Thursday, August 27, 2009

Project Runway 8/27/09--"We Expect Fashion" summary

Previously on “Project Runway”: there were SO many people but our show is back and no one cares about how many people there are, right? There was minor drama, only Johnny who freaked out about his addiction and whether or not he could make it. The challenge was to make a red carpet gown. Chris won, with a cute short dress, and Johnny saved himself, but Ari made some shiny silver puffy thing and went home. And Mitchell didn’t leave himself any leeway in his gown, so when it turned out his measurements were wrong, he was screwed. I watched that show about the models, and it turns out that the models win prizes too. In this case, Chris’s model got a ton of free stuff. But Mitchell apparently decided his model like, gained 6 inches in her measurements just to spite him, so he blamed her for the mistake. Then they let everyone pick new models so she ended up going home. Also the girls have a Logan fan club. (Kmanpat: “Can I be in the Logan Fan Club?” Me: “Are you a model? No? Too bad, so sad.”)(click for more)

Althea says she didn’t think Ari would really go home, and she makes it sound like she didn’t think anyone would go home. Like, not just that Ari was better than that, but that magically they could all stay forever. Logan and his bare chest are excited to have made it past the first challenge. Nicolas makes fun of Mitchell and his naked model.

Heidi comes out and tells everyone they’ll be making an outfit for an actual celebrity. I guess they’re not going to talk at all about the models, so if you don’t watch the model show, you’ll be totally lost. Irina thinks maybe it’s Heidi. That would be cool. Then whoever it is shows up behind the scrim and she is pregnant!!! MATERNITY CHALLENGE!!!!!! Kick ass, do you know how long we have been waiting for that? I am almost as excited as I was when they had to do drag. Nicolas curses a lot. He’s never made maternity clothes, as you can tell because he calls them “pregnancy outfits”. They’re making outfits for Rebecca Romijn. Cool. Everyone gasps and claps. AND she’s having twins. Somewhere Laura is rolling her eyes, like, “Please, I could do this in my sleep.” The outfit is for whatever event they want to make it for. Meeting, lunch, party, anything they want, but it should have a beautiful silhouette.

In the workroom everyone gets a pillow with straps that the models will wear. Haha! Chris asks the girls how to tie the belly to his dress form, so it’s in the right place. Irina asks Gordana, who is a mom. She says she would show more shape to her arms and legs. Ra’Mon makes a comment about semesters. Tim makes sure they are going to sketch something form-fitting and laves them half an hour for sketching. They’ll only have $100 to shop, but two days. Winner gets immunity. You know what I just thought of? None of these looks will account for her boobs. Your boobs get larger when you’re pregnant. Models will not.

Shopping ensues. Shirin is making a coat and a dress. Carol has made one maternity dress before--a bridesmaid dress. So really, she’s never made one. Qristyl freaks out again. Tim tells her to take deep breaths. Hee.

Irina thinks there shouldn’t be such a drastic gap between maternity clothes and regular clothes. It makes me feel like she’s going to flip out at the “real women” challenge. Ra’Mon is going to be different, he says. Tailored instead of draping. Althea is using ribbon to make a bodice on some jersey. Louise is making a “1920’s negligee inspired cocktail dress” with some lace she’s dying herself. Malvin is doing something with fertility and nests. No, really. It’s called “the mother hen”. Ra’Mon is kind of freaking out now. He wants to stay on top.

Malvin’s top looks like an egg, kind of. Mitchell got T-shirt fabric, because he just wants to be safe. He’s making shorts, that are gathered? He makes them and then holds them up but they’re horrible. He could fit in one leg. I have no idea how he did that. Wait, I think he did it on purpose. Because he’s going to gather them, so he made them big to gather them. Weird.

The next day, everyone goes back to work. Gordana says that one day you can be stuck, and the next day everything falls in place. Tim time! Althea is making something to wear to a luncheon, but it’s very dramatic so Tim says just don’t say it’s for day. Louise’s lace looks good, but she’s worried it’s too nightgown. Tim tells her that if her viscera says “uh oh”, that’s a problem. Hee, “viscera”. Tim doesn’t think Mitchell needs the T-shirt, but it’s to make sure she’s covered. Shirin has a great criss cross empire waist, that looks braided. I like it. Tim tells her to make sure she makes the right jacket. Malvin explains his hen/egg thing with feathers on the bust and jodhpurs. Jodhpurs because they are like chicken thighs. Ugh. No costume land. However, Tim is not bored. Ra’Mon has panels to look slimmer, but the colors are so different it may draw attention to her stomach instead. Tim warns him against “poo poo”.

Louise is lining her dress and making a second tier on the bottom of the skirt. I think Malvin is ignoring Tim. Mitchell tells Ra’Mon his pattern looks like a bowling ball. He has to leave the room. Hee. Mitchell tries to backtrack but it’s not working. They sit in the lounge and giggle. When they go back in I can see that Ra’Mon has manpris on. Sigh.

Models come in for fitting. Chris says the first thing he did was get his model pregnant. Actually all the models are laughing and giving each other crap. We don’t get to see a lot before Tim makes everyone leave. Ra’Mon has kept his model after everyone else’s has left. Johnny thinks his dress is drab, and his jacket is white with a floral pattern. It’s very church lady. I wouldn’t wear the jacket but I know people who would. He’s worried it will ruin him. Qristyl says that Rebecca wouldn’t even dust with that jacket. Then she laughs and says “That’s so mean” in such a way that I know she still thinks it’s funny. I like her. Nicolas feels superior to everyone in the room because no one is chic.

The morning of the runway show Malvin is finally having doubts. Mitchell isn’t done with the shorts. Ra’Mon feels that drapey dresses and also structured dresses are the wrong choices. He basically says he’s the only one who understood the challenge, but I’m not sure how he’s so much different from everyone because he never explains it. Tim comes in to give them two hours. Althea says the bodice doesn’t fit her model anymore, it’s too small. Mitchell’s shorts look sloppy. Frantic sewing. Malvin thinks everyone else has something to say, but they haven’t figured out how to do it yet. Cocky, aren’t we. Everyone is cocky, actually, except I think Johnny is not.

Kors isn’t here! Lame! Monique Lhuiller is filling in. Heidi tells them that all the judges have been pregnant, so they will know what they are talking about. Logan: white tunic and black pedal pushers. The back of the tunic has a V and a gold collar made out of leather. It’s very basic. Shirin: dark red dress with a draped neck and a dark coat with a purple printed lining. It’s really nice looking, except her model is walking like she has scoliosis so she looks huge. Nicolas: dress with a gray top, with black ruffles, and a black skirt. All shiny satin. The border between the two colors is above her belly. And it’s really short. Chris: purple tunic, that’s got an empire waist with a black band. It’s one shouldered with some pleating, and it flows really well, on the bottom there’s just some black pants. Mitchell: khaki shorts, slouchy sweater in ivory, and a T-shirt in white. The shorts have a lot of volume and if I didn’t know they were shorts, I would think it was a bubble skirt. Qristyl: knee length dress that ties around her neck, and has a black ruffle at the skirt. The rest of the dress is terra cotta. It’s pretty drapey. Epperson: sleeveless halter neckline, which is revealed to be a coat. So he has a coat, or a long vest, and underneath that a jumpsuit, all in white, with a halter neckline and no back. It’s totally different and he hasn’t said one word all day! He must be going far.

Louise: red short dress with a tiered skirt. On one shoulder there are some ruffles or rosettes or whatever. It’s not really like a nightgown but it is a cocktail dress. It’s cute. Gordana: black pants, a dark blue top with a low V, and a cardigan in a lighter blue. I like it but I feel on a real pregnant woman the top would be too small. I mean, you can’t wear a bra. Johnny: the black dress is nice, with white piping. I think he lost the jacket. But it’s that weird tea mid calf length. And there are foofy bits on one shoulder. Can we all agree not to do that anymore? Malvin: I think he lost the jodhpurs, because the pants look fitted, and the top looks like she has already had the baby, and is wearing a black tank top and the baby is in a white sling. Ra’Mon: purple dress, with like, racing stripes down the sides. There are panels that come together in a V on the back, and they extend down the sides of the stomach. Carol: turquoise dress, with draping under her stomach, and a little shrug. I think the shrug is in plaid. I don’t like the draping under her stomach. Althea: dark long dress, and the bodice has cups and straps that are striped with a lighter fabric, but she was right, it is too small on top. Irina: simple blue V-neck dress with an empire waist, with a lighter blue satin sash and bottom tier on the skirt. And inset on the top. There are some flowers on the sash. Contrasting flowers, so it‘s better.

Heidi takes Louise, Mitchell, Althea, Malvin, Shirin, and Ra’Mon for more questioning. Ra’Mon went for something that he thought Rebecca would wear when not pregnant. It’s too busy and it’s kind of puckered, and Nina doesn’t like that the panels point at her baby. Louise pleated the bust so that as her boobs grow, they won’t get smashed, I guess, and the tiers at the bottom are adjustable. Rebecca says it’s like lingerie but she likes that. It’s super cute. Althea has figured out to say her long dress is an evening dress, and the back has a criss-cross strap which is great. Monique likes the jersey, but calls her on the top. Nina likes the coverage. Malvin talks about his mother hen and egg thing. The black has feathers. I think. Nina likes the feathers but is disturbed by the sling because like I said, it looks like she’s already had the baby. Mitchell says his outfit is for day. Heidi hates her shorts. When she takes off the sweater, the shorts are too low slung and the shirt is too tight so you can see the waistband. Rebecca appreciates the thought but the execution was bad. Shirin wanted to be comfortable. Rebecca loves the lining, and the waistband. I love the draped neckline; it’s high but has lots of folds.

Ra’Mon’s dress was only good from the front. Mitchell is labeled “interesting”, and they decide that if he could sew and it had been made well it would not be in the bottom. No one wants to be thought of as a chicken. Shirin made a beautiful coat, and waistline. Hers is the most wearable. Althea made an elegant gown in a perfect color. Louise’s dress was very close to lingerie, and they make a joke about “that’s why you’re pregnant” but they like the details she put in.
Louise is in. Shirin wins! I totally want that outfit and I’m not pregnant. Althea is in. Ra’Mon is in. Malvin was too complicated and bizarre. Mitchell had a good concept but poor execution. Malvin is out. Huh. Heidi tells Mitchell to step it up. Malvin looks confused. He says he’s too conceptual for America. He has learned that he is very grounded “as a designer, a philosopher, and as a person.” Whatever.

Next week: team challenge! Epperson says something! On camera! Someone doesn’t sew. Something is not classy.
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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Top Chef 8/26/09--"Bachelor/Ette Party" summary

Previously on Top Chef: We began, and there were a ton of people, so we had the mise en place relay early to amuse ourselves. Mike was a jerk and Preeti couldn’t shuck clams. Robin not only got out of participating in the Quickfire, but she won immunity. However, there was another prize of $15,000 which was earned by Jen. Then everyone had to cook a dish based on one of their vices, and apparently most chefs drink bourbon and smoke. Kevin won, even though his vice is procrastination, and the other Jen (the one with the tattoos) went out for making a pepper stuffed with seitan. Which was supposed to show her fiery temper but was not spicy. (click for more)

Jesse is ready to redeem herself after her dry chicken yesterday. But I did like that it was chicken in alcoholic sauce and she called it “Tipsy Chicken”. Eve wonders if she should cook for the judges or just make her food. Make your food. Bryan discusses the sibling rivalry that we haven’t seen yet.

When they get to the kitchen there is a craps table and Todd English. The Quickfire involves rolling dice to determine the number of ingredients in their dish, and oh my God I just watched a challenge, on a cooking show, involving a craps table. Yesterday. But I think this one is better. Salt, pepper, and oil are not included. Also this is labeled a “High Stakes Quickfire” worth $15,000. So I guess maybe they aren’t doing that every time? Who knows. Everyone rolls but seriously? There are 16 people and I’m not putting everyone’s number. Mattin is still wearing his neckerchief. Sweetie, take that off. We can help you do that if you like. Most people seem to get between 8 and 10 except Laurine gets a 3. 30 minutes to cook.

