Thursday, December 6, 2012

Top Chef 12/5/12--"Pike Place Pickle" summary

Previously on “Top Chef”: John won a Quickfire involving butchering, because boo. And then everyone had to recreate a menu from 1950 for Canlis Restaurant. It mostly went OK except Carla overcooked her squab (because other diners had been sending it back for being too rare) and Chrissy had to make the salad that’s been on the menu since 1950 and is iconic. Not really fair to make her recreate your signature dish when she’s never had it. But even with some competition from CJ and Josh, those two girls went home. Kristen won for making mushrooms and onions, which someone pointed out was forced on her because Stefan took over and bullied everyone into whatever he felt like. Which I missed, so: shut up Stefan. (click for more)

Then stupid Last Chance Kitchen, where everyone has to make a dish with the ingredient that screwed them over, although you do not have to recreate the same dish you already tried. Carla screwed up the squab again, but everyone else did fine. Kuniko won by making potato chowder instead of pave and remained to take on whoever bites it this week.

Brooke jokes that all her roommates have been eliminated. Black Hammer! Stefan is Stefan about it, which is to say, he's kind of a jerk but mildly so. Josh says he’s been second guessing himself. Bart jokes that now Kristen has to start serving onion rings and charging $15 for them. Heh. Tyler points out that just because he was on top today, it doesn’t mean anything because Kuniko won and then was eliminated the next day.

Everyone gets up at 3:45am for some ungodly reason. Stefan is freaking out because 1. he’s turning 45, and 2. on his season everyone got kicked off the show on their birthday. But then in his interview he says he’s 40? Who knows.

Pike Place Market. Oh you knew they were going there. That is the one thing people can name about Seattle aside from the Space Needle. Padma introduces the guest judge, Daisley Gordon, who has two restaurants in the market. Everyone divide into teams of two! Josh and John are too slow and end up paired together. John, wear your glasses like a normal person for the love of God. Josie also seems to get stuck with Eliza by default and predicts a clash. Padma tells the contestants that the vendors in the market get up pretty early and don’t have time to eat, so they’ll be making “breakfast to go. On a stick.” Heh. You can tell she loved holding that last bit back. Micah says you can’t put breakfast food on a stick, but come on. Sausages and pancake batter. It already exists! Aww, then Daisley says no sausages on a stick. Man. They have one hour to get ingredients, set up, and cook. Winning team has immunity.

Bart is making eggs. Someone breaks a bottle of milk. Danyele claims there are no eggs or dairy, except clearly Bart has eggs and there was milk before it ended up on the ground. Was she too slow and they’re all gone? Brooke got paired with Stefan, except she already knew him so it’s not so bad. They have to shop at Sur La Table for all their cooking supplies and utensils. It’s chaotic. Eliza all of a sudden is telling us how one summer she got in a van and followed a band around. And sold vegan sushi out of the back of the van. What? OK. John and Josh appear to be getting along, in that Josh has ideas and John is all over it. John interviews that he is trying very hard to make Josh feel comfortable because he doesn’t want their “differences of opinion” to get in the way of the food. That is surprisingly mature and an excellent point. Stefan is getting his “panties in a bunch” over how there are 50 people to cook for. Bart bites it right in front of the booth, but is mostly concerned that he didn’t break the Panini press when he fell on his ass. CJ is making crepes. All is right with the world. CJ makes fun of Tyler’s intensity but sadly does not wax rhapsodic about crepes, how all women love them, or Crepe Spice. Josie and Eliza are making pancakes and sausage. Good, someone should. Eliza interviews that Josie is being bossy. Micah and Kristen adjust. Bart maybe did break the Panini press because it has died.

