Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Top Chef 12/12/12--"Even the Famous Come Home" summary

Previously on “Top Chef”: the chefs were asked to make breakfast on a stick (in teams) for workers at Pike Place Market. Sheldon and Bart won by making a sandwich, which I still think was not “breakfast on a stick” exactly but whatever. Then the teams each were assigned a unique food item to spotlight in a dish. There were some weird things. Overall the dishes were not very good. They were so bad, in fact, no one won, and Padma apologized to everyone for such a crappy lunch. When the dust cleared CJ and Tyler were sent home for making a bad burger to showcase pickles.

On Last Chance Kitchen, the boys had to stay in a team to make dessert, because CJ had been a jerk about the dessert served in the challenge. They won and beat Kuniko, somehow, which is sad for Kuniko but maybe CJ will be less arrogant. They also didn’t say whether or not he and Tyler had to stay in a team forever.

Brooke thinks she dodged a bullet by not being eliminated. John says it was a wakeup call. I wish he would get a wakeup call about wearing his damn glasses like a normal person. I’m sorry but it’s really annoying. OK, I’m not really sorry.

Padma greets the contestants with Marilyn Hagerty. She is a food reviewer? She further explains that she is the Olive Garden blogger. You know, she wrote a column about her local Olive Garden and for some reason everyone read it and she is internet famous now. Oh, wait, is this what you’ve sunk to, Bravo? Your guest judge is the equivalent of a viral YouTube star? UGH. So the challenge is to climb inside this lead-lined fridge…oh wait. It’s about the holidays and some unpronounceable thing this woman likes. They must make a sweet and savory dish based on their “lineage”. Also it must use Truvia. I guess you can bake with it so that’s something. But you have to combine your stunt casting with a product placement challenge? Anyway, they pull knives, and they all say “off limits” except Lizzie’s. Because there isn’t enough bullshit going on here already, there is one knife for all of them to use. Come on Bravo. People will watch this show without all of this gimmicky nonsense. Marilyn is as unhip and “Midwestern” as possible.

30 minutes. Immunity for the winner. As everyone gets ingredients, Josh gets back first and calmly takes the knife to use. He uses it for everything he needs and gives it back. People use other nonsense to cut things. This is seriously so tedious. One gimmick at a time. Micah makes tamales. He brags about how no one has his background, as Josie pipes up to someone that she is also making tamales. Stefan refuses to follow directions and is making latkes, from his ex-wife’s grandmother. So…not your lineage.

Josh: johnnycake with bacon, cheddar, chili compound butter, and a sous vide egg. Oh, man, sous vide eggs. They’re so good. They’re like pudding. That whole thing sounds delicious. Danyele: bread pudding with ham, raisin, and pecans. Lizzie: bobotie with ground lamb, egg custard, and roasted apricots. It’s a baked dish, and the egg goes on top? So maybe similar to a quiche? Sheldon: banana lumpia with peanut butter mousse, coconut, and pineapple. Micah: pineapple and pork tamale with charred tomatoes and tomatillo salsa. There is some stupid dialogue where Micah wonders if this woman knows what a tamale is, and she seems to confirm that by being confused by what he fed her. Come on. She doesn’t live in the boondocks. This is irritating. Bart: waffles with celery three ways, apple puree, chicken and prosciutto. Waffles and celery. Delicious. Brooke: apple crostata with cheddar cheese, candied pine nuts, and apple salad. Brooke whines that “homey” doesn’t feel like a compliment. Calm down. Stefan: smoked salmon tartare, with potato latkes, sour cream and chives. Josie: tamale with habanero masa, mangos and papaya. John: bondino of parmesan-reggiano, figs and apricots in port and caramel sauce. I can’t find what a bondino is. It looks like a cake of some kind. Eliza: hush puppies two ways; shrimp and sweet potato, and sausage and corn. Shrimp and sweet potato, yum.

