Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Top Chef 6/30/10--"Capitol Grill"

Previously on “Top Chef”: The horrible puns continue as everyone has to make sandwiches, only while attached to each other in pairs. Angelo and Tracey win (…again), and Tracey says she has a crush on Angelo but later talks about taking care of her partner’s child so…who knows? Later everyone has to make nutritious school lunches on the normal government budget. They worked in groups, and Angelo wanted Kenny in his group, because he has immunity so if they lose there’s a higher chance Kenny will be eliminated. You’d think no one would do such a thing, but Angelo made celery sticks with peanut butter. On Top Chef. However, Jacqueline got screwed on her dish since Amanda demanded sherry for her own dish. In the end, Jacqueline used two pounds of sugar in her pudding and was sent home. But Angelo at least didn’t win; instead Kelly won for making tacos with pork carnitas. (click for more)

There is an exercise ball in the bathroom. One of those ones you sit on instead of a desk chair. Weird. Amanda knows people thought she should have been the one to go home but she’s taking things one day at a time, or whatever. Kenny gets a letter from his girlfriend and talks about how it’s “the Angelo show” but he’s going to be on top again and since when do contestants get letters and cards instead of phone calls? Angelo whines about being in the bottom, and also that Kenny threw him under the bus, talking about how he knew there weren’t vegetables but he got talked out of it. He never proclaims his innocence though. Arnold knows people are already getting into disagreements.

Padma greets everyone with Johnny Iuzzini who is a pastry chef. Gail’s there too. Why is Johnny there? He’s going to be hosting/head judging “Top Chef: Just Desserts” with Gail. Nice! He’s cute too. So of course, you know what that means! Dessert Quickfire! Johnny talks about planning, and how desserts really need planning and can’t be finished last minute. So today they will be making pie from scratch. Mmm, pie. (Kmanpat: “But can they beat my grandmother’s coconut cream pie?”) Stephen thinks they’re all afraid because Jacqueline just got sent home for making dessert.

2 hours, and go! Kelly shoos Arnold away from a station, saying all her stuff’s there. Arnold interviews about how annoying she is, even though she wasn’t that annoying. Or two faced. Kelly has dessert experience and is thrilled. Angelo, finally, admits he’s not good at something, which is making pie. So what’s he doing? Making curry pie. Oh no, I’m not joking. He’s making like, curry sweet potato pie. If you aren’t good at the challenge, I don’t think you can just ignore the challenge guidelines and do whatever you feel like. Sadly though I must admit curry sweet potato pie is something I might want to eat. Tim quietly freaks out and makes apple pie. Tamesha’s never made a pie either. I mean…I’ve made pie a bunch of times, but I don’t know that I could make the crust from scratch without a recipe. Lynne says she’s the oldest one there, and that being a culinary instructor, she doesn’t really need a recipe. I forgot who she was for a minute. Amanda doesn’t like pie. Who doesn’t like pie? She’s making apple rosemary bourbon vanilla pie. She just doesn’t want to be in the bottom. Andrea tries to ask Tracey what she’s making but Tracey has no idea. Or doesn’t want to talk to her. Someone takes Arnold’s pan. He compares pastry chefs to mad scientists. Also “pies live in the clouds with unicorns”. Alex is making an almond crust, with tapioca. He’s probably got a decent idea, in that the average non-baker can probably fudge a graham cracker crust or an almond crust, as opposed to traditional pie crust. It might be thick though. Alex asks Ed to taste something but he claims to hate chocolate. Then he smack talks Alex in confessional. I don’t know if I trust someone who doesn’t like chocolate. Also someone who’s putting celery in his pie. Tracey doesn’t like the way her pie looks, nor the fact that she put too much butter in it and now it tastes like butter. She decides to start over but I don’t know if she has time. Kenny is making bananas Foster pie, but not a traditional pie with a crust and filling. More like a claflouti, which is like a pancake with fruit in it. You put fruit in the pan and then pour batter over it. Stephen’s pie is apparently “curry apple whisky date”. I guess. He’s pleased anyway. Tracey has somehow managed to get another pie together.

You guys! I just noticed! No letterbox! I’m so pleased. Kenny: bananas Foster pie with currants and Chinese five spice. It looks like banana bread, not that that’s bad, but it’s not really pie. Amanda: apple pie with rosemary and bourbon, and hazelnut crust. She warns them that she’s not a pastry chef, but Johnny says his grandmother’s not a pastry chef either, and she can make pie, so it’s kind of a copout. Oo, burn. Stephen: curried apple-date pie with saffron anglaise. It’s sour. Kelly: spiced raspberry and dark chocolate ganache tart. Yum. Arnold: kalamansi (a type of lime) and Key lime pie parfait with Korean soju, which is mint sauce. And it looks like it fell apart and he had to put it in a bowl. Angelo: sweet potato pie, curry spices, crumble crust. You know how usually sweet potato pie looks like pumpkin pie? He left the sweet potatoes in chunks and put crumble over it. Tracey: blueberry almond crunch pie with light cream and almond brittle. It didn’t set up so it’s liquidy. Tiffany: peach cobbler with cornmeal crust, buttermilk-lemon crème anglaise. The judges mention how dark it is, and she says she put molasses and dark brown sugar in it. Lynne: mango pie with basil & vanilla crust. She’s made little cut-outs to decorate the top and everything. She’s never put basil in the crust before. Ed: banana cream pie with salted peanuts and celery spuma (foam, basically). He claims it’s his grandmother’s pie, but Gail knows his grandmother did not make celery spuma. Alex: white chocolate, tapioca, and chevre pie with almond crust and raspberry puree. Johnny says that if there’s egg in it then it’s a quiche. So? Get on Kenny and his banana bread. I would classify quiche as “egg pie”. It’s got a crust and filling and you bake it.

