Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Top Chef 2/13/13--"Glacial Gourmand" summary

Previously on “Top Chef”: The final four made crab, and then salmon and sourdough. The crab thing was interesting, and Sheldon won because he made “miso” soup with the innards. The salmon and sourdough was for a salmon bake, which is like a fish fry or a community BBQ thing. Sheldon didn’t do so well in that, because he put green tea and chives in his bread and it was weird. Brooke won, because dill in sourdough is good. Lizzie lost, even though she made the best bread, because she made little sandwiches and there was too much bread. So your final three are Sheldon, Josh, and Brooke. (click for more)

In Last Chance Kitchen, Lizzie and Kristen had to cook over a firepit with just a pot. They both made a stew, and they both looked good, but in the end Kristen won again. I’m not sure when she’s going to come back or what. Next week I guess, which I don’t like. If we have to have this stupid twist, I would rather have it be like last season where Beverly had to still compete in a bunch of stuff. Not a free pass to the absolute last episode.

Josh is glad to be in the top three, but his wife is a week overdue so he’s pretty distracted. Over with the breakfast is a note to go to Eagle Crest and dress warmly.

Eaglecrest ends up being a ski area. When they get there, there’s a helicopter. Brooke freaks out. Like, seriously she is about to cry. Josh laughs and says he’s sorry but it’s kind of funny. So she’s afraid of boats AND small enclosed spaces where she has no control. Maybe those are kind of related? Inside she’s huddled next to Josh and not looking. Josh and Sheldon are too busy looking at the gorgeous scenery to do a lot to her, and when she finally decides to look she’s glad. On the glacier, when they land, there are dogsleds. Sheldon says he would die for some good reefer…? Huh? Must be some inside reference. They get on a dogsled which is a form of transportation Brooke is not afraid of.

Padma and Tom tell them only two people will move on to compete in the finale. They do not mention the Last Chance Kitchen winner. They’re actually at a dogsled camp where they are training for the Iditarod. Sadly the Iditarod is in danger because there has been so little snow a lot of the qualifying races have been cancelled or pushed back too far. Anyway, they’ll be making “gourmet” food out of whatever they can find in the camp.

30 minutes. Brooke bites it before she makes the coolers. Sheldon hasn’t ever been in this much snow. The kitchen is very small, with only regular household gas ranges and no electricity. Both Brooke and Sheldon are making halibut. Shockingly, Josh is making breakfast. Brooke comments on how he always makes breakfast. Sheldon says he and Josh call themselves “Team Husky”. Hee. Josh runs out of time to fry his eggs so they’re scrambled. He worries about the texture.

Brooke: pan roasted halibut, panzanella salad with red currant and beet vinaigrette. They like it, Tom says the crunch in the bread is good. Padma says they’ll move on to “what looks like a form of breakfast. I’m gonna guess that you made this, Josh.” Heh. Josh: cornmeal cake with Canadian bacon, scrambled egg, sockeye salmon. Tom seems dubious about the eggs. He does that thing where he’s like “Scrambled? Really? Huh.” And you know he doesn’t agree. Sheldon: pan roasted halibut with tomato sauce, sesame bok choy, and pickled radish. Tom says the fish is well cooked but kind of salty.

Brooke put together a really nice dish with some crunch. Josh’s eggs weren’t mixed enough (probably because he wasn’t going to scramble them at first). Sheldon’s sauce was one-note. The winner is Brooke. Yay!

Padma calls everyone over for her “surprise”, which is to get back in the helicopter and then have her drive them around somewhere. Sheldon says he’s never seen her drive, so he hopes she can drive them safely. Nice. They end up at some nice house with Emeril and Roy Choi in the kitchen. Brooke used to work for him. Or with him? Something, he knows her. Emeril says he and Roy cooked them all lunch. Awesome. Roy talks about washing rice and it’s fairly pretentious, about putting the spirits in the kernels or something. Emeril says there is no sugar in proper Southern cornbread, which is backed up by Hugh on Twitter yelling about how sugar in cornbread = cake. Sheldon says today is epic. Roy made braised short ribs, and there is cornbread. This is a dish that represents when Roy decided to become a chef. He used to be “a scumbag”, but one day he watched Emeril make short ribs in red wine, and then Emeril “popped out of the TV and slapped me across the face” and then he went to culinary school and now he’s a chef. You can tell from Emeril’s reaction that he never heard that story, and he had no idea. It’s really moving. Emeril made cornbread because when he was first working in a kitchen, the guys there taught him how to make bread. Hmm, two famous chefs made two disparate dishes that both were about when they decided to become chefs. I wonder if that’s relevant.

Padma confirms my suspicions, which is that they’re making a dish that represents the moment they knew they wanted to be a chef. Brooke protests that she was four. She’s known for forever. That’s tricky. They’ll be cooking for the governor of Alaska, who is no longer Sarah Palin. How awesome would that be though? It would truly be epic. 2 ½ hours to cook today, and 1 ½ hours tomorrow.

Sheldon doesn’t know if he should pick restaurant food or the food he grew up on. Josh gets a phone call that his wife is on the way to the hospital because her water broke. Sheldon and Brooke feel bad for him. When he comes back in and tells them, Sheldon offers to teach him some breathing exercises. Heh.

Cooking time. Brooke seems to be lost already. She doesn’t know what she’s making. Josh is an ass and decides to ask her what she’s making every two seconds. Sheldon is making Hawaiian (probably) because after he saw Sam Choi on TV cooking, it validated what he wanted to do. Josh has foie gras, because tasting it did it for him, and he’s going to make a torchon which usually takes three days. He says he’ll live by it or die by it.

