Thursday, December 9, 2010

Top Chef:All Stars 12/8/10--"Night at the Museum"

Previously on “Top Chef: All Stars”: there was a minimum of drama, I guess because everyone wanted to wait a while before starting fights. The different seasons had to cook together, which wasn’t that exciting, except for the part where Jamie said she was better than everyone else on her season and didn’t want them to drag her down. Then each contestant had to remake the dish that got them kicked off the first time. An excellent challenge. Some people had an easier time than others, in that they just had execution problems the first time. As opposed to deciding miso butterscotch scallops was a good idea. In the end Elia served raw fish and didn’t think there was anything wrong with her dish anyway, not even the first time, so she was the first one eliminated. She’s still super bitter about it; she’s been interviewing about how she followed the rules when others didn’t, and how Tom is a sell-out anyway and isn’t qualified to judge. (click for more)

Instead of starting in the house in the morning, we start in the Stew Room right after the challenge with everyone in shock that Elia went home. Richard is still weirded out that he got disqualified for plating after time. Also Fabio got insulted by Tony, who went on his blog and said he might have been drunk and overly mean.

When everyone comes in for the Quickfire, Padma is standing next to some generic guy, and had I not seen the previews I wouldn’t know it was a Jonas, and I am proud of that fact. Spike, however, knows Joe Jonas on sight. DaleT has no clue who the Jonas Brothers are. Good. For their Quickfire, they’ll be going to the American Museum of Natural History to cook for a “Night at the Museum” sleepover for 150 kids. Each one will make a dish, and Joe will decide which one will be the midnight snack for the kids. Richard points out that what kids will eat and what Joe will like may not be the same. The kids won’t have any utensils or plates. Joe jokes that they have 30 seconds, and everyone freaks out before he says he’s kidding. Winner gets immunity and “an advantage”.

45 minutes. DaleL seems to be making something with marshmallows, graham crackers…random stuff. He calls it “crack for small children”. Hee. DaleT takes the big bin of sugar out of the pantry and leaves it on his station while everyone hollers for it. He doesn’t respond with “I have it” or anything, so everyone gets pissed as he’s not even using it. I can’t tell if he’s just in the zone or if he’s trying to mess with everyone. Marcel is glad to cook for kids, because his mom took over the food program at his school…we get photos. Spike is making chips and dip. Tiffani reminds us how her season, they had to cook for kids and she went off at Judges’ Table about how 10 year olds don’t know anything, and Tom is like, good thing you have immunity. She knows she was an asshole. I think she is freezing marshmallows with liquid nitrogen. Richard used to do things like put heavy cream on his cereal because no one told him not to. You know, that kind of explains a lot about Richard if he used to make up crazy things when he was a kid. Stephen is making “healthy” snickerdoodles, in that they are sort of healthier than regular cookies. DaleT says healthy food sucks. I think I remember liking DaleT. He wants to put Nyquil in his dish so the kids will sleep. Mike is sweating a lot. His cookies aren’t as sweet as he wanted.

Antonia: white chocolate and cherry muffin with cinnamon and allspice. Richard: white bread, spiced apples with whipped honey and crunchy chocolate. Spike: homemade potato and carrot chips with mascarpone and marshmallow dip. Ew. Individually, OK. But not together. Tre: cracker with cranberry and cherry jam and apple smoked bacon. Casey: chocolate and bacon lasagna, with apple juice and candy. Mike sneers at it. DaleL: SweetTart nuggets and caveman boulders with chocolate sauce. He says his goal is to get the kids as jacked up on sugar as he can. Like a 10 year old rave. Hee. Jaime: mini cheddar biscuits with homemade cinnamon applesauce. Tiffany: coconut rice pudding with grapefruit sauce. It falls apart. DaleT: corn cake with dried cherries and whipped maple topping. Fabio: apple with white chocolate, caramel, and blueberry, and an apple with dark chocolate, marshmallow, and candied ginger. Tiffani: rice krispy treat snowball with malted milk and graham crackers. Angelo: fried dough, white pepper, Old Bay, and cheddar crumbs. Stephen: snickerdoodle with white chocolate, coconut ganache, apricot, and mint. Jen: bacon ginger taffy and honey grilled peaches. She says if the kids don’t like it they can throw it. Mike: chocolate coconut corn bar, and coconut horchata chaser. Eh. I don’t feel it’s so superior to chocolate bacon lasagna.

