make salads and Sam wants them to be sexy. Everyone interviews about the importance of salad. They have 45 minutes to “bring salad’s sexy back”. Ugh.

Spike wants to have sex after he eats his salad? I try not to listen to him too closely because it makes me mad. Salads don’t inspire me to have sex. (Kmanpat: “They would if someone fed it to you by hand.“ Me:“…ew, now I am thinking about Spike feeding me salad.“) Richard talks about a ceviche of vegetables and fruit. Lisa is spying on other people and she thinks some people don’t deserve to be here, because their salads are simple, they have no skills, and their personalities suck ass. My head nearly explodes with the irony. Antonia is making smoked spinach salad with eggs and bacon. For some reason she mentions that Lisa is strong female competition. According to Antonia. Stephanie forgets her artichoke chip in the end.

Andrew: Thai fruit salad that includes mangoes, strawberries, and raspberries, with sriracha dressing. Yum! Spike has beef salad which he has named “Sensual Beef Salad“ (eye roll) with skirt steak, pineapple, radish, and cucumber. Eh. Sam is not impressed. I feel that is because Sam does not need “Sensual Beef Salad“ to get laid. Lisa has “sexy banana salad” with squid, lobster tail, bananas and yuzu vinaigrette. I would not order anything called “sexy” or whatever. Sam and Padma only taste banana. Stephanie has a “fall duet” with poached pear and artichokes, and pear vinaigrette, and makes the mistake of saying it’s missing stuff. Antonia: poached egg and spinach salad and wild mushrooms, bacon vinaigrette, squash blossoms, sunchokes. It looks good. Richard: “Fresh and Clean Salad”. God, that’s almost worse than the “sexy” label. It makes me think of a douche commercial. Anyways, it’s a ceviche of fruits and vegetables. Dale: poached chicken salad with nori paste, mirin, sake, and rice wine vinegar. The chicken is moist.

Sam doesn’t like Richard’s because it’s not acidic enough for ceviche, Stephanie’s pear vinaigrette was lacking and she had 45 minutes which is more than enough time to remember everything. Lisa made too much banana and it was a hodgepodge of stuff. Spike’s salad was well balanced, Antonia’s yolk was sexy…? Um, OK. Dale was unique. Lisa looks really pissed. That amuses me. Spike wins. Bleh. But I feel better when he doesn’t win immunity.

Sam and Padma then bring out two giant trays of fast food. Everyone pretends to be disgusted. You know they are eyeing the food. They talk about healthy eating, and then mention that this is a typical lunch order for the Chicago Police Academy. Their challenge is to make a healthy tasty boxed lunch instead. They must one ingredient from each of the following categories: whole grains, lean protein, fruits, and vegetables. Spike gets a 10 minute head start, and he also gets one ingredient from each group that only he gets to use. Stephanie knows he’s going to screw people over, which she is probably right about. Andrew is confident he can do some fancy food.

Spike’s extra 10 minutes is in the store. He is excited to be pissing people off, and is planning his menu based on the things most people will want. He admits that’s his strategy. Antonia threatens him with bodily harm if he doesn’t use his stuff. What an asshat. Andrew says Spike assumed everyone is stupid, and he picked the most dumbed down ingredients: chicken, bread, lettuce, and tomato. Everyone has to change up their menus on the fly. Andrew tells us he studied nutrition for two years. Oh, he is so cocky. I am afraid. He shoves things in people’s faces and tells them to smell the success.

There are 2 hours to cook, but Stephanie lets us in on an important detail: if the food has to be heated, they will have to leave instructions and think about reheating. Antonia is pretty confident about her curry beef, since she won the last “healthy” challenge with the family dinner. Andrew is making all raw food. With sushi. And parsnip and pine nuts for the “rice”. Why don’t you use brown rice? Stephanie doesn’t think sushi is filling, which…it is but maybe not for police academy recruits. Dale is making bison and lettuce cups. Oo, low carb. Antonia complains that he’s going to go down for only making Asian. But, he makes GOOD Asian food. Lisa is making brown rice, and leaving enough time for that. You know what? You can bake brown rice in the oven. It works really well if you don‘t spill the water all over yourself while putting the dish in the oven. She kind of flips out because Andrew’s just told her shrimp have cholesterol, and that’s not specifically in the rules (about low cholesterol). She also says how frustrating it is when there is nothing wrong with your dish except that you didn’t follow the rules. Unspoken is her obvious belief that “the rules are stupid”. And she didn’t go home for her not following the rules, nor did her partner, so whatever.

