Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Top Chef 1/23/13--"Wolfgang Cluck's" summary

Previously on “Top Chef”: Restaurant Wars! It was men vs. women. Stefan had terrible service, but Sheldon’s food was so wonderful that his team still won. Josie screwed up her bouillabaisse, because she wouldn’t start it when Kristen told her to. But the judges had no idea what went on, so when Kristen refused to throw her under the bus, they didn’t know that if Josie had done what Kristen had asked, they would have finished the broth in time to put gelatin in it and then it would have been fine. I know Kristen wanted to take responsibility, but she could have said “Josie didn’t finish in time”. Anyway, Kristen was sent home, and both Tom and Gail said in their blogs that had they known what was going on, they would have made a different decision. I mean, they didn’t come right out and say “We would have sent Josie home” but it certainly sounds that way. (click for more)

Then on Last Chance Kitchen, CJ and Kristen made French food with smoke, and Kristen upset CJ to continue on! I’m glad for Kristen, but also sad because I love CJ.

Stefan congratulates Sheldon on his new car. He’s feeling good. Brooke tells the two boys that if she had thought Kristen would be eliminated, she would have spoken up herself. Stefan interviews that he wouldn’t have hesitated to throw Josie under the bus. Clearly. Josie is getting dressed and telling Lizzie she feels “heavy” and that she can’t be at Judges’ Table and go home “without everyone hearing what’s going on.” Would that be the part when you told them you refused to make the stock on the first day so it put you behind and you screwed up Kristen’s vision for the dish? Then she cries, and I do not feel bad for her at all. If that makes me a bitch, then I’m a bitch. She says she feels some guilt (so she at least has the capacity to know she should, whether or not she actually does) and something about pushing forward. Lizzie has not said a word and barely looks at her.

The Quickfire will apparently involve seafood. Padma introduces Katsuya Uechi, master sushi chef. Nice. The Quickfire will be to impress him. He says don’t mix up too many ingredients. The most important thing is to make people happy. No immunity, but winner gets $5000.

30 minutes. Josh never craves sushi, because he is weird apparently. He makes a bacon joke, because he’s going to make tempura bacon. And eggs. Stefan calls it a breakfast sandwich and says something about cutting off fingers. I don’t always understand what Stefan is talking about but I’m sure it’s fun. He has not won anything and he really wants to. Sheldon knows everyone is watching him because he’s the Asian food guy, but he doesn’t make sushi. Yeah, guys, Filipino is not sushi. Josie talks about not heating the fish up too much by handling it too much. Also she is the contestant who mentions eating sushi off naked women. I thought it would be Stefan. Running around. Lizzie hasn’t made sushi for ten years.

Stefan: yellowtail with grilled shitake and raw lobster with seaweed and unagi. I do notice that he barely lets Padma finish asking him what he made before he starts talking. Josie: halibut with yuzu and bacon aioli. Lizzie: lobster, micro greens and pickled ginger with yuzu-sake broth. Brooke: octopus with yuzu and grated wasabi. Josh: tempura bacon, omelette, salmon belly, and yuzu kosho aioli. Yuzu kosho is yuzu zest, chili peppers, and salt. Sheldon: hamachi sashimi with fresh ponzu, mitsuba and lemon charcoal. Mitsuba is apparently wild Japanese parsley? It’s weird, I haven’t had to look up this many things for a long while. “Top Chef” has taught me a lot of vocab. For example we went to dinner a couple of days ago and my braised pork and dumplings had gremolata on top. I know it was gremolata and not pistou because it was parsley flavored. OK, I had to look up that pistou has basil and gremolata has parsley but I know those are words.

Lizzie’s soup didn’t work, it was fishy. Josh’s combination was good but the bacon was too greasy. Brooke’s dish was clean, although she cut the octopus a little weird. Stefan had a good combination. Stefan wins! Wow. Good for him.

Padma’s hair is really big today, I just noticed. She brings out David Chang (he owns Momofuku) and Tom. They freak out about David Chang. Less so about Tom. Tom claims there are some chefs in town “visiting” (as if they happened to be on vacation instead of paid to appear on this TV show). He’s renting a house to stay in while the show is happening (possible) and the cheftestants are cooking dinner tonight. And Tom is in the mood for fried chicken. Josh gloats. Everyone must make a fried chicken dish. Tom name drops some of the guests and they know fried chicken. Clearly. Winner gets a year’s supply of wine. Well, Terlato wine, I don’t know if that stuff is any good or not.