Michael is doing a gazpacho. I am pretty sure it’s Michael and not Bryan. He is really sunburnt. Of course he wants to do something weird and I think that involves liquid nitrogen. Bryan smarms that he is staying true to classic flavors. Kevin doesn’t seem to want to use all 10 of his ingredients. Bravo isn’t putting names to people all the time and too many of these people look the same. Jesse screws up by not browning her scallops enough.

Laurine only had 3 ingredients, and she made asparagus and leek soup with lemon. Nice. Jen made salmon with lemon, garlic, parsley, shallots, and jalapeno emulsion. They’re going to show everyone’s dishes, aren’t they. God I hate this show sometimes. Mattin made carrot soup with ginger and two other ingredients. Eve: grilled asparagus salad with raisins, pine nuts, and blue cheese. Michael, nitro gazpacho, compressed cucumbers, and toast. Kevin made asparagus and celery salad, with fennel cream and a boiled egg. Todd and Padma are non-committal for most people. Ashley: grilled lamb with apricot mostarda. Her lamb is really rare. Bryan: poached black cod with carrot, ginger puree, and daikon radish sprouts. It seems to be rare too. Jesse: scallops with chimichurri, smashed garbanzo beans and toasted garlic. I take it back, only 9 people.

Todd says Jesse’s scallops weren’t seared enough, and Eve’s blue cheese was too overpowering and her presentation was boring. Bryan used too much yuzu. On the other hand, Michael’s dish was delicious but was interesting too. Jen’s dish had strong flavors but was delicate. Kevin married his flavors and cooked his egg perfectly. Michael wins. Eh…I would have been happier if he hadn’t been all gimmicky. He also gets immunity.

Commercial interlude: I guess it’s more about how Michael won the Quickfire, but he says stupid things like “The secret ingredient is innovation.”

Elimination challenge: bachelor and bachelorette parties. Sigh. Ashley is gay so she has “personal” feelings about the challenge and triumphs gay marriage. In a nice twist, the contestants will be divided into men vs. women, with the men catering the bachelorette party and the women catering the bachelor party. Interesting. Jen is offended by the battle of the sexes. Like, seriously pissed. Karen and Greg, the couple, show up with trays of their favorite shots, so you can see the level of person you’re working with. I mean…favorite shots. The pink one is Moscow Mule? I think? Tequila, and “Golden Delicious”. They want food paired with the shots. Jesus. Ash explains the flavors: Moscow Mule is vodka and ginger and grapefruit, tequila is tequila, and a Golden Delicious is “sweet, gooey, and disgusting”. Each team needs two dishes for each shot. Karen is a pescatarian, which means she eats fish but no meat. However, she does have carnivore friends and one vegan friend who she kind of blows off. “Yeah, make my vegan friend one thing”. She also puts sriracha on everything. Yay! Greg has a sweet tooth, and likes tuna and lamb. And Japanese food.

They have 800 dollars per team. Laurine thinks people want things that are familiar on some level. Then Jen says she wants to do octopus. Well…I kind of see that drunk men would dare each other to eat octopus. It’s frozen but she buys it anyway. The boys buy orchids and Michael tells Ash that it’s his job to keep the flowers alive because he’s the gay guy. Ash kind of shrugs and says it’s true, gay men are better at keeping flowers alive. (Me: “Is that true?” Kmanpat: “Straight guys don’t check them frequently enough.”)

2 hours for cooking tonight. Mike is confident but manages not to say anything stupid about women. Jesse thinks she’s going home if they don’t win. Michael is making it his goal to beat his brother who already has a bunch of stuff. He’s making a frozen thing. Eve has shrimp with tequila shots. Probably good. Ashley is making watermelon carpaccio for the tequila. There is some mild trash talking. Hector has tofu ceviche? Can you make ceviche with tofu? I guess so. Bryan is making a “sweet and sour macaroon.” Huh? Ashley gets cocky and says she can make another dish. A bay leaf panna cotta. Oh, Ashley. You’re so dead. At the last minute Hector is still making tortillas, I think, and the girls kind of watch the boys run around.

Back at the house Ashley is still really pissed off at being forced to support the establishment. It’s weird…I mean, does she have straight friends? Would she boycott their weddings because she can’t get married? I’m all for her being able to get married, I just don’t think the producers are insensitive bastards for having a challenge involving weddings, which, let’s all remember that it’s not the first one they’ve had, AND I would like to point out, that list includes A GAY WEDDING. Preeti feels kind of ashamed that she isn’t as fired up as Ashley. See? Calm. Plus, are you going to turn down all wedding catering jobs and not let any receptions happen in your restaurant? Preeti says that’s the way the world is.

The cabanas by the pool look really swank. They have one hour to set up. I think they’re at the same pool. Happily the orchids are still alive. Frantic set up and cooking in toaster ovens. Mike is a jerk. A cocky jerk. Laurine thinks the men’s food is contrived, and the women’s menu is more familiar, but you know what? She’s serving men, who probably want things like lamb chops and stuff they recognize, and the men are serving women who would probably respond better to frou frou dishes and interesting things. I know that’s a huge generalization, but it makes sense in my head.

I’m pretty sure the two parties are on opposite sides of the same pool. Ashley says she’ll try to suck it up and cater the bachelor party, even though she’s gay and it’s hard. Mattin wishes he had time to flirt. (Kmanpat: “Oo, he can flirt with me!”) Now the girls are stripping down to bikinis (the guests, not the chefs) and Padma shows up in a dress she must have borrowed from Heidi because damn, is it short. Guest judge today is Todd English. They visit the women first. For the dishes with the Golden Delicious shots, Robin made duck mole with cocoa nibs and apricot. Laurine made Moroccan lamb chops with pomegranate pine nut relish. Yum. Next up is tequila: Eve serves shrimp and avocado ceviche with smoky tomato salsa and popcorn, and Jen made octopus ceviche with citrus vinaigrette. One thing I noticed last week, which she does again, is that Jen says “seh-VEECH” and not “seh-VEE-chay” like most people. It grates on me. The judges hate the shrimp and want more salt for the octopus. But the octopus is better than the shrimp. The mole is nice and the lamb chops seem to be a hit with the men. The judges seem good with it. Random hot guys at the party! The judges return for dessert, or at least the last dishes. Ashley has watermelon carpaccio with ricotta salata (salty cheese) and aged balsamic, with tequila. Either it‘s mush, or she cut a piece that is exactly the size of the bottom of the dish. She also has a dish with the Moscow Mule: the bay leaf panna cotta with cranberry powder and honey. Preeti and Jesse made the other Moscow Mule dishes: coriander and sesame crusted tuna with spicy eggplant crush and a wonton crisp for Preeti, and a lettuce cup with Thai chicken shitake mushrooms, shisho, and ginger beer for Jesse. Jesse feels good because she says the men are coming back for more. The lettuce cups make no sense and have too much going on. Preeti’s dish isn’t professional, and the shiso leaf is wilted. Ashley’s carpaccio is great, but the panna cotta, bane of all who appear on “Top Chef”, kills her because it’s bitter and not set. Tom wishes she had only made one dish. I have to say, Laurine’s dish is the only “familiar” one, that she was bragging about. The rest are familiar to me, but I eat a lot and I watch this show.

Men’s turn. They go in the same order, drink wise. Michael made apple sorbet and a goat cheese cookie, to go with the Golden Delicious shot. Kevin has a chilled almond soup with king crab, cucumber, and white grape. Interesting. The bride likes it and so do the judges. But they like Michael’s even more. With the tequila is arctic char with smoky caper sauce and cara cara orange from Mike, sweet and sour macaroon filled with guacamole, corn nuts and corn puree from Bryan, lobster cocktail with habanero tomato sauce from Ron, tofu lemon lime tequila ceviche and a guajillo-achiote tortilla form Hector. Hector says “ceviche” the way I do and I would believe him. The tofu is flavorful, but Ron has left off the salt off his dish and it’s not spicy at all. How sad. Mike’s dish doesn’t work with the tequila. The judges rave over Bryan and his play on chips and guac. I must say, I am intrigued. Last is the Moscow Mule. Eli serves Thai tuna tartare with puffed wild rice. Mattin has bouillabaisse with aioli crouton and petit basque cheese croquette. Ash serves an Asian chicken wing with pickled pearl onions. Gail likes the tartare but Todd thinks it’s strong. Mattin didn’t match the shot well, but the chicken wings you could eat all day. The girls look over and the guys have opened their coats, and then they jump in the pool. (Me and Kmanpat: “Woo!”) Someone makes a comment about would you rather look at girls or fat boys. I think it’s Robin. You know if a guy said that about girls he’d get nailed to the wall, so I think it’s only fair that I slam her for being sizist. Aside from the fact that along with Ron and Eli and Kevin comes Michael and Bryan and Mattin. So shush. Not all of them jumped in, though. It’s kind of unprofessional, but whatever. Everyone is feeling confident.

Commercial interlude: Mike has labeled everyone with nicknames. Let’s see how offensive they are! Kevin and Eli are “the Pickle Brothers” because they are like two pickles. Yeah. Eve is “The Ninja” because she claims to be a ninja but walks into walls. Jesse is “Pancake” for whatever reason, and Preeti is “Purdy” because he can’t say her name. Seriously. “Pre-tea”. It’s not hard. He admits everyone will get tired of him. I already am.

Ashley admits to having fun. Mike asks if they’re bringing home the gold and someone says “Like Michael Phelps, baby!” Padma collects Bryan, Hector, Eli, and Michael. Guess the guys won, then. Gail has eaten a lot of tuna tartare but Eli’s excited her. Todd loved Michael’s sorbet and it had a great concept and execution. Hector sold everyone on tofu and Tom is glad he had the balls to make it. Bryan’s macaroon had a melty texture and was a great play on chips and guacamole and a margarita. Todd tells them that the winner is Bryan. He’s glad for the redemption. Michael claims to be happy for him.

The Loser Gong welcomes Eve, Jesse, Preeti, and Ashley. Back in the Stew Room someone asks if the boys won, even though they just got back and said Bryan won. Jesse’s dish was watery, and she added ginger beer from the cocktail but not actual ginger. Tom tries to confuse her by saying she didn’t want ginger flavor, so she didn’t use ginger, but then used ginger beer. She’s starting to cry. Gail thought the flavors were muddled. Jesse admits she didn’t think it would win. Eve didn’t love the shrimp but she wanted to do something for the groom that would have flavors he liked. The salsa was strong, and she wanted the shrimp to have more flavor, so Tom is like, why didn’t you do something about it? I think that’s what the salsa was supposed to be for. Todd tells her she has to adjust when something isn’t right. Preeti thinks the dish was a “crowd pleaser” and it was fine, but Tom tells her it was overcured. I guess she marinated it overnight in olive oil and spices and somehow it cured. Padma didn’t like the shiso leaf underneath, that was wilted, and she claimed she put fresh ones out as she saw them coming. Todd was confused by the eggplant, and the whole thing didn’t come together. Ashley had the time and the money to make two dishes. They liked the watermelon, and thought she should have stopped there. She goes on about how she knows why she’s there, and it was all messed up and the top was messed up. Tom rolls his eyes. Just a little bit, but you can see it. She toasted the bay leaves, which is what made it bitter. Apparently that happens when you toast bay leaves. Then she says she used dried leaves, when there were fresh ones. You toasted dry bay leaves? Nasty.

Jesse gets back and goes for the booze. She says she’s too crazy. It looks like Ashley had one of the best dishes with the watermelon, so she seems safe. Jesse’s dish was watery, and she knew about it, but Gail rightfully asks how long they’ll let her slide just because she understands why she’s there. Eve’s dish was unbalanced and didn’t match her cocktail. It’s a classic combination and you have to know what you’re doing. Tom thinks she’s experimenting. Preeti’s dish was flat and just won’t cut it in this group. The fish got mealy, and Tom thinks she should know that “at this level”, but she didn’t have any idea her dish was bad at all until they started questioning her. In the Stew Room Preeti is telling everyone how people came back for seconds and thirds of her food.