Tom time! Sheldon is making snapper. Tom tells him not to cook the fish too soon. Brooke tells him she can’t remember when she decided to be a chef, but she knows her mom was a big influence so she’s making braised chicken, a dish her mom made a lot. Josh talks about foie gras. The torchon recipe? The chef who made the dish that Josh was talking about, used to work for Tom…so there’s an excellent chance this is Tom’s recipe. No pressure.

Brooke still has no idea, so when Josh asks her if she does know she asks if he’s worried about her. She’s making chicken and quail: chicken for her childhood, and quail for when she became a chef. She continues to tell Josh she doesn’t know what she’s making, just to screw with him. A procedure I approve of.

They go back to the hotel or house or whatever, where Brooke continues to mess with Josh by asking about his wife and then telling him she was in labor for days. Josh’s wife calls him in the middle of the night (or he calls before he goes to bed) and she’s sobbing and misses him. Aww. He actually gets out of bed and sits on the couch downstairs until his wife gives birth. Aww, baby. His wife says it wasn’t so bad after all so maybe they could have another one. Heh. In the morning once the other two wake up they congratulate him while Josh interviews that he’s more determined now to win.

Brooke still won’t tell Josh what she’s doing. She’s won the most challenges, so Sheldon says she’s the one to beat. He is still obsessing over not cooking the fish too early. Wolfgang is here, and Emeril, and Gail. I don’t see Hugh though which is sad. You know he’d bust out a Palin joke. That’s what he’s doing over on Twitter right now. Yes I know I sound dumb talking about Twitter. Have you read the man’s blog? His Twitter feed is the same. Brooke says she smells lemongrass and asks if that’s Sheldon’s face lotion. Hee! Sheldon says the broth is too reduced and is way too salty. Now he’s waited until the last minute and he can’t fix it.

Roy is back too. Sheldon: pan roasted rockfish, spot prawns, baby vegetables, and dashi. The fish and prawns are cooked beautifully, and it looks pretty, but it is too salty. Uh oh.

Commercial interlude: Wolfgang says he always went to help the pastry chefs at the place his mom worked because he loved sweets, and his dad told him he couldn’t be a chef because that was women’s work. Tom says his mom used to cook for them all the time and his dad told him to be a chef.

Brooke hopes she has pulled this dish out of her ass. Not literally, of course. Braised chicken, grilled quail with carrot barley and pickled vegetables. It’s homey but has so many layers. Wolfgang says his quail is a little overcooked but if her mom cooks like this, he’ll come over to her house for dinner. Roy tells everyone that Brooke is a prodigy and this is her on a plate.

Josh’s torchon hasn’t set up so he puts it in the freezer to set up. Hopefully it works. First he tells everyone his wife gave birth last night, which is cute. Foie gras three ways: torchon (with pineapple?), pan seared, and profiterole. So…cream puff with foie gras. They like the profiterole but the torchon didn’t set up. Tom knows he couldn’t do the torchon, so he shouldn’t have tried. There’s a corn puree under one, that Wolfgang says he likes on its own.

Judges’ Table. Padma was surprised to get foie gras from Josh, but he says he wanted to go all out. Go big or go home. They tell him it didn’t work, and Tom says no matter how great a chef he is, he can’t pull off torchon. Brooke had great flavors and they praise the layers and how she melded two dishes. Wolfgang does mention that the quail was overcooked. Then he asks Sheldon how he can cook fish so perfectly and then screw up the broth. Aww. There was a lot of flavor aside from that. Today’s winner was unanimous, and it was Brooke. She’s clearly thrilled.

The judges kick Josh and Sheldon out and talk about them. Sheldon overseasoned his dish, and Josh worked with an ingredient that maybe he doesn’t understand. They are both great chefs, though. Josh tried to impress them, and he tried to execute something that was impossible. Emeril thinks that maybe he should have concentrated on one dish instead of three. Sheldon should be able to make broth in his sleep, although the fish and prawns were perfect.

Improper cooking vs. overseasoning. In the end Josh is the loser. Aww. He wishes everyone luck. In confessional he hopes to be successful in Last Chance Kitchen. Tom and Padma tell Sheldon and Brooke to go home and work on technique, and come back ready to go. They’re both ready to go right now, but I’m not sure how long they’re taking between now and then.

Next week: grilling, working the line at Tom’s restaurant, Martin Yan. Someone goes home. Also, well done, Bravo, on editing the preview so we can’t see who wins Last Chance Kitchen.

Last Chance Kitchen: it’s been some time, because Josh has lost some weight. Kristen is already there, and then CJ and Lizzie both come out. CJ! These are the finalists of that dumb Save A Chef thing, but with 61% of the vote, Lizzie has won. AAAAWWWWWWW. I would have voted for CJ if I had known. Stupid America. Whatever. The challenge is to make Tom some food. Whatever you want. Scary. 30 minutes to cook. Josh goes straight for the walk-in and some venison (SHUT UP picture of Andy Cohen). Lizzie wants to make black cod and garlic and vinegar. Kristen’s making her own pasta. Tom’s investigating everyone, but only Josh is nervous. He knows Tom is judging them already. Josh thinks maybe he cut up his venison too early but he can’t do anything about it. The girls work right up until time. Kristen: semolina orecchiette with brown butter, pomegranate, apple, and fresh herbs. Lizzie: black cod in black pepper vinegar, savoy cabbage and spaetzle. Josh: venison with coriander, brown sugar, and black pepper cure, kale and shaved carrot. Tom is asking everyone a ton of questions about why they did various things. Right away Tom tells them that Josh’s dish was too rare and not the winner. Both Kristen and Lizzie did a fantastic job with lots of flavors and balance. Of course you cannot know who won! You must watch next week! I hope it’s Kristen.

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