Tom comes inspecting. Stephanie is making soup. Lisa lets him taste the hot sauce and he stupidly does it. Even though she pretended to be concerned about the rules she doesn‘t ask Tom for clarification about cholesterol that we can see. Spike actually admits to Tom he screwed everyone on purpose but he promises to use everything he got at the store. Even though he wasn’t planning on it. Richard is making burritos. Outside, Tom thinks everyone seems OK and everyone is thinking.

Lisa is checking on her rice, but someone turned up the burner to high when she wasn’t looking and now it’s burnt on the outside and raw on the inside. And it takes too long to make more so she can’t fix it. Immediately she assumes someone did it on purpose. Stephanie and Dale both interview that things like that happen all the time in kitchens. Lisa is forced to put cooking liquid in the individual dishes and hope it steams on reheating.

Lisa hopes that her directions will allow her rice to finish cooking. In come the cops! Mm, men in uniform. Everyone describes their food, and I think the officers are allowed to pick whatever dish they like best. So in addition to making good food they have to sell themselves. Spike complains about having to listen to Richard ask people about burritos. Yeah, listening to Richard ask every single person that goes by “Do you like burritos?“ would bug me too. He looks normal without an asshat, does Spike. Everyone gets food and reheats it if needed in product placement microwaves. Spike for some reason is only putting two packages on the table at a time so it looks like he’s about to run out. But it doesn’t matter how fast he sells out; the recruits don‘t have any votes. Also, don’t roll your eyes at cheesy Richard and then play stupid games like that.

Stephanie: Mushroom and meatball soup with a puree of butternut squash, celery root, and apple. That is a huge container of soup. And are you supposed to put the puree in the soup? It is declared hearty and well seasoned by the judges. Spike: chicken salad with pita and raw vegetables. Pita? No mayo? Padma is bored. The tomato, bread, and lettuce are just sitting there in the dish, and he had plenty of time to do something with those ingredients. Two hours to make chicken salad? Dale: lemongrass bison lettuce wrap with a brown rice and herb salad. Tender and delicious. Antonia: curry beef and jasmine rice, and berries and figs with grape syrup. That looks good. Andrew: well, first he has to tell Ted about how he loves nutrition or whatever. Salmon roll with parsnip pine nut “rice” and nori and pickled ginger wasabi. He has a giant nametag. It’s weird food and also he didn’t use a whole grain. Not following the challenge! Richard: grilled tuna burrito with rice paper, quinoa, and lentils. It tastes better than it looks. It does look questionable; spring rolls are small but this is a huge white lumpy thing. Lisa: shrimp stir fry with brown rice and “pineapple hot sauce“, berries and yoghurt. Very spicy but the rice is still underdone. Andrew continues to be confident about his dish. Oh, Andrew.

Backstage Lisa complains about her rice, and Andrew realizes he didn’t use a whole grain. Oops. He doesn’t freak out too badly. Padma comes to get Dale and Stephanie, the winners this week. Dale’s bison felt like eating beef, so people were satisfied. Stephanie’s barley was so great, and her soup was well seasoned. Sam announces the winner as Dale. He wins a magnum bottle of Rutherford Hill, which isn’t that great, but he also gets to go visit the winery in Napa. He has an impressive win record: 5/20.

