Thursday, January 26, 2012

Project Runway All Stars 1/26/12--"Good Taste Tastes Good" summary

Previously on Project Runway: Muppets were involved. Everyone had to make a dress for Miss Piggy. No one had to account for the fact that Miss Piggy is essentially a plus-sized woman with no neck and a giant head. Or the fact that she is made out of foam. Instead everyone pretended she is a real person and made loud dresses, which is fine, I guess. Michael actually won, as he made a fairly creative shiny dress with interesting loops. I couldn’t find a picture of the dress being worn, so who knows. Mila didn’t match the “client”, but in the end, Gordana made a nightgown and was sent home. (click for more)

In the apartment everyone cheers Michael for winning. Kenley seems extra happy for him. Michael knows this does not guarantee he will win anything else.

Rami is wearing a tank top. A small tank top. Not small as in tight but small as in lacking fabric. Somehow this challenge is inspired by taste. Not taste like Nina and Kors are always talking about taste, but “taste itself”. You must make a “tasteful” outfit inspired by the colors/flavors of “a seriously tasty dessert”. I know that’s a lot of quotes but I feel they’re needed. And now there is a gelato cart. Do they get to eat gelato? Tasty. Everyone will get a flavor and also a fabric swatch to match colors. Mostly you can tell what the colors will be, except for “Fruits of the Forest” might be anything. Michael gets to pick first for winning and he picks grapefruit. He hopes for ruby red grapefruit but gets pale pink. But he DOES get a cone of gelato. Gelato in a cone?! Jeez. Then each person picks their color, and the next person in the line. Everyone seems pretty happy with their colors, as I think each person had a color they really wanted. The designers are different enough that they don’t seem to have overlap. Kara gets stuck with chocolate and cayenne pepper, which I must say, would be my favorite to eat but not to make an outfit with. The gelato place near me lets you mix flavors and I like to mix the chai with chocolate. Delicious.

Now Diane von Furstenburg is here! She’s cool. Michael completely freaks out. And now Andrea and Diane tell them they have six hours. Why? Six hours? First of all, it’s not like no one has ever made a dress in under six hours, because if you account for all the people who have changed course last minute, I’m sure someone has made a dress in less than that. And second, is this because someone said “Hey, we can’t have too many “make a pretty dress” challenges, let’s screw them in some way”?

People sketch and talk about impressing Diane. Except Kenley, she doesn’t want to think too big or too risky, so she can finish. Apparently we’re in such a hurry they dragged a bunch of fabric to the lounge so they don’t have to go to Mood. April can’t find the black jersey she wants, so she’s already in trouble. Mondo runs out of time and doesn’t get to buy everything he was going to.
Now there’s a stupid countdown, because of course the half hour of sketching and the half hour at “Mood” counted as part of the six hours. Now Austin is in his wife beater. Weird. Everyone is freaking out already. April references Willy Wonka, as she has blueberry. Mila doesn’t have any black. Crazy! Michael lays his fabric on the floor, and discovers he’s measured wrong so it’s about 8 inches shorter on one side. That’s not good. Kara runs around. Anthony announces to the sewing room he wishes he had a cocktail. Austin is kind of freaking out.

Joanna time! She brings everyone little cups of their gelato flavor, which is nice of her. Kara seems to have a lot of white and pink in her dress. Joanna likes it. April tells Joanna she’s sticking with what she’s comfortable with, and Joanna is not impressed, you can tell. Mondo has a great orange color, and Joanna talks to him about accessorizing. Not in a “you don’t do that well” way. Austin uses the word “blouson” in a sentence and Joanna tells him not to do bridal. She also asks Rami outright if he is sucking up to Diane with his wrap skirt. Heh. Mila must remember to be creative. Joanna asks Michael what his secret is, because he’s so fast that he is mostly done. He’s been sewing forever? I think that’s what he said.

Model fitting. Anthony says something very true: this challenge has nothing to do with being a designer, and everything to do with being a fast seamstress. Austin is hot gluing things and is ashamed. Mondo has made a caftan, but it’s pretty cool looking. April’s dress doesn’t’ fit her model, so she has to add panels, but she might not have enough fabric. Mila has a sheer fabric, so she’s had to layer it. Guess who ended up with fruits of the forest? Jerell, who is making a belt or something with fruit buttons. Fruits of the forest I guess is just berries? Different berries? Let’s go with that. Kara has taken Austin’s sewing machine, which is weird, because shouldn’t there be enough machines for everyone?

The models then come back, I guess because this is a one day episode: get the challenge, make something, runway show. All in the same day. Gratuitous shots of the accessory wall. That six hours includes hair and makeup? This is rough. Everyone likes to badmouth everyone else but I must include Jerell’s comment about Kara, and that her model looked like “a pregnant cupcake”, because that is an excellent snarky confessional quote. Austin sews his model into his dress, which I get the feeling he never does.

Isaac is back, and Diane obviously, and then model Miranda Kerr, for no reason. Oh, because she’s going to wear the winning design to an “industry event”. Whatevs. Mondo: a cantaloupe caftan with light green sleeves and a thin black belt. It does really say “cantaloupe”. Deep V in the back. Anthony: full beige skirt and a halter top in green with a bunch of folds and stuff. He had green tea. Kenley: a Kenley dress in dark pink with yellow polka dots and a yellow Peter Pan collar. It’s not terribly exciting or “passion fruit”. Rami: a sleeveless top that looks like one piece of fabric slug over her shoulders with the ends crossed at her waist. The two sides of the top are different shades of green, and there is also a shiny skirt in green. And a big black belt. It’s not that great, sadly. And there are patches of another fabric over her hips? Something. Mila: color blocking, but in red and white, with long sleeves. It’s interesting but she put the poor girl in heavy black wedges.

Jerell: super-Jerell outfit. The top has horizontal straps and a straight cut to the bodice, then it’s loose all the way down to the hem in front, and then a train in the back so it’s a mullet hem. Why is there a black strap across her shoulders? It’s weird. And two prints. Kara: white sleeveless top, and then a ton of tiers of ruffles in the skirt shading from white to pink to brown to red at the bottom. Oh, that poor model really does look pregnant. Michael: very dramatic pink caftan. This girl looks huge because while it’s belted, there is a TON of fabric in this dress. Huge sleeves, practically a train, it’s ridiculous. April: strapless dress with a full skirt that seems OK in the front, but is very short in the back. Austin: short white dress with a swath of fabric over one shoulder with flowers or something. The swath dangles down in the back. Eh.

Austin, Rami, Jerell, and Kenley are safe. Kara talks about the layers of flavor in her gelato and the dress. Georgina thinks she spoke well when she explained herself, but the dress falls short. And it’s not flattering. Isaac says the minute the word “pregnant” shows up, you know you’ve missed. Anthony used beige because he liked the way the gelato looked melting over the cone. It’s messy, and the top is very worked. The concept is good, but it needs tweaking and there are back panels that are not working. They love Mila’s look, but I wish Isaac would stop saying “ice cream”. Gelato is not ice cream. Diane says Mila’s dress looks like it was done in little time. BECAUSE IT WAS. Whatever. The lightness of the sheer fabric got weighed down by all the black accessories. Michael wanted to do something beautiful, but also something he could finish. They love the dress, but maybe not the color. Really? Crazy. What woman is wearing that thing? April has a nice color, but the top looks wonky and then of course the back of the skirt is scary. It doesn’t look finished. Of course not. Andrea says she has good ideas, but they don’t tend to come through. They make her take off the belt and say how good it looks. Of course everyone loves Mondo’s caftan, seeing as how it’s far superior to Michael’s shiny pink giant thing. Andrea complains about the color, as if he had a choice. Someone would have ended up with that bright orange. This is stupid. Did they buy some crack off Kors?

Anthony’s design had to be perfect if he was going to pull it off, and he didn’t make it perfectly. Georgina wishes he had made the skirt the same color. Kara just fumbled and wouldn’t work with brown? Or something? I am not really following this argument. Her dress is unflattering but she at least had a good explanation for it. April should have gone for more Halloween? I have no idea what these people are talking about. They love Michael’s dress, the movement and elegance, and the giant arms. But they don’t like the fabric. Mila’s dress looked easy, although her styling was heavy. Isaac says this was his favorite. Mondo gets praise from everyone but Isaac. The model says she is thinking about how if they pick Michael’s dress she’ll have to wear it without a bra and she doesn’t particularly want to. Ha.

Mila is in. Michael wins, which is bullshit. Miranda claims to be excited to wear that shiny thing. Didn’t this happen on his season, everyone thought his clothes were so great and they weren’t? Mondo is in, but he feels the judges are recognizing his talent. Anthony is in. April should have fixed her dress. Kara made a maternity dress. Kara is in. April is losing it on the runway. She’s only 22? Wow. She’s going to keep at it as she’s only 22. I was so pleased with the judging, too.

Next week: go to the park and be inspired, accost some people for clothing, Austin has a sweet Sunday church hat.
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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Top Chef 1/25/12--"Block Party" summary

Previously on “Top Chef”: there was a conveyer belt challenge, which was fun because someone kept messing with Chris, teasing him with lobsters. Beverly had the best dish, but forgot one of her components, so Lindsay won immunity instead. Then the chefs had to make dishes for a dinner with Charlize Theron, fit for an evil queen. The quality of the food was apparently the best that this season has seen. One of the best dinners in the history of the show. There was a lot of cool stuff going on, and Chris busted out his crazy nonsense where it belongs for once. But Paul won, because he made an “enchanted forest” and then put a big bloody handprint on the plate. The bottom three didn’t make poor dishes, so it came down to nitpicking. Beverly had a couple of mistakes, but mostly she didn’t meet the theme very well, so she was sent home. I’m sure Lindsay and Sarah will brag about it. (click for more)

Then in Last Chance Kitchen Beverly and Nyesha had to make dishes based on one trip to the pantry. And then for no reason Tom came in and made them switch. I’ve seen some talk that this screwed Nyesha, and showed favoritism, but I think if Beverly didn’t have the skills she still would have screwed it up. And Nyesha could have done something. Anyway, Beverly won, which pissed off everyone, but whatever.

Grayson says she will miss Beverly, but maybe not everyone will miss her as much. Understatement. Ed throws something for some reason. I think he was making fun of Lindsay yelling at Beverly during Restaurant Wars. Lindsay defends herself (again). Then Charlize comes in, just to thank them for how spectacular the dinner was. Would have been nice if she’d done that when Beverly was still there, but OK.

The next morning Chris tells the other boys he doesn’t want to do a group challenge, no offense. For real. I’m getting tired of those. Grayson says she needs to step up.

Padma is wearing a terrible brown and white plaid dress that looks like a flannel shirt. Like, she bought a men’s flannel shirt that is long enough to cover her ass and she’s wearing it like a dress. That can’t be what it is, but that’s what it looks like. Also Emeril and Cat Cora. Did we get transported to Food Network and I didn’t notice? Oh, yes, Cat is co-hosting Bravo’s new show. So, new cooking show, “Around the World in 80 Plates”, co-host is Curtis Stone. Apparently it’s “Amazing Race” crossed with “Top Chef” somehow. It sounds like a show I made up, while combining my favorite shows. I hope it turns out to be actually good. Anyway, that’s why Cat is here. Padma “divides” them into teams of two, Grayson/Chris, Ed/Paul, and Sarah/Lindsay. I feel this is how they would have divided themselves. Now that Beverly is gone there’s no need to engineer drama, apparently. For your Quickfire, you will prepare a dish with the ingredients in front of you. In 40 minutes you must: peel, devein, and butterfly two pounds of shrimp; shuck a crate of corn; make a pound of fettuccini; AND cook something. The judges must approve your work. No immunity, but winners get $10,000. I think that’s total not each.