Tom tells everyone what they did wrong, again, and I thought Ashley might have said something about how offensive this challenge was for her. I know I’m not alone on that. Eve gets sent home. She says she didn’t feel like herself in this setting, because “my combinations are more unusual”. I’m not sure what that means.

Next week: the chefs cook for 300 Air Force members, using canned foods and no pots, it looks like.
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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Top Chef: Masters 8/19/09--"Top Chef Master" summary

Last time on “Top Chef: Masters”: we had the most drama-filled episode of the season, and even though I was pissed and wanted Richard and Dale to shut up, I wasn’t bored, so that was good. Everyone had to pick sous chefs from past seasons of the regular “Top Chef”, so of course they brought back asshats like Spike, and Ilan, because I guess he still doesn’t have anything to do. Anyways, cater for a party, be told last minute you have to transport your food, and serve it outside in direct sunlight, use your sous chefs to give you ideas or do it all yourself since it’s your ass on the line. There was a new storyline of “Michael is a pompous jerk on a power trip” which was kind of true but also out of nowhere so that was odd. Plus, don’t you want to see someone stick it to Spike? That was really satisfying. In the end, no one was impressed with Anita, or not impressed enough, so she was out. Last episode! (click for more)

I think it’s cool that the final 3 have different cuisine specialties. For the final challenge Hubert, Rick, and Michael are put into a car and driven off to the Getty Villa which is a super swank mansion on the coast. Kelly meets them in the garden by the reflecting pool. She gives them their final challenge. She calls it “the meal of your lifetime”, so at first, it sounds like every other final challenge in the regular seasons. But it’s so much better than that. The first course should be inspired by their first food memories, the second by the experience that made them decide to become a chef, the third by the opening of their first restaurant, and the last dish should be where they’re headed in the future. That is an awesome final challenge. The diners for the final challenge will include the critics, plus Tom, Padma, and Gail. And the 5 winners of “Top Chef”. Nice. She leaves them in the garden to get inspired. And also there’s a nice spread. It reminds me of when you win something on “Survivor” and there’s always food. Although this food is nicer.

Hubert already knows what he wants for his first course: baeckeoffe, which is an Alsatian lamb, beef, pork, and potato stew. There is also a picture of baby Hubert which is totally cute. The women in the village would make it and marinate it overnight, and then bring it to his father’s bakery and he’d put pastry over the top. Then the women would go do laundry, and when they got back, lunch would be ready. That sounds cool. Rick says he thought he had barbeque sauce in his veins until he was 15, because he grew up in a restaurant. He kept all his nice clothes in another closet so they wouldn’t smell like barbeque smoke. Hee. His first course will be barbecued smoked quail with watermelon salad. Michael’s mom helped him to make gnocchi, standing on a box because he was too short. He wants to make a duo of gnocchi, one way his mom would make and one the way he’d do it now.

Shopping time. They’ve got an hour and $1300. Wow. Michael thinks this will be the closest episode, but there have been episodes won by half a star, haven’t there? Nothing really exciting happens at shopping.

5 hours to prep today. There is a lot of quick working and jogging. Rick says when he was 14 he went to Mexico and had Oaxacan black mole. And it was so fantastic he knew he had to learn how to make it even though it uses 27 ingredients and completely unique cooking techniques. His second course is ahi tuna with Oaxacan black mole, a plantain tamale and grilled nopales (prickly pear cactus). Michael’s second course is polenta with rabbit, asparagus and wild mushroom, with a duck and rabbit liver spiedini (grilled skewers). There doesn’t seem to be a story, other than these dishes are something rustic that a hunter might make. But I didn’t hear a personal story. Hubert is making salmon soufflé and a choucroute flan, because the soufflé is from a restaurant he interned at. Choucroute is the French word for sauerkraut. Everybody stirs things and tries to get stuff done before they have to go home for the day.

Day of the meal, they only have 2.5 hours to work. There is mild trash talk, until Rick notices a note and a remote control to a TV. Kelly’s note says there is one more surprise, and they all freak out. On the TV is one of Hubert’s sous chefs, wishing him luck and stuff. Awesome! Michael and Rick both get videos too, and say what you want about Michael, but that sous chef of his is smoking hot. Rick’s sous chef seems to be in front of a set of shelves, and when they are talking about how great that is, you can see behind them some very similar shelves. And then the three sous chefs walk in. Nice. The three finalists are pleasantly surprised and they put everyone to work.

Everyone gives details for their third dishes. Michael’s first restaurant was “progressive New American” with some fusion stuff happening. His dish is a whole fried rouget fish, marinated in ginger, with a mango salad. It’s an actual dish from the restaurant. Rick’s first restaurant was the Frontera Grill that he still has, and he’s making cohinita pibil, which is a suckling pig. Also for sides he has sunchoke puree, crispy pig’s feet, and pickled red onion. I think he’s taking the meat from the pig and packing it into a pan so it will set up in a block and he can cut squares to pan fry. Interesting. Hubert gets some truffles and shows them off to everyone to gloat. Rick says dishes with truffles aren’t special, just expensive. Hubert’s first restaurant opened 23 years ago, so he has to try to remember what was popular then. He’s making Colorado lamb chops wrapped in vegetable mousseline, with a vanilla-merlot sauce. Mousseline is any sauce with beaten egg whites or beaten cream added, to make it fluffy, so this sounds like vegetable mousse that will set up around the lamb. Also in the center of the chop is a garlic clove that he’s blanched to take away the sharpness. Garlic and lamb is fantastic, but vanilla merlot? Not appetizing.

Last course descriptions. Michael is making brined short ribs with 5 onion cavalo nero. Cavalo nero is black kale. He’s in the Napa Valley so to show where he’s going he’s burning come cabernet vines. I guess to use the smell. Rick is making arroz a la tumbada with lobster, crab, squid, mussels, and shrimp, with chorizo “air” which is just the dreaded foam. It’s a homey dish, he says, which is kind of deconstructed but mostly sounds like paella. But his sous chef has overcooked some of the seafood. Hubert is making pan-seared sweetbreads and braised Wagyu beef cheeks. He says he’s using “affordable” cuts because of the recession, but Wagyu beef? Really? Last minute frantic plating!

Commercial interlude: Michael has a grudge against James so he took some pages from Saveur magazine and burnt them into circles to put under one of his dishes. Heh.

As the waiters serve the dishes, some people are already oohing and aahing over everything. As the finalists come out, Hubert has a pot for some reason and Tom is all, oh you brought seconds! Hee. Kelly introduces everyone, including the 5 winners. Hi Hosea! Long have I waited for your coming home to me! Alright, on with the show. Tom sneaks bites. Hubert really did bring seconds in the pot. His stew looks fantastic. Actually everyone’s food looks delicious. Michael’s duo of gnocchi is potato gnocchi with fonduta and ricotta gnocchi with tomato sauce. Everyone eats and loves the gnocchi, although Hung thinks it’s slightly under seasoned. James notices that the carrots in Hubert’s stew are cut in little star shapes. Damn, they really are. Ilan thinks you can feel that he’s been making that dish since he was little. It’s very homey. Rick’s quail is authentic, it sounds like.

Rick explains his mole sauce. Man, I want some. Hubert has osetra caviar and Riesling sauce with the salmon. Michael’s dish is served in a jar with a lid, on top of the magazine page. When he explains the magazine everyone cracks up and so does James. They eat the polenta first and Gail wants to bathe in it, she says. Jay Ray looks interested. That was…interesting. It looks so delicious. But I don’t want to bathe in it. Everyone loves Hubert’s salmon and Harold says it makes him want to learn more about French cuisine. But they rave about the mole too.

Third course. Rick’s pork looks kind of weird, but pork goodness. Hubert’s lamb chop is sliced, so you can see the garlic clove in the center, and it’s wrapped in a spinach leaf, and there’s a hollowed out potato with the vanilla-merlot sauce. It looks dramatic but weird. Michael gives each person a whole fish. Nice. The fish is not going over well. Ilan says something about it but I’m inclined not to listen to him, sadly. Hubert’s lamb is great but the raw garlic is odd and there’s too much vanilla for some people. No one has anything bad to say about suckling pig.

Rick’s arroz a la tumbada has black rice and stupid foam. Foam. Eye roll. Michael’s short ribs look tasty. Hubert’s sweetbreads have some scrambled egg, and the beef cheeks have sauce and garnishes too. Jay Ray does not like the foam. He calls it “elderly granny putting on spandex hot pants to dance at a wedding”. Wow, that was like a Kors level of sound bite. The short ribs are fantastic. Hubert put a ton of truffles in but he gave Tom raw sweetbreads.

Critics table. Michael is up first. Short ribs were fantastic. The fish was too literal? I guess because it was an actually dish that he really served. That’s all we talk to him about. Hubert’s stew was wonderful and rich, but the garlic with the lamb was too raw and the vanilla was weird. Hubert knows the vanilla was a risk. Then they nail Rick for the foam and overcooked seafood but they like that he was creative. Then they fall over themselves to praise the mole.

So for the final judging they just talk about the dishes again and seriously there is nothing new at all. Nothing. Oh, except when they get to Rick’s mole Jay Ray asks if they can just sit and moan incoherently in pleasure for a while. And then they do.

Michael is up first, and he wins 17 stars. Hubert only gets 16.5 stars, so he will not win. I know that surprises a lot of people. Rick, after a ton of dramatic pauses, gets 18 stars so he wins! Awesome! I hope he’s on “Top Chef” again, and someone challenges him, and he’s all, “Don’t argue with me bitches! I’m the master!”
Clicky clicky

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Project Runway All-Stars!

It’s time for All Stars! Which is two hours! Which is probably 30 minutes too long! Actually I’m pretty excited, but after two hours of this, and one hour of the regular show, and half an hour of the model show, probably I will be sick of Project Runway by this weekend. (click for more)

There’s some previews. They are misleading and random, I am sure. I’ll wait for the real start of the show. First up is Jeffrey, who is now sporting a 70’s style long mustache. He feels his defining moment, aside from winning, is making Angela’s mom cry. He’s been showing, etc., and joined a band. Well. I guess that’s something. Danny V! Yay! He looks exactly the same except he has a slightly butcher haircut. Still terribly cute. (Kmanpat: *nods vigorously*) He’s got a book and claims to be a very hard worker. He knows Jeffrey, somehow. At least they greet each other with a hug. Korto! She is so fab! I think she has one of her dresses on. Most of her interview, at least at first, is about how she should have won. She’s branched out into jewelry and handbags, which are fab also. I think I will root for Korto. Uli’s accent is the same. She says she’s more fashion forward than she was. She’s making money. Chris March comes in next. Hee. Jeffrey will eat him alive. He also starts talking about how he was cheated out of a finale spot. I wonder if that’s why they asked some people back. He’s making costumes for Beyonce. Really? Kick ass. Danny V looks worried. And then Mychael Knight comes strolling up to the apartments in a suit, looking so so grown up. And in his interview he has a square haircut and square glasses like Malcolm X or something. He looks so much older! He looks like money. Jeffrey is a jerk and interviews that Mychael isn’t an All Star. Sweet P is next, and she says she doesn’t feel like she’s changed since the show. She wants to make clothes for real women. There’s some vague drama about who is going to beat who. Then Danny V is all, there’s one more bed, I wonder who it will be. Oh, it’s Santino, of course. Sigh. He says he’s a breakout star and he didn’t win but you wouldn’t know that. Uh huh. He also claims that people stop him on the street, and he made the show. I notice there is no mention of “RuPaul’s Drag Race”. Danny V is not excited to see him. Chris says he’s “like a tornado wearing a hat”. Yeah, that sounds about right.

