Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Top Chef:All Stars 1/12/11--"We're Gonna Need a Bigger Boat"

Previously on “Top Chef: All Stars”: the chefs had to make a dish in less time than it takes Tom to make a dish, which is under 10 minutes and I wish they’d made everyone cook against him, like a head-to-head battle or something. Because you know Tom would pwn them all. Anyway, Jamie and Dale completely fail at finishing, but Mike apparently is good at cooking quickly, and wins a car. Then everyone has to make dim sum, and this causes stress because everyone is carefully plating and making everything perfect. Not fast enough. People go hungry and walk out and mob the food when it does show up and basically it’s chaos. Dale, who keeps his cool and puts out food faster than most other people, also put out tasty food and is the winner. I know everyone wanted Jamie to go, because she failed again, but you could eat her food, while Casey’s chicken feet were inedible, so Casey was sent home. (click for more)

Jamie says she fully expected to go home instead of Casey. Antonia says they all think so. Marcel complains about Dale, somehow, but he doesn’t make any sense. I think he is accusing Dale of only cooking the judges’ portions? Wasn’t Dale putting out 12 plates at a time?

Back at the apartment, while the girls go to sleep like smart people, the boys sit around on the roof in their wifebeaters while Marcel yells at them that he’s not sure how it worked in their seasons, but in his season, he embraced the challenges and cooked for the people. He continues to accuse Dale of not making enough portions, and he’s like, standing up waving his arms around trying to be intimidating. Marcel is not intimidating. Shut up, Marcel. Dale is not “crying about it” and your “gangster” hand gestures and lunging only serve to highlight how white you are. Dale interviews that he’s proud of how he didn’t start anything with Marcel, but left the roof instead. Tre interviews that he’s beginning to see that Marcel is an asshole.

Everyone has to get up super early and go to the Top Chef kitchen, only to discover a wooden “Gone Fishin” sign, a map, and a note. They couldn’t have sent the note to the apartment like every other reality show ever? Tiffani jumps up and down because it’s pretty obvious they’re actually going fishing.

No Quickfire today, just an Elimination challenge. You have 5 hours to catch whatever you can, then cook it on the beach for 200 people. That’s a lot of people. Also they have to work in 4 teams of three. Antonia ends up on a team with Jamie and Tiffani, and she interviews that the last time she was on their team, it was “the most horrific team ever”. Luckily Dale and Marcel are separated. Tom also says it’s a double elimination today.

Team 2 (Mike, Angelo, Tiffany) and Team 4 (Marcel, Fabio, Richard) board their boat. Angelo hates the water because he’s terrified of sharks. He won’t even go in pools. Weird. Fabio says he’s an awesome fisherman. Team 1 (Dale, Carla, Tre) and Team 3 (Antonia, Jamie, Tiffani) are also getting ready to fish, on another boat. Dale seems to be the first to catch something. I’d care more about this challenge, but having seen it before on “Next Iron Chef” I can’t care that much. Also because I know in that situation, if you didn’t catch anything you could use like, sardines and bait for your dish. Antonia catches one and screams and jumps around. That boat seems to be doing pretty well. The other boat is failing. Carla tries to yell to the other boat that they have a ton of fish, but they don’t fall for it. It might be because they’re like, holding the fishing rods upside down and moving them around up and down. Finally they start catching things, actual fairly large fish. Once someone hooks something, the procedure is apparently to have them sit in the chair while other people hold the fishing rod steady. Richard acknowledges that “sitting in Marcel’s lap, holding his rod” is a bad thing. Hee. Dale pulls a ridiculously large bass out of the water and compares it to Marcel. That is a 37 pound fish. I find it very interesting that everyone is catching striped bass and nothing else. Fabio is worried as his team wants to only do one dish.

30 minutes and $150 to shop at the farmer’s market. Oh, this meal should be fantastic. The freshest fish and the farmer’s market. There is no excuse for this meal sucking. Antonia says Richard and Fabio are having a bromance. Normally I hate the use of the word “bromance” but I think I’ll allow it in this instance. Carla tells us that she caught some bluefish, which is oily. So I guess people caught something other than striped bass. Tiffani is planning to keep distance from Jamie.

So now they are back at the apartments…I thought they were going to cook right then? So everything is a day old? Stupid. Tre tells us his wife gave him permission to not miss him. His family is so cute.

2 hours to cook, outside on grills and hotplates. The editing is cut to make it seem like Jamie is doing nothing but complaining about the sand and the sun and whatever. Her team is each doing their own thing. Carla is making sure to get rid of the bloodline in her fish. Marcel’s team has put Fabio up front so he could schmooze everyone, and they also have him prepping vegetables. Fabio knows his prep work is crucial to the success of the dish. Marcel had the idea to only do one dish, but that one dish has like 7 things, so Richard is concerned. Tiffany is feeling the pressure as she works in a seafood restaurant.