Least favorite: Alex’s texture was poor, Tracey’s crust was burnt and the bottom was raw (she’s embarrassed), and Ed’s extra nonsense with the celery and peanuts didn’t fit the pie. Ed of course doesn’t understand, and Tiffany thought his pie looked great so she kind of freaks out. Kelly’s pie was perfect. Stephen’s pie also had a great surprising flavor combination. But then out of nowhere Johnny says Kenny’s the winner. That’s fine and all but I still maintain that’s not a pie. Stephen really wants to win.

Elimination challenge: make a picnic for Capitol Hill interns that includes one main dish and two sides. They’ll be serving at Mount Vernon. Alex jokes about taking advantage of an intern. Everyone gets their own grill to cook on. Arnold is not really excited about that.

$400 for shopping. Kevin buys flank steak. Tracey is making her own sausage and says it’s not difficult, which is a bad sign. Amanda for some reason says she used to be a drug addict. The camera in confessional is right up close to her face. It’s out of nowhere. I’m not sure where that came from.

3 hours to prep. There are 150 interns to cook for, which is a lot. Arnold is making lamb meatballs skewered with lemongrass. Kenny talks about how his dad used to grill and helped him when he was younger to grill also. Arnold complains about the workload. Tracey talks to herself, which irritates Stephen. He thinks she’s going crazy. She can’t get the mixer to work right to stuff her sausages into casings, so she says “screw it” and decides to make sliders. Tim never only grills one meat at home so he’s got ribs and pork loin. He’s sort of watching Amanda but claims to have “grill skill” so he’s not worried. Angelo’s concept is “Asian picnic”. Amanda starts yelling at Alex because he’s put his food into “her” oven. She claims she wrote her name on it, so even though it was empty he shouldn’t have touched it, and he claims she didn’t put her name on it. Tom walks in while this is happening. It sounds like she took Alex’s food out of the oven, much like you do at the Laundromat when people‘s clothes are in the dryer but they‘re nowhere to be found. Yeah…that kind of backfires when the person shows up and you’re still there. Tom asks Amanda what’s up with that, and then establishes that 1. she took Alex’s food out without his permission, and 2. when Tom asks if there’s a label on the oven, she admits there wasn’t, but she says that’s what they do, is label ovens. Then she mentions “prison rules” which are not explained. Point for Alex. Ed talks about tuna and hummus and a lot of stuff. He’s second guessing himself now. Turns out Arnold doesn’t actually cook as much as he’s front of house so he’s pressed for time. Stephen has Chilean sea bass, which is in a dish he’s made before. Amanda yells for tape, and Tiffany interviews that she hears Amanda yelling a lot and that it stresses her out just watching her.

Back at the house people drink and hang out. They also talk about their dishes. Angelo says Amanda is smart but can’t beat him. Amanda thinks no one takes her seriously.

Mount Vernon looks really cool. There are picnic blankets and baskets carefully strewn around the lawn already, and a long row of kettle grills. 1 hour to cook. Everyone has to start their own charcoal for the grill, and Arnold watches Kenny to see what to do. Tim’s ready to grill. Tracey asks how to turn the grill down. Kenny says Angelo has a lot of technique and admits he’s doing well. Arnold says his sister was an intern which means you’re someone’s bitch for a while. Then he claims never to have been the bitch. Tim has secret rub. When time is called people close the grills, so I guess you can’t grill after a certain time? Weird.

Guest judge is Jonathan Waxman. Awesome. Arnold: sesame lamb meatball with tabouli salad and gazpacho. That sounds good. Tamesha: marinated skirt steak with caramel soy glaze and fennel citrus salad. Angelo: Vietnamese lettuce wrap, and smoked egg salad. I wrote down “two sides”, right? No, I did. What’s up with that? Alex: grilled pork butt with lemongrass glaze, polenta and cucumber salad. See? Two sides. Then he ruins it by talking about “eating the ass out of this pig”. Ew, aside from the fact that “pork butt” is the shoulder. The judges love Arnold’s food, saying it’s fresh. Tamesha’s steak is overcooked. Alex’s sauce is a little sweet. Jonathan calls Angelo’s dish “magazine cover” but Gail says it tastes good.

