Thursday, August 6, 2009

Top Chef: Masters 8/6/09--"Dietary Restrictions" summary

Last time on “Top Chef: Masters”: Finally we got to the “champions” round where we’ll have the same people every week! Yay! The Quickfire was…uh…I forget. Oh yeah! Culinary skills relay! And then everyone made their signature dishes and then they had to recreate someone else’s signature dishes. Anita made an Asian dish out of Hubert’s and she won, while Suzanne plated too early and lost. Well…that wasn’t any more exciting than the other rounds. (click for more)

The chefs come into the kitchen and see a giant pile of Big Macs and fries on a table. Art thinks they’ll force them to make real food out of the fast food, which, I guess they could do but it’s been done. The Quickfire today is about burgers. Rick admits he always screws up burgers. Hubert brags that he sells a $5000 burger. He does, they have truffles and foie gras and stuff. Michael makes fun of his accent and vows to win. Kelly talks about how CJ won this challenge and I am so glad to see CJ! They have to make side dishes too. The guest judge will be Morgan Spurlock (of “Supersize Me”), and Spike (of the asshat), and Sang Yoon, who won an award for America’s best burger on the Today Show. Rick remembers Spike from when he was a guest judge but he is diplomatic and just says he’s “audacious”.

One hour for cooking. Michael is making a giant 2.5 pound burger for some reason. Rick is counting guacamole as a side dish…which I don’t think it is. Art is nice and lets someone use his grinder and then makes hoecakes. Hubert’s burgers are stuffed with cheese. I think Anita is making cheese soup and mini burgers to put in like croutons. She’s not totally happy with it but it’s too late.

Rick: queso fundido burger with 3 kinds of guacamole. We don’t get to find out the three flavors. The judges think he only needed one, and Rick protests that it’s very fancy guacamole, but since no one seems to think it’s important to tell us how fancy…I’m thinking you only need one. He’s really offended though. Art: cornmeal hoecake burger with fried green tomatoes and coleslaw. The hoecakes are folded over and held in place with a rosemary spear. Everyone loves it. Even Spike. This one looks like my favorite. Michael: “hamburgese enorme” (sigh) with truffle manchego potato chips. It looks like he took one giant burger, and set up three loaves of bread around it. They seem to like it. Anita: cheddar soup with grilled burger, ketchup crouton and bacon fried onion rings. Oohh, they don’t like it. They want a real burger, a big chunk of meat and bread. Hubert: beef and Roquefort cheeseburger with caramelized onions and rustic potatoes. It looks very good, but the cheese is very strong. Spike is unimpressed. Hubert and Rick joke about throwing him off a cliff.

Hubert: 3 stars; Art: 3.5 stars; Anita: 1.5 stars; Michael: 4 stars; Rick: 4 stars. Woo, a tie.

Elimination challenge: cater a party for Zooey Dechanel. Who is apparently in a band as well as being an actress. Art is immediately suspicious. Zooey has a video for everyone, and of course she has a ton of restrictions: she’s a vegan (she says she’s a vegetarian, but doesn’t eat meat, fish, eggs, or dairy), she’s gluten intolerant and she doesn’t eat soy. She’s a vegan that doesn’t eat soy? What in the hell does she eat? This is stupid. Art is screwed. They have 2 hours today to prep and cook.

Art offers to do dessert, and Michael thinks he’s trying to go home, but he knows something about dessert. I would argue that dessert might be easiest. For shopping they have $300 each. Michael says the dietary restrictions are off-putting. Rick knows he can make something with veggies and beans. Art is using rice ice cream. Michael’s used non-wheat pasta before.

