Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Top Chef:All Stars 2/16/11--"Lock Down" summary

Previously on “Top Chef: All Stars”: the contestants had to make fondue, and then judge each other. Richard did not win, which he immediately blamed on everyone being jealous. They could have done a blind judging, where no one knew whose food was whose, but I’m pretty sure when they had bananas and chili chocolate frozen with liquid nitrogen they would have figured it out. Also Mike made a homophobic comment, which I noticed. But then later I missed him calling Dale a monkey (mainly because I don’t usually associate that slur with any group Dale’s a part of) but it’s not like it changes my opinion of Mike. See, you all forgot while Marcel was around. Then all were asked to make lunch for Jimmy Fallon’s birthday, with random assignments of dishes. Carla got chicken pot pie, which she freaked out about, and then she realized she had to make it in two hours, and freaked out again, and then won, and did NOT freak out because of that time she won and Marcel was a dick about it. Dale made salty cheesesteak, but in the end Fabio went home because his burger was too much like meatloaf. Even though a meatloaf sandwich is delicious. Bye, Fabio. (click for more)

Richard will miss Fabio. I think in general everyone is sad to see him go. Richard then says that if Fabio had only asked his opinion, because he runs a burger restaurant! See, when Richard says it, I’m irritated, but then Carla says pretty much the same thing and it’s less irritating. Then Carla jinxes herself by saying she might win the whole thing.

Back in the “bar”. Oh, you know it’s not a real bar. It’s completely deserted and half of them are drinking coffee from paper cups. The group toasts the final 7. Dale is ready to redeem himself. He also says that he is not like “these new school parents” who always say everyone is a winner. Fuck that! Hee.

Padma greets the contestants with a weird smile and small words. Dale thinks she’s possessed, and they edit in a shot of him looking around, like he’s going to discover a hypnotist or something. Of course, when you say the magic words of “Can you tell me how to get…” then one must finish the words with “To Sesame Street!” If you can’t then I feel badly for your childhood. Who finishes the words? Cookie Monster, Elmo, and…another one. Telly. Tiffany jumps. Hee. Everyone’s kids watch Sesame Street. Today you must make cookies. Cookie Monster flips out like a drug addict. Elmo asks for cookies with zucchini and carrots, and Cookie makes noises of disgust. Mike’s never made cookies from scratch, so he knows he’s screwed. $5000 for the winner.

45 minutes. Christ, Richard’s got the liquid nitrogen. I think there are mostly traditional cookies from everyone else. Dale says it’s so shocking that someone like Mike who eats so many cookies could have so much trouble making them. Ha! Carla makes cookies all the time. Dale’s got potato chips. The Muppets heckle him. With five minutes to go Cookie starts eating the table cloth. It just occurred to me that based on where Padma is standing, relative to the table, it’s possible that Elmo’s puppeteer has an excellent view right now. The Muppets go crazy for cookies.

Antonia: dark chocolate cookie, white chocolate chips, fresh caramel glaze, and sprinkles. “Elmo can definitely taste the white chocolate.” Hee. Carla: chocolate chip cookies with cinnamon. Telly: “cinnamon, I thought it was cardamom.” Padma: “Actually, cinnamon and cardamom grow in the same part of the world.” *pause* Elmo: “TMI.” This is hysterical. Dale: pretzel and potato chip shortbread cookie with salted caramel chocolate ganache. Richard: ice cream cookie with chocolate chips, zucchini, and mint. It’s ice cream in the shape of cookies. Don’t try to fool the Muppets, Richard. They call him out quickly. Mike: almond and dried cherry cookie with rose petal powdered sugar. They marvel that he did all that in 45 minutes, and Mike says “I’m a little fast sometimes”. That’s what she said. Oh, EW, I grossed myself out. Tiffany: shortbread cookie with lemon zest, rosemary, thyme, and coconut milk. Angelo: chocolate chip, Belgian hazelnut cookie, and chocolate and banana milkshake. Cookie Monster sprays Angelo with crumbs.

Richard did not make a cookie. Angelo’s cookies were dry. Dale’s cookies, however, were delicious and sweet and salty. Antonia’s cookies were chewy but did look like cow chips. The winner is Dale. Kick ass.

Padma claims that now they will be turned loose “like kids in a candy store”. This isn’t Top Chef: Desserts, Padma. Nor is it Project Runway. This Elimination challenge is worth $25,000 to the winner. Damn. They’re headed to Target. Carla loves Target, of course, like we couldn’t believe that. They will go to a Target in the middle of the night, to find things to cook dishes for 100 Target employees. And it’s an “expanded” Target, so it has a grocery section. Ooo, then Padma says they can’t even bring their knives. They have to find food and build their own stations too? Crazy.

It’s midnight and the store is empty, not that they wouldn’t close the store down anyway. They have 3 hours until service. That means 3 hours to shop, set up stations, and cook. It’s pretty insane. But Tiffany is loving running around grabbing whatever she wants. Dale is annoyed by Tiffany. He then claims he used to work at a grocery store, and crazy shit goes on after hours. He’s picking up…irons? Antonia is getting her stuff but not food. Angelo and Mike are sort of helping each other. Mike is out of shape.

