Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Top Chef 2/8/12--"Mentors" summary

Previously on “Top Chef”: Pee Wee Herman was there for some unknown reason. He asked everyone to make pancakes, and all of a sudden everyone remembered eating pancakes and watching “Pee Wee’s Playhouse”. Ed won that Quickfire, which he was very pleased about. Then we had an “Amazing Race”/“The Mole” challenge, which involved riding bikes around and cooking things in weird kitchens, and it just made me miss those two shows instead of making me pleased. Lunch for Pee Wee was fine, except Ed poached his chicken in beef tallow for some reason and got a weird texture, and Grayson had tomatoes with her butternut squash and Tom hated that. And Sarah didn’t season her eggs. Lindsay won somehow, which was weird because I think they showed less of Paul’s criticisms. Anyway, Grayson was sent to Last Chance Kitchen, and then they told the final four about it. Beverly and Grayson fought it out but we don’t know who won yet. (click for more)

Ed bets everyone else a pack of cigarettes that Beverly has won Last Chance Kitchen. Sarah doesn’t think so, but I’m willing to bet that’s mostly because if Beverly comes back, it proves that she’s not the total screw-up Sarah’s been insisting she is. Which would mean all that bullying was just because Sarah and Lindsay and Heather are bitches. I’m kind of tired of everyone this season except Paul and to a lesser extent Ed.

Before the Quickfire is announced by Padma and Tom, everyone lines up behind covered dishes. There is one extra, and that one is for…Beverly! Everyone looks pissed, although before this Ed had interviewed that he didn’t want anyone back at all. I’m fine with it, because I’m pretty sure she can’t beat Paul anyway. Everyone hugs her and pretends they’re not pissy. Tom flat out tells them that if she cooks like she’s been cooking in Last Chance Kitchen, they’re all screwed.

Today’s Quickfire: blindfold yourselves and pick out ingredients. Obviously you can take off the blindfold while you cook, but anything you pick up must be used in your dish. Winner gets a choice: a car or immunity. Well I would take immunity, but there’s a good chance someone will get cocky and pick the car. Car curse. Immunity also means you don’t even have to compete at all in the Elimination challenge.

30 minutes. Lots of blind flailing. Tom and Padma laugh at everyone. Sarah is making soup because she thinks she can add anything in there. She is not working to win but to beat Beverly. Someone has spilled something all over the floor. Paul tells Tom he’ll take the car if he wins because he didn’t come here to be safe. Ed has ended up with pork casings. Ha! Tom and Padma flat out laugh at him. Beverly has waited until the last minute to prep her fish.

Beverly: striped bass with avocado, lime, and jalapeno. The fish is undercooked, naturally. Paul: sautéed prawn with Thai-style tomato salad. That sounds like a real dish. Ed: “udon” with ribbons of zucchini, mushrooms, and scallions. The pork casings are not actually in the dish but he boiled them in water and then used that water for the base of the soup. Sarah: corn soup with onion, red chili, roasted mushrooms, and peaches. Lindsay: fish with bulgur wheat, mascarpone, and broccoli rabe.

Ed’s broth turned out to be really tasty. Paul didn’t cook his prawn enough, just barely. Beverly’s fish was also undercooked, and look producers, stop showing shots of Sarah or Lindsay every time the judges say anything to Beverly. WE GET IT. Lindsay did a good job. Sarah pushed peaches into her dish but it worked. It’s between Ed and Sarah, and the winner is Sarah. Woo. Beverly hugs her, though, which is nice to see. She takes the easy way out and claims immunity. Ed looks down on her for it, but I’m not surprised at that. Sarah thinks they’re looking at her differently because she’s in the final four. Yeah…that’s not why. Look, if it was me, I’m totally taking immunity. But I also know that there are going ot be other people who will think I should have earned my spot in the Elimination challenge.

So the other four chefs have to compete in the Elimination challenge. Tom says that they’ve brought some people in who have helped them get where they are. Beverly thinks that because Tom said “had a small hand” that maybe it’s her son. But no, it’s their mentors. Sarah shrieks and jumps up and down except that YOU ARE NOT COMPETING. Paul is in tears. Lindsay claims she thought “of course they would bring in their mentors” which is stupid because they’ve never done that before so don’t pretend you knew it was coming. Padma makes the contestants introduce everyone. Sarah’s mentor is Tony Mantuano. Lindsay’s mentor is Michelle Bernstein. Wonder what she thought of Lindsay screwing up Mexican food. Beverly introduces Sarah Stegner, who looks really familiar for some reason. Paul can’t get through his introduction of Tyson Cole without choking up, which on him is endearing. I mean, he can’t finish. Ed goes last, and introduces Frank Crispo. They need to make a dish to impress their mentors and exceed their expectations. Two and a half hours to prep today, and one hour to cook tomorrow. The winner will get the car that Sarah turned down. Padma reminds her she doesn’t have to compete, and Sarah celebrates as if she wasn’t listening before. Which I suppose is entirely possible.