Tim: pork two ways, pork loin and wet baby back ribs, with grilled vegetables. As he’s talking some geese buzz the table and almost shit on his food. Amanda: dry rub baby back ribs, grilled asparagus, bacon hazelnut vinaigrette. Kelly: bison burger with watermelon and tomato salad. Kevin: grilled marinated flank steak, rice and beans, and tomato and avocado salad. Tim’s meat is good but the sides are poor. Padma says maybe the bird knew something they didn’t. Kelly’s food is too simple. Amanda’s ribs are better than Tim’s, and Jonathan loves grilled asparagus. Kevin’s rice is bland and the beans are weird.

Lynne: leg of lamb with ras el hanout, zucchini “spaghetti” with balsamic onions. Kenny: harissa marinated pork loin, quinoa salad, grilled eggplant. Tracey: Italian sausage slider, with tomato, cucumber, red onion salad. Kenny’s pork is good. Lynne’s lamb is heavy and there’s cheese somewhere. Tracey’s sausage patty is too big, has too much fennel, and is undercooked. You know what? Tracey said at some point she was making lemonade. Where did it go? Some random intern says her sausage was too spicy and she’s all, “Well at least I did something with it.”

Tiffany: tamarind glazed wild sockeye salmon, Israeli couscous. Andrea: spicy root beer glazed skirt steak with potato salad. Stephen: bacon wrapped sea bass, ratatouille and olive pine nut couscous. Ed: spiced tuna loin with lentil hummus. Ed is confident because his dad was an executive chef and “he never thought of doing half the shit I do”. The judges like Ed’s dish a lot. Andrea’s skirt steak has too much root beer. Tiffany has bland glaze. Stephen’s sea bass is somehow stringy inside but tough outside. Tom thinks he didn’t render the fat enough. Angelo goes to try some of Amanda’s ribs and admits that they’re better than his dish. He goes around telling people how great they are. Tracey says there isn’t one bad dish.

Commercial interlude: Tracey is clairvoyant and is 85% accurate. Andrea freaks out while everyone looks on.

Stephen talks about how he nailed it. Padma calls Arnold, Ed, Amanda, and Angelo. These are the winners. Ed’s tuna loin was in a sandwich-type vehicle, and was “bright”. Arnold’s lamb had great flavor. Amanda’s asparagus was fantastic, ribs were fantastic, salad didn’t need to be there. They liked Angelo’s flavors. Jonathan tells Arnold he wins. He’s so pleased. Amanda says being in the top four is just as good.

The bottom four are Tim, Stephen, Tracey, and Kevin. Padma calls their dishes “disappointing”. Stephen never made his dish before, and the fish was unappealing. Tom tells him the bacon needed more grill time and the couscous was greasy and tasteless. Tim’s vegetables weren’t all cooked and the seasoning wasn’t that great, even though he had more than enough time to season everything. He didn’t push it to the limit. Kevin’s plate was “the safest Puerto Rican food I’ve ever had” according to Padma. He says that food is what all his Puerto Rican friends would do, and Gail asks him if they’re chefs, which of course they’re not, so she jumps on him like “YOU are!” he needs to step it up. Tracey isn’t surprised to be there, and knows she should have crushed the fennel first. Tom claims it’s insulting to Italians. I wouldn’t go that far. Jonathan says when things go wrong, that’s when you “pull inside yourself to fix it”. I thought her making sliders was a good way to fix it. He thinks Tracey gave up.

Stephen made a poor choice and didn’t really grill enough. Jonathan says the fish was inedible. They sense a lack of confidence. Tim’s zucchini was at least edible. Jonathan claims his 10 year old son could have made Tracey’s food. Kevin’s meat was fine, but the rice and beans was terrible.

Tom attacks everyone again. I think he likes this part too much. He says it wasn’t a good day for American chefs, like they were representing the nation or something. Tracey is sent home. She says it’s fair. She thinks if she’d prepared herself emotionally she’d still be there, she only left because she had a bad day.

Next week: two people sent home, more team drama, Eric Ripert is finally around, oooohhhhhhhh why are last season’s contestants there? Oh wait, Bryan V. That’s OK then.

1 comment:

Polgarra said...

I am glad about the new show. I am not sure how I feel about the new judge.

In the Amanda vs Alex altercation, I think Tom asked if the Other ovens were labeled and she replied no. I do remember in other challenges people did label their ovens. I am not sure if all the ovens were set to the same temperture. If there were then she could have avoided a lot of drama by just using a different oven.

Thanks for clarifying what Pork Butt is, we thought it was literally the butt and wondered why he didn't call it the rump or something.

And I have to admit I like Angelo a little bit more after he went on and on about how good Amandas ribs were. Atleast he isn't blind to other peoples abilities. I have some respect for anyone that can recognize when others are better then willing admit it.

Great Recap, I really enjoyed it!