I feel kind of sad Tom isn’t here. He’s always here to judge the mise en place relay race. This is close enough. Everyone immediately makes pasta because the dough has to rest. OK, Padma’s dress, while not terribly attractive, I don’t think is actually a shirt. (But I just read Hugh’s blog and he thought the exact same thing: it’s a men’s flannel shirt. Hugh, you are awesome. I take back what I said before when you were competing.) Grayson talks to Emeril, and Lindsay says Grayson’s talking slows her down. Whatever, Emeril started it. Lindsay is good on shrimp. Chris is cutting the corn off the cobs, which is not shucking it, PADMA. He’s irritated that Grayson is bugging him to hurry up. Paul asks to check the corn, but he’s not cleaned the cobs enough. Chris finishes though. Grayson’s pasta is not coming out right. Sarah gets her pasta done, which means she and Lindsay are edging out Ed and Paul for first place. Sadly the girls get done first and start cooking. Ed and Paul finish with 1o minutes to cook. Grayson finally gets her pasta done, and the judges check it and approve it. Even though they’ve been talking about how her pasta is not good. Sarah and Lindsay are actually finished plating with like a minute left, and they’re tasting their dish and high-fiving each other. Ed and Paul forget to put their shrimp on the plate. Oops. Paul is upset because he says every time he and Ed are on a team together, it’s a disaster.

Grayson and Chris: fettuccini, toasted corn, oil-poached shrimp, chili, bacon, and rosemary. Sarah and Lindsay: fettuccini with corn milk, shrimp, tarragon, and parsley. Ed and Paul: Paul immediately says he forgot the shrimp, before they eat anything. Padma says the flavor’s really nice though. Grayson celebrates, which is weird. She’s gloating a lot, but I thought she liked Ed and Paul?

So, Ed and Paul can’t win. Sarah and Lindsay had a nice dish, although the tarragon was kind of overwhelming. Grayson’s pasta actually turned out well, and they managed to pull it off. And then suddenly Grayson and Chris win which I was not expecting. Sarah complains that her pasta was better, and I really hope she tried Grayson’s pasta. Although I’m sure it’s possible she’s just assuming it sucks. Sarah blames their loss on the fact that Cat doesn’t like tarragon.

Elimination Challenge: cook against your partner. I knew it was coming. Some of the product placement companies are sponsoring a community food drive. Why these companies can’t just donate some of their food, as they are FOOD COMPANIES, I don’t know. Anyway, they’re having a block party for 200 people. Are some of these 200 people the people that will benefit from the food drive? I think we know the answer to that. Each “team” will be making two different versions of the same dish, so it will be a real head-to-head battle. The diners will vote on who is up for elimination.

In an interesting twist, the pairs can decide what dish and what side they’d like to make, although they have to decide right now. So they can agree on something they’re both good at? That would be cool. Grayson says they’ll only have two hours to cook, and she is cursing the judges. Ed and Paul are like, Asian Showdown! Grayson suggests chicken salad sandwiches, which are not Chris’s favorite but he doesn’t have any other ideas. So they are making chicken salad and watermelon salad. Ed and Paul’s Asian Showdown will be Asian beef BBQ with pickled vegetables. Sarah and Lindsay are making meatballs and vegetable salads. Padma is like, oh that sounds good, but heavy. Chicken salad sounds heavy? So then there’s more healthy product placement, and you know what? Those frozen meals they keep pushing? You pay an extra dollar to get the ones that say “Top Chef”. Also all the other meals from that brand were on sale at the store today, except the official Top Chef ones. So…bite me. Everything has to be healthy. Ed is like, all Asian food is healthy, we got this. Winner gets $15,000.

In the past we’ve had “healthy” challenges before, and I think that the only one where it actually mattered if the dish was actually healthy was the first one, and that’s only because the one team added sugar to their cookies and the other team got pissed about it. I think it might have been Season 2? Anyway, Sarah wonders if Lindsay’s lamb and veal is healthier than her turkey, and it probably won’t matter in the end. Paul bought turkey, which makes Ed nervous. Really Ed thinks Paul is going to pull something out of his ass. Grayson stands at the meat counter haranguing the guys to hurry up so she can check out. Chris looks down his nose at the mayo Grayson has bought, but chicken salad without mayo is kind of gross.

Ed gives Paul some crap for being nervous and pacing all night. They will have 2.5 hours to cook, so that’s something. Chris makes mayo out of tofu. OK, that’s a good substitute for mayo. Lindsay is giving Sarah orders, I think about how to wash the mixer or something. Ed’s using kimchi and chipotles to replace ketchup. Paul has wisely picked lettuce wraps, because I think the average person will think anything is healthy when wrapped in lettuce. Ed and Paul reveal they’ve never been to a block party. I haven’t either. I mean, I understand the concept, I just have never been to one. Antisocial. With 5 minutes left, Chris is assembling his sandwiches while Grayson is still chopping things. That shot from the preview of Chris throwing a chair is because the chair is in his way, as he tries to wrap up the hot box. Not because he’s pissed at anyone in particular.

45 minutes on site. Someone did not plan well, because the site seems to be infested with bees. Grayson is going to make sandwiches to order, and Ed is making bread for 200. That might not have been the best idea. I get Grayson’s thought, though, so they don’t get soggy. Ed has decided to have people make their own sandwiches, but he was planning on open-faced sandwiches and of course he is worried about running out of bread because when faced with bread and meat, most people take two pieces of bread. Grayson has a long line but she is promising everyone it’s worth the wait. Chris is really freaking out about the bees, because he’s allergic. I’m not sure what he can do though, because it’s hot out and the back table seems to be covered in pieces of fruit and probably fruit juice.

The judges come in with bags of food that I’m sure they purchased on their own with their own money. Also, Dana Cowin is a judge today? When Emeril is also here? Why? Whatever. Paul: turkey kalbi, eggplant with white peach kimchi. Ed: open face kalbi, kimchi chipotle puree, pickled cucumber and daikon. Kalbi is Korean BBQ that is usually made with short ribs as Ed did. Paul had great flavor, but Cat says her beef from Ed is a little chewy. The bread seems to have gotten dry. Grayson: chicken salad sandwich on whole wheat buns, with arugula, pickled red onion, and feta watermelon salad with pumpkin seeds. Chris: chicken salad sandwich with tofu “mayo” and red lettuce, watermelon fruit salad with pineapple ice. Grayson’s making to order turned out well for her, but it doesn’t have a lot of flavor. Chris’s sandwich and salad tasted better, but his bread is drying out. Sarah: Calabrese style turkey meatball and vegetable salad. Calabrese style I guess means there is a southern Italian tomato sauce. Lindsay: Mediterranean meatball, lemon yogurt, black-eyed peas and quinoa Greek salad. Sarah’s meatballs are good and her salad is flavorful. Dana, however, didn’t get anything good in her salad so she’s not as thrilled. Cat thought Lindsay’s food would be heavy but it’s great and tastes wonderful. People start voting, and of course everyone is getting votes so who knows.

Commercial interlude: people curse because they believe Paul has lucky socks. There is a small discussion about which socks are luckier, and Paul reveals that he has several pairs of these socks that everyone thinks are his “lucky” socks. Heh. See, that is a good commercial interlude: something completely random that is amusing but not important to the show.

Padma calls Grayson, Paul, and Lindsay. These are the winners. Nice. Paul’s peach kimchi was fantastic. They praise Grayson for making her sandwiches to order, and then Tom is like, did you think you would win with a chicken salad sandwich? She thought it was possible, but obviously not, if Tom is asking her this question. Tom thinks it’s boring. He says that she’s up against dishes that are potentially more interesting than hers, and Grayson says, “Like a MEATBALL?!” Burn. She insists she was going to do an elevated chicken salad sandwich, but she obviously feels that meatballs are boring too. Tom just smiles and nods. Lindsay had perfect seasoning and the yogurt was great. Paul wins, of course, because he wins all the time. And he has his lucky socks on. Grayson looks pissed, but even if you think chicken salad is more interesting than meatballs, I’m not sure you can make the same argument about Korean barbeque.

The minute everyone is gone, Grayson says she feels “brutalized” and that she has noted that the judges want to do more. No mention of how she told the judges Lindsay’s dish was lame. Ed thinks using bread would be better than rice’s “empty calories”, but Padma tells him bread is also empty calories. Not true. Plus the rest of the dish was not perfect. He trimmed his short ribs, so they’d be healthy, but then the fat was the best part of the short ribs. Chris talks about how his dish was healthier than Grayson’s, and Tom agrees with him on that, but because he made the sandwiches the day before all the bread dried out. Sarah tried to be healthier, but she used cheese for some reason. Plus she didn’t give Dana all the different vegetables.

Chris says he doesn’t want to go home, only he curses every other word. Ed points out that every time Chris thinks he’s going home, someone else goes home. Obviously, or Chris wouldn’t still be there. None of the dishes were lost causes. Sarah’s meatball was very good, just not as good as Lindsay’s. Chris really went healthy for his dish, but everything was dry and bland. Tom doesn’t think he can execute. Ed’s short ribs were dry and they seem irritated about his making bread instead of using rice? I think they feel their intelligence was insulted.

Tom reminds everyone about what he just talked about, and tells them the details have really started to matter with only 6 people left. Chris is sent home. He’ll miss being here. Grayson decides it’s her fault because she suggested chicken salad. Probably not, but way to make it about yourself. Chris is glad to go home to Moto and tells the chefs left not to let Paul win a record-setting amount of money.

Next week: Pee Wee Herman. Heads are hung in shame and/or embarrassment. And then…everyone gets bikes and has to find ingredients? There is following? Pee Wee seems to be fairly entertaining.

Last Chance Kitchen: Chris stands around in the house kitchen, claiming to not have understood “kitchen” meant “Top Chef kitchen”. He talks to the honey bear, which hilariously has angry eyebrows drawn in with a marker. Hee. Chris says Beverly is a nice person but not particularly intimidating. Chris goes to the right kitchen, where the peanut gallery greets him. There are several long glances and declarations of feeling between Chris and Richie. Tom lets us in on an important detail: next week’s winner will be re-entering the competition. Huh. So, they’ll get down to the final four and then put them back in. The challenge: use everything in the mystery box. And in all the mystery boxes we decide to throw at you, whenever we decide to throw them at you. So it’s like Chopped. Or MasterChef. 30 minutes. The first box contains marshmallows, pine nuts, parsnips, buttermilk, lamb chops, and something that Chris describes but I have absolutely no idea what he says. Ah, the camera guy shows me it is cinnamon. Beverly refuses to play the “explain things to the peanut gallery” game. See, this is why they don’t like you. I’m not saying they weren’t bitches, but…it’s not like the producers didn’t force them to ask you. Dakota appears with a box of radicchio. Ty-Lor suddenly shouts “It’s Mom vs. Dad, let’s see who’s the better parent”. That was hilarious for some reason. Heather brings out white anchovies. Yum. Chris is frying them, I think. Richie tells Chris they cook with marshmallows all the time, which earns him the bird. Beverly: grilled lamb chop with parsnips, curry, radicchio and white anchovy vinaigrette. I think the marshmallows are in the sauce? Tom never asks. Chris: grilled lamb chop with a sweet puree, radicchio salad with pancetta, pine nuts, and apple. Beverly’s dish was nicely put together, not too sweet. Chris did the same thing. Well cooked lamb and good combinations. One didn’t quite hit the mark well, and that was Chris. Beverly’s celebration is much more subdued today.
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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Project Runway All Stars 1/19/12--"Patterning for Piggy" summary

Previously on Project Runway: everyone had to make ball gowns for a night at the opera. Austin wisely pointed out that an opera gown is not the same thing as a red carpet gown. He was the favorite, and he ended up winning, naturally. His dress was actually very good. Michael managed to make a dramatic gown but did not win. Sweet P made a weird empire waist gown that I saw compared to a traditional Korean gown but the print was ugly and the top looked like a swimsuit so she went home. (click for more)

Andrea tells everyone they must create “a flamboyant cocktail dress” for a celebrity, blah blah, we already know who it is because you spoiled it last week. Also having a flat screen with Miss Piggy on it is weak sauce. I demand scrim shadows. Everyone laughs without thinking about the logistics of this. Anthony says “I’m going to get to design a dress for a Muppet” and I can’t tell if he’s thrilled or irritated. The winner will have the dress modified “for Miss Piggy’s figure”. I mean, obviously they will have to make a smaller version. But do they have to design for a plus sized person? Also she will be there to judge. Why couldn’t she be there now then? They have the rest of the day.