John and Josh: chilaquiles. I love chilaquiles. These have tortilla, salsa, quail egg, avocado-heirloom tomato relish. It looks good, but it kind of resembles a taco that you have shoved a stick in. Crossways. I am not sure that follows the spirit of “breakfast on a stick”. Looks good though. Josie and Eliza: ricotta, raspberry, and sausage pancake with jalapeno maple syrup. It looks like layers of pancakes and I guess there’s sausage in there. Like they put layers in a pan and then cut out squares. Padma’s falls off her stick. Party foul. Micah and Kristen: bacon and cinnamon waffle, pecan maple syrup, boysenberry and strawberry jam. There is also cantaloupe. CJ and Tyler: salmon and cream cheese crepe with arugula and possibly tarragon? I can’t tell because there is an ad for FUCKING ANDY COHEN AND HIS FUCKING SHOW. Right over the chyron. Jesus Christ, Bravo. Anyway, the whole thing is in a cone and looks like it belongs on a stick. In other news, CJ wears glasses. *Sigh* *little hearts* Bart and Sheldon: green forest breakfast sandwich. Eggs, cheese, pancetta, bacon, spinach. OK, making a sandwich and then jamming a stick into it shouldn’t count. Danyele and Lizzie: summer berries with crispy pancetta. Stefan and Brooke: croque monsieur with toasted fig. That means, pressed ham and cheese sandwich. At least they cut the sandwiches into strips and wove them onto the skewer.

Danyele and Lizzie didn’t do much and they had a whole hour. Josie and Eliza’s dish was hard to eat and Daisley didn’t like their ricotta pancake. Sheldon and Bart did well (still not on a stick). He also liked Josh and John’s take on tacos. CJ can come make us crepes. Sheldon and Bart win, so they have immunity.

The Elimination challenge involves the market, of course. They will stay in the same teams, which freaks everyone out. The knife block appears. Each knife has a weird ingredient on it. Like salmon candy. That is a thing that exists. Micah gets cheese curds and everyone is jealous. All these weird things are produced by people at the market, so they must make a dish that highlights whatever they got stuck with. They must impress the person who made the ingredient, as well as judges. Winning team gets $10,000. They have two hours. Starting now.

That is not a lot of time. CJ and Tyler have spicy pickles, and CJ just wants to make burgers and put them on top. Tyler has a more creative idea involving fritters, but as he describes it, CJ just stands there. Tyler says he’s trusting CJ because he’s a veteran. Uh oh. John finds grits, because he wants to make pork and grits to go with truffled popcorn. Josh doesn’t want to cut the loin into medallions, but he doesn’t want to cause drama so he says nothing. Josie says she and Eliza are putting egos aside. Lizzie has coconut curry chocolate, and I think I have actually had that. It is weirdly delicious. You eat it, and there’s coconut and chocolate, which is normal, and then suddenly there’s curry, but it’s not spicy. She is thinking snapper, but apparently Danyele insisted on dessert. Bart and Sheldon are going balls to the wall because they can't be eliminated. Luckily they are the ones with salmon candy, which is somewhat like salmon bacon.

Cooking at the restaurant. Stefan is making candied cabbage (?) to go with his rose petal jelly. Josh is worried about the grits, because he thinks they are too thick and John refuses to thin them. He doesn’t say anything because he thinks they would fight and end up having nothing to serve. John, on his part, doesn’t think Josh is cooking the pork right but he also says nothing because he can tell Josh is about to kick his ass.

Gail and Hugh are here, and Tom, and Daisley, and all the artesians who made everything. Josh and John: pan seared pork tenderloin with truffle popcorn grits. Micah and Kristen: cheese curds three ways, béchamel, raw, and fried. Stefan and Brooke: rose petal jelly glazed Muscovy duck with braised cabbage. Sheldon and Bart: candied salmon with sweet and sour salad. The duck is tough and the cabbage is so sweet no one can taste the jelly. Josh and John? Hugh says as a person who makes grits every day, these ones suck. The meat is bad too. There aren’t any other flavors other than truffle and no one is impressed. The cheese curds are good individually, but there are too many things going on and there is too much romesco and no one can tell there is cheese in the fried ones. Sad. Tom wanted more candied salmon in that dish, so there is a discussion about whether this dish celebrated the ingredient. The artesian tells everyone they’re the place that throws the fish. Clearly. Hugh asks the question I’m sure everyone asks, which is that when you throw the fish and it falls on the ground, what happens to it? Answer: stunt fish. Heh.