Bart had too many things going on. Micah was inventive but dry. And she says “taco” so I guess we’re all supposed to laugh at Micah or something. Or at this poor woman. You know they asked her to be on the show in the hopes she’d do something like that. I bet it was Andy Cohen’s idea, that fucker. You’re from Saint Louis, Andy! You’re a MIDWESTERNER! I suspect they only asked her on the show to laugh at her and I don’t like it. Josh managed to make a delicious dessert. Stefan’s was pretty. Brooke also took apple pie to “another degree”. Brooke wins, which is nice for her. Padma pretends she’s going to read Marilyn’s next column and gets rid of her.

Elimination challenge: cook for a party. Anna Faris and Chris Pratt come out. He is on Parks and Recreation, and she was in a bunch of stuff, Entourage, and some movies and whatnot. The party is for them because they are from here. And Anna’s pregnant, so I’m not sure if that will come up later. Everyone will serve one dish. Winner gets a car. These actors want crab, meat and potatoes, lots of calories. They are adventurous, although Chris says no hummus. Also Chris is a hunter so game is OK. They try to make dumb jokes about squirrels but they’re not funny. Everyone laughs though.

Outside they all pretend like they’re going to pile in the car, but they won’t all fit, of course. Stefan brags about something. Then they go home, so no shopping? Brooke shows everyone she has a plastic lizard her son gave her. Josh comes out with a wood block with a face? That is Stefan? Josh says they’re friends now. Good for you.

I guess we’re not going to see shopping this week. Kristen makes pasta, while Eliza makes elk. Danyele has bought really thin chops, and she thinks if she sears them they’ll be overcooked. Sheldon makes rice porridge, to set himself apart from all the Northwestern food. Josh is making pork again in the hopes he can redeem himself from last week. John makes clam chowder, which involves a pile of crabs for some reason. He name-drops Rick Moonen, who used to be his boss. Someone leaves something on the stove, which goes up in flames.

Chihuly Garden. This place is really pretty. 30 minutes to set up. Danyele has overcooked her chops. She tells Josh, and he sort of shrugs and says “Oh. That’s too bad.” You can tell he doesn’t care. People show up and mingle. Chris’s mom jokes that she almost broke some of the glass. She’s funnier than Chris was. Eliza’s elk is tough, so she’s going to try to cut it thin. Micah’s celery root puree isn’t creamy enough, so he’s trying to add milk and stuff. Chris tells Anna the same story his mom just told him, but I am not kidding, she was much funnier.

Guess who the guest judge is? Rick Moonen! That, my children, is what we call Chekov’s gun. John sees and shits his pants. Sadly I think Gail is here but not Hugh. Bart: loin of elk with cherry beer sauce and mushroom couscous. It sounds good. Brooke: lamb-stuffed squid on black rice with coconut milk. Sheldon: braised Okinawan pork belly with seared scallop and rice congee. Stefan: German gulasch with marjoram bread dumplings and sour cream. “Gulasch” is also spelled “goulash”. The pork belly and rice is delicious. Bart cooked his elk properly. The goulash is rich and has changed Chris’s mind about goulash. Brooke’s dish has a million flavors and they love that she didn’t just take it easy because she has immunity. I don’t know about lamb and squid but apparently it is delicious.

Kristen: delice de Bourgogne tortelloni. It’s cheese and dried apricots. Micah: braised pork ribs with celery root puree, grilled apples, and celery leaf salad. Lizzie: crusted king salmon with radish and beet salad. Eliza: elk ribeye with elk sausage polenta, spiced carrots, and huckleberry port sauce. The tortelloni has dried apricots too, and they really like it. Micah’s components don’t all work. The salmon isn’t seared enough for Gail, and everyone seems to agree. Eliza’s meat is fine but the rest of the dish is bland. The carrots get extra abuse.

Commercial interlude: it starts out stupid, with a dumb joke about reality shows, but then Chris says it’s like the Bachelorette. Then they put a gold filter over the lens and Chris starts babbling about falling for Anna, all while making as many stupid faces as possible. I don’t watch the Bachelorette, but I’m guessing that was pretty accurate. Funniest he’s been all night.