So I guess they were told to just set up wherever, because people are just claiming an aisle space wherever and putting up tables. Tiffany has borrowed a hat. Carla is busy thinking about what she wants her tables to look like, and realizes she’s wasted an hour, and still doesn’t have food. 2 hours left, and she still isn’t cooking. Richard is making “blue collar” food. Antonia doesn’t know if she can find her groove. Tiffany has some jambalaya stuff, and seems excited. Carla? Still freaking out and not cooking. This doesn’t look good. Dale used to make grilled cheese with his iron and tomato soup in the rice cooker. That is unsurprising, somehow. Especially since it involved alcohol, he says. Carla is finally cooking and is making curried apple soup. She wants to go look for a protein, but doesn’t want to leave her station. Lots of people are making soup. Angelo adds salt to his soup on Mike’s suggestion. Antonia says that for $25,000, she’s not making soup. Carla’s not happy with her soup but she thinks her presentation is fantastic. Angelo’s soup is now too salty. Dale is seriously, using an electric griddle, and an iron.

The employees come to eat, and seem to be entertained to be at work at 3am eating food. The judges appear, and there is Padma, and Tom, and Tony, and Ming Tsai, who is awesome even though he tried to be the Next Iron Chef and lost. And some Target guy. Tony claims to be going from Judges’ Table tonight straight to parent teacher conferences. Can you imagine having Tony Bourdain for a dad?

Richard: pork tenderloin with green chilies, apples, braised pork ribs and corn pancakes. Tony says it was ugly but delicious. Dale: rib eye grilled cheese sandwich and spicy tomato soup. He tells the judges he ironed them. Tony asks if Tom’s given Dale a urine test, as he seems to be the master of late night stoner food. Hee. Then Ming makes a horrible pun about being an iron chef. Carla: curry apple soup with tomato ginger jam and cucumber apple slaw. It sounds good. It needs protein. Antonia: parmesan eggs on garlic crostini with almond, tomato, and apple salad. It’s delicious and ballsy. Mike: spicy coconut soup with mushrooms, scallions, and lime. He tries to tell the judges it has fresh coconut milk, but Padma calls him out on that. Padma and the Target guy find it too spicy, but Tom and Ming like it. Tiffany: jambalaya with chicken, sausage, and shrimp with a summer salad. It’s just OK. Angelo: baked potato soup with bacon, sour cream, potato skins, scallions, and cheddar cheese. Too heavy and too salty. Tiffany is very nervous for some reason, partly because she hasn’t won anything yet. Tony is only worried that Tom is driving.

Incidentally, there have been some hilarious Target commercials with Kevin. I love Kevin.
Commercial interlude: The girls play with some stuffed Target branded dogs and make them talk to each other. Sleep deprivation.

The Stew Room is a discussion of the weird challenge and how the sun’s come up by now. Padma collects Dale, Antonia, and Richard. These are the winners. Ming liked that Richard both braised and cooked his pork in a pan. Antonia’s eggs could have failed but were a total success. They very much enjoyed Dale’s food, and his ironing. The winner is Dale. Wow, he’s cleaning up this season.

Carla, Tiffany, and Angelo. Not Mike? Fine. Carla knows her soup flavors didn’t meld, and needed protein, and then she also ran out of garnish. Angelo’s soup was too salty. He seems surprised somehow. The scallions tasted weird, too, says Tony. Tiffany knows she didn’t really make jambalaya, and admits she used a prepackaged spice mix. But the mix was bad? Tom says she should have just used cayenne. Padma asks if anyone has anything to say before they deliberate and send someone home. Tiffany says she’s from a small town, and it’s hard to dream big, and it’s been an honor to work with all of them.

Carla’s soup was weak and didn’t come together, and protein would have helped. Tiffany’s “jambalaya” had dried herbs and the judges seem violently opposed. She put too much in. However, no one could eat Angelo’s soup. Let me just remind everyone that they kicked Jen out over Jamie because Jen’s food was inedible, while Jamie’s was just bad.

And in the end I’m right, I’m proven right and Angelo is sent home. He thinks he’s just mentally fried. They’re all shocked, especially Mike, and Angelo is choked up as he says they’ve all pushed him and made him a better person.

Next week: Paula Deen! The eliminated contestants, for some reason. And I thought we were rid of Marcel. Boo.


Nancy said...

I'm not thrilled about seeing past contestants either... fun at finale time, but it's too early right now. Great writeup!

MoHub said...

Knowing the editing monkeys' love of misdirection, I was trying to figure out Carla's soundbite in the preview about being so far from redemption. I think they want us to believe she was talking about herself, but I'm inclined to think she's referring to one of the returning eliminees, who I'd bet are being given a chance to get back in the game.

If, indeed, that's what she's referring to, I don't think she's being mean. More likely, she's concerned for someone who isn't showing well.

At least, that's what I hope is behind her comment!