Sketching begins, and for some reason I’m irritated they are pretending this is a serious challenge. Mila is going “classic”. At least some people discuss their kids/nieces/nephews being thrilled. Austin is going with a “pink bow concept”. Gordana is also going pink and is noticing others are going black. Seriously, you need to make up some crazy shit for this.

Gordana thinks everyone is going for structure, but she is staying true to herself and going for youthful and “the family side”. Whatever that means. Everyone seems very serious. Rami is picking out accessories for some reason, now, and Mondo claims the pink satin gloves from his workstation. He and Kara fight about it. Well, Mondo shouts “I want the pink gloves, don’t take them” and Kara says “can I take the pink gloves” and Mondo says “whatever, I don’t want to fight about it, take the damn gloves”.

I don’t know why this challenge is irritating me. I mean, obviously there is a person or persons who are responsible for Miss Piggy’s “style”. I don’t know. Rami has polka dots. Anthony talks about being a lady. April is focused so she won’t be in the bottom two anymore. I am sure you will be shocked to know Kenly is doing retro. Mila interviews that SOME people are DESPERATE for other people’s approval, but SHE is not like that.

Joanna time! OK…that doesn’t sound half bad. Gordana has a short dress but the top is floaty and has ruffles or rosettes along the neckline. Joanna is feeling nightgown which is bad. Gordana is going for comfort, and Joanna basically says that celebrities will do anything, up to and including a saran wrap corset, to look good. Comfort is not important here. Mila is making a headband, and Joanna reminds her she is designing for a pig and ears are involved. See this is what I’m talking about. YOU ARE DESIGNING FOR A MUPPET. I think Kenley has pink cow print and a turquoise shawl thing. Austin feels a kindred spirit with Miss Piggy, with the random French phrases and the fashion. True. He is making a giant ass bow. I bet it won’t matter. Who else are you going to make a giant ass bow for? Mondo has a fabulous print, as he usually does, and is going 60’s. Joanna tells him to keep focused.

Models show up with one hour left. Mila’s fitting a muslin sleeve, but the rest of the dress is off and this is not good. Gordana’s dress is very loose and shapeless, but maybe she’ll make it work. Mondo doesn’t like the way his dress is going, but he’s almost out of time. Kenley is still yelling to Kara about her top. Mila thinks they are co-dependent. Yeah, maybe they are. But I think it’s early enough it might be OK. Also what do you care?

Apartment time seems to be slap-happy. Anthony quotes Oprah. Actually they all seem to be getting along which is a nice thing to see.

The day of the show, everyone is frantically working. Some things never change. Anthony says he was going to eat some bacon this morning but felt conflicted. Hee. Austin is horrified and says Anthony had better not admit to it on the runway. 2 hours for hair and makeup. Kara apparently stacked up accessories somewhere and didn’t label them. I’m not sure how that happened, but Austin has them now. He gives them back with a huge sigh and says this is the second time she’s stolen his accessories. Kenley thinks she will win. They let Austin quote the Muppet Show opening.

Isaac isn’t here, but Eric Daman is here. He designs for Gossip Girl. And Miss Piggy. Michael: a very short sheath dress, strapless, with big stiff loops down one side. And giant loops on her head. It’s shiny. Exposed zipper GAH. April: short flouncy black dress with an inverted skirt (like a big peplum and then it gets narrower). The top has a deep V with an inset panel in a contrasting print. Feathers along the armholes. It’s cute. Jerell: short pink dress with a mullet hem and a ruffle on the hem. The top has illusion netting and jewels and fuzzy shoulders. But it doesn’t fit right, it’s all baggy around her waist. Kara: short tight black dress with a cutout. Like, it’s a bikini top and then a high-waisted skirt with hot pink piping on the seams. The hot pink gloves…I guess they go. Eh. Kenley: a full circle skirt and a strapless top, with a weird deep cleft in the middle. As though she has ears on her boobs. It’s a pink giraffe print and there are petticoats and a white belt and a giant huge piece of netting on her head. Thank God she got rid of the turquoise shawl. The skirt is good but I hate the top. Anthony: black dress with a boat neck and no sleeves, and a mullet hem. The top is sheer over her shoulders, and there is a bunch of flowers or something going on on her chest but it’s all dark so I can’t tell what it is. The sheer has stripes in it.

Rami: a short flamenco dress in pink polka dots. There’s a ruffle along her shoulders and the neckline, and a flower, and then it’s fitted until just above her knees where there’s another ruffle. It really does look like a flamenco dress, just not floor length. You know what this would have been good for? A Barbie challenge. Mila: short black and white mod dress. She’s back to the color blocking, but all in black and white, with stripes on the sleeves and random white rectangles. Blah. Gordana: short dusty rose dress with a lot of rosettes along the neckline and shoulders. There is a slight mullet hem, and the hem is sewn strangely so it sits weird. It’s pretty shapeless. Austin: very fitted sheath dress, in gray with a dark pink panel down the front. There are big bows over each hip, and the bodice is gray with pink bra cups. I would not have though it was Austin’s dress, and it certainly doesn’t looks like anyone else’s. Mondo: very shiny pink dress, with a miniskirt and a high crew neck and little cap sleeves. I think there are two tiers to the skirt? As if she wore a tunic over a miniskirt.

Austin for some reason is dressed like a male flamenco dancer, with the wide flat hat and ruffled shirt and thin bow at the neck and jacket. Austin, Rami, Gordana, Kenley, Mila, and Michael are the top and bottom. Austin’s dress is well made, but his pink is too dark. It’s not happy. Eric starts talking about how on a real woman, hip bows are a bad thing, but seriously this man is wearing his shirt unbuttoned halfway down his chest and then a necktie tied normally inside the shirt. I cannot take anything he says seriously. Miss Piggy asks if you could hula hoop in the dress. Sigh. Rami wanted a festive print and something that would move a lot. Angela wonders if the “average” woman could wear this dress successfully, but Georgina likes that he went for it. Eric makes a dumb comment about “Parisian hog couture”. Shut up. Miss Piggy loves it, although it is garish and outlandish. Gordana wanted to bring happiness, but this dress might be too understated. It’s a nice dress, but maybe not for Miss Piggy. Michael kisses everyone’s ass but Georgina likes his dress and the exposed zipper. Sigh. But it’s very dark, and maybe he could use some pink accessories. Miss Piggy thinks it looks like a present. Mila’s dress really needs some color. It’s graphic, but this was a challenge where she pretty much was required to use color. Kenley wanted her dress to say “This movie is fun, I’m in it….I’m fabulous…” Yeah. The color is great, but the top causes concern. Kenley says it has boning and then reveals that it is upholstery fabric. Who wants to wear upholstery fabric? Georgina says it looks like she’s about to fall out of it. There is a stupid conversation between Miss Piggy and shirtless loser about her ears and hats.

Austin’s dress was flamboyant but not classy. Plus shiny satin is not flattering. I am noticing that in the shots of all four judges, Miss Piggy is not moving at all. The only shots of her moving and talking are solitary shots. Mila’s dress is retro but Goth which is not Miss Piggy. Georgina thinks she made something from a collection of hers but she didn’t meet the challenge. They didn’t like Gordana’s shade of pink. Kenley’s bust construction looks like it will fall down any second. Rami’s dress is fun and attention-getting, which is not a bad thing here. Oh, now she’s moving in the full shot. He made a dress that probably would not work for any other challenge. Michael let himself down in the styling, although his dress was great. And he made a top hat, which is weird. Eric makes a dumb comment and gets smacked. The girls laugh, because the man just got shown by a Muppet.

Kenley is safe. Miss Piggy makes a big deal about the dramatic pause, and then declares Michael the winner. Eh. He’s super thrilled though. Rami is in. Austin is in. Gordana’s dress didn’t stand out enough. Mila’s dress didn’t fit the client. Mila is safe. Gordana is looking forward to going back home and being more creative. She says she would love to tell everyone it’s never too late to follow your own dreams.

Next week: Diane von Furstenberg! They have 6 hours to make something. I guess just any dress? The time is the important thing. Well some of them have made dresses in less time, I’m sure. You know, when people freak out and start over at the end of a challenge. They should have no problem.
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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Top Chef 1/18/12--"Fit for an Evil Queen" summary

Previously on “Top Chef”: Restaurant Wars. The women continued to gang up on Beverly, and I guess she’s kind of annoying, but you aren’t her mother, SARAH. And she can cook. The women’s restaurant had better food (if crappy service) and Beverly was the winner of that challenge. The men sort of did OK, but in the end Ty-Lor didn’t season any of his dishes and ended up going home. (click for more)

In Last Chance Kitchen, Nyesha continues her reign. They had to make desserts, and in the end Nyesha wins again. Which is good because apparently Nyesha and Ty-Lor got into it after like, the first episode, so Nyesha had two people she wanted to beat: Heather and Ty-Lor. And now she has.

Sarah bitches that Lindsay should have won instead of Beverly because she held them together. You didn’t seem to think so when you told her you’d go talk to the judges if she couldn’t handle it. Whatever. Tom shows up in the Stew Room to tell them they’re going back to San Antonio. Whatever also.

In the car Chris says he’s done different things every time. He seems irritated. Also the boys know full well the girls are mad Beverly won. Cut to the girls’ car, where everyone is sitting in silence. Bev knows what is up, and she says she won fair and square. Lindsay complains about how hard it was to set up the room and brief the servers and so forth. She tells us she was justified in being a bitch to Beverly because “it was needed to keep us on the top”. Really? Is that really what you want to say on television? Bullying is totally OK if it means your team wins. Ugh. Sarah talks about being close to the final four, even though there are still seven people left. She “truly believes” she belongs there. False. Paul says competition is heating up.

Eric Ripert! He’s cool. Also there is a conveyer belt. Ed doesn’t know what it means, except that he’s positive it’s going to suck for them. Heh. Padma says this is about quick thinking. The Quickfire is about using 30 minutes to make a dish, and also using the moving conveyor belt. you must pick 3 ingredients from the belt and use them in the dish. If you wait, you could get something you want, but then you have less time to cook. Interesting. Winner gets immunity.

There seem to be junk food items like Pop Rocks. Lindsay runs to get staples because right now she doesn’t see anything on the belt she wants. Ed takes macadamia nuts and makes a nut pun. And now he has sauerkraut. Huh. Chris is making generic food? That will go with a lot of different things? He specifically says he’s not taking Pop Rocks, and I would think that’s right up his alley. Grayson is making a white wine carrot sauce and hoping some fish shows up on the belt. A whole pail of lobsters goes by, but before Chris can get to it, it disappears into the back. He stands around until he realizes they took it off the belt. Hee. That’s pretty evil. Paul gets frustrated and takes saffron, bread, and bitter melon. He says that no matter how you prepare bitter melon, it’s always a little bitter. Duh. Chris stands around and curses because of course, the lobster has been removed but the Oreos and Pop Rocks are still there. Sarah takes saltines because she’s worried it’s a trick and there won’t be any awesome ingredients at the last minute. Someone in the back has a warped and awesome sense of humor, because a cameraman catches the bucket of lobsters going around again. As Chris is too late to get them again. Bev ends up with Rice Krispies, black eyed peas, and tofu. Bleh. Some nice person hollers at Chris about the lobsters, and he just barely manages to snatch one out of the pail as it’s disappearing. I kind of wish there was a PA back there fighting him for the bucket. You’d see their hand on the bucket, smacking Chris so he’ll drop the lobster. Lindsay is still standing around with like 9 minutes left. But she gets clams and grouper, and decides on bouillabaisse. For Eric Ripert. Lots of frantic running around. Time is called, and then Bev suddenly drops her head in her hands. The Rice Krispies are in a pan next to her plate. Ouch.