Everyone gets a note to go party on the roof. Everyone is excited, glad to be here, whatever. Tim is proud. Heidi is pregnant again. Just like old times! Everyone is really cocky. Jeffrey gives us the “I’m not here to make friends” line and claims everyone in his season was friends until he won. I mean…probably, but aren’t we smug?

Tim and Heidi stop the party to tell them that their challenge is to make a mini collection of 3 looks. Winner gets $100,000. They don’t get a time limit, or at least, they aren’t told what it is.

Everyone wakes up early and did they sleep in their clothes? I think Santino did. Unknown. They’ve got a nice studio, no Parsons for All Stars. Their names are painted on the wall. It’s pretty swank. Tim arrives to show them the Halston accessory wall, and to tell them that one of their 3 looks has to be a red carpet look. I missed Tim and his posh voice. He leaves them an hour to sketch. Chris doesn’t sketch much. Then he dozes off. Hee!

They have 45 minutes, and as Tim is telling them that, Jeffrey and Santino try to cheat and start early. Lots of running. Uli has no prints, and Tim calls after her “but you’re the master of the print!” Tim yells at people and says that they should be able to do this in less time. Sweet P tries to buy some leather, but Uli wants some too, and somehow they ring up all of them for Sweet P? I think she is getting slightly less than she wanted but Uli will be fine. Tim sends them back and then gives them until midnight and carefully tells them that at midnight they’ll be going back to the apartments.

Sweet P and Uli compare fabrics; apparently they are really similar. Santino has purchased plastic? I don’t know. He’s making a ton of noise and someone shushes him. He tries to do his Tim Gunn impression but is distracted by his own cleverness and the fact that “Tim Gunn’s Cold Black Heart” would be an awesome band name. Oo, it would be. Chris says the television does not properly convey how loud the man is. Montage of Santino being an ass and bothering everyone. I read in an interview that Tim hated dealing with him. Tim Gunn doesn’t like you. That is sad. Santino says something to Mychael, who tells him to “shut up, cut your shit, sew your shit, and go home.” Santino thinks it’s great that he’s bigger than people who tell him to shut up. I wouldn’t mess with Mychael. He continues to make fun of everyone.

In the morning everyone comes back in with 2 days left. Why can’t they just say “you have 3 days”? Santino has shiny tight pants in a putty. It sadly reminds me of that horrid jumpsuit he made for Kara. Chris points out that if you don’t have an outfit done, you’ll have to double up today. It’s very quiet, Korto says no one is commenting on anyone. Mychael tears something.

Tim time! But first they make him open the door, which is ridiculously huge. He can barely get it open and he hangs on it. Hee. He makes them go out into the lounge, where now there is a TV. Everyone is frightened. He turns on the TV, and Nicole Kidman comes on, which…holy crap. Even Santino kind of freaks out. She starts talking about her new movie, and says their challenge is to design for that premiere. That’s what the red carpet look is for. Kick ass!

Now is really Tim time. Uli has a short fitted dress with a ruffle. Not Uli at all, but I really like it. So does Tim. He has no comment for Korto. Santino thinks this is where everyone will start noticing what everyone else is doing. He then claims to have the best taste level in the room. Right. Sweet P has a lot of ruffles, but Tim thinks it’s too matronly and ordinary. I just did the math in my head: there are 24 looks to talk about. UGH. Chris has a great piece in gray plaid that is really cool. Tim is excited. Hands on hips excited. Danny V says he doesn’t do “red carpet” look so he seems a bit lost. He’s glad that Tim says he was surprised. Jeffrey has a green and black sparkly fabric which seems nice. Tim complements his fabrics but not much else. Mychael picked his colors randomly, and he doesn’t seem to have anything else nailed down. I hope he gets it together.

Model casting time! Everybody talks about how important it is. Chris is still asleep. Like, snoring asleep. This time they will get backups. Nice. Sweet P and Uli fight over models and Chris takes a nap.

Santino breaks the needle on the surger. Fantastic. Jeffrey offers him tweezers but when Santino insults him he’s like, forget it then, I’m done with you. We can’t even laugh at how Santino insulted him because it’s bleeped. Jeffrey has needles but he’s not in any kind of hurry to help Santino fix anything. Excellent.

Day 3. Santino fixes the surger and frantic working commences. Models show up for fittings. Santino doesn’t have tops for some things. Sweet P and Uli don’t have any models at all, for a while. Finally one of Sweet P’s models comes, but Uli has absolutely no one who can come in, so she has to wing it. That is scary. She tries on her own clothes, to get some feel for things, and Chris says she should just model her own stuff. They won’t be in until tomorrow morning.

Tim calls out a “gather ‘round!” and claims he and Heidi have a nice surprise for them: a party. No one says a single word. I think they are freaking out. They have dinner reservations at a nice restaurant, and then he tells them they’ll have extra time in the morning, so there is some relief and cheers at last. Tim calls it an “enforced celebration” and pounds his hand with a fist. Korto is seriously annoyed. Jeffrey says he doesn’t want to go, even if Nicole Kidman is there, because he’ll eat dinner with her when he wins anyways. I must admit…I smell a rat.

At dinner everyone hangs out and actually relaxes, and then Tim comes in to offer them a toast, and then says it wouldn’t be “Project Runway” without a surprise. HA! I knew it! He says they will have an extra day to work…because they have an additional look. I laugh until I realize that means 32 dresses to talk about. Tim says he and Heidi are concerned that in their post-show lives, they’ve forgotten how to make clothes from random shit, like all the stuff in this restaurant. Everyone looks around frantically. They have 5 minutes to grab whatever they can. They DESTROY the place. Jeffrey is like, “It’s just fun to wreck stuff.” heh. Tim says 25% of this new look can have fabrics that they’ve already bought, so that the whole collection will go together. They wander off, leaving behind broken glasses and a giant mess.

In the morning it is now time to play with trash. Chris has some kind of fake pebbly leather dress or something. Uli hasn’t finished anything yet. She tells Sweet P she won’t help her win. Sweet P has all day to do just this last look. Jeffery says something about Santino’s dress, with sequins, implying they’re extra strong sequins for strippers. Santino worries for a nanosecond about his garment being “whorish” but then shrugs it off.

Hair and makeup consultations. Did you miss Collier Strong? I kind of did, or I would have missed him more if I ever got anything out of these consultations.

Tim time! He comes to look at people’s 4th looks, and Uli isn’t done. She actually hasn’t started. Nothing goes with her colors. Tim announces to everyone that they can’t blow off the trash garment, and tells Uli she’s made him break out in perspiration. Jeffrey jokes that his 4th look will be a bag full of fabric. Korto is using steel wool as accent. Daniel has some tubing, and when Tim asks what it is he picks it up with the tips of his fingers like it might contaminate him. Danny V says he found it in the back room, and Tim says “It looks like something you’d find in a back room.” Hee, Tim, you dirty old man! No wonder he was so iffy picking it up. He may be making a skirt from them, but I’m not sure. Mychael I think has plastic pieces, maybe from the chandelier. Tim has confidence in everyone! Someone will win a bunch of money! Project Runway Olympics! Don’t fuck it up! Oh, sorry, wrong show.

Korto is gluing beads that were in the vases on the table. She thinks everyone is watching her and hating on her stuff. Santino has fabric everywhere and he’s laying out stuff on the floor. He’s only done with one thing and Sweet P thinks he may not finish.

The day of the runway show is upon us. Everyone thinks they will win. Damn, it’s still dark outside. Is it the night before? I think it might be the night before. Yeah, that makes more sense. Most people have a ton of work to do.

OK so NOW it’s morning. The contestants are excited and stressed and mentally going over all the things they still need to finish. They get there and everyone goes to the workroom to work except Chris is napping on the couch. Tim goes to look at him and then throws up his hands in confusion. Then he leaves. Everyone will get an hour this morning. There is running and gluing. Santino I think has an entire look to sew together. Models start to show up and people are dressing everyone. One of Uli’s models is not coming. Wait, does she get to call someone? She’s had to use both her backups. Danny V is sweating like a pig. Santino thinks everything is coming together.

Our guest judge today is Diane von Furstenberg, who is fabulous as always. First up is Santino’s collection. The tight putty colored leggings have a black sequined top, one shouldered, that is almost tunic length. It’s got long strips of fabric at the shoulders so it almost looks like she‘s got long sleeves that are cut. Actually it’s not bad, but then she turns around and there’s long black fringe in an inverted V on her back. Eh. Then there is more of the shiny putty, but this time it’s a jumpsuit with a halter neck. Over one shoulder some fabric is draped to cover her shoulder and her upper arm. It’s tight and shiny and on anyone who was not a model it would look terrible. But at least there’s no fringe. Also the draped fabric comes down to her waist so her two boobs look different. To quote Tom and Lorenzo from Project Rungay, she has a titscrepancy. So for the trash challenge, we have black leggings with a white dress. The dress has mutton sleeves, big and poofy, and has black bows down the front. The skirt is full, too. Santino says the white is curtains. On closer inspection the leggings are the same black sequined material as the first look. Last we have a long fitted dress, strapless sweetheart neckline, in the putty. I feel like the girl is about to trip. I mean, she can move in it, but it looks really heavy, like it’s an effort to move the skirt to walk.

Mychael is next. His first look is a short blue dress, with a lot of folding around the bodice. It’s strapless and really short. The folding looks cool, but probably they will yell at the length. He sends out his trash dress next. It’s a basic white tank dress, short and fitted, with plastic pieces around the front. There are some clear pieces and some yellow, and he says he wanted a tornado effect. I wish they would say what these things are. The third look is a yellow one shouldered top. The one shoulder has a sleeve on it, a short sleeve, so it’s not just one strap. The skirt is the same blue as the first dress, and I think there’s a lot of pleating but they don’t show it very well. The last look is the red carpet look, and it’s a long dress in raspberry with a skinny yellow belt. The top looks like it has sleeves, but they are only attached at the top of the shoulder, so there’s a gap between the sleeve and the neckline of the dress. It provides some interest. The back has a racerback cutout. I like that the back is really interesting.

Uli’s first dress is all one color, a light rose with a lot of ruffles. The ruffles serve as a strap over one shoulder, and they flow down the front of the dress to the opposite side, where the dress ends at the knee. The ruffles swoop around to the back, and some branch off at her shoulder to run down the rest of the front of the dress. The same thing happens at the back. The next dress is also one color, a nude tan color, and is short and fitted. There is one big ruffle along her bodice and across her waist, edged in a contrasting gray. The gray also comes over one shoulder and across her back to attach back to the dress with some pleating. Next is a dress, or possibly two pieces, a pencil skirt in a silvery gray and a halter blouse with a high neck and a big collar necklace. Over that is a sparkly shrug of some kind. The model took it off on the runway so I didn’t get a good look. The whole thing is backless. Her last look is the trash challenge, and it looks fantastic. It’s a short dress over black leggings, but it looks like she had several materials, and put them in layers to get an effect of horizontal stripes. The top is gray, and there’s a mesh kind of…whatever it is over most of the middle, and then black across her hips. I think most of the middle is woven, somehow. It doesn’t look like trash, that’s for sure. It doesn’t really look like Uli either, but it’s fantastic.

Korto goes fourth. Her first dress is a short strapless dress in a raspberry color. The skirt is full and has some folding (it’s too big and loose to be called “pleating”) and the top is uneven. On purpose, though; it’s like she folded over fabric and some pieces were longer than others. The hem is kind of full too, but when she turns around the top is not even. One side is longer than the other, and I can’t tell if it’s on purpose. Her second look is a sleeveless vest cut very low and trimmed with metallic fabric, and wide legged pants with a high waist, in a medium brown neutral. It looks fantastic. The trash look is a black dress with a full skirt possibly made out of trash bags, and a bodice made from what look like placemats. The top is cut into overlapping circles so they swoop around and look interesting, and it’s one shouldered. I really like it. The last look is a black and white print, but the same basic silhouette: short, full skirt, sweetheart strapless neckline. I’ve seen a lot of that today.