Tom time! He tries to make Marcel’s team nervous, but it only works on Richard. Dale is using tortillas he bought. Tom is really fucking with people today. He leaves a string of nervous chefs in his wake, all second-guessing themselves.

Richard harasses Fabio, which, I think he is moving as fast as he can. Mike gloats about it, for some reason. Last minute flailing. Everyone shows up at once.

The judges show up and claim bright pink cocktails. I wish Tony was here. Instead we have Kerry Heffernan, who is a chef and also Tom’s fishing buddy. Fabio, Richard, and Marcel: sea bass, succotash, corn puree, tomato confit, concord gastrique and jamon air. That is a lot of things. “Gastrique” is a sauce and “jamon air” I believe is ham foam. Stupid foam. Dale: fish taco with bass, corn and avocado relish, crème fraiche, radishes, and cabbage. Carla: smoked blue fish lettuce wrap, pickled watermelon rind, radishes, bagel croutons. Tre: striped sea bass with gazpacho salad, tomato and avocado. That sounds good. Fabio’s team has a very busy dish, which does not seem to go over well. The fish tacos are tasty, as is Carla’s smoked fish. Tre cooked his fish well.

Jamie: striped bass, watermelon salad, with fresh dill, shaved radishes, and cucumber water. She’s been searing her fish in a pan, and she says they’ve been sticking. Tiffani: smoked blue fish with tomato, roasted corn, and zucchini ribbon salad. Antonia: open faced porgy po boy with Old Bay mayo and cabbage slaw. She discusses with Tom about porgys and how they have a smaller yield than other fish. Tiffany, Angelo, and Mike: pickled blue fish, spicy watermelon, shallots, red chilies, potatoes, and oil. They also made striped bass with corn puree, tomato, aleppo spice rub and watermelon. Aleppo is a kind of pepper. The pickled fish is nice but some random person doesn’t like the potatoes. Gail thinks there’s something off about the other dish from that team. Jamie’s “cucumber water” is kind of pointless. They like Antonia’s use of the porgy. Tiffani’s dish lacks acidity and finish. Tom and Gail approach some random table to find out what they liked. Mike tries to hook Angelo up with some random girls.

Commercial interlude: everyone compares their competitors to fish. Mike is gassy so would be a blowfish, Tre is one of those fish that buries themselves on the floor, and Angelo is a mermaid. Hee.

Dale, Carla, Tre, Tiffany, Mike, and Angelo are called up first. These are the winners. The winner of the challenge gets to go to Amsterdam. Tiffany and Angelo cooked the bass perfectly. Mike made sauce, and I guess it doesn’t get any extra praise. Gail tells Dale the crowd went crazy for his taco. Hee. It was perfectly suited to the environment. Carla was very creative and it worked. Carla wins! Yay!

When they all get back to the Stew Room, Marcel refuses to congratulate Carla because he knows now that he’s on the bottom. No, really, that’s what he tells her. Asshat. Pretend to be glad for like 30 seconds. Marcel claims his team’s dish came about “organically” when it seemed like he told Richard and Fabio what they were doing. Richard wanted to do one dish really well, instead of 3 average dishes. Fabio says they were pushing each other, but Tom finds this a trust issue. They went for a restaurant dish, that ended up muddled and too much for the beach. It also sounds like they were given a dish to serve in, and then served it in something else? I’m not sure why or why that was a problem. Antonia’s dish was absolutely delicious, but her teammates dragged her down so she couldn’t win. Harsh. Jamie added water to cucumbers, to make cucumber water. Because apparently cucumbers don’t have enough water in them already. After the fish, the rest of her dish didn’t taste like anything but water. Tiffani left the bloodline in her fish. Oops. Gail demands that Antonia pass judgment on her teammates’ dishes. Oh, that’s mean. Antonia says she tasted parts but not whole dishes, and then Padma asks if she’d tasted them, if that would have made a difference. So…you want her to admit she would have left them to screw up? What is going on with this question? It puts Antonia in tears, and she says she doesn’t want to see anyone go home, so I guess now no one wants to hear an answer from her.

Tiffani left the bloodline in her fish, and her dish wasn’t refined. Jamie’s dish was bland and too light. The boys needed to edit, and they seem to feel Fabio didn’t contribute enough to the dish. I agree with Fabio, who was going to do all that prep work? And I didn’t hear anyone blaming uneven knife cuts for that dish failing. Gail agrees, and says Richard and Marcel were responsible for the concept of the dish, and should be blamed. Both Richard and Marcel were responsible for parts of the dish that failed.

Tom makes sure to tell Antonia that if she’d helped out her teammates, she wouldn’t have ended up in the bottom. Padma sends Jamie home, finally, but also Tiffani. Boo. Tiffani says she enjoyed her time and she’s’ different from her season. Jamie stands behind her dish, and she’s OK if they didn’t like it. Jamie wouldn’t change it for anything. Tiffani is going home to her girlfriend.

Next week: restaurant wars! Everyone argues and Tony is back!

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