Ed: sauerkraut soup, shrimp, and shaved truffle. And macadamia nuts somewhere. Chris: butter poached lobster with foie gras. Cauliflower with milk and vanilla? I don’t know. Grayson: butter poached Dover sole with Goldfish, rosemary, and grapefruit. Paul: mussels in ginger and bitter melon broth. Sarah: fried soft shell crab and cottage cheese sauce, shaved artichoke salad. Lindsay: bouillabaisse with grouper and clams, and fennel-Pernod broth. Beverly: glazed sockeye salmon and black-eyed peas. She has to admit she didn’t get the Rice Krispies on the plate. They ask to taste them anyway, and tell her it’s nice. Ed says she should have cheated and just thrown them in the air and hoped they hit the plate. Oh please, you’d be the first person to bitch about her cheating if she did.

Eric says Chris’s dish didn’t come together, Grayson’s grapefruit zest was too overwhelming, and Paul didn’t get the bitterness out of his bitter melon. Sarah did well with her cottage cheese, Lindsay’s flavors complimented each other, and Beverly did a good job with her tofu. Padma rubs it in and says if she had gotten the Rice Krispies on the plate, she would have won “by a mile”. That sucks. So instead, Lindsay wins immunity. Bleh. She’s pissed, though, because Eric and Padma basically told her that her dish wasn’t the best. Well too bad.

For the Elimination challenge, everyone must make a dish “fit for a queen”. Chris begins guessing queens: “The Queen of England? Queen Latifah?” Oo, they should get Queen Latifah on this show. Maybe it’s RuPaul. Sadly it is Charlize Theron. She is in one of the Snow White movies coming out this year. Actually the Queen in the other movie is Julia Roberts, so either of those two would be awesome. Sarah has another fangirl moment like she did earlier. She explains that this movie is “epic” and “darker”, and that the Queen in this movie is basically a serial killer. Nice. Each dish in this feast must be “gothic” and “wickedly beautiful”.

They don’t show menu planning, so hopefully this won’t be a team challenge. During shopping Paul says he’s making an “enchanted forest” and I have a flashback to Hung and his cereal landscape or whatever the fuck that was. Grayson is getting violent I guess. Sarah is finding red wine for risotto. Beverly shoves around Grayson, and Grayson interviews that Beverly isn’t loud, but then all of a sudden she’s all up in your grill and you’re running into her. Grayson calls her a “bulldog” and seems to respect it, which is a nice change. Lindsay is making scallops and short ribs and dragon beans, whatever those are.

Back at the house, Ed is suggesting he throw pig’s blood on everyone. Is he serious? With Ed there’s always that little part of him that sounds like he’s serious. Chris is getting into his dish and waving his hands around. He gets a phone call home, which normally would be a sign he was doomed, but they don’t always do that anymore. Paul asks everyone sitting around if they’re comfortable with “the plan”, which seems to be a list of ways to be respectful, not taking things, asking for things you need, etc. Lindsay says Beverly grabs things without asking or whatever, and Paul says to play nice. Sarah says “No wicked games tomorrow”. My head is going to explode if I think about that any more.

2 hours to cook. Ed is making a black sauce and a white sauce. Interesting. Paul says he has 14 components to make. Then he tells us that Beverly is making halibut, and he thinks it’s because she wants to show Lindsay she can cook it when she can do it her way and not Lindsay’s way. Paul says some of the other chefs underestimate Beverly, and that she has the most cooking experience of anyone left in the competition. It’s nice to see people respecting their fellow contestants. Lindsay’s dish is sort of stolen from Michelle Bernstein. Sarah is cooking lamb heart, which I have to admit is a good dish for the evil Queen from Snow White. Grayson is cooking black chicken, and she is realizing the heads are attached, and that they can get dry easily. Chris looks like he’s stuffing things into an apple and then covering it in pastry, which I think would be cool if done well. Paul burns something so he trashes that part of his dish. The judges show up (Eric and Emeril) and Charlize says if she was making a “wicked” dish, she would just make whatever and put poison in it.

Ed: tuna tartare with black garlic ponzu, and Asian pear vinaigrette. There are fried fish scales on top for spikes. The sauces taste great together. Tom says when you combine good and evil you get a politician. Paul is putting bloody handprints on his plates. Nice. Paul: foie gras with bacon, pumpernickel, pickled cherries, and beets. All the food is over on one side, around the edge of the plate, and then a big red handprint in the middle. Actually it looks cool. Eric is a little worried about hands on the plates. It all comes together and it’s fantastic. Beverly: seared halibut with red curry coulis and forbidden black rice. She says Snow White is the halibut, prevailing against blackness. Or something. They love it and the fish is perfect.

Lindsay: seared scallop over “witch’s stew”, which is braised short rib and dragon beans. It has blackening spices in it, which smell great. Plus they love the dragon beans. Sarah: amarone risotto with lamb heart. Amarone is the wine. It’s flavorful and the heart is delicious. Although I must say, and only partially because I don’t like Sarah, her plate is the least appetizing looking. Risotto cooked in red wine ends up kind of dark brown. Lumpy dark brown. Grayson: black chicken with beets, quail egg, and foie gras. She wanted the beets to look like blood (which they do) and then she says the quail egg represents “the baby she had inside her when she was slaughtered.” Ew. They do love the presentation, and the taste doesn’t disappoint. Chris: poisoned apple and cherry pie. So, he cored the apples, stuffed them with cherries, and then covered the end in pastry and baked them. Also there are Rice Krispy “maggots”, gummi worms, and some apple powder frozen in liquid nitrogen so it smokes. This is where the crazy molecular gastronomy works. It’s smoking, and baked apples always get wrinkled and look brown and old and questionable, and then when you cut it open, bright red cherries ooze out everywhere. Awesome.

Tom says this is the most exciting meal they’ve had this season, and Eric responds that this is one of the best meals he’s had on this show. They’re going to be nitpicking to get rid of someone. Charlize asks if she gets the head of the loser on a silver platter. Heh.

Commercial interlude: making music with pots and containers of nuts and whatever random shit is lying around. Like small children.

Padma collects everyone, for a change. Nice. Eric isn’t here, for some reason. Boo. Tom praises all of them, as does Charlize. Various judges praise everyone, actually, since they all had really good dishes. Charlize says that they were impressed by everyone, but the winner is Paul. Nice. He gets two tickets to the world premiere of the movie, and he’s impressed that he won with such tough competition. Padma tells Ed, Lindsay, and Chris that they’re also safe, so they can take off.

Everyone has done well, but someone has to go home. Tom starts by telling them they should put all their dishes on their menus back home, and Grayson is shaking her head. Hee. Charlize liked Sarah’s presentation, but she says the first bite was salty. Tom also says the risotto was a touch undercooked. Sarah begs for her spot and says she loves food and she lives food and whatever. Beverly used arrowroot to thicken the sauce and it got a little sticky. Tom says she should have served on hot plates. Beverly says she wanted her dish to be elegant and not grotesque. She also begs for her spot and says she’s doing this for her family and gets choked up. Tom asks Grayson how a girl from Wisconsin comes up with crazy things like bloody black chicken. The greens were a little salty, and the egg was hard to handle. Also the foie gras was just kind of thrown on there. Grayson tells the judges she went all out on the theme, and how Beverly said she wanted to go elegant. She pauses, and then drops it. Was she going to talk about how grotesque is better than elegant, but then realized she didn’t want to attack Beverly to save herself? She could have done pasta or risotto, but she didn’t so let’s hope they see that. I find it interesting that Grayson was the one person last episode defending Beverly, and yet today, Sarah isn’t the one saying disparaging things about other people at Judges’ Table.

Grayson made some clear mistakes, but her presentation was fantastic and she took a risk. Beverly had a well-balanced dish, although it didn’t look wicked or dark. Plus the sauce had a weird texture. Sarah’s risotto was undercooked and had too much cheese. That’s really about all they have to say.

Everyone made good dishes, but someone has to go home. And that person is Beverly. Dammit. It’s telling that Bev turns to Grayson, who hugs her, while Sarah starts walking out of the room without her. And she could have had immunity! Damn Rice Krispies! She’s glad she showed people how strong she was, in addition to how well she cooks. According to Tom’s blog, it came down to the theme. Beverly just didn’t do as well fitting the theme as the other two.

Next week: head to head battles, Cat Cora, Grayson gets bitchy. Fun!

Last Chance Kitchen: why do we have to watch all of people’s bitchy nonsense? OK, good. That’s over. Nyesha is feeling confident. I don’t know who to root for. Tom asks the peanut gallery who will win, and Heather immediately says Nyesha. Tom calls her on it, because Tom is awesome, and says they’ve had some history so…it’s an unfinished sentence but clearly Tom doesn’t care what she thinks. No one thinks Bev will win, but she believes in herself. Today’s challenge: 30 minutes to cook with black drum, which is a local fish. They will have one chance to get food and equipment from the pantry. So plan ahead. They both load up (true to what people said earlier Beverly totally gets in Nyesha’s way at the fridge) and head back to start cooking. Tom comes running back in like the place is on fire and orders them to stop and switch ingredients with each other. Heh. Nyesha is pissed, partially because Bev has already dredged her whole fish in cornstarch. And covered the whole station in cornstarch. Beverly has a plan, while Nyesha is not interested in Beverly’s ingredients. With 6 minutes left, Beverly hasn’t even filleted her fish yet, which is a problem. And now her pan is so hot it’s a weird color. And now she’s pouring out her oil into the grill? What? That is so unsafe. Both girls put their fish in the pan at the same time and the peanut gallery is freaking out. Beverly: seared black drum with oranges, fennel, and black olives. Nyesha: seared black drum with julienne of tri-pepper, slaw, and pineapple chutney. They both did an excellent job, and it comes down to seasoning. And whose dish was under seasoned? Nyesha HOLY CRAP NYESHA?! Wow. Beverly shrieks, as the peanut gallery is obviously pissed off. Nyesha says Bev deserves it as much as the next person, but she wanted it more. So Nyesha got to beat the two people she wanted to, and Beverly wins and I’m sure it irks Heather something fierce.
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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Project Runway All Stars 1/12/12--"A Night at the Opera" summary

Previously on Project Runway: A gang of people we’d all seen before showed up and were thrown feet-first into making clothes from the dollar store. Rami tried to prove that he had moved beyond draping by making a strange structural dress that was very impractical but pretty much screamed “FASHION” so he won. Elisa, love her, but a weird tube top and hot pants and wings are not really good. So she’s already gone. But everyone seems to have some level of respect for each other and it’s good to see most of them. The only one that I was not terribly happy to see was Kenley and she really didn’t say anything. (click for more)

Angela tells everyone they made it past the first week, and now it’s all about “high end glamour” and show stopping ball gowns. The guest judges get to come out now, who are Badgley and Mischka, and basically say exactly what Angela said. Design a gown for the opera with a “true couture touch”. Everyone thinks Austin will win. They will have one day. Mondo is slightly worried.

30 minutes to sketch. However, Mondo never designs before he shops. He just goes and lets the fabric speak to him. I miss Tim at Mood. Kenley buys pink. April is buying “off-blood red”. Michael starts talking about red too, and apparently Michael asks if she’s going to use red, and she’s like, yeah. That’s why there’s red fabric here. April interviews “If you want to do red, do fucking red.” Michael makes it sound like she’s copying him, but I doubt it. I like April’s comment. Who cares, indeed. Michael tells the employee that he’s not doing red because SOMEONE ELSE is doing red and he’s losing it. OK, drama queen. He buys black matte jersey. That’s elegant. Look, I have nothing against jersey, just that I don’t think of it when I think “couture gown for the opera”.

Kara thinks everyone has realized their competition is good and they’re buckling down. April dyes her red. Several people are worried for her. Michael still works quickly. Austin would hate to lose.