Chris gets to go next. His first look has bright orange leggings. Yeah. Then there is a very short tight skirt, and a big belted coat. Imagine of you took two rectangles of fabric and put them over your shoulders and crossed them at your waist, with a belt. There are long sleeves and a hood. Orange. Who knows. The next one is weird also, with a lot of volume on top, in the same gray plaid, and a belt, and a knee-length black skirt with magenta tights. The collar on this one is the source of the volume. It just has giant lapels. The trash challenge…sigh. It’s a silver dress, but with giant black cone boobs. The skirt is silver pebbly leather maybe. The red carpet look is in gray plaid, with a bustle, I think. There’s a feather? And one shoulder is black. Oo! But that model is Mountaha! She works it.

Danny V starts with a short black bubble skirt, and a sleeveless top in white with a blue center. It…it’s like sportswear. The second look has the same blue, but in leggings, and a black vest and a white shell with lots of ruffles. the blue is just this weird electric blue. And the models have smudged makeup like they slept in it or something. The trash dress is blue and short with plastic pieces over the top of it. Around her midsection is the black tubing, vertically, and there’s clear plastic around the rest. When she leaves you can see the back is very short and the zipper goes all the way down to the hem. Sigh, exposed zipper. The clear plastic is hinged over so it’s like wings or shields or something. The red carpet look? Maybe? Is short and shiny and black, with white panels on the sides. It’s OK, but not like, groundbreaking or anything.

Jeffrey starts with a short green shiny dress, I think the fabric is black and green sequins. It’s pretty short though. There’s a V-neck but it’s off center. I like the top but she’s about to flash everyone. Second look: a black blazer-style jacket over a shiny putty dress. The dress is gathered at one hip to make an asymmetrical hem. His third look is weird. It’s a jumpsuit, I think, a black sleeveless jumpsuit with a low V-neck and crop legs. And he’s put bright pink booties with it. It ties at the shoulders, and there’s a belt but beneath that it’s really full and with the gathered crop pants it makes her whole pelvis look giant. The trash look is a pink dress with a short hem in front and a longer one in the back, with giant linebacker shoulder pads and long black fringe around the neck and down her back.

Sweet P is last! She’s got her first dress in a minty green, it’s one shouldered with some fabric draped over the one shoulder, instead of just a strap. It’s nice, but not really super great. The second one is a short pink dress, which is not fitted to her body, with ruffles on the bottom in a lighter pink. There are ruffles at the shoulders too, or possibly they are the dreaded rosettes. The neckline looks off, like it’s been cut crooked. It’s kind of shapeless, and the ruffles at the bottom weigh it down. The trash look is a bodice made of ivory plastic, possibly, because it’s all stiff, with ruffles of something at the top, and a full green pleated skirt, with a big pink bow. At least the bow is in front and it’s not a butt bow. There are two tiers to the skirt, a green one and a brown one with white flowers. You know when they have trash challenges and some people’s stuff looks like real clothes, and some people’s stuff still looks like trash, and then all the people in the middle just have weird stuff, but you let it slide because you tell yourself “but it’s made out of trash!” She’s one of the middle people. The last look is a long dress in shiny green, with the ruffles at the bottom and a belt. The ruffles and belt are in a lighter matte green. It looks like a nightgown.

Nina tells Mychael that his clothes are sexy and she loved his evening gown, but Kors says his trash look was “hoochie mama that walked through the garbage”. Diane loved it though. Heidi was surprised by Uli, which is what she wanted, and then Nina is all “It’s sophisticated but I miss the spirit”. Would that be the spirit that you yelled at her for because it was the same thing all the time and you were bored? Kors thinks she moved too far away from the spirit. OK, I can see that. Then they move on. That’s it? I mean, I didn’t have anything to say about Mychael either but I would have thought they’d praise Uli more. Kors claims to have expected “polish” from Jeffrey, which is not what I expect, and Heidi is like “it’s not the Jeffrey I expected”, and did they really think everyone would be the same? It’s been years. I mean, I’m sure a lot of viewers expect the same things, but fashion insiders know designers change. Don’t they? Kors was tired of Santino’s shiny Lycra and labels his evening gown “disco swimming pool”. Santino laughs. Maybe that’s what he was going for. Diane says it’s vulgar and he claims to have not been headed that way. Then Heidi is all, you are the four losers. Uli is in the bottom four?? What the fuck is that?? Sweet P beat her? CHRIS beat her? Bullshit. She kicks them out.

Chris is freaking out and can barely talk because he can’t believe he’s in the top 4. Heidi is like, but you’re so great! But I think he is thinking the same thing the rest of us are right now. Which is, how did he make it to the end? Chris describes his retro inspiration. Kors claims that gray plaid coats with giant collars are “American sportswear”. Seriously, this is pissing me off. Nina even loved the trash look with the cone boobs. The only thing they say that is bad is the evening gown is a lot of look. Diane talks about sportswear too, which, I must not understand what sportswear is then. OK, on to Danny V, who went athletic and youthful. They love the short dress with the white panels, which to be fair is cool even close up. Kors sees a clear picture of who wears his clothes. Korto is also kind of choked up, and says the trash challenge dress is placemats and the rocks from the vases. Nina praises her print, and Kors likes the asymmetry and thinks they will look great on women. We knew Korto could dress women, though. Sweet P made romantic clothes, and she’s got that nightgown dress up there, which just has a bad color. Diane loved all of it. What the crap, you guys. Blah blah, everyone loves Sweet P, and I don’t dislike Sweet P, but I just don’t think she did that great a job. It didn’t totally suck, but top 4? Also, they praised everyone’s trash looks but Danny V’s, which didn’t look like real clothes, but they didn’t really say anything about that. And what did Uli make hers out of?

Diane says everyone has a point of view, even though they told Uli and Jeffrey that they weren’t themselves. They don’t care that Chris had the same plaid in 3 looks, because in a real show that would happen a lot. His trash dress had movement, which it did, to be fair. Heidi doesn’t like that Danny V’s first model had no bra. Nina loved the pants. Kors goes on and on about how much he loves Danny V and he winked at them and thought about details and whatever, he probably wants to get into his pants. All the judges can’t stop talking about his movie premiere dress. Then Kors is all “Danny V grew the most!” but then Uli and Jeffrey grew too and you said that was a bad thing!! AUGH! Heidi loves Korto and her clothes are wearable. Yes, OK, I can agree with that. She uses texture and asymmetry to make things interesting. They think her evening gown wasn’t modern enough, and her trash dress was good enough to wear on the red carpet. Kors says someone could even wear her pantsuit, and then he says “The rules are gone.” which sounds ominous. Sweet P’s first dress was made from leather. I couldn’t even tell. Then everyone loves her playfulness and the ruffles and the damn rosettes and Kors thinks a leather dress that is romantic is perfectly Sweet P. Good, now they’ll stop talking.

Chris had sophistication but did not win. I think he’s just thrilled to get some praise for non-costumes. He’s so sweet I’m going to stop now. Sweet P had a clear story but she doesn’t win either. She’s more OK with it because Diane loved her clothes. Korto and Danny both are like “déjà vu” and he kisses her hand, and she says “You’re so much cuter than Leanne”. Hee! (Kmanpat: “Yes yes.”) Danny had more confidence and was modern, and Korto has great talent and impeccable clothes. They drag this shit out for ages, until they tell Danny V he won. Stupid. Poor Korto. She kind of rolls her eyes like “bitch, please.” She’s really pissed off and hurt. I’ll buy your clothes! Please? Or jewelry? I don’t care, something. Everyone kisses ass to Danny V, about his red carpet dress, and they say nothing about the trash dress, I guess because they wanted him to win after that one dress so they decided it wasn’t important or something. I mean, he’s cute and all, and he can make clothes, but I don’t know that he should have won. Everyone else comes out and pretends to be happy for him. Whatever, it’s over.
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Friday, August 21, 2009

Project Runway 8/20/09--"Welcome to L.A.!" summary

Previously on “Project Runway”: oh, you remember. Giant fight. Huge giant delay for our show. So much so that the finalists got to show their collections, but without their names, which kind of sucks. But no one had to pay for decoy collections, so that’s something. I guess. Anyways, let’s forget about all that. (click for more)

Our first contestant is Ra’Mon Lawrence, 31, from Chicago. OK are they seriously living in the “Title Guarantee Building Lofts”? That is pretty lame. Anyways, Ra’Mon dropped out of med school (neurosurgery!!) to pursue designing. Logan Neitzel, 26, Seattle, is much better looking on camera than in still shots. Although he has the sleazestache going. (Kmanpat: “Still cute!”) Johnny Sakalis, 30, West Hollywood, apparently had tried out before, but he was on crystal meth at the time so he didn’t really make it. He’s glad to have broken that. Gordana Gehlhausen, 45, originally from Yugoslavia. She has her own store already. I like her accent. Malvin Vien, 24, New York, has some serious Marcel hair. It’s like, short on the sides but curly and piled high on top. Carol Whitfield, 24, Charleston. We don’t find out anything about her. And Qrystil Frazier, 42, New York but originally from Saint Louis so the paper did an article on her like two days ago. But seriously, Qrystil, that name is going to kill me. But she makes plus sized clothes so that is exciting. Shirin Askari, 24, Texas, says her name means “sweet” in Farsi. She appears to have convertible clothes. Nicolas Putvinski, 27, says he is known in New York as “The Feather Prince”. Oh, honey. He is so flamey. Lots of sparkles. (Kmanpat: “I like sparkles. And princes.“) Mitchell Hall, 26, Savannah. He looks so much better when he smiles! He says he’s been working in the business side of things. Epperson, 50, New York, and Christopher Straub, 30, Minnesota, come in next. Chris looks much better than his photo. Ari Fish, 26, Kansas City, also has “transformative” clothing. Althea Harper, 24, Dayton. She gets no intro. Irina Shabayeva, 27, New York, says her dog inspires everything she does. As long as she doesn’t dress the dog. Louise Black, 32, Dallas, comes in on her heels and doesn’t get to say anything.

OK, I think everyone has met everyone, so now we fill in stuff. Carol tells Gordana that she sold Gordana some dresses, a while ago. Carol then claims that her dresses are “pixie meets cocktail party”. She tries to say people will underestimate her because she’s blonde, but that fails when she trails off in the middle of the sentence. Sigh. Epperson learns that he’s much older than everyone, and says he’s been dressing windows. Everyone finds notes from Heidi telling them to come to the roof. They like to party on the roof.

Heidi praises the weather and then says they won’t be seeing it again because of all the work. Ha! Then Tim welcomes everyone and tells them they’ll be working in FIDM. Now they start drinking. Louise is a vintage person. Malvin saves us from the comment and says that he is androgynous and works that. Althea has interned at Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood, already, at 24. Chris flirts with Heidi and seems interesting. Tim puts everyone to bed and says tomorrow is a field trip!

Some of these people have crazy clothing. The field trip is to the red carpet at the Emmys. Damn. For their first challenge they have to make a red carpet work, with innovation and their own point of view. Tim then reminds them that there are many many awards shows, with lots of different styles, so no one has to limit themselves. That’s a really good point; someone might not be able to design a good dress for the Oscars but their style is perfect for MTV.

The new workroom at FIDM is really big but it seems more crowded with tables. 30 minutes to sketch, and then 30 minutes and $200 to shop at…Mood? Ari is wearing some kind of skintight loud patterned body suit. They have two days, and winner gets immunity. Ari yells that she doesn’t sketch, and people look disgusted. She’s in the corner doing a handstand. Over her body suit are blue shorts. Well at least she’ll be entertaining.

Oo, it IS Mood! Yay! Ari mentions tessellations. (Kmanpat: “Woo! Math!”) Tim calls 5 minutes and Qrystil is freaking out because there is only one person cutting fabric. That seems like someone at Mood didn’t plan very well. Somehow it’s agreed that Qrystil can cut her own fabric if she pays for the scissors, I think so they’re her own. Good for her to come up for that solution.