30 minutes to prep. No shopping today, I guess. Stefan interviews about his preference for breasts, although you can hold onto thighs much better. Depends on the size. OK, it’s cute how he tries very hard not to laugh at his own joke. I think he didn’t realize how dirty it sounded until he said it. Josh injects his chicken with brine. Josie has a gang of things going on in her batter or whatever it is. She claims to have this in the bag, so I hope that is foreshadowing that she fails. She brags to the room that “this is how we do it down south” and Josh reminds her that she’s from south Florida. Brooke says this will be the hardest challenge for her. She’s going to fry the skin in the hopes that a little crispy skin will be enough. Josh says if she’s skinning the chicken he just threw up in his mouth a little. They have to break up now. Heh. In the car of Stefan, Josie, and Lizzie (poor Lizzie), Stefan teaches Josie to say “I’m going home next” in German. Heh.

It’s a nice little house. One hour to cook in a little house kitchen, although there are a bunch of fryers set up outside. Josie hopes she will win. Sheldon has two preparations so he’s got to stay focused. Brooke puts a bowl down on a counter and Josh flips out. Lizzie’s mom always made them grilled chicken. Aww. I think Stefan is making chicken cordon bleu. “That is how Europeans eat chicken.” Josh gets smoke going. Wow, the backyard has a gorgeous view of the harbor. Wolfgang and Emeril joke around. There is some good-natured ribbing of Tom for liking breasts, and how I guess legs and thighs are more forgiving so if the breast is fried well it means you know what you’re doing. Then Tom says Wolfgang and he should do a chain of fried chicken restaurants and call it “Wolfgang Cluck’s”. How long did it take you to think that one up, Tom? Sigh. Brooke says she doesn’t have time to fry her chicken skins, so she just has boring boneless chicken breasts. Aww. Josie says one fryer is not working. Sheldon’s oil is too hot, and I see some people are using fryers and some (Sheldon) are using pots on burners. He’s nervous because the inside will be raw. It means that not everyone will get both kinds of his chicken. Lizzie lets Josie use her fryer which is very nice of her and more than I would do. Josie has to scrap her wings, and she says time management is her weakness. Yes.

The guests today are both Emeril and Wolfgang, David Chang, Vinny Dotolo, Jon Shook, and Michelle Bernstein. Michelle sent Josie home last time. Heh. Sheldon: umami drumsticks and thighs; wings with usukuchi and grapeseed oil. Usukuchi is a light soy sauce. Lizzie: chicken with coriander, black pepper, and brown sugar rub with peach cabbage slaw. It looks like breaded cutlets but it sounds good. Josie: chicken with black garlic, cayenne, thyme, and hot sauce, with daikon salad. They like Lizzie’s cutlets, although it isn’t “fried chicken”. Josie introduced her chicken as “Southern fried chicken” but then it’s on a banana leaf. They joke that in the South they’d run her out of town. It’s greasy but not spicy. As in, blah. They like Sheldon, because Sheldon is awesome. Wolfgang didn’t get any wings, which may be a problem.

Brooke has finished cooking, but she still has 15 minutes left (huh?) so she puts the chicken in Josh’s oven. He flips out again. They’re juicy now but in 15 minutes they’ll be jacked up. So she’s putting them in the oven to keep warm and then she’ll fry them again? Josh poo-poos Stefan’s dish. Stefan: chicken cordon bleu with garlic aioli. Each piece of chicken has a lemon wedge on top. Weird. Josh: “I made fried chicken!” Oh, alright, heh. Smoked fried chicken with hot sauce and blue cheese. Brooke: dukkah-crusted chicken breast with wilted escarole and tomato salad. Dukkah is an Egyptian dish of spices and herbs. Apparently Jon and Vinny interviewed with Brooke a long time ago for jobs. Which they didn’t get. And she didn’t remember them. Wolfgang says, and I quote, “Why the fuck they don’t have no bones?” Then he says he wouldn’t call this Top Chef, and not even…something…argh! I have no idea what he’s saying. Whatever he says it’s hilarious to everyone. Some other TV show name. Boo. So apparently, “bones” are today’s secret requirement. You know, like when Kristen said her main dish last week was based on beef bourguingnon and then everyone was mad it didn’t have red wine. Everyone wants their fried chicken to be whole pieces on the bone. Brooke’s chicken breast is dried out and bad. Vinny says he’s glad he didn’t take the job with Brooke. Burn. They love Josh’s chicken, they like the smoke even though it wasn’t super crispy. They think Stefan is too safe and they’re irritated. Jon says he’s embarrassed the LA chefs “rolled out here with just breasts”, and Wolfgang says “It’s LA. Plastic surgery everywhere.” Ha! I think Wolfgang needs to be cut off.

Everyone goes home, because they won’t be judged until tomorrow morning. So they all think too much about their dishes and their failures and whatever. Stefan says he’ll stand behind his mistakes.

Commercial interlude: Brooke eats frozen yogurt, and Josh complains that she shouldn’t hog it? Then Sheldon has a ukulele. He plays until Josh falls asleep. What was the point of that? Josh is a cranky child?