Joanna shows up to investigate. Kenley says she likes that Joanna is the mentor, and pretends it has nothing to do with how she was a bitch to Tim when she was on the show before. Rami has some triangles. Austin knows everyone expects him to win, so he’s kind of nervous about it. Gordana thinks it shouldn’t be a big deal for him. He is making something with gold lamé. April has a very ambitious plan which better work because there is no Plan B. Michael has some like, feathers, or something. Joanna asks if he is making cups for the top, I guess because that helps to prevent nip slips. See, Tim would never have asked that. Kara has some pastels, which is a problem. Joanna tells her so, and I think she might cry which is so sad. Sweet P has a floral thing. Anthony has white, but he promises it will be too sexy to feel bridal.

Rami tries to tell us he’s only human and it’s nice to get some approval. Sweet P has a lot of work to do. Kara still has her pastels. Mondo thinks she’s the weakest, because she doubts herself too much. Yeah. Anthony is wearing a T-shirt that says “Thank you Mood!” Where can we get those? Austin thinks Michael’s dress is too “celebrity” and not enough “socialite”. Interesting. Which will the judges respond to more? Michael still has plenty of work to do.

In the apartment everyone complains about the lack of time and how you can’t make “couture” in one day. Anthony thinks it’s insulting to the world of couture to use that word, so we’ll just call it “really, really, really pumped-up prom dresses”. Hee. Kara confides in Kenley, which saddens me, but then she confides in Austin too so that’s good.

Everyone comes in the next day and freaks out about how much work is left. Trash talking others. Hot makeup guy. I want him to say his name and flirt with Rami. Jerell thinks his model looks like “mo fo money!”

Kenley: it’s pink. It’s a bubble-gum pink ball gown with one tier and a bodice that is hidden by a giant floppy bow that is pink with black polka dots. Jeez. Gordana: long periwinkle dress with a sequined (beaded?) halter top and a skirt that seems to have inset panels in a lighter shade. It’s not flattering at all, because it just highlights where her legs are and the top of the skirt is tight…it’s not good. Rami: off the shoulder dress in a deep pink, almost a red. The bodice is fitted until her hips, right under her butt, and the skirt is pleated where it meets the bodice. The top is all pieced together and looks interesting. It just ends at an unflattering spot. Mila: black sparkly tight dress with a swath of tulle over one shoulder. And sparkly shoes. It’s not exciting, but it’s not bad. Sweet P: halter top in coral and a empire waisted skirt in a coordinating floral print. Oh, it’s bad. It’s not evening and I always think an empire waist makes one look pregnant and it doesn’t look good for Sweet P. Honey, she does not look like Cinderella. Mondo: shiny, shiny silver cocktail dress with a miniskirt and a tail. The train attaches to her butt and drags on the ground, but the skirt is a miniskirt. And she has over the elbow white gloves.

Jerell: empire waist gown with a print and a black bodice with illusion netting. I think the bodice has feathers. It seems fuzzy. The print is a subtle spotted “animal” print that isn’t as bad as the prints we’ve seen so far. The back is sheer. Kara: empire waist strapless gown in a pastel floral print with a black thin belt. You know what it reminds me of? And I hate to say this, but my prom dress was from Laura Ashley, and it was pastel florals with a white lace thing on the bodice. It was TERRIBLE. I am ashamed of it. This is not good, Kara. Anthony: long white Grecian draped gown. One side has a long swath of fabric, which covers her arm, and the other arm is bare. It’s slit down to her navel, with a chain and a pendant for a belt. It’s not bridal, I’ll give him that. Black gloves!? Why? Austin: shiny gold, sweetheart neckline. Then over that is straps and black tulle. Like, the straps cross over her waist and go around her neck like a collar, and the tulle is threaded around the collar so it covers her boobs, and then flares out behind her like a cape. It’s interesting, but I think I want the tulle to be another color. April: red dress, with the bottom half dyed a darker red. It’s one-shouldered, and the bodice is all piecemeal like Rami’s. But there’s nothing going on with the dyed part. It just looks like she waded through a river to get here. Michael: black gown with a keyhole opening. I think he had a rectangular piece that he put across her shoulders, and sewed to the gown so it looks like she has shoulder pads. But the rectangular piece has beading and feathers along the margins. It does look pretty interesting, although then randomly in the back is a train and also that thing where there’s a belt, and then the top of the skirt is like six inches lower on her butt. I don’t really like that.

Anthony, April, Sweet P, Austin, Kara, and Michael are called out as the winners and losers. Anthony made sure to have leather gloves and other touches to keep from having a bridal gown. They love the edge, and that it’s vampy. April did some color, but the dyeing is a problem. When they show a close-up, it’s obvious she was going for an ombre effect, only she didn’t quite make it. The top has some pleats, and a weird neckline. It looks unfinished. Badgley and Mischka hate red and black together. You know, someone somewhere decided that plus size women only want to wear red and black, because I know there was one year when those were the only colors I could find. Bleh. There’s a weird flap over one hip, too. On close-up this dress looks worse. Poor April. Sweet P talks more about Cinderella, and Isaac says “prom dress”, and Georgina wanted her to use the print on the bodice. It’s colorful though. Isaac claims a woman’s boobs are the focus, so the bodice must be fantastic. Everyone loves Austin’s dress, of course. It’s modest, which Isaac loves. Kara says her print isn’t conventional for evening, and they agree (not that that makes it bad), but it’s so simple it must be absolutely perfect. They are nitpicking her belt, because there’s nothing to her dress so it must be done exactly right. Georgina doesn’t see Kara in this dress. Michael wanted everyone to look at his girl when she walked in. Isaac can’t believe he made this in one day, and then says something about Kim Kardashian at the opera. Really? Let’s not encourage that. The judges love the belt thing in the back, so whatever. It’s a thing, I guess. I just don’t like it.

April had a good idea but it didn’t go far enough. It was sloppy, but at least it wasn’t boring. The back looked like she just stitched the extra fabric down. Sweet P had a nice skirt, that is appealing, but the bodice looked like a cheap swimsuit. It wasn’t a ball gown. Well, by that definition, you didn’t have that many ball gowns at all. Kara’s dress gets mixed reviews. The fabric is a problem. Now for the top. Anthony had a beautiful white dress with a specific drape to it, and it was fantastic. Austin’s dress was tasteful but exciting, fresh, executed wonderfully. Michael’s gown was spectacular, if somewhat familiar. And made of jersey, I forgot about that.

Anthony is in. Austin wins, because I’m pretty sure no one wants to tell Austin he got beat by Michael Costello. Michael is in. Kara is safe. April is in. Awe, Sweet P. She’s happy to have met people she watched and respected from afar. And she has a happy life.

Next week: create a “flamboyant” cocktail dress. For Miss Piggy. Awesome. She is on the judging panel. Austin dresses as a flamenco dancer. That is almost as good as dressing drag queens.
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Top Chef 1/11/12--"Restaurant Wars" summary

Previously on “Top Chef”: the Quickfire involved “modernist cuisine”, which everyone took to mean “molecular gastronomy”. I don’t know what it means either. Sadly MotoChris did not win, but Ty-Lor was the victor. Then everyone had to make BBQ for 300 people. This involved teams, staying up all night, and various people not wanting to be with various other people, and grilling things which is not the same as barbeque so getting in trouble for that. It also involved Sarah avoiding passing out by going to the hospital, and Ed bitching about it. Then he bitched when she came back. Ed’s not a happy person. The team of Paul, Lindsay, and Grayson won with some Asian flavors, and while everyone else seemed to suck at some level, Chris C. goes home for making the rubs for his team. Salty rubs. Yeah. (click for more)

At Last Chance Kitchen Chris and Nyesha go to a gas station to buy things, and they seem to do fairly well, but in the end Nyesha remains victorious.

Didn’t the promo say this Restaurant Wars was men vs. women? Did they just come up with that? As in, they saw that it was even and said “Let’s divide them that way instead of drawing knives or whatever”? Because otherwise that means they had to plan to have even numbers by making sure to get rid of certain people, and while I would totally assume that of Project Runway, I would like to think this show is better than that.

No Quickfire today. Padma and Hugh get right to it and declare Restaurant Wars: Girls vs. Boys. Ed of course thinks the boys are better, and decides to get in a jab at Sarah by saying her weakness is “barbequing in the sun”. I’m pretty sure with three other people she’s going to be able to avoid that, if their restaurant even has barbeque. Sarah is worried about Beverly. It sounds like this season they’ll be taking over the same restaurant, so one team will serve one night and the other team the night after. Plus you get to eat in the other team’s restaurant. Interesting. The team that goes second gets a whole day to adjust and analyze the other team’s problems. They flip a coin to decide who goes first, and the boys win (lose?) so they go first. Three course menu, two choices per course, for 100 guests. One person must be front-of-house, and each person has to make at least one dish. 5 hours to cook and decorate.

45 minutes to plan. Ed says he can do front-of-house. Right. He claims to have some experience because he owns his restaurant, but he’s been acting like a jerk for a while. Maybe he’ll be nice to customers? Let’s hope so. Lindsay sort of gets volunteered to be in the front, because as Grayson says, she’s opened restaurants and can keep her cool. They seem to be going for rustic and homey, with the name “Half Bushel”. That’s not a bad name. The boys want to go for “Canteen”, which doesn’t suck. I think they are collaborating on their food, except I can’t tell what the theme is. Who knows. Someone tells Beverly she has to take over a dish, and Sarah shoots down all her ideas. Then she volunteers short ribs, and Sarah is all, do you want to do short ribs AGAIN? And someone says “Why not? She’s fucking good at it.” Exactly. Beverly says “I gotta have a dish. I’m sorry” to Sarah, and Sarah condescends, “That’s not what I’m saying, Bev”. What are you saying, then? Did Sarah decide someone has to bully Beverly?

People shop for decorations, but that never matters. You know, based on EVERY PREVIOUS SEASON. Food shopping involves $4000. Grayson says she feels bad for Beverly, because “the girls” don’t like her, but everyone is here to win. Does Grayson include herself in “the girls”? Really it seems Sarah is nitpicking everything Beverly does while Grayson and Lindsay stand around. MotoChris (hey! I can just call him Chris now!) thinks the girls are self destructing. “Boys rule, girls are gonna lose.” Oh, you can’t even get THAT right? GOD.

In the morning Chris says this whole thing is the Kobayashi Maru. So…it’s an impossible test that everyone fails because the test is rigged, and the only way not to fail is to cheat. Oh, I paused too soon. He explains what the Kobayashi Maru is. Actually he explains it as an impossible test but leaves out the part about cheating. And William Shatner. Lots of prep and cooking, and Ed setting up the dining room by himself. I think Ty-Lor says something about fish caramel sauce. Ed’s making a dessert, but Chris is helping him out. I think their decorations are “rustic” or at least playful. Amusingly Ed says he has to clean the bathrooms too. But I am glad to see he gives good directions to the wait staff.

Service starts, and the food looks interesting, and Ed is running around seating people and reminding the waiters to put table numbers on things. Ty-Lor is realizing they never agreed on who was going to expedite, so they’re kind of standing around in the kitchen talking about it. Ed is asking people to wait. Someone says her wine is warmer than her meal. Ouch. Of course this is when the judges show up. Emeril is here, and Hugh and Tom and Padma. No guest judge today? However, between the four of them (well, three aside from Padma) they own or operate 39 restaurants. Wow. Ed says “Canteen” is about a community dining place, and all their menu items started out simple but are elevated. Chris tells us the servers don’t seem to understand where to take food or what is going on. Not sure if that’s due to dumb servers, or no one expediting, or Ed not doing things, or what. The judges notice that Ty-Lor is outside the kitchen, in his apron. They don’t quite know what he is doing, although we can see he’s trying to figure out who gets the entrees that are cooling in front of him. I think they were fired too early. The girls show up too, but I’m guessing no one will care what they think.

