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!


Anonymous said...

Love the summation!

aki said...

All I want in life is for Spike to never ever ever appear on a TV show where I have to see him ever again.