Stefan calls his mom and says she has Parkinson’s. This editing is not good for him. I like Stefan. Josie fishes for complements. Lizzie is worried. Brooke wishes she’d hired those guys. Padma gets Josh, Sheldon, and Lizzie. These are the top three. Lizzie fried her chicken well, even though Wolfgang doesn’t consider it “fried chicken”. She’s not familiar with “fried chicken” that way. The salad was good. Josh’s smoke flavor was really good. Sheldon had great chicken, although they do bring up that he didn’t have enough pieces. David says the winner is Josh. He gets 365 bottles of wine. A bottle a day? Nice.

Loser Gong. Brooke says time was a factor and contributed to her taking the chicken off the bone. They want the flavor of the bone. She tried to impress them, and she did but in the wrong way. Josie says her intention was to serve “all the different pieces of the chicken” but the fryer was down and then she only served the boneless pieces? Or something. Also it didn’t have time to rest so it was greasy. Tom points out that she always runs out of time, like last week with the bouillabaisse (so they DID find out?). An hour is plenty of time to make fried chicken. She says she wasted time trying to do…something, we don’t know what because Tom interrupts her and says yes. Wasting time. Josie says everyone thought it was delicious, so Tom name drops every single chef that was at dinner and says “So we don’t know what we’re talking about.” Oo, Tom is done with her. Stefan says he grew up in Europe and they don’t have fried chicken. Wolfgang destroys him by saying in AUSTRIA they have fried chicken and it’s famous. Stefan thought he’d put a twist on it, except there wasn’t a twist, really, and Tom calls it bad banquet food anyway. Also he thinks Stefan was trying to play it safe, only it wasn’t even good chicken cordon bleu. As they leave, Padma shakes her head and says “SUCH a bullshitter.”

Brooke got flustered with the time. I think they’re also irritated that she just cut up the breast meat when she was given a whole chicken. Also it lacked flavor. Tom says he’d rather eat that than Josie’s greasy chicken. Padma does point out that it was “fried chicken” the way they expected. The time management gets brought up. Stefan made an old-fashioned dish that is out of favor and then he lied about not knowing about fried chicken. Padma is heated.

Brooke made really poor decisions. Josie has had time problems this whole season. Stefan probably learned how to make chicken cordon bleu when he was in culinary school. Josie is eliminated. Oo, I thought it was Stefan. Last Chance Kitchen will be EPIC. She says it’s stupid. You’re stupid. Oh, I couldn’t let that one go. Josie says she’s proud of herself.

Next time: Curtis Stone, cooking on a ferry or possibly a cruise ship, Hugh, everyone makes faces. I think it’s an Alaskan cruise because Padma says someone is not getting off the ship in Alaska.

Last Chance Kitchen: You can tell Tom does not like Josie. He is grinning widely when she walks in. She knows Kristen is mad at her. Kristen says she’s sort of surprised to see Josie, but not really. They have to drive to Pike Place Market and bring back a whole salmon. They catch fish thrown at them. When they get back, Tom says they each have to break down their salmon, make ten portions, and then make “ten composed dishes” for everyone. Oo, the peanut gallery gets to eat. Time management will be very important, JOSIE. 30 minutes. Kristen says the salmon is soft and is tearing. Josie claims every chef can break down fish, but the time will be a problem. For her. Tom says watching them break down fish is painful, because apparently they’re doing it wrong, he whispers to Chrissy. Kristen grabs a pineapple, and gets a new knife to cut it up. CJ goes “Oo, new knife, guys! Let’s get some new knife applause!” and then they all cheer. Hee. She confirms that everyone likes pineapple (“Pineapple!” Guess who shouted that) but when they ask Josie what she’s doing, she’s just like, “Salmon.” John is waiting for Kristen to win. CJ warns them that Tom is coming to talk to them, which is cute. Josie thinks she might win. Kristen says her raisins aren’t plumped right. Josie then realizes she dropped a piece of salmon on the floor. Jeez. She has to cut another piece and sear it with like, a minute to go. Kristen: crispy salmon with pickled pineapple, raisins, shaved cauliflower, and crème fraiche. Tom turns over all the pieces to see if they’re all the same. Josie: fennel pollen dusted salmon with fennel, radish, and tarragon salad. Kristen had a beautiful dish, and the fish was uniformly cooked, but there was no way her raisins would get plump so they stayed dry. All Josie’s fish was overcooked, although the fennel pollen smelled good. Kristen wins! Like Tom would let Josie win. Kristen actually acts surprised which is cute. Josie leaves and says no one can do things in 30 minutes and also she doesn’t think the salmon was “overcooked overcooked”. Kristen is thrilled to beat Josie, but she knows that everyone left is really good. Then they cut in a line that is clearly from somewhere else, because she sounds different, and she says she can “confidently say” she will beat everyone else.

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