Ty-Lor: Thai style crab and shrimp salad, caramel fish sauce and peanuts. Paul: ham and pork pate with mushrooms, braised mustard seeds and duck fat crostini. Ty-Lor’s dish looks like a wedge salad, like a wedge of endive and sauce. Paul has served a jar for some reason. Is the pate in the jar? Why is his dish called “ham and eggs” when there are no eggs? The crab and shrimp are kind of flat, but cooked well, and I guess the duck fat and mustard sort of looks like an egg. The brioche is greasy. Now Paul is outside the window. Why can’t they expedite inside the kitchen instead of at the window where they block the waiters from picking up plates? Ty-Lor: poached salmon in warm tomato water, clams, salmon skin, and tomatillo jam. Paul: crispy skin pork belly with green apple and sweet potato puree. Yum. Hugh immediately notices none of the salmon has mushrooms. Not good. It’s OK anyway, as is Paul’s, although Tom thinks he could have done more. The girls talk about how intense this will be tomorrow. Ed: Almond Joy cake with malted chocolate mousse, and banana coconut puree. Chris: homemade Cracker Jack, cherries, and peanut butter ice cream. Ed’s Almond Joy has no coconut. How do you have Almond Joy with no coconut? This seems to be that thing where you promise something you don’t deliver. Chris’s dish is weird but Tom likes it, for reasons he doesn’t quite understand. Sarah and Lindsay say they have to stay calm tomorrow and support each other. Paul tells us that the salmon dish needs salt, and that he and Ty-Lor split the dish up but it was Ty-Lor that was supposed to season it. Overall for an opening night it was good, and the desserts were clever. Somehow the diners are voting too. The men know they could have been better.

Back home everyone hangs around and self-flagellates. Paul is especially hard on himself. Ed says the best they can hope for is the women completely screw up.

Time for the girls to cook. Lindsay tells us in high school she was an overachiever and will not quit. People talk about the things they are making, which sound pretty good. Lindsay tells us that Beverly only has one dish, as if she didn’t throw out several options and got shot down every time. Sarah asks someone to help her do part of one of her dishes, and Lindsay says that Beverly is just searing short ribs and has plenty of time to help her. Beverly is also going to execute Lindsay’s dish for her. I guess since Bev is helping, Sarah turns on Grayson and asks her if she really needs to cut blueberries in half. Grayson is like, yes, because I’m working on my dishes. They complain at each other, and Sarah claims they’re all simplifying their dishes, and Grayson says she should ask in a nicer way. Lindsay races into the kitchen to show Beverly how to execute her dish, and Bev says in confessional that it’s very rushed, and not how she would do the dish, but it’s not her dish.

Food is going out. Sarah asks for some containers of olives, from Beverly, who I guess doesn’t find them and then says “if you wanted them earlier, you should have done something”. There’s a weird silence, and then Bev starts apologizing while Sarah is going “Beverly” in that Mom voice. The one that says, “I can’t yell at you because we’re in public, but you are in deep shit later”. It makes me feel uncomfortable. Then Bev says they’re treating her like a child, which is true. Sarah condescends to her that this is not how they’re going to start service and she has to support the team. I don’t see you doing anything to support the team, SARAH. Naturally the judges appear when Lindsay is in the kitchen telling Bev and I guess everyone what to do. Lindsay just says it’s hard to seat everyone. The guys get the same treatment. Some guy says the halibut was overcooked, so Lindsay goes back and tells Beverly not to overcook her fish. There is a serious line at the door, and people seem to be waiting for food. Finally. Grayson: grilled peach salad with pickled shallots, bacon vinaigrette and candied pistachios. Sarah: arancini (a risotto ball stuffed with cheese and fried), sweet and sour eggplant, and celery salad. The arancini are hot, and the peach salad is also great. Back in the kitchen, there is a slight freakout because no one has plated dishes for the judges, even though they’ve been fired and someone should be cooking them. Hugh knows that if the judges are frustrated, the contestants must be too. Lindsay appears in the kitchen again, saying the judges are fucking pissed, and all the short ribs in the window are dead. Sarah snaps that she’ll go out and talk to everyone if Lindsay can’t face them. Sarah says she’s behind because she has three courses to fire (three? She’s only making two, I thought). And now Lindsay is micromanaging Beverly, down to what spoon she’s using. Sigh. Hugh’s blog points out that Beverly was responsible for both entrees, which is probably why it took so long. You know no one helped her. Beverly: braised short rib with Thai basil potato puree, apple slaw, and kimchi. Lindsay: grilled halibut with Spanish chorizo, fennel and sherry salad. The halibut is overcooked and the chorizo doesn’t have enough flavor. Of course they love Beverly’s dish, because as much as the girls hate Beverly, she’s proven she can cook, and cook well. Some table gets the wrong dishes. Grayson is flipping out because her dessert has ice cream and has to be served immediately, but Lindsay tells her they don’t know where they are right now. So I guess Lindsay just wants her to shut up about it. Then the next time Lindsay is in the kitchen she says to hurry up with dessert because she has to move tables. Grayson: schaum torte (like a pavlova) with vanilla meringue and champagne berries. Sarah: hazelnut cream Italian doughnuts with banana sugar glaze. Sarah’s doughnuts are heavy, and just OK on taste. Grayson’s food goes over well. Yeah, Sarah, I only count two things.

I guess now that the judges are served, Lindsay feels she doesn’t have to do anything, so she comes into the kitchen to stand around and complain to Grayson that no one is eating her halibut, and it’s all Beverly’s fault because it’s overcooked. 1. She’s standing right in front of you and can probably hear you, so maybe not be a bitch within earshot, 2. Way to “support everyone” like you and Sarah were ordering everyone to do, and 3. Even Grayson admits that it might not be all Beverly’s fault because she’s only doing what Lindsay tells her. Grayson then earns points because she tells Lindsay exactly that: Beverly didn’t do it on purpose and it was probably because of bad cooking instructions. The judges think the food is better here but the guys were better at service.

Commercial interlude: everyone sits around and talks about how they screwed up this challenge. Can we please have more interesting commercial interludes?

In the “Stew Room”, Beverly brings up how everyone was talking about her, and Sarah shakes her head as if she never does that. I hope you watch this show and feel horrible. Lindsay says that Beverly screwed up her dish, which is basically what she was saying behind her back, so I guess that’s something, that she was honest. Sarah gets back into Mom mode and says that Lindsay spent a lot of time with Beverly “helping conceptualize” her dish. So Beverly starts pointing out all the parts of the short ribs that were her own idea, and Sarah is shouting that’s not what she meant, except that it totally is. What else to you mean by “conceptualizing”? Sarah just keeps insisting that’s not what she’s saying, which is what people do when they know they’ve lost but can’t admit it because then they’d have to admit to lying. Trust me, I know people who have done it to me. Padma appears to collect the women. The men wish them luck, because they all know the judges will talk to everyone so it’s impossible to tell who is winning. They nail Lindsay for making everyone wait, and she says it’s because they had a “big build-up” in the kitchen. The women all think they did better than the boys, and luckily they did. They scream and hug each other, even Beverly, because of course now that they’ve won everyone loves her. Grayson’s peach salad was perfect, Sarah’s arancini was hot and the perfect temperature. Beverly’s short ribs and kimchi get high praise (so of course there is a shot of Sarah and Lindsay looking annoyed, along with the single kettle drum beat they always put in). The judges also say the fish was slightly overcooked. Lindsay nods sagely. Hugh says the winner is Beverly. Grayson hugs her, while the other two can’t even bring themselves to clap. Bev wins 3 liters of wine and a weekend trip to Napa. She’s so thrilled I can’t help feel glad for her. She interviews that she can’t believe she won against “such amazing chefs”. No gloating, you will notice. And no sarcasm! She’s a better person than me.

When the guys have gone, Sarah finishes her takeover of Heather’s top villain spot by telling everyone that they wouldn’t have won without Lindsay and she deserves just as much “if not more” praise. Lindsay is like, scraping a bottle with her fingernail or something. Grayson hides her head in her hands. Seriously, you didn’t win, but you’re not going home. Do you hate Beverly so much you can’t let her enjoy winning? She’s not gloating or rubbing it in your face like she could be. And Lindsay’s shitty service is what kept you from winning in a landslide. But no, can’t let anyone you don’t like get praise without saying “I think Lindsay should have won, she did more than everyone else.” Gah.

The judges weren’t wowed by the food. Neither were the diners. Ty-Lor’s crab and shrimp appetizer wasn’t spicy enough, at least for Tom, who expected more Thai flavor. The salmon dish had good components but there was no seasoning and the components didn’t go together. The brioche in the “ham and eggs” was greasy. Then Tom nails Chris for only doing one dish, while Paul did way more than him. Chris helped everyone, but Tom wanted him to claim a dish. Hugh thinks maybe he should have spent some prep time organizing the expediter. Ed says the coconut in the Almond Joy was some powdered stuff on the side of the plate, but Tom is like, that’s the best part! Not enough coconut!

The girls were nice and got beers for the boys, and left them on their chairs. Ed jokingly asks if they’re for sitting on. Heh. At least Bev and Grayson are giggling when they come in. Padma could make a case for any of them going home. If Ed had named his dish something else, they would have loved it because it was the best dish out of that team. Chris’s dish was weird, but Tom can’t explain why he likes it. Also Chris didn’t appear out of the kitchen expediting like the others. Tom points out that the other three didn’t expedite properly, so why should they get points? Ty-Lor didn’t season anything enough.

Ty-Lor is sent home for not seasoning any of his dishes. He seems to be in good spirits, and proud of himself. Let’s see if he can survive Last Chance Kitchen.

Next week: Charlize Theron, Eric Ripert, and a lot of blood and things of that nature.

Last Chance Kitchen: some time between elimination and Last Chance Kitchen Ty-Lor has shaved his beard but kept his mustache. Nyesha claims that she wanted to battle two people: Heather and Ty-Lor. Apparently these two were the worst to her. Today’s challenge is to make dessert. Ha! They have 30 minutes. Double HA! And then just for fun, they have to pick a sous chef out of the eliminated contestants. Nyesha picks Heather solely because she knows Ty-Lor and Heather have cooked together and she wants to break them up. Love her. Ty-Lor takes Malibu. There’s a lot of random things going on. Chocolate. Mascarpone. Nyesha has to remind Heather who is in charge. Malibu is fine. Actually I guess she’s listening to some of Heather’s suggestions. Malibu burns some caramel. Lots of claims to be the best. Nyesha: coconut and lime tart, with coconut crème fraiche mousse and caramel sauce. Ty-Lor: puff pastry with dark chocolate mascarpone cream, vanilla bean rum cherries and caramel sauce. That sounds fantastic. Tom is very impressed with both desserts, actually. However, the one that he would have again is Nyesha’s. Woo girl! She’s also pleased to have beaten the two chefs she had personal grudges against.
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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Project Runway All Stars 1/5/12--"Return to the Runway" summary

Previously on Project Runway: oh, many things. Many, many things which upset many, many people. But most of these people you’re about to see again are from before the show moved and the judges started smoking so much crack. Can we survive without Tim? That is the important question. (click for more)

Oo, the prize is $500,000. Nice. Also, how is it possible that Austin Scarlett’s facial hair makes him somehow look LESS butch?

Mondo! Mondo should have won, but he has short shorts on and he looks fab. Michael Costello. Really? All Star? OK. Mila, Anthony (yay), Jerell (who has also grown a little goatee), all talk about how great they are. Elisa! Love her crazy time! Austin says someone had to put the “star” in “All Star”. Hee. Also, your hair is tall. Boo, Kenley. She says she’s totally fine with everyone hating her. Oh well, guess we do need a villain. Everyone is carrying around garment bags for some reason and “running into each other” “by accident”. Rami looks pretty good. And Sweet P! Gordana! Gordana is worried about Sweet P and Mondo being competition.