People do work and talk about the restrictions. Rick is making sweet corn tamales, chili-braised black beans, and braised greens. Someone uses a Quick Chop. Woo! I’m going to go ahead and say it’s a Quick Chop because Quick Chop > Slap Chop. Because Billy Mays > Vince what’s-his-name. By far. Hubert’s menu: white gazpacho with cucumbers, timbale of avocado and asparagus, and red beet salad. Timbale just means he’ll shape it with a cone or something to make a mound. Anita is making spicy grilled eggplant, lentil salad, and cashew sauce. No word on what the sauce goes with. She is unsure of her lentils. Michael has quinoa pasta with salsa verde, and pine nut gremolata. Art, oh poor Art, is making dessert. I feel bad for him because Southern food is not for vegans. He is making strawberry and champagne soup, strawberry rice ice cream (I think he bought that) and almond brittle. Not bad. Ah, he bought plain rice ice cream and mixed in strawberries. Michael helps Hubert finish.

Zooey meets everyone and Michael demands some songs for all the work they’re doing. She just laughs. Everyone has one hour to finish up. Anita is having trouble with the lentils. She wants to put them in a ring mold but they don’t keep their shape. Michael’s pasta is acting weird. The usual round of critics. Oh, and Zooey’s mom. This should be fun. Michael almost knocks over an entire table. Like, he was leaning over and the table broke. Hubert has a tall shot glass on his plate, so of course he loses an entire plate and a shot glass gets broken and etc. Those things are so evil for a waiter to carry. Inside the shot glass is the gazpacho with grapes and vanilla oil. The avocado and beet salads look very good. I think everyone is bored with the avocado but they love the rest. Anita is up next and does not try to do anything tall. Unfortunately her food looks brown and unappetizing. The cashew sauce is just on the plate. Wow, Zooey’s friends are really bitchy and everyone has something to say. Are they all famewhores? Anita’s food seems to be too spicy and over seasoned. Michael serves his pasta. Everyone is relieved to have pasta and not more veggies and salads. Rick’s corn tamales look really good. There’s mushrooms in there too. Art is last, with his dessert. It certainly looks good. No one likes the ice cream. Jay Ray points out, rightly so, that he could have made sorbet.

Commercial interlude: Rick is like the Professor on “Gilligan’s Island” and he is very anal. The end.

Gael loved Hubert’s gazpacho, which turned out really well. Anita put a lot of oil on her eggplant and soaked it overnight. Everyone thought it was greasy. Jay Ray says something about the cashews, and invites her to disagree. She just says food is subjective. Gael mentions the sad looking plates. Michael claims that making pasta at home is never as good as someone who makes a ton of pasta and is set up for that. Really? James says Rick’s dish was “ungainly”. I don’t know. Art gets slammed for the crappy rice milk. He says that he doesn’t have a recipe, and it’s about the party and the guests, so he’s not going to make something and have it turn out bad. Good point.

Hubert’s dish was great, Anita’s eggplant was soggy, Michael made everyone forget his dish was vegan (but James bitches about his buying pasta for no reason), Rick’s dish was him but needed to be pulled together, Art bought his ice cream too but apparently everyone buys pasta and no one buys ice cream so for Art it‘s bad.

Hubert = 19 stars; Michael = 22 stars; Rick = 19 stars; Anita = 13 stars; Art = 12.5 stars. So Michael wins and Art loses. Aww. As I said, Southern cooking is not for vegans.

Next week: for some reason past “Top Chef” contestants return to be sous chefs. Dale gets in Michael’s face because Michael called him “young man” and Dale is offended and “that’s not what I’m here for”. What ARE you here for? Because as far as I can tell, it’s really just to be on TV. Seriously, Dale is like, in his face all “What’choo gonna do about it?!?!” while Michael ignores him. Shut up, Dale. Actually, no, don’t shut up Dale. This is probably the most drama this show has seen. I’m actually excited to watch.


anne p said...

Very sad to see Art go. He was one of my favorites.

Sophie said...

ooo... i am an eggplant super fan! sigh. i want the spicy eggplant sooooo badly right now. with rice.

Here I bought a sauce pack so as to skip all the seasonings! and i will try this friday after work.

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