I wanted to see what craziness Marcel made. Tiffany’s was messy, Mike’s chocolate wasn’t strong enough (ha), and Stephen’s cookies were good but the other stuff wasn’t great. Spike and Tiffani were the top, and Joe won’t make a decision, so Padma says they’re all going to the museum to let the kids decide. Awesome. Several people discuss how they don’t like kids. Padma says they each have to make 150 snacks so the losers have to help them. That’s rough. They take turns picking, which is boring. Fabio is last, and he decides to be on Spike’s team just to piss off Spike, which is a thing I can get behind.

2 hours to cook. DaleL likes the teams because it’s “the Spice Girls and a bodyguard” (Tiffani’s team with him and Tre and most of the girls) and “all the cool guys and their babysitter Carla”. Hee. Spike claims he has fun in the kitchen and is in no way abrasive. Richard kind of wishes he was on the other team to play with the liquid nitrogen. Angelo and DaleT make fun of Jen for some reason, and then DaleT complains about making the dish. Everyone for some reason is really into the teams, even though Padma didn’t say anything about anyone on the team getting anything except for Spike or Tiffani. But whatever. Fabio says he likes to fly under the radar. You know what, I bet they’re gambling that the immunity/advantage will be applied to the whole team in a “twist”.

Everyone sets up at the museum. There is a brief discussion about how to charm the kids, even though each kid is going to get a bag from each team and then probably go away to eat it. A herd of kids shows up. Casey says they’re getting a lot of sugar, but it’s not HER kids. Heh. Spike thinks he won’t win if he doesn’t campaign. Some kid doesn’t like raisins. There’s a lot of yelling. Jamie never wants kids. Joe walks in but no one faints, sadly. They make the kids cheer for their favorite, and do you think the kids cheered for carrot chips or rice krispy treats rolled in chocolate? Yeah. Only Tiffani wins anything, immunity and some advantage.

The kids file out, after having TRASHED the room they were in, and the chefs are wandering away when Tom shows up. No one is happy to see him. Antonia actually flails, like rolling your eyes but with your whole body. Tom says the Elimination challenge starts right now. Ha! Everyone stares at him. It is 1:30am. They will join the sleepover, and make a breakfast dish for the kids and their parents. Breakfast will be served 6 hours from now. Tiffani is super psyched. They can use whatever they find in the museum kitchen. For no reason, one team has to cook with meat and “meat by-products” (meaning eggs and dairy), and the other has to go vegan. Supposedly it’s being done because of the dinosaurs, a T. Rex and a brontosaurus. “Inspired by a dinosaur’s diet”. Whatever. Tiffani, as winner, gets to pick, and of course she picks meat and dairy. They can spend the night in the Hall of North American Mammals, and everyone laughs so you know they’re slap-happy. There will be a winning team and a losing team, and one chef from the losing team will go home.

2:10am, and there are cots in the hall, with flashlights and jammies for everyone. Stephen of course does not camp or “rough it”. Tre is also not totally pleased because he sleeps naked. The teams take some time to plan menus. Jen tries to run her team and says they’re all against each other and they need to plan, because everyone is against everyone else or whatever. Both teams seem to be pairing off. Casey points out they don’t know what they’ll find in the kitchens so planning a menu may backfire.

Eventually a group of them decides to go on a “flashlight tour”, a group of them being the boys pretty much. Antonia interviews they’re only going to have like, 45 minutes of sleep, so she’s taking it. Spike feels this will make the other team sleepy and they’ll fail. Yeah.