Everyone goes to a club and looks around and is greeted by Angela Lindvall, who will be playing the part of Heidi for the duration, only without an accent. April Johnson? …OK. There are a couple of people that I didn’t expect to see. Angela says there will not be any immunity for the whole competition. Winner gets their own boutique in various Neiman Marcus stores, and online, fashion spread in Marie Claire AND guest editor position for a year. Kara Janx says she would love to be guest editor. I love Kara. You also win a gang of industrial sewing equipment and fabric printers, $100,000 in HP software and so forth, and then on top of all that, $100,000 from L’Oreal. So the $500,000 is the total value of all the prizes. Angela promises a clean judging slate, and then introduces the new judges, Georgina Chapman and Isaac Mizrahi (obviously he is there to be Michael Kors).

Everyone was tasked to bring a recent creation with them, which explains the garment bags. They have 30 minutes to dress their models and then they’ll have a runway show. Hope you can all alter the clothes in half an hour! Everyone talks about who they are threatened by. It’s nice to see people respect their competitors.

Jerell: it’s a maxi dress, with a deep V and a ton of Jerell wickety wack trim. Mila: leggings and a loose dress, half beige and half vertical stripes. Kenley: royal blue ball gown with a sweetheart neckline and a mullet hem, only underneath the mullet hem is white tulle. And a giant white flower on one shoulder. Let me just tell you, I paused the screen on this dress and I don’t even have to unpause it to know whose dress it is. Austin: turquoise gown with a deep V and a ton of origami folds on one hip. Also this pearl of wisdom: “We’re born naked, but as humans, it’s our nature to EMBELLISH oneself, to beautify ourselves, and I just take it to the highest level possible.” Elisa: short white dress with a design painted on, and wings. No really. The model spreads her arms and there are wings. It’s pretty though. Rami: a Rami folded textural short dress. Not draped though, so that’s something. Gordana: dress with a mullet hem (sigh) but the top is cool. It’s got sculptural shoulders in shiny red, and a piece on her chest that looks knitted maybe? I know Gordana knits. April: little black dress with long sleeves. Anthony: bright green short dress with lots of folds and one shoulder and a bejeweled giant safety pin? I think that’s what that is. Michael: makes a comment about how hot his model is. It’s a long maxi dress that is vaguely shiny. Mondo: short full skirt, and a long sleeved blouse with a high collar, in a black and white print. And a fascinator.

Some people have not changed at all. The judges talk in very general terms about how great everyone is, and then Angela sends them to their “penthouse suite” to chill. First challenge tomorrow. Elisa jumps on the beds. Then she kisses the nice white duvet to mark what bed she wants. Heh. Michael finds a remote control with a note to hit play, and he immediately starts scanning the room to decide what he’s going to use to make a dress. Ha! Totally. Giancarlo Giammetti (who is Valentino’s partner and of course Austin recognizes him on sight) comes onscreen and invites them to a museum? And then Valentino himself shows up and tells them don’t forget to be awesome! Seriously, people are moved to tears. Champagne drinking and then I assume bed.

Field trip time brings everyone to a dollar store for the unconventional materials challenge. Woo! I love the unconventional materials challenge. The “All Stars Twist” is that they must be inspired by the look they showed yesterday. Whatever. I mean…probably they won’t care. Plus they get $100. 20 minutes to shop means a lot of running. April says she needs a “clusterfuck” of mops. Remember that for later. A group of mops is a clusterfuck. Sweet P is just taking anything bright. Mondo is trying to stay away from cloth. Michael has also bought a clusterfuck of mops. Sorry, but that is hysterical. April is not worried, but Michael thinks she might show him up because she’s so good.

The NotParsons workroom is nice. Neiman Marcus accessory wall, HP tablets, etc. You know the drill. Later Joanna Coles will be here because she is Tim. I know, right? I did read though that she was very aware that she is not Tim and so didn’t try to be Tim. They have until 10pm tonight to finish.

Elisa puts her cutting mat on the floor and sits under her worktable to sketch. Mila sort of makes fun of her, but Anthony says he totally will give her a pass because he had a grandmother who was “committed to the crazy house” so Elisa is just fine. Michael is sort of making draping but it involves sewing each mop strand one by one. Jerell tells him that April’s dress looks just like his.

Joanna strolls in, and I’m struck by her resemblance to Tabitha who is awesome. I hope she is fun. Sweet P has towels. Joanna asks her if there is anything that will wow the judges, but she doesn’t really have anything but towels. Gordana is doing well, at least Joanna thinks so. Mondo says it looks like a piñata, which was kind of bitchy, but then he says “I hope her model is full of candy” which is funny. Mondo, naturally, has no idea and says he’s not in competitive mode yet. Joanna makes Elisa promise not to spit at her. Hee.

Austin freaks out a ton and says his glue gun has melted a hole right in the front of his plastic dress. He has vapors, but it seriously is jacked up. Michael gloats that this might be the end of Austin. Shut up, Michael.

Day of the show. Lots of running around. Austin patches his dress and seems to be satisfied with the result. Hair and makeup. Hot makeup guy! Yay!

Angela comes out wearing a short shiny dress, so I guess she has been taking notes on Heidi. Guest judge is the senior VP of Neiman Marcus, Ken Downing. Austin: short dress in clear and turquoise plastic, with a weird peplum/ruffle right at her waist. And exposed midriff. Kara: black skirt with a mullet hemline and a strapless bustier in pink. Somehow this involves pans? I don’t know. Maybe the shiny belt. Jerell: it looks like a Jerell dress, all scarves and short skirt with a long dangly piece and complicated straps and a keyhole and whatnot. So it looks like his first one, anyway. Elisa: bright pink hot pants and a bustier, and huge bell sleeves with words on them. She’s so cute. Rami: short skirt and top with huge giant rolls of shopping bags or whatever they are. It’s very stiff, and she looks like she has football pads on, because she has huge giant shoulders. It’s weird. Sweet P: long skirt in horizontal stripes and a simple halter top with belts. Mondo: little black dress with ruffles on the skirt and a sleek top, and bow on her belt. Made of trash bags, but it looks pretty good. Kenley: short wrap dress with one side blue and one side white. It’s stiff, and there’s a loofah on her head. Gordana: very full short dress made of streamers, cut in little tabs, and a high flat neckline. It looks cute and she does not look like a piñata. Anthony: short, magenta dress with a halter neck and a slit keyhole in the front. It’s made of crepe paper with gold safety pins making embellishment. It looks good. Mila: shiny striped tunic and leggings. It has a weird hemline. Michael: long dress that actually looks like real fabric instead of mops, but the front of the dress comes up in the front like an inverse V neck. It’s heavy. April: long dress with the skirt all loose from about mid-thigh down to the floor so it’s all fringe. It’s sculpted well on top.

Austin, Mila, April, Anthony, Kara, Kenley, and Michael are all safe. Rami was going for tweed and lots of volume. Isaac loves the execution, and Ken thinks it looks like real fabric. Sweet P has a ragged dress, Isaac thinks, and then she turns around and there is a weird cutout. Under the belt, there is about a handspan’s worth of bare skin. Weird. Jerell’s dress moved well, and upon closer inspection the neckline is very interesting, although the rest of the top says “look at my boobs!” Elisa talks about sacred geometry and how there’s a story on her sleeves and stuff. They seem to enjoy that her clothes have stories and are interesting. Mondo’s dress is fun and not serious, and executed wonderfully. Isaac praises his proportions. Gordana has straps out of steel wool? Georgina worries she had too many things going on.

Rami pulled off his look, and it looked expensive. Isaac worries that it’s too similar to yesterday. Mondo mad a black dress, but it was very interesting and the hat was fantastic. Jerell didn’t push boundaries, maybe, but the dress he did make was made well. Sweet P’s dress was eccentric, but not enough to look intentional. Gordana was smart to use streamers because they moved, but then she had too much time and started putting other things on it and that was not a good idea. Elisa might not be up to par. She takes too long to explain her looks, people should get it right away.

Jerell is safe. Rami wins. Eh. He says he proved he can construct as well as drape. Mondo is in. Gordana is in. Sweet P is in. Aww, Elisa. She’s totally satisfied with what she made.

This season: dodge ball, crying, a mostly naked hot boy, famous people and Muppets, Isaac and Austin bitch at each other. Oh, THAT fight is going to be epic.
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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Top Chef 1/4/12--"BBQ Pit Wars" summary

Previously on “Top Chef”: actually, TWO episodes have happened since I last recapped. First there was that team challenge where Heather was a bully and then Nyesha and Dakota were sent home. Then, just before Christmas, the chefs went to Austin and had to make a Quickfire dish based on Twitter suggestions. These consisted of 1. Use bacon, 2. Make a hash, and 3. Screw a fellow contestant with a random ingredient. So that was fun. Paul wins some money but not immunity, but the highlight is Grayson saying she’s serving a “shrimp puff”, which is called a puff because she wanted the judges to think it was light and airy. That was a fail. The Elimination challenge involved pretending the contestants were going to relax and listen to Patti LaBelle, and then telling them they would be making a dish inspired by the person who taught them to cook. Everyone tells lovely stories about their parents or grandparents. Heather buys rib eye to make beef stroganoff, which is weird because you do not simmer rib eye in sauce, and it does not turn out well at all. Emeril says it’s like those hotel banquets Tom drags him too. Hee. Grayson also buys rib eye that ends up gross, which makes me wonder if the rib eye at Whole Foods was just bad. But Grayson also made EXACTLY the same dish she used to make, instead of the “inspired by” dish she was asked to make. Beverly uses the pressure cooker, for the second time in the episode, to make short ribs that are delicious and look so good. Ed makes bibimbap, which is basically rice and veggies and an egg, but that would totally be good. Sadly for the two of them, it is Sarah and her stuffed cabbage that carries the win. And even though there is fierce competition from Grayson and Chris C. (who I am going to start calling Malibu and also when you cook salmon too fast that white stuff oozes out and it is called albumen), Heather is sent home. But not until she complains at Judges’ Table that she didn’t use the pressure cooker because the last challenge she did and the duck turned out stringy and they yelled at her, and Tom is all “Well, Beverly used the pressure cooker and she’s not here.” BURN! It was so satisfying though. (click for more)

And on Last Chance Kitchen, Nyesha is the victor, having beaten all comers, and especially Heather. Yay Nyesha!

The remaining chefs sit around and discuss if it’s maybe time to stop helping each other. Ed reveals that the tres leches cake that has won twice now (both times when Heather made it) is his recipe. For some reason this pisses Sarah off and she says he should have had the balls to say something to Heather, or make the cake himself. Huh? I mean…I get what she’s saying, I’m just not sure why she’s so angry about it. Suddenly there is a knock on the door and some guy enters with a copy of Modernist Cuisine. That’s the crazy like, 6 volume “cookbook” with the detailed recipes and it’s like an encyclopedia. I kind of want to get my hands on a copy just to look at it. Padma leaves them a note to “study up”. Wow. There are some molecular techniques but a lot of classic stuff too. Beverly stays up studying.

Padma greets them for the Quickfire with Nathan Myhrvold, who is the author of Modernist Cuisine. MotoChris says if he was 1/10th as smart as Nathan is, he’d rule small continents. Heh. Padma and Nathan tell them they must “illustrate Modernist cuisine”, whatever the hell that means. Winner gets immunity and a copy of the book(s). Nice.

45 minutes to cook. It occurs to me this is a very vague directive. MotoChris is using “miracle berries” which are things that make everything taste sweet. Ty-Lor is making watermelon and olive oil powder or something. Paul says he uses molecular gastronomy, even though he can barely pronounce it. Grayson is making tarragon dill caviar. You know, I’m pretty sure they said molecular gastronomy wasn’t everything, but that seems to be what everyone is falling back to. Although, with a vague instruction like “illustrate Modernist cuisine” I’d probably do the same thing. Random clip of Chris C. (henceforth, Malibu) and his audition video and all the nude paintings in his apartment.