Danyele says they aren’t dessert people so they’re taking a risk. You don’t have to make dessert. CJ has talked himself into making burgers, because he can hear Tom yelling at him about not making “a perfect accompaniment” to pickles. He's trying to imagine the judges' objections to his ideas and stay one step ahead of them. Sigh. Tyler is worried. Josie has cardamom bitters. She and Eliza sort of fight. It’s not exciting.

Josie and Eliza: curry cardamom broth with manila clams and seared white king salmon. Danyele and Lizzie: coconut curry chocolate mousse tart. CJ and Tyler: pork crumpet burger with spicy dill pickles. Why is it on crumpets? Who knows. The judges think maybe if it was sliders, it would be better, but as it is, everything is falling apart. Of course they also catch Tom saying “They couldn’t think of anything better to do?” Heh. I mean, it means CJ is in serious trouble and that is sad, but come on. You knew that was coming. The cardamom broth is salty and people seem to be finding sand and rocks. Did they not clean the clams? Jeez. The flavor of the coconut curry chocolate is there in the tart, but then the girls mixed other chocolate in there and the woman who makes it is upset about that. It also falls apart when they try to eat it, sounds like. I think Padma says something about trying to cut into it and it squirts layers onto the plate. Or something that is less gross sounding. 

Gail thinks most chefs highlighted the flavors of the weird ingredients, but there was not much finesse. Tom says they’re all so bad, he doesn’t have a favorite. “Not a good day for Top Chef.” Padma brings up the cash prize, and Tom jumps in that he doesn’t want to give anyone money for this. Padma actually apologizes to everyone for their crappy lunch. Not good.

Tom comes in to wherever the contestants are hanging out. He says they’re all really disappointed today and nothing was up to par. No imagination, no technique. No money for anyone. Tom continues and says they’re sending an entire team home tomorrow, I guess instead of just one person. Then he spits that they’re doing Last Chance Kitchen again, so maybe you can get back in, but take risks. I wonder if he cleared that with producers before he told them that little tidbit.

Back at the apartments, everyone is pretty down. They know Tom was really pissed. CJ would feel like “a failure bitch” if he was sent home. Tyler starts talking about maybe it’ll be him and CJ and oh well, guess we weren’t that good. Josh jumps down his throat and gets pissed off. What? I can’t make out what he says, but he’s pissed that Tyler is giving up? Tyler apologizes, which is so weird. Tyler said nothing at all about Josh. Calm down.

Commercial interlude: Stefan tries to explain Last Chance Kitchen. Said explanation involves pencil and paper. Josh says he and Stefan are both arrogant and likable. Sure.

CJ says he dreamt about Tom last night. John is worried, because after a good night’s sleep he actually thinks his dish was worse than he did yesterday. Stefan is still worried about the birthday curse.