Tim reminds everyone innovation is important and then he leaves them with 8 more hours today. Ra’Mon gets choked up thinking about someone wearing his gown on the red carpet. Johnny is already rethinking. Mitchell is explaining to Chris about how he’s smocking, and Chris doesn’t know what that means. Johnny’s still rethinking. I think he’s freaking out. He actually leaves the room to go calm down. He already is thinking about quitting.

GLEE COMMERCIAL!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sorry, I am super excited. (Kmanpat: “YAY!”)

Everyone is working but Johnny is sitting alone in the lounge waiting for Tim. He loses it and says he doesn’t want to fail again. Normally I would say he should man up and go back to work, but I’m not going to make fun of anyone’s drug addiction. Tim is so perfectly supportive and awesome. I love Tim. Johnny says it’s so great to have Tim Gunn talk you through something. Tim sends him off with a “Make it work!” and he tells the workroom Tim is a god. Hee.

Malvin says there is no vocab for his garments. Ari is stacking fabric pieces. Everyone goes home to sleep, probably.

Johnny is in a much better mood. There is no eye candy getting dressed shots of half naked boys. That part is sad. Chris tells the entire workroom that he has no formal training and doesn’t know what they’re talking about sometimes. Do you really want to tell your competition that, though?

Tim time! Chris has what looks like garbage bags, although I’m sure that’s not what they are. Tim warns him that improper styling will result in “cruise line cocktail waitress”. Ari is sewing together hexagons. With some kind of puffy diaper thing. Tim is concerned. Ra’Mon is making a big butt. Mitchell tries to call him “Mr. Gunn” which is so adorable. His dress has a high collar and long sleeves, and shades from ivory to dark blue. It’s really interesting. And it’s going to be smocked from waist to knee. Qrystil wants drama. She asks if it’s drama in a good way, and as Tim gazes on the purple with lace up patterned insert, she says “OK, you’re pausing too long!” Hee.

Model fitting. Mitchell says his card measurements were totally wrong. After fitting, they have 4 hours and “mere nanoseconds” tomorrow. Ari’s dress is so puffy and weird. I think Mitchell took his whole dress apart to redo it. He says it’s off by 5 inches, but…doesn’t smocking stretch?

Ari today is wearing a very loud jumper with shorts. Everyone works hard and Mitchell has nothing. He has a neck and fabric. Tim gives them 2 hours and the Macy’s accessory wall. Mitchell is sewing his model into the dress. Everyone watches him. Nicolas says his model will be nude and that this is a first. Let me direct your attention to Wendy Pepper and her “candy bikini” that she sent out the first episode of the first season. Nude has been done. He asks Chris if it’s a good plan, and Chris is like, it’s a plan all right. Ari jacks up her model’s hair. Mitchell is pretty screwed.

Heidi introduces Kors and Nina, and the guest judge who is Lindsay Lohan. WTF is that? She cleaned up for the event, and Heidi claims Lohan is a singer. Whatever.

Althea (model Tanisha): long dress in a gray blue, with a halter neckline and the bodice is puffy and white. It’s pretty but not super exciting. I think the white is tacked on other fabric. Gordana (model Tara): short dress in soft teal, with a pencil skirt and a strapless bodice made out of loose material. The bodice is gathered and pointy and it looks pretty cool. Malvin (model Valerie): V-neck short dress in a non-color. Blah. You have to get pretty close to see that the back is pleated, and over her boobs, but it’s like this weird color that’s not white but it’s not quite tan and not quite gray. Mitchell (model Yosuzi): he managed to save the high smocked neck, and the rest of the dress is like a tent that he just sewed to the neck. It’s floor length ivory with bell sleeves. I’m only impressed because he made that dress in 2 hours. They keep saying how she’s naked think because the fabric is sheer and he didn’t have time to line it, obviously. Louise (model Lisa): a loose dress in two colors of satin, a putty and a darker gray. Over one shoulder it’s very gathered to make a big knot of ruffles, and the sash is sewn so over the putty side it’s gray and vice versa. The bottom of the skirt is gathered so it’s almost a bubble hem and almost a handkerchief hem but not quite either. I really like it, actually. The two colors are close enough that at first it looks like they’re the same, and the light is just hitting it weird. Although she says that’s not what she was going for. Chris (model Katie): short strapless dress with a lot of volume. The top is gathered black fabric, all ruffles and puffy, then it’s belted, and the bottom is tiered pink. If only the black didn’t look like trash bags. Ra’Mon (model Vanessa): long dress in dark blue. It’s one shouldered, with a very wide strap that’s almost like a cap sleeve. There’s pleating over her stomach, all the way down over her hips. It’s not bad. Shirin (model Ebony): OK so first of all, she has her model pose with hand to forehead behind the scrim. It’s a short off white satin dress, or maybe it’s that putty non-color, with a sparkly charcoal capelet. The neckline is folded and cool looking, and the sparkles are on the back of the skirt, but there is a butt bow.

I’d forgotten how many dresses there are in the first episode. Epperson (model Erica M): long black dress with a big puffy collar, a la Christian. It also ends like 6 inches from the floor, and has more tulle in a ruffle on the bottom of the skirt. Irina (model Celine): gorgeous long satiny skirt with a bodice that looks like it has a pattern, only it’s hard to make out, with a thin black belt. The skirt moves beautifully as she walks. There are panels of non-shiny fabric in the skirt, which is kind of odd, but it’s really good. Ari (model Erika Macke): Jesus. Very short silver halter dress, the halter style where there’s like a collar. The hexagons don’t show up well, it just looks puffy. And her hair looks like shit. There’s some dark yellow trim thrown in for fun. And possibly blue shorts? Who knows? And tall black boots! Actually, they’re not shorts, but bloomers, puffy silhouette and all. I am getting tired of dresses, people. Johnny (model Emarie): red dress with a V-neck. It looks shapeless, and I don’t know if that’s on purpose. There’s some black sparkly trim on the hem and I think on the back of the neck, where it ties. Carol (model Kojii): long dress in multiple layers of tans and wheat and so forth. The bodice is gathered and fitted down past her hips, there’s some detailing that winds around her boobs and down the front. It’s busy. Qrystil (model Kalyn): one side of the dress is purple satin and the other one is also satin but is a flowery print. They coordinate, but it’s like, the print is pleated down the center of the dress, looking all tacked on, and then she turned around and the back is draped nicely but no one looked at it because they were all writing down notes about the print. Logan (model Fatma): long silver dress that’s cut diagonally down the bodice, so one half of the bodice is black. It’s cool, but I don’t like how he told his model to stalk down the runway. Nicolas (model Matar): very short black dress with a woven bodice that has a lighter gray woven in. it’s interesting but I don’t know if it’s interesting enough. Maybe it’s not woven but just sewn nicely. THANK GOD WE’RE DONE.

Heidi says Shirin, Epperson, Gordana, Carol Hannah, Logan, Althea, Nicolas, Irina, Malvin, and Louise are safe. Qrystil says she’s going to the Emmys with her loud print. Heh. And that she imagined someone young wearing her dress, like Miley Cyrus or Lohan. Lohan looks disgusted. The back is draped well, to her credit. It’s just the weird print thing. Heidi says it’s a mess and it’s crooked. Kors says it’s like she glued two dresses together and whoever wears it will get killed by the press. Yeah, probably. Chris is thinking MTV with his poofiness, even though the bottom ruffles are sort of dingy looking. It’s just the color. Closer up the black looks like a very cool texture and not plastic. Ra’Mon is headed for Oscars, everything is well made and elegant but Kors wants more. I think Kors is bored. Lohan says it’s safe but it looks like more than $200. Ari…oh Ari. She says this is for the VMA’s in 2080. Or for a Nobel Peace Prize. Kors labels it “disco soccer ball”. Yeah. It’s interesting that when Elisa was on the show she was obviously not from this planet but her dress was so much better than this. Lohan points out that someone has to buy her clothes, in the end. Nina is nice and says she appreciates her conceptual process. Why is she being so nice? Johnny aimed for “movie premiere” and Nina praises how easy and sexy it is. Actually they like it. And then they show a full body shot, with her standing still so you can see clearly. The front is a knee-length bubble hem and then there is a tail. Like, it’s very low in the back and at the base of her spine is a tail of fabric that is almost to the floor. And there’s no shape to it. Kors says it would be better in black because it’s already interesting and doesn’t need a loud color. Maybe it’s just me but I think it’s weird and not pleasing. Mitchell blames his model’s bad measurements for his lack of a dress. Nina knows that it’s sheer and unwearable, but she can see the idea and concept and it interests her. Kors thinks she should be in her house by the fireplace with some brandy.

Good: Ra’Mon (kind of boring but excellent pretty dress), Johnny (cool shape but should have been in black), Chris (youthful and elegant, but still edgy). Bad: Qrystil (Kors busts out the “taste level” comment), Ari (Nina throws up her hands and says it’s like speaking to someone from another world, but Kors thinks maybe he’s not smart enough to get it), and Mitchell (unwearable).

Johnny is in. Chris is the winner. When he’s glad he puts hands to mouth like a pageant queen. Hee. He talks about not having education again. (Kmanpat: “Also, never wear hats.”) Ra’Mon is in. Qrystil is in. Ari and Mitchell are the last two. We know what they did. Although Heidi tells Ari that it’s one thing to aim outside of the box, and another to completely miss the box. Ari is out. She talks about taking risks responsibly and learning from the experience.

Next week: looks for a real celebrity, but who knows which one. Cursing ensues.
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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Top Chef 8/19/09--"Sin City Vice" summary

Previously on Top Chef: We’ve reached that point in the life cycle of a reality show where most people are conscious of the fact that they are always on TV so they try to behave themselves. Except for Hosea and Leah cheating on their significant others on camera. Which didn’t prevent Hosea from winning, though. But now it is time for Vegas. If you’re looking for “Top Chef: Masters” (although I’m pretty sure you aren’t) that is coming later. School’s started up again and I need to sleep. (click for more)

Dear God, there are 17 of them? I’m tired already. Padma gives us the usual “this is the most talented group of contestants ever, etc.” with the usual listing of awards and qualifications. Oo, and a pair of brothers! Cute brothers. Ah, eye candy. How I missed thee. There appears to be gambling. Some guest chefs are shown, and I don’t see Rocco but I won’t hold my breath in the hopes he doesn’t show up. And you get $125,000 now, in addition to the usual prizes. Nice.

Kevin Gillespie, 26, Atlanta. He’s a James Beard nominee. He got a full scholarship to MIT but ditched it to go to cooking school. Wow. I kind of like him already. Must be a nerd thing. Preeti Mistry, 33, San Francisco. She works for Google, it looks like. She’s thrilled to be in Vegas. Ron Duprat, 40, lives in Florida but originally from Haiti. It looks like they’ve rented them a sweet mansion somewhere. Eve Aronoff, 40, Michigan. She doesn’t look 40, so good for her. She mentions that all these chefs are from big cities, which she is not. I don’t know, she’s from Ann Arbor. Mattin Noblia, 29, lives in San Francisco but is from France. Oh, he is ADORABLE. Eli Kirshtein, 25, Atlanta. I haven’t been listing jobs because everyone is either an executive chef or owns their own place. Eli loves to cook because he’s a fat kid and he likes food. His T-shirt says bacon. I think he is my favorite. Ash Fulk, 29, New York. But he’s from next to where I grew up. He actually is a sous chef. And he’s the only one here from New York. And the only one with a boyfriend. And then he pauses and looks confused for a moment, and clarifies: same-sex boyfriend. Oo, that means the other eye candy plays on my team for once! (Kmanpat: “Aww.“) That whole interview was great. AND on Bravo’s website, where it says “favorite simple summer recipe”, his is actually simple: grilled corn on the cob with mayo and sweet tea. Jesse Sandlin, 30, Baltimore. She’s got several lip piercings and a lot of tattoos. Jen Zavala, 31, Philadelphia. Also tattooed and…she’s done that thing with her ear piercing where you put a hoop into the hole, so that it looks like she is wearing hoop earrings but really that’s the size of the hole in her ear. It’s all stretched out. I don’t know. She mentions her son, so I am sure that won’t be the last time. Jen and Jesse and their roommates are arguing about unpacking. Like, whether or not they’re going to do it.