Everyone gets hugs, and Sarah goes away. Pep talks ensue. Lindsay and Michelle really look alike. Tyson is cute. Ed tries to buy fresh oysters at Whole Foods, but there aren’t any fresh ones. He finds some smoked oysters in plastic packaging and he says they taste good. Lindsay also has trouble finding some of her ingredients. Sarah and Tony go out and have lunch and do shots.

Prep time. Ed says that if Beverly takes “his” spot he’ll be pissed off. Paul hopes his soup isn’t too simple. Ed asks for theme music, and the sound guys splice in some for him. Nice. Lindsay thinks if she does a poor job here she’ll get fired. Probably not. Lindsay can’t get her stock quite done, so she packs it with all the bones and vegetables in it to sit overnight.

They let Beverly move back into the house and she unpacks for some reason. Why? Even if you make it, you’ll be moving after this challenge. Beverly insists on making everyone tell her if they were excited to see her, and I can see why they don’t like her. I mean, she doesn’t deserve to be bullied or to have Sarah talk to her like she’s five years old, but maybe some consideration of other people. They probably were not happy to see you. I mean, Ed tells her they were all excited because they thought they were in the final four, and they cut to Beverly with her fork halfway to her mouth, looking shocked like she can’t believe it. Duh, another person to compete against is not going to be welcome no matter what.

Paul gets a phone call to his girlfriend. Can’t tell what that means anymore. Beverly is using a wok, so she has to cook everything last minute. Paul says today he is mostly working on assembly. His dish is mostly cooked, but it has 14 steps for assembly. Ed doesn’t want to psych himself out.

Beverly is up first. Gulf shrimp and BBQ pork Singapore noodles. It looks really good. Tom’s impressed with the wok cooking. Padma is asking all the mentors about the contestants, and Beverly’s mentor is strangely formal about it. But it also sounded like Beverly doesn’t talk to her much. Michelle says she just wants Lindsay to be happy, which prompts Tom to tell her it sounds like she’s breaking up with her. Heh. Lindsay: seafood “stew” over toasted couscous and broth with emulsified cream. She pours the broth into everyone’s bowls at the table. The seafood is cooked perfectly but the cream is weird. Tyson tells everyone Paul just might be better than him. Paul does the same thing with the sauce. Chilled sunchoke and dashi soup with summer vegetables. It’s great non-Asian food from Paul which they haven’t seen yet. Ed: braised pork belly and smoked oyster crema with pickled vegetables. The pickles are great, as is the meat, but Tom is not a fan of the oyster crema. Everyone comes back out so they can applaud and say goodbye.

Commercial interlude: Ed’s not a crier. He mocks everyone for crying in front of their mentors and then pretends to cry. These interludes suck now.

Sarah comes into the Stew Room, I’m not sure why unless they just wanted her to rub it in that she didn’t have to do anything. Padma has them all come in, except Sarah. So now Sarah has to sit around in the Stew Room by herself. This is why it’s stupid. No guest judges today, just Gail and Hugh. Paul says this is a lot of pressure. Tom is impressed he had the balls to serve soup, but Tom also felt that it was a dish that should have come from someone with far more experience. Very impressive. Beverly also took a huge risk cooking in a wok, because you can’t really fiddle with your dish, and cooking noodles in a wok has to be done right or they get gross. Beverly and Paul are the top two of the evening. They’re both going to the finals, but Paul gets the car. Can’t break his streak, after all. I bet Ed goes home. I’m calling it now. He’s had too much screen time today. Paul’s celebrating is done in confessional, while Beverly does hers at Judges’ Table. I’m getting kind of tired of Beverly.

Sarah wants to know what they said about Lindsay, but they don’t know. Lindsay’s dish smelled wonderful right off the bat. She added the cream because she thought it needed some fat, but then she ended up cooking the fish in butter. Then she used dried herbs, which were too overpowering. She cries, and says she would love to move on but if not, she’s OK with it. Ed’s pickles were great, but the oysters were off. He admits they were not fresh. Hugh thinks there was a great dish in there somewhere probably. Ed does not cry but also does not say he is OK if he is eliminated.

Lindsay is losing it because she doesn’t want to embarrass Michelle. Tom for some reason praises Beverly again, and I am getting the feeling the producers desperately want me to root for her, and that makes me suspicious. Both Ed and Lindsay over thought their dishes. Lindsay knew she’d made a mistake with the cream but she didn’t fix it. Ed fixated on needing oysters and it screwed him.

Ed is sent home without fanfare. Told you. He of course says he’s been knocked out by Beverly. Not true. You were knocked out by Lindsay. He’s glad he stacked up so well, and he wishes everyone luck. He’s going to use his elimination as a force to be better.

Next week: British Columbia. Biathlon. That is where you ski and then shoot at things with a rifle. Also chipping things out of ice. This is totally “The Mole”. Also somehow you must cook in a gondola. “Cook something in the gondola car before you get to the next peak” is totally an “Amazing Race” Detour option. OK that one could be a Mole challenge too. I don’t mind these crazy things in those other shows, but those other shows are not claiming to be about the food.

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