Beverly: flash steamed clams and mussels, curry whipped cream and mango chili. She goes to dispense the whipped cream but sprays it on Nathan and Padma. Sigh. And then she drops some stuff? Ed says he respects her but she is an oddball. I’ll give him that, she admits to being social awkward. Turns out she forgot to take something off the dispenser. Sarah: breakfast raviolo with pancetta, and egg yolk, and sauce made from orange juice. Tasty. Ed: salmon belly sashimi, compressed watermelon, brunoise radishes held together with coconut coulis instead of rice. Grayson: trout sashimi, dill caviar, pickled watermelon, cucumber, and radish. Ty-Lor: watermelon, vanilla bean honey, black pepper, and salted olive oil powder. Lindsay: marinated baby octopus, tempura sea beans, and togarashi. Togarashi is chili pepper. Malibu: risotto foam, scallops, raisins, and fried capers. Paul: endive salad, egg yolk, parmesan and truffle powder. MotoChris: so first he makes them eat the “miracle berries”, which is less impressive than he hopes because Nathan grows them in his basement. Which leads MotoChris to say he wants to visit Nathan’s basement, which doesn’t sound right. Anyway, the dish is deconstructed cheesecake, with blackberries, and sparkling water with lime and lemon.

Nathan says that Paul had a good dish but not good flavor, Beverly’s dish wasn’t different enough, and Grayson had a simple preparation but the ingredients weren’t great enough to make up for it. Ty-Lor had a good set of spices and the olive oil powder was interesting. Sarah had a great dish in the right context. MotoChris composed his dish well. Ty-Lor wins! Poor MotoChris.

Elimination challenge: BBQ. They must make three teams of 3. Lindsay takes up Heather’s refrain and says that whenever there’s a team challenge, Beverly causes her team to lose, so Lindsay wants no part of that. Sarah ends up with Ed, but also Ty-Lor. She doesn’t really want to work with Ed, but she thinks Ty-Lor will do well. But if your team loses, Ty-Lor has immunity. Sigh. Malibu doesn’t move fast enough, so his team is the two Chris’s and Beverly. They will serve 300 people at The Salt Lick. They will have all night to cook again. Chicken, beef brisket, and pork spareribs, plus two sides.

$1000 at Whole Foods and $1000 at Restaurant Depot. Ty-Lor is glad to work with Ed again since they won the game meat challenge. MotoChris likes his team, and says they’re making coleslaw and baked beans for sides. Paul says Ty-Lor’s team is also doing those sides, so his team is going with miso, curry, and Asian flavors. Ed for some reason complains about how Sarah’s Texas accent is getting thicker, but I can’t hear it at all. She says “yonder”. Whatever.
Bravo. Andy Cohen every night. Are you fucking serious?

Here I am thinking I’m doing well, not too far behind, and then I remember: super-sized episode. Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuggh. Everyone gets to The Salt Lick and they talk to the owner, who explains about the wood and the grill and everything. I cannot get over the fact that Beverly has a huge color tattoo covering half her left arm. It just doesn’t seem to go with her personality. Paul is getting nervous about making barbeque this good.

Everyone gets to the pits, along with a pickup truck full of wood. It is 10:18pm. Ty-Lor tapes a “courtesy” sign to his team’s RV that says “If this RV’s a rockin’, don’t come a knockin’”. As one does. Paul’s goal is to get his meat in the smoker first. Ty-Lor is loving immunity, but he wants to redeem himself from the steak debacle. Sarah is inside the RV telling Ed how to cook onions for some reason, which he curses about. The directions, not the onions. Malibu strips down to his wife beater. Nice. Beverly says she’s reducing the bourbon inside their RV, and Malibu is like, “be careful”, all calm. Cut to inside, where the pot is on fire and licking at the bottom of the cabinets. Beverly, possibly because she has nerves of steel, actually stirs other pots until the smoke alarm goes off, at which point she takes it outside and puts it on the ground. And leaves it there. Malibu thinks she’s book smart but not street smart. Lindsay asks Paul a bunch of questions, as he’s been designated the leader. Ty-Lor kind of rolls his eyes about Paul’s Asian flavors.

At 3am, MotoChris says whoever has the foil-covered brisket, your meat is on the ground. Damn. It’s Paul’s team. The meat is still good, because it was wrapped in foil, but it hasn’t been circulating in the smoker like they thought. Grayson thinks they might be in trouble because of losing cook time. MotoChris makes beer can chicken. The sun comes up, and the beds have not been slept in. 3 hours until service. MotoChris has made up a song. It’s very hot.

Tom time! I am distracted by Malibu in his mostly-naked state. Everyone is well on the way to being done, of course. Sarah asks for water in an ominous way. Tom laughs at everyone when they admit to not sleeping. Grayson babbles to Tom that he will love their BBQ, because it will be “like sex in the mouth”. Tom just leaves. That was pretty funny though. Tom then announces that the winning team will take home $5,000 EACH. Damn.

Grayson is now doing pelvic thrusts. Malibu thinks the spareribs are salty. Lindsay is making Brussels sprouts, but their fire is low and they don’t have time to build it up, so they might be raw. Sarah comes inside, I guess to where they’re serving, and asks Ty-Lor if they’ve got it, and he says they do. She goes and sits down, and then suddenly the medics are there. She’s been outside, where it’s probably 100 degrees, breathing in smoke for hours, on no sleep. They give her oxygen so she doesn’t pass out. And then the medics call an ambulance for her. Scary! Ty-Lor says this is no joke, and goes over to tell her he and Ed have it under control and she is crying, and probably hyperventilating which doesn’t help. And I would like to point out that the other person who’s been seriously injured this season is Ty-Lor, and he is currently telling Sarah to go to the hospital right now and miss service.

With 30 minutes to go until service, Tom tells Ed and Ty-Lor that Sarah is headed to the hospital. Ed says the first thing they were thinking is “Is she dead?” but he says it in kind of an asshat way. Plus you know Ty-Lor has been talking to her so he knows more of what is going on. Then Ed says he would have pushed through it, which, whatever. Ed says they can‘t cut meat to order because they‘re down a person. He’s inside the room throwing things around, because he says the pre-cut meat will dry out or be gross or something. They had been planning to carve as people showed up, but only having two people means they can’t.

Everyone shows up at the same time, of course. MotoChris’s T-shirt says “I eat vegans”. Hee. Oo, live music. Top Chef, come to St. Louis so I can figure out how to get on the show. Kmanpat can talk about flavor profiles and he says “back palate” a lot when tasting wine so that’s good sound bites. Also if you want I can get some boring Midwesterners to show up and talk about how weird everything is. Yay, Gail’s here!

Blue team (Paul, Grayson, Lindsay): Asian spare rib, chicken and brisket, Brussels sprouts with okra and kim chee flavor, and watermelon salad maybe. Their food goes over really well, although Tom says the brisket is under seasoned and the Brussels sprouts aren’t cooked.
White team (MotoChris, Malibu, Beverly): beer can chicken, brisket, Dr. Pepper glazed pork ribs. What about the coleslaw and beans? I guess they’re boring. The chicken is good but not smoky so not really barbeque. The beans are not cooked. Oo. And the ribs are salty. Brisket is chewy, but the mayonnaise is OK. I think they are the ones with the agua fresca, which Gail wishes had alcohol. Nathan says “Bite your tongue, CANADIAN!” Hee.

Sarah sneaks back in! She’s OK! She immediately asks to help, and Ed completely ignores her while Ty-Lor asks if she’s OK. Then Ed bitches in confessional that she was only worried about her chicken. Well, with the way you reacted to her leaving, I could totally see you ignoring her chicken just out of spite. She tries to offer to help, but Ed has changed his tune from “Sarah screwed us because now we’re down a person”, to “Sarah is fucking up our system and she should go away”. I mean…I won’t pretend I’ve never been mad at someone for ditching out on work, and then still been mad when they actually showed up and tried to help. But I at least get some points for knowing how stupid that sounds. Right? Right. Ed is bossy and an ass, and Ty-Lor is very nice about it. Red team: Texas chicken, KC style pork ribs, smoked brisket, poppy seed coleslaw, pinto beans. Once the judges get served, Sarah cuts some things and then goes to sit down. She even acknowledges this and says she feels no guilt at all. Ed thinks it’s mighty coincidental she magically reappeared to serve the judges. I think she tried to help, was rebuffed, stuck around for the important part and then bailed. Ed might have a point but he’s coming off as an asshat. The meat is good, except for Ty-Lor’s ribs are a weird texture. Sauce is good though. They also seem to know they sliced all the meat early.

When the service is over, Ty-Lor and Ed stand around outside and smoke while Ty-Lor says he’s ill because he didn’t serve great barbeque. Quit smoking if you feel ill! Gah. Ed complains that since Ty-Lor is immune and Sarah showed up “just in time” to pick out good chicken, he might go home. Whatever.

Commercial interlude: Grayson loves camping and she sings a campfire song which, too many years of Girl Scout camp have made me HATE campfire songs. Including this one which I am sure I have sung far too many times. This is why I hate some of the songs we sing at church.

OK, this is a weird thing and I don’t know what to make of it. Everyone is sitting at a table, and Sarah is saying that she doesn’t think they were communicating, and something about her chicken, and Ty-Lor asks if she didn’t think they supported her? Is she really complaining about her chicken? I mean, yeah, hospital, but they covered for you, and now is probably not the best time to tell them you don’t think they did a good enough job. Ed tells her not to get emotional, even though she is completely unemotional. That was so weird. Why were they even talking about that? Padma calls Paul, Lindsay, and Grayson, to declare them the winners. Tom wants the chicken recipe. They weren’t traditional, which put them above everyone else. Paul admits he has won a total of $35,000 so far.

Tom says that Sarah’s chicken was good, but more like grilled chicken and not enough smoke flavor. Sarah wishes she’d put them in the smoker, and Nathan says some of the skin wasn’t cooked, which is a problem when you put the sauce on it because then it’ll never cook. Ty-Lor over seasoned his ribs and then they weren’t cooked enough. Ty-Lor and Ed put orange mint (?) in the coleslaw which Gail didn’t like. Orange mint? They get nailed for pre-slicing the brisket, but Ed explains they were down one person. Tom thinks they should have still sliced to order, but I’m sure if they were slow, someone would have complained about that. On to the other team. Beverly’s coleslaw was too traditional and Gail is bored. MotoChris had the same problem as Sarah because it wasn’t smoky. Malibu gets harassed about the ribs and the Dr. Pepper sauce. “Because it’s from Texas” is not a good enough reason for Tom. Ribs were too salty. Beverly had undercooked beans.

MotoChris cooked all the proteins for his team, but then Malibu made all the rubs, and they don’t really know which one was responsible for the meat being bad. Beverly’s beans were undercooked. Ty-Lor can’t be sent home. Ed helped with the bad coleslaw, and was responsible for the bad brisket. Sarah’s chicken was sort of better than the other team’s chicken, which doesn’t say much.

They make Ty-Lor come back out, which doesn’t make a ton of sense, but whatever. Malibu gets sent home. Aww. Bye eye candy. He wishes he had taken charge and lead the group. He’s more comfortable in his style now.

Next week: Restaurant Wars! Girls vs. Boys! Who in the fuck put Ed in front-of-house? Lots of bitching.

Last Chance Kitchen: Malibu is really confused about why Nyesha is around. They must use ingredients found at a gas station, for $20. Kick ass. I love unconventional materials challenges, no matter what show it’s on. The audience harasses everyone. Nyesha has purchased pork rinds to make chicharron. Malibu stacks pans on each other to make a Panini press. Nice. Also Nyesha warns Malibu his soup is boiling over, which is a friendly gesture. Nyesha: beer glazed smoked sausage with a pork rind tuile and chili cheese sauce. Malibu: togarashi spiced tomato soup with spicy pork rinds, and grilled cheese with fried ham and pickle. Everyone in the peanut gallery seems divided, but Tom selects Nyesha as the winner.
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