Stew Room. Padma wants to see Josh, John, Stefan, Brooke, CJ, and Tyler. There are weird close-ups of everyone’s faces. Like, they do a slo-mo zoom into Brooke, then a transition like they’re whipping the camera around, then zoom on someone else, and so forth. What the hell? The Loser Gong tells us these are the worst. Aww. Josh admits he wasn’t sure what to do with the popcorn. CJ starts talking about what to serve with the pickles to showcase them, and Tom is like, shouldn’t you have tried to make something with them? They just nod. Gail says the food was just not well made. Stefan’s cabbage was too overwhelming, and Brooke didn’t put enough pepper to counteract the jelly. Stefan tries to explain how he tried not to use that much jelly in the cabbage. He was adding vinegar and whatever, and Hugh just tells him that it doesn’t really matter what he did. The cabbage was still too sweet. Josh, when asked how his dish turned out, says he was apprehensive making grits for Hugh. Hugh responds he was apprehensive to eat them. Heh. Why did they cut the pork like that? Josh starts to say he doesn’t want to throw anyone under the bus but that lasts all of two seconds before he says it was John’s idea. Gail doesn’t think there was any artistry. Hugh tells CJ and Tyler their burger was soggy and just not good. CJ makes the fatal mistake of repeating what he said in confessional earlier, that he could hear Tom berating him for not making a burger. Padma is all “Yeah, sure” which is hilarious. She totally hears Tom saying that. CJ makes some noise as Padma dismisses them, and when she calls him on it, he asks them how the dessert was and says it was diabolical and an abhorrence. That is low. They're not even there. As the other judges smirk, Hugh says “Uh oh! Cause your burger was even worse.” Ha! CJ knows he lost that one so he just curses and leaves.

John says that was the most brutal day of his life. All these teams knew there was something wrong with their dishes but did nothing. Tyler and CJ thought they made a good burger, and it wasn’t good. Also it looks like CJ has lost points by trying to throw Danyele and Lizzie under the bus. Josh didn’t cook the pork properly. Gail knows that they both compromised everything, so they wouldn’t fight, and as a result they lost all their skill. John’s grits were the worst, but Stefan’s cabbage was a close second. Tom says it would have been an easy fix. Hugh says if you get too much rose petal jelly “it feels like you’re eating someone’s grandmother.” What? Hugh is on fire tonight. Hugh’s worst dish was the burger, but Tom hates the pork and grits. Padma hates the duck, so I guess Gail is the tie-breaker.

Tom makes sure to tell them the decision wasn’t unanimous. CJ and Tyler are sent home. Awwww! Bye eye candy. You were really cocky and it was unpleasant but you’re still cute. Kmanpat says please come to St. Louis and make us crepes. CJ says he doesn’t think he was judged fairly and he’s going to be pissed for a while. Tyler is glad for the experience and thinks he’s grown.

Next time: there is a ton of noise for some reason, some celebrities, someone is a judge who knows John. The celebrities try to be funny and I’m thinking that may not turn out well.

Last Chance Kitchen: Tom is there alone, and brings in Kuniko after CJ and Tyler have shown up. CJ is afraid because he thinks she will destroy him. Jeffrey, Carla, and Chrissy are there too. Tom tells CJ he has to work with people all the time, so suck it up. Tyler gets the advice to step up and have more confidence. They are working as a team again. Tyler laughs while CJ just does that thing where you turn around and walk in a little tiny circle. Tom continues laughing as he tells the boys that since they (well, CJ) were such jerks about dessert, they’ll now have to make dessert. Hee! CJ is all “I knew you would do this, dude” and Tom laughs at him and says “Welcome to your nightmare”. Kuniko doesn’t make desserts, but she also doesn’t have to talk to anyone. Tyler knows the burger was CJ’s idea, so he’s going to insist on being heard. CJ says “hay ice cream” and then “arugula and pepper.” What? He has lost his damn mind. Kuniko is going to make lemon curd and fruit compote. She makes cylinders of fruit. CJ is toasting hay in the oven. OK, I will order and eat weird things simply because they are weird, but I wouldn’t try that. Tom seriously gives CJ and Tyler shit but doesn’t seem to be saying a word to Kuniko. Kuniko: frozen banana with fruit compote and lemon curd. The cylinders are pretty. CJ and Tyler: hay ice cream with cherry fritter, cherries and arugula. Tom says they were both good ideas. Kuniko’s dish was tasty but he didn’t like eating it out of a bowl. CJ and Tyler had something weird, but maybe too much arugula. CJ and Tyler win. Aww, Kuniko. She takes off her jacket and CJ tries to put it on. Kuniko feels kind of pissed. So are they going to stay in a team?

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