Antonia was right, they only got maybe an hour of sleep, and that’s the ones that didn’t wander around. The alarm goes off at 3:45, and they run to the kitchen at 4am. The vegan team has plenty of stuff that they wanted, and the meat team is discovering that “carnivore” means “meat only”. Oops. No acid, no herbs. DaleL is pissed that they don’t even have flour. Yeah…I thought meat would be better too, but it seems to have backfired. Carla and Spike are making gazpacho. Fabio is making gnocchi. Jamie slices up her thumb and the medic tells her she needs stitches. So she leaves to get stitches. Casey is pissed, but seriously? THIS IS A TV SHOW. Jamie has to be able to use her hand after this is over, and if she needs stitches for that, then she should go to the hospital to get stitches and come back later. The medic is a professional. Fabio is also annoyed because he broke his finger during his season. Yeah, but that’s different because had he gone to the hospital, they would have just splinted it the same as the medic did in the kitchen, so what is the point? Jen is fine with it, even though she has to work twice as hard. Tre and Casey are making salmon and sauce. Casey is taking the pinbones out of the salmon, in case that comes up later. She makes a very stupid comment that she’s never seen a live T. Rex. Tiffany and Antonia are trying to make mini frittatas in muffin tins but the oven isn’t cooking evenly. One of them says “just give the best ones to the judges” and why haven’t they figured out by now that if you say “I’ll give the best ones to the judges and the rejects to everyone else” that it pretty much guarantees the judges will get a reject messed-up one? DaleT and Mike can’t get the polenta to set up into a cake so they’re just going to serve creamy polenta. Fabio is trying to be gentle with the gnocchi, and apparently told Spike to cook them 10 at a time, but Spike is in a hurry. So they probably didn’t turn out right. Antonia wonders who wants to eat gazpacho and gnocchi at 7:30am. Casey says right before service she tasted Jen’s pork belly and it tastes like wet bacon. Jen thinks it’s good. I don’t know, “wet bacon” does not conjure up horrible images to me.

They have an hour to set up outside. Everyone works but not flailing. Angelo tells Marcel the plums in his dish are too large, and apparently told Carla to cut up the plums, which Marcel discovers. I know Angelo spent a lot of time telling other people what to do his season, but messing with other people’s dishes is going kind of far. Jamie returns and jumps in to help. Apparently she only got two stitches, which no one thinks was worth the time. Yeah. Casey says she didn’t have time to taste Tre’s sauce right before service, and he said it was spicy, but that sounds ominous.

The guest judge today is Katie Lee. Is it not Katie Lee Joel anymore? I guess it’s too early for Tony. The vegans are up first. DaleT and Mike: fresh corn grits, stewed peppers and salsa verde. Angelo, Richard, and Marcel: banana parfait with seasonal fruits and tandoori maple. Carla and Spike: “V9”, gazpacho with fruits and vegetables (redundant). Fabio and Stephen: potato gnocchi with leeks, spinach, and mushrooms. Tom and Katie Lee accost some kids and sit at their table. They like the gnocchi, but not the gazpacho so much. The grits are OK, and the parfait is great.

Meat group. Tiffany and Antonia: mini frittatas; bacon and cheddar, ham and cheese, and chevre. Casey and Tre: salmon with shrimp and apple-smoked bacon sauce. Jen and Jamie: braised bacon and hard-boiled eggs. Tiffani and DaleL: steak and eggs with hollandaise. The pork belly is not cooked right. The salmon sauce is too salty, which Tre blames on having to keep the sauce on the burner. Some of the frittatas are undercooked, but I like my scrambled eggs to be almost underdone so that would never bother me. Like, take the eggs out of the pan when you can still see raw egg in places. Tiffani and DaleL had better steak and eggs.

Commercial interlude: Fabio charms all the women in line. Everyone else on the show makes fun of him.