Damn, another Jennifer. We’re going to go with TattooJen and BlondeJen. Jennifer (the blonde one) Carroll, 33, Philadelphia. She claims to have made many boys cry. Bryan Voltaggio, 33, Urbana, Maryland. He looks like this guy from my church. Also there is Michael Voltaggio, 30, L.A., who looks very much like his brother. Michael says he became a chef because Bryan was and stayed with it. They haven’t lived together in 12 years. Mike Isabella, 34, Washington DC. He helped Michael open his restaurant, I think. Everyone gets dressed and sits on the long drive into town. Ashley Merriman, 32, Seattle. She thinks Vegas is a “food mecca”. I’m not so sure.

The Top Chef kitchen is in some casino/resort or whatever. There’s a giant fish tank? Woo! Tom and Padma! Laurine Wickett, 38, San Francisco, says she’s kind of intimidated. But she’s a caterer, so I hope she lasts long enough to school some people in catering challenges. Padma welcomes everyone, so forth. Hector Santiago, 41, Atlanta. He says Padma is more beautiful in person. Tom is smirking. Padma product places for a moment, and then gives them the first Quickfire: the mise en place relay race. Wow, first thing? Padma promises twists. And now there are showgirls. They are shimmying and so forth. Instead of drawing knives, they pull poker chips. I hope this is only for the first challenge. I like drawing knives.

Robin Leventhal, 43, Seattle, is the only one with a gold chip. She knows either she’s extremely lucky or screwed. Turns out she’s lucky: not only does she not have to do anything, but she has immunity. Damn. The relay race tasks are as follows: shuck 15 clams, peel 30 prawns, clean 5 lobsters, then butcher 2 chops from a side of prime rib. Interesting. Everyone picks what legs they’re doing. All that happens is that Preeti gets stuck with clams and asks if they’re like oysters. There is only enough time for Kevin to tell her that no, they’re different, before they have to start. Sorry but they didn’t say who is on what team and I didn’t get any good shots.

When they all start it’s obvious Preeti has no idea what she’s doing. Tom shakes his head in amusement at Preeti. Sigh. TattooJen destroys her fingers. Mike claims the asshat title 11 minutes in by claiming that a girl shouldn’t be at the same level as he is, there’s just no way. Sadly he wins. Mattin is doing lobsters and you can barely see him do it. He is kicking ass. Love it. Preeti is still shucking and the other team is still on prawns, I think. Mattin catches up for his team. Mike is being obnoxious and “cheering on” his teammates. I don’t know, it seems like it would bug me. Anyways, his team loses so I am satisfied. The winners are Mattin, BlondeJen, Jesse, and Bryan. I think Preeti never finished her clams.

Of course there is a twist. For some reason, they still need a winner, even though Robin won immunity already, so they’ll have a cookoff to award someone $15,000. Wow. I guess they realized that giving people random prizes for the Elimination challenges wasn’t quite fair. Robin can trade in her immunity for the chance to win the money, but she is uninterested. Mike says this tells him that she’s not confident and it’s one less “old lady” he has to worry about. It’s going to be so satisfying when he gets cut. They have 30 minutes to make a dish with whatever they worked with.

Jesse can’t remember any dish she’s made with prawns so she‘s making shrimp and grits using polenta, as it‘s all she can think of. Bryan, though, worked in a steakhouse, so he‘s crusting his steak. BlondeJen is making clam ceviche with citron vinegar, and Mattin (who is SO cute but could lose the red neckerchief) is going to make something that sticks with his style, lobster with bay leaves and star anise. Michael says that if he’s not in competition with his brother he’s Bryan’s biggest fan. Tom sucks the juice out of a shrimp head, and Bryan’s steak is really really rare.

Bryan had weird puree and Mattin didn’t have a lot of star anise flavor. The clams were tender and Jesse’s dish was very flavorful. BlondeJen wins. So of course she’s thrilled.

For the Elimination challenge, everyone will be cooking a dish based on a vice that they have. Interesting. Not as good as 7 deadly sins, but still pretty good. They will stick in their teams, and one chef from each team will be up for the win. One other chef from each team will be put up for elimination. Robin can pick what team to join, and she picks the blue team “because I want to be a winner.” Don’t simper, Robin. The guest judge will be Wolfgang Puck. Kick ass. Now a lot of people freak out, and I notice that Padma is like, 6 inches taller than Tom. They have $150 and 30 minutes for shopping at Whole Foods, and then 2 hours to cook tomorrow at Puck’s restaurant.

Commercial interlude: there’s a waterslide in the pool and everyone argues about trying it out or something, and Kevin is like, that is the shit, so he goes first. Eli makes some comment about having to look at Kevin in a bathing suit, which, 1. It’s not a Speedo, and 2. Didn’t you label yourself the fat kid already? Actually the water slide looks fun.

Shopping is the usual running around frantically. No one is getting assigned a vice, you get to pick your own. That’s pretty cool. Mike is an equal opportunity jerk as he insults women and then calls Eli a monkey. I know there’s a Mike and a Michael, but to keep track, Mike is the jerk and Michael is the hot one. Kevin says Eli’s bought a ton of seafood and he doesn’t get it. Bryan wants to win because 3 of the 5 seasons, the winner of the first Elimination challenge has won the whole thing. Ron talks about sneaking into the country from Haiti. TattooJen is trying to stand out and says she’s done this dish before.

Everyone goes to the Palazzo, to Cut, which is Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant. Ash says his whole restaurant would fit in that kitchen. Now we get to see what teams there are, but I’m past caring. Some people will be great and some will suck. Preeti is determined to redeem herself. People talk about their dishes but not really about their vices. Somehow Michael is making a rack of…whatever, and points out that people come to Vegas for that. TattooJen talks about cooking with seitan, I think she’s explaining it to someone, and Kevin thinks this is ballsy because no one likes seitan. Seitan is basically wheat gluten, but when you cook it, it sort of has the texture of meat and is high in protein, so it makes a good meat substitute for vegetarians. The immersion circulator has been found. Jesse’s chicken is kind of dry and she’s saucing it but she’s kind of worried. Hector lights something on fire and then smokes it, I think. No, he fries his rib eye steak. Mike smirks that this will be easier than he thought. Shush. Kevin realizes he’s going too slowly. Eve looks for white wine, can’t find any, and has to use cream, which is not the same. While that happens, she leaves her seafood on the stove so it overcooks. Robin doesn’t manage to sauce her plate, so good thing she’s safe.

Each chef will serve head-to-head with their team. Gail and Tom are here but Toby is not. Sweet. Mike: his vice is his hot temper and his mouth; dish is olive oil poached halibut over roasted eggplant puree. The halibut represents the bar of soap his mom used to wash out his mouth. Actually…that’s pretty clever. Eli: vice(s) are arrogance, drinking, and bitterness, dish is “buttered” scotch with scallops, cashews, and beer powder. He wanted a bitter sauce. He jokes about walking into traffic if he is eliminated. Not funny. Ashley: vice is red wine and bourbon. There is a very uncharitable shot of Tom and Gail looking very bored and tired of her talking. I’m not sure that really goes there. She serves chicken liver ravioli with red wine demi-glace. Hector: vice is smoking cigars; dish is smoked rib eye with carrot puree and a ceviche of celery. How do you ceviche celery? I don’t know. Everyone passes dishes around. Wolfgang thinks the scallops show promise but are too busy. The judges in general wonder why Hector smoked and then deep fried the steak when he could have grilled it over a wood fire. Yeah…that’s a good point. He’s not doing well. Sadly they like Mike’s dish.

Bryan: vices are bourbon and a cigar; dish is NY strip steak with parsnip puree and a bourbon caramel to represent the cask the bourbon gets aged in. Mattin: his vice is being stubborn; dish is buffalo rib eye with Madeira sauce, zucchini and mashed potatoes. The zucchini are hollowed out and the mashed potatoes are inside. BlondeJen: vice is drinking and doing stupid things, dish is poached halibut with whiskey, bourbon, scotch, and peppercorn sauce. Jesse: vices are overindulgence and whiskey. Everyone drinks whiskey and/or bourbon. Is that a chef thing? Her dish is braised chicken with a whiskey reduction, Yukon potatoes, and a fried egg. It’s at least half a chicken, and the potatoes and egg are fried in chicken fat. Robin: her vice is pork, as she is Jewish. Hee. Her dish is pork tenderloin stuffed with chorizo, and bread pudding. The gastrique had bacon in it. She tells them it’s missing, I guess because there’s no sauce at all. Sometimes it’s better not to tell them. Bryan’s steak is perfect but they’re tired of the purees underneath steaks. BlondeJen’s halibut is so perfect Wolfgang talks about making his chefs cook to that standard. Sadly Jesse’s chicken did dry out. Mattin’s steak was wonderful but the side dishes were random and for some reason Padma complains that she doesn’t know anything about him.

Ash: vice is procrastination; dish is poached halibut with ratatouille and parsley coulis. His claim as to how this is related to procrastination is that only half of the plate has sauce on it. Eh…I guess that works. The judges are amused. TattooJen: vice is being hot tempered; dish is a chile relleno stuffed with seitan and a grilled tomatillo salsa. I swear the first time I listened I heard “bacon” and not “seitan”. Ron: I can’t understand him at all. Something about the time he spent at sea? Seriously, they’ve subtitled people with subtler accents, and I’m not sure what exactly the vice is, because it’s not like escaping your country is really a vice. Anyways, the dish is jerk bass with collard greens and Haitian hash. FINALLY he says that the dish is what they ate at sea and what they got in Cuba when they landed, so maybe by making this he can put it behind him. So the vice is not letting go. Seriously, that was so annoying. Laurine: bacon donuts with chocolate and beer sauces. I guess her vices are chocolate and beer. Oh man, those sound so good. Ron’s dish has a ton going on but he had good intentions. Tom doesn’t get his vice either. They dislike TattooJen’s chile. Wolfgang says if you cooked it at home no one would come over ever. The donuts that looked so good, Wolfgang says they’re golf balls and he jokes about throwing them at people. He’s really funny today. I love it.

Michael: vice is plastic surgery. Actually he says it’s not really HIS vice. So…can you not follow directions? The dish is a rack of lamb with coconut sauce and cauliflower gnocchi. Yes, ha ha, you’re very clever. Preeti: vice is bourbon, dish is pork tenderloin with bourbon sweet potato puree and dandelion greens. Eve: her vice is that she wishes she was more simple; dish is shrimp and scallops in a curry cream sauce. I’m not sure how those are related. She says the sauce is complex but the shrimp are simple. Kevin: vice is procrastination; dish is arctic char with turnip salsa verde. I think the char is usually cooked quickly but he cooked it slowly? And vice versa with the turnips? Wolfgang says something looks like chicken testicles. Kevin’s dish is great and interesting. Eve’s dish is just OK but not really great. They like Michael’s jokey rack stuff, and they think he’s a professional.

Everyone hangs out in the Stew Room. No nice table and wine for these people, not like on Masters. Folding chairs and big red Solo cups. Padma comes in all serious and calls Ron, Mike, Kevin, and BlondeJen. These are the winners. Sigh. Mike’s dish was very focused and everything worked together. BlondeJen’s halibut was cooked to perfection, but Wolfgang says he doesn’t know why she drinks so much hard liquor, all at once. Everyone laughs and he says she should drink some white wine next time. Heh. Ron’s flavors were great and his story was great too. His praise isn’t quite as good as others. Kevin’s dish all came together. The one who had a dish that would be a great dish in any restaurant is Kevin. Nerd FTW! Actually, NotMike FTW!