Danyele: pan-roasted wild boar, hoppin' john, and tomato bacon marmalade. OK, first of all, she interviews about who she used to work for and how he helped people hear about her. Then Chris says he always orders wild boar if he sees it on a menu, and she’s all “I hope I don’t disappoint you”. Yikes. Josh: roasted pork shoulder and grilled corn puree with succotash, and fennel apple salad. Josie: malbec braised short ribs, pork belly, polenta with cippolini onions and figs. John: seafood chowder with cockles, manila clams, mussels, and sockeye salmon. Man, John and Rick look the same. Danyele’s pork is sliced too thin and it’s unevenly cooked. Josh’s isn’t great but it’s OK. And the portions are big. There is also a stupid interlude about squirrel hearts. Josie didn’t put enough contrast in her dish. Rick likes John’s chowder so I guess it’s good. Tom says this is much better than last time.

Judges’ table. John, Kristen, Brooke, and Sheldon get called first. These are the winners. Of course. Brooke knew she was taking a risk, and Tom tells her to keep cooking this way. Rick himself praises John and his chowder. Kristen paired her cheese and fruit perfectly. Sheldon put all of himself in his dish. Rick says the winner today is Brooke. Nice. She’s really happy. And a new car!

The Loser Gong greets Eliza, Danyele, Josh, and Micah. Micah’s celery root was not cooked enough and ended up grainy. The whole dish ended up not balanced. Josh has apparently been telling people he is “the pork man” or something, and he says he’s going to stop cooking it. Padma says “No, just stop saying it.” Hee! There was too much pork on the plate and it was underseasoned. Eliza’s elk was uneven and the carrots dried out. She admits the elk was too chewy so that’s why it was sliced so thin. Then she says some babble about how this has been “humbling” and thank you for the feedback, but she has this weird “wink wink nudge nudge” look on her face. Shut up, Eliza. Danyele also had uneven proteins. Gail calls her on admitting she’s nervous, and she hasn’t been cooking “her” food, and Tom tells her not to get psyched out.

After the commercials Eliza is sent home? Really? I thought for sure with Danyele talking about her mentor and telling everyone she hoped she didn’t disappoint them that it was her. Misdirection! Eliza says she’s not going to shake their hands, because she’s “fighting a cold”, but she still goes up to the table and nods at everyone individually. OK, 1. That was really annoying and pointless, and 2. You already made them food with your cold, so I think we’re beyond this “oh, I don’t want you to catch my germs” fake concern. She says the competition is stiff and she was glad to challenge herself to do this.

Next time: Stephanie! Head-to-head battles! John throws Stefan under the bus to Tom! Heh. Josie is crazy.

Last Chance Kitchen: CJ and Tyler are not a team. So this is a three-way showdown. They will have to work with carrots and pickles (ha). CJ claims to have made 35 to 40 dishes with pickles after he was eliminated. 30 minutes to cook. Everyone is making seafood. Eliza doesn’t want to play it safe anymore. CJ has a lot to do, but he has time to tell Tyler there are crumpets if he wants to recreate their burger. That would be funnier if the burger hadn’t been YOUR idea, CJ. CJ runs around a lot. Tyler: deconstructed ceviche with pickles and carrots. It is all round slices, all the same size. Also I’m not sure how you deconstruct ceviche. Eliza: brown butter carrot mash, crusted scallops, corn and pickle succotash. She begs Tom to tell her the carrots are good, and he says they’re fine. CJ: pan roasted rainbow trout, carrot puree, and charred pickles. CJ says he hopes he doesn’t get “bitch-slapped” by pickles, because he likes pickles, and he can’t just not eat them for a year like broccolini. Hee! Tyler’s shrimp were a little underseasoned. Eliza had good carrots, but her succotash was slightly weird. CJ’s trout was a little overcooked. The winner is CJ. Woo! Tyler says “Take the L out of “lover” ‘cause it’s OVER.” I like it. CJ feels rad.

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