For some reason in the Stew Room they are arguing about whether Tiffani’s advantage was to get the better menu or the chance to choose. Padma comes to get the vegan team. The other team is so confused, and DaleL says he thought the vegan team’s choices were weird for kids, and Jen is like, I don’t cook for people anymore, I cook for the judges, I learned my lesson. So DaleL says that’s selfish, and Jen just says, do you want to win? Or do you want to please 150 people who you’ll never see again? The vegan team is the winners. Fabio jokes about throwing Spike under the bus for the gnocchi. They also liked the parfait, which ends up being the winning dish. Richard claims he’s going to be back to work in 5 minutes. Angelo thinks it’s hard to beat him when he’s on a streak. Marcel thinks he had more stuff on the plate than anyone else so if one person had to win, of course it would be him.

Tiffani starts off by complaining that having a choice of two ingredient lists, with no explanation, is not really an advantage, because she had made a poor assumption. Gail says the point of the challenge is being limited, and Tom says he told them that they could only have meat and meat products. Did he? I don’t remember, but even if he didn’t, stop whining about it. Tiffani finally says that she thought they did a good job with what they had. The frittatas were inconsistently cooked, and they know about it. Tiffani and DaleL did a good job, but with a very simple dish. The salmon was salty, and Tom is annoyed that Tre seems to be admitting he knew the sauce was too salty. Jen is fidgeting and pretty much rolling her eyes and sighing, and when Padma calls her on it she says she doesn’t think they should be there, even though she tasted the other team’s food and she won’t answer a question about whether she liked the other team’s food. Jen tells them she thought they were better and that’s all she’ll say. If you’re going to be so obviously pissed off, then you’d better back it up. Otherwise, STFU and stand still. Tiffani didn’t think it was breakfasty, and Jen makes a face about gnocchi. It was inventive and they weren’t as inventive. Tom asks them why they didn’t plate everything individually, and it doesn’t even sound that annoyed, and Jen is like, you’re the judges, you’re smart, why don’t you ask for a separate plate? Tiffani can’t even believe it. Tom just replies that he’s smart enough, and someone on her team should be smart enough too. Jamie admits she left to get stitches, and didn’t really help. Antonia pipes up to say she would have just duct-taped her finger and stayed to help. I don’t think Jamie’s being around would have helped you win. They tell Jen her pork was good but the eggs were bland, and Jen flat out tells them they’re all wrong and the eggs were great and not bland. The rest of the team just kind of stands there.

Tom says no one will go home for talking back to the judges. I guess that’s true, they usually don’t do that. DaleL and Tiffani had a good dish so they’re safe. The frittatas are boring and not cooked evenly, and they should have been. The salmon was cooked well but the sauce was too salty and Tre should have fixed it. The pork belly was soft and not crispy and the eggs were bland, no matter what Jen said. Jamie was apparently unnecessary, which is not a good thing.

Tiffani and DaleL get to leave and are safe. Tom attacks everyone and then Jen goes home. She curses and I think she is trying not to cry. She also thinks her dish was great and maybe she was “too strong” and vocal at Judges’ Table for them. Yeah. On her way out of the Stew Room after saying goodbye she curses up a storm.

Next week: double elimination, Wylie Dufresne, Marcel gets in trouble.


OLOGY said...

Last night's episode of Top Chef was really good. Jen clearly has an attitude problem. Glad she went home. Jamie should've have sucked it up and gone back to cooking, I don't think her cut was that big of a deal. Dale had me laughing when he said, "Basically I'm making crack for small children." lol. I wish Tony was there. I had no interest in seeing Billy Joel's wife. What a bore.

Anonymous said...

No offense to the first poster, but if you cut your finger or any part of your body enough for a MEDIC on the show to TELL you to get stitches...well, you better go get stitches. If I were Jamie I would've done the same thing. It could've scarred badly.

I liked Dale L.'s comments throughout the whole show too. Especially the 10 YO Rave one.