Hector, TattooJen, Jesse, and Eve are the losers. The Loser Gong satisfies me. Hector’s steak didn’t have enough smoke flavor and deep frying it didn’t work. He says he knows he’d get more smoke from the grill but he wanted the crispy texture. Eve’s sauce was boring, and she goes into a long thing about playing down the flavors at the last minute or something. Gail is confused, I guess because if Eve’s vice is being complicated, Gail was expecting a complicated dish. Tom nails her for poorly cooked seafood. TattooJen’s dish wasn’t spicy enough, and they didn’t get it. Somehow the seitan was to show that she’s mad and spicy, but in the end good for you. Well if your dish was supposed to be about being hot-tempered I guess it needs to be pretty spicy. She extols the virtues of seitan, but it wasn’t cooked well so that backfired. Jesse knows the chicken breast was dry, and she’s trying not to cry, because I think she knew when she served it. Wolfgang says he was excited when he saw it and it could be a really great dish someday.

Everyone goes back to the Stew Room and TattooJen melodramatically falls to the floor. Gail was glad that no one was shocked at being in the bottom. They praise Jesse for having a good idea and knowing exactly what was wrong with her dish. Hector also had a good idea that wasn’t executed well, and Tom says he was in a good group. TattooJen’s pepper would have been under seasoned and terrible even if she’d used real meat. Wolfgang says he’d have to be pretty damn hungry to eat that. She’s convinced her risk taking will help her. Eve’s dish wasn’t thought through and the seafood could have been seasoned with something. So it looks like it’s between Jen and Eve.

Tom says basically the same thing they’ve said 3 times now. Jen is eliminated. She’s convinced she was bold for trying something new. She’s thrilled for being on the show. She’s sad she couldn’t show her son what she could do.

This season: gambling, running around, yelling, Air Force, Mattin still has his neckerchief, Penn and Teller!!!!!!!!!! Jacques Pepin I think, kick ass. Everyone argues and curses, Eli says something about cancer. I can’t wait for Penn and Teller. I hope they are like Tony Bourdain.
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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Top Chef: Masters 8/12/09--"Masters of Disaster" summary

Last time on “Top Chef: Masters”: First everyone made burgers, and that was fun, mostly. Then we decided that catering is just like being a restaurant chef, so everyone had to cater for Zooey Dechanel, who thinks “vegan” is not the same as “vegetarian who doesn’t eat fish, eggs, or dairy”. Whatever. In addition to being vegan, she also doesn’t eat wheat or soy. Michael won because he managed to find quinoa pasta, and Art lost because Southern cooking is not kind to vegans. He was kind of out of his element. (click for more)

For the Quickfire today, everyone must be blindfolded! The description at first sounded like they would have to cook blindfolded, which would have kicked serious ass, but no, it’s just the taste test. Rick’s glad he doesn’t have to do anything.

Michael thinks he might be screwed because he only works with Italian ingredients. The first thing is hoisin sauce, which he has no idea about. Seriously, people, corn? CORN?!?!? Are you really asking “masters” if they can identify corn? Then he misses mascarpone. Oh, Michael. Some of these are stupid. Ketchup? Peanut butter? Anita misses hoisin sauce and the sound guys do an extra long buzz. Heh.

Hubert only got 5 answers right out of 20. Jeez. Rick and Anita get 6, and Michael gets 7. Seriously, aren’t these supposed to be master chefs? I feel like the regular contestants do better than that.

OK, elimination challenge time. Kelly starts talking about hiring the right staff and running a team. They have to make a buffet lunch for 200 Hollywood insiders. They will have to pick their teams out of ex-Top Chef contestants. Heh. Michael immediately feels old. They get to interview everyone for 2 minutes. There’s a lot of people from different seasons, and I notice that Ilan is there. The only winner who didn’t make anything of himself. Loser. Notice all the other winners have better things to do. Woo! CJ!

Michael sends Jamie to get a knife and carrots to perform for him. Like, that’s his interview, he wants to see what she can do. She is frightened. Dude, Michael is hardcore. Rick asks if the chefs can relate to his flavors, since he wants to make sure they will be able to understand him. CJ says this must be what speed dating is like. Oh, he is even cuter than I remember. *sigh* Hubert bugs everyone about pastry, which of course they don’t have that experience. Except Elia. Anita says Jamie used to work for her, so she asks Jamie who she should take, and she says Dale. The random contestants tell CJ not to do what Michael says. Fabio knows he does Italian because he’s making everyone run around. Richard admits to not knowing anything about Mexican but tells Rick he wants to work with him. Rick remembers Richard winning the Quickfire with gourmet tacos or whatever. Spike gets to Michael, who tells him to go get a carrot. Spike is like…don’t you want to get to know me a little better? Michael is like, psshh, no. Spike thinks he’s full of himself because he won’t take Spike’s word that he can cut up carrots. Ilan claps. Shut up Ilan. Michael tells us that there is no chance in hell that Spike will be working for him.

Commercial interlude: Michael demands that everyone recognize that in the kitchen he is called “Chef” and then there is a montage of how everyone mispronounces his last name. I wonder if he’s trying to figure out how many people watch his show? Richard says that anyone who demands “What’s my name?” deserves to never have their name pronounced correctly. Dale mocks Michael back in the group. Richard then says that it’s “insulting” somehow. Dude. This man is kicking everyone’s ass and had a TV show. People remember you as “that guy that made the weird food that isn‘t Marcel“.

It is hilarious how CJ is so tall he doesn’t really fit in the frame. Betty says no one wants to be with Michael (and then mispronounces his name, way to go) but everyone wants to work with Hubert. I still don’t like Betty. Michael takes Fabio, since he gets to pick first for winning the Quickfire. It seems like Hubert was going to take him. Betty and Spike are the last two, but to my annoyance Spike is the last one. Especially annoying is the way he’s convinced himself that everyone did it on purpose so he wouldn’t outshine their food. So the teams shake out like this: Rick has Richard, Betty, and Alex (the one person I only vaguely remember); Anita has Dale, Jamie, and Ilan; Hubert has Elia, Antonia (jeez, remember her?), and Spike; Michael has Fabio, CJ, and Malarkey.

30 minutes for brainstorming. Rick and Anita are taking suggestions from their teams, Hubert is kind of listening to everyone, anyways, and Michael is pretty much telling everyone what to do because he doesn’t have time to figure out where all these people are coming from. Malarkey explains that and then says that it’s Michael’s ass on the line so he’ll do what he’s told.

$2000 for shopping. Wow. Some people go to Restaurant Depot and some to Whole Foods. Alex is coaching Rick to get seafood first to get the best. Anita tells someone frozen shrimp is fine. It seems ominous. She interviews that they didn’t have time for a shopping list. Uh oh.

Back at the kitchens they all have 3 ½ hours to prep. Everyone’s unpacking, and Michael tells people not to worry about the fridge, and then somehow Dale stole his fridge? I’m not sure if he started putting things in and then Dale took the rest of the room, or if Dale is taking up too much space and now there is nowhere for Michael to put his stuff, or what. There seems to be some kind of “I called it first” kind of stuff. Michael says something I can’t make out and then calls him “young man”. Dale for some reason is mortally offended and “I didn’t come here for this” and we all know you came here to be on TV again, so actually, it seems like this is exactly what you came here for. They get in a pissing match where Dale doesn’t seem to understand why Michael is in his grill (no he really says that). Uh, about the fridge, genius. Michael stares him down and says “You don’t want to go this way with me”. Which is on the one hand, arrogant and cocky, and on the other, hilarious. Dale’s all, what are you going to do about it? Which…is odd, but OK. Alex says he has Dale’s back. Dale loses some points by following Michael around saying “What are you going to do about it?” like, following him around the kitchen. Michael says he used to eat 3 Dales for breakfast every morning. As Dale is like, bobbing and weaving threatening him, he just looks at the camera like “watch me kick this punk’s ass into next week”. Look, they’re trying to paint Michael as a douche, but seriously? He’s a real chef and he must see at least some of these people as the untalented famewhores they are. I think he’s got the experience to be this cocky. Dale does not. Also the “Michael is a douche” edit seems to have come out of nowhere; last week he was fine. Hubert and Anita ignore everyone. Hubert talks about mentoring and getting respect, and he then says that Michael has a different approach. Someone (I think Betty) claims to be accomplished. Michael wants to control everything, because it’s his competition. Richard busts out liquid nitrogen. Oh, did you doubt that? Jamie is cleaning clams and is mostly ignoring the big picture. Oh and then time’s up. No, really. Usually I leave out a lot of the cooking, but this time that’s really all there was.

In the morning the chefs have another 2 ½ hours. Of course this is when Kelly shows up to tell them that they’re moving to another location. 30 minutes to pack up, and another 2 ½ hours at the new location. Richard is STILL talking about Michael, that he doesn’t have his stuff together, and SERIOUSLY none of these people are even on Michael’s team. You just look obsessive. God, I was hoping that the drama would at least be relevant. Or at the very least, involve people on the same team so there would be some reason for the fight.

Anita says things no one is finished and things are taking longer than she wants. Kelly takes them to see the serving location, which of course is outside in the sun. Everyone freaks out because no one planned on the heat. Kelly then tells them they have to cut one chef from each team, right now. Fabio says he is “sweating like a mountain goat at the beach”. Hee. So say goodbye to Malarkey, Spike, Betty (ha), and Jamie. Jamie might seem surprising, since she knows Anita, but Anita is annoyed that Jamie was so slow. Interesting.

Back in the kitchen everyone adjusts to one less person. Everyone runs back and forth until Anita and her team are the only ones still in the kitchen. She says this would never happen in her restaurant. I think she’s in trouble. Richard talks smack again. I didn’t hate him so much when he was on. Anita pours liquid nitrogen to cool her raw bar. People appear.

Anita is up first. It’s the usual critics. Her buffet is labeled “Asian buffet with an array of sauces and condiments”. Noodle salad, pork spareribs, raw bar with scallops and oysters. Everyone is nervous about the raw bar. Ray Jay is not super impressed. Michael has a “rustic Italian buffet”: antipasti, risotto, braised lamb shank, and desserts. There’s also swordfish, that is hacked up. Mixed reviews. Hubert is next: “18 dish buffet”. Wow. That is a lot of stuff. The gazpacho is spicy, but they like it. They can see how he spent all of his $2000. Rick is last with “Mexican food buffet”. “Luxury guacamole bar”, tortilla soup, pork, shrimp, and avocado ice cream. Guess whose idea that was. Stupid Richard. The judges like everything.

Rick is thrilled that they loved his food, and they praise that he got so many dishes done. He gives Richard all the credit for the ice cream. Ray Jay asks him about using someone else’s idea when it’s Rick who is competing, and Rick starts to say something and Ray Jay says something about cojones. Hubert says a buffet is a feast so you need a lot of dishes. Everyone loved everything, etc. Anita says she didn’t have time to do anything with the raw bar, once she realized they’d be outside. Not anything good, anyway. Michael tells the critics he was happy with everything and he liked the risotto. Ray Jay and Gael insult his swordfish and he says his colleagues have more guts than him for letting their sous chefs have input.

Rick didn’t plan on the weather but he used his team very well. Somehow this makes him a “really great” chef. I wonder if regular chefs respect reality show contestants. Hubert also used his sous chefs to help him. Anita’s raw bar killed her buffet and the whole thing ended up being inadequate. Michael’s swordfish was weird looking and mushy. All of a sudden “personnel management” is a huge part of the challenge. I guess there was some cake that was underdone and Michael blamed it on one of his sous chefs, saying that he told them to cut from the edges.

Rick = 21.5 stars, Hubert = 22 (getting 5 stars from all the critics), Anita = 17, and Michael = 19.5 stars. Hubert wins and Anita goes home. As I thought. She’s pretty calm about all of it.

Next week: the finale! I think all of the Top Chef winners are back. Not just loser Ilan. This show is over!
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