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.

1 comment:

sloopie72 said...

I agree - I thought of Hung's Froot Loops Smurf Village, too.