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.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised you didn't talked about Ryan Scott (Season 4) random apparence during the block party !

Grayson & Tom's smacktalks during the last episodes are VERY entertaining.
Can't wait for the reunion special.

So far, I'm rooting for Grayson and Paul, I hope they wont struggle before finale.