Spike, Lisa, and Andrew get called out. Andrew felt his dish was substantial, and he tells everyone like 5 times that he studied nutrition so he knows what he‘s talking about. The dish was small, and he says that you should eat that size meal every few hours. But they’ll probably get a candy bar later. He pretends that “hearty and satisfying” wasn’t in the rule sheet. Andrew, still getting grilled, wanted his food to be as healthy as possible, rather than an interpretation of something everyone would like. So, basically, screw the customers. Tom’s like, OK, how about something good then? Andrew gets pissy (well, more pissy) and sarcastic, and he says really? Because people went back for seconds. But Tom responds that they went back to get more because they were hungry. Sam calls Spike out on wasting the tomato, lettuce, and bread. He wonders what was so wrong about how he used his ingredients, and Tom straight out asks him if they were for him or just to make it harder on everyone else. Spike flat out LIES and says he wasn’t sabotaging anyone. Tom says olives, grapes, and chicken are a weird combination. Spike is pretty belligerent and basically implies that Tom is dumb: “Salty and sweet. What don‘t you understand about salty and sweet?” Tom explains, carefully, that olives are not just salty, so Spike tries a different tack and sort of shrugs that the judges have great educated palates but the common person loved it. Now you can tell Tom is getting dangerous because he very quietly says that Spike is welcome to take the common person’s word over his own. Oo. Spike eye rolls that it’s a lunchbox for God’s sake. Tom says, there are 7 people, and 4 were better than you, and Spike’s all, in your opinion, and Tom is like, too bad for you that my opinion counts. Ha! Lisa won’t even say anything about her dish, spitting that they called her out so they can tell her why she’s there. Eventually we get to the rice thing. Apparently the rice wasn’t the only thing wrong anyway, and you can tell the judges don’t buy that someone sabotaged her. They let everyone have a final comment, for some reason, and Lisa throws Andrew under the bus out of nowhere because he didn’t use a whole grain. Lisa is of course overly concerned that people go home for breaking rules. Purely to keep the world running smoothly, I am sure. After telling everyone that some people didn‘t follow the rules, she refuses to point fingers and give a name. Please. If you’re going to tattle, then you have to have the balls to give a name. Otherwise, just be quiet. Andrew fully owns up to it (and the judges already knew that he didn’t have a whole grain anyway), and the reason he didn’t use a whole grain? Apparently he lost his rule sheet early on. Lisa tries to soothe him for some reason; I think she is trying to apologize because she didn‘t know he lost his rule sheet. Andrew (rightly) tells her to shut up and no, he would not have done the same thing to her. Lisa says something about being far away from Andrew so she doesn’t get punched. Well, what the hell are you expecting? You just pointed fingers at Andrew, to make him look worse so you wouldn’t go home, and you’re going to play victim? Seriously? How can you expect that he’d accept your apology right then? You still hate Dale from like, 4 episodes ago.

Andrew is staring at Lisa and freaking Antonia out. He mentions that he said something to Lisa about shrimp and cholesterol, but she then threw him under the bus. The judges talk about Lisa’s food, that the rice isn’t an excuse and the shrimp were nasty and undercooked anyway. Lisa whines that she might get sent home for rice that someone else turned the temperature up on. Cry me a river. Spike’s chicken salad wasn’t that exciting, and he wasted his ingredients. Andrew didn’t use a whole grain, but even if he had he was very arrogant and doing whatever he felt like anyway, without any regard for the recruits. Andrew thinks Lisa should stand behind her dish and not mess with him. He tells her to live with her decisions and he hopes people see this. Lisa isn’t really saying much of anything, which is probably good.

Tom admits that this challenge wasn’t easy. He tells Andrew that he did make a healthy dish, but it was not satisfying or delicious. No mention is made of the whole grain thing. Spike’s dish was boring. Lisa didn’t really make a stir fry. Andrew goes home. Aww! (Kmanpat: “No more Spazz McGee?!!?” *sniff*) He says no bad feelings, but he won’t see these people again so he doesn‘t care, except for Spike. He calls Lisa weak. She pretends it sucks, but then says he should go home for not following the rules. She doesn’t care, don’t pretend you care. The judges don’t need your help. Spike promises him that they will “hook up” in NYC. Now it’s going to be boring. Sigh.

Next week: I think everyone has to be line cooks! Haha! And now they really are having Restaurant Wars. Flailing and producer interference, because there is no way Lisa and Dale were randomly assigned to work together AGAIN.


Polgarra said...

I am giving you a big gold star cause this recap was awesome and I totally agree with you on so many things.

Wasn't Andrew kinda an ass this episode? Calling people stupid and the whole in-your-face "Smells like success" thing?

I was thinking Richard doesn't really slam the competition much, does he? I need to rewatch and review.

Spike is a real Tool.

I like that this episode we got to hear alot of the food.

Toyouke said...

Wow, thanks! Richard I think has such a high opinion of himself that he doesn't bother to slam anyone. I'm trying to think of an example but I can't.

"Tool" is EXACTLY the word to describe Spike.

Polgarra said...

Obviously he thinks well of himself, but doesn't he deserve to? I mean he is doing rather well. I enjoy listening to what he says because even if it is a bit stuffy, atleast it is about the food and not about 'So-and-so sucks'.