Thursday, February 21, 2013

Top Chef 2/20/13--"Finale Part 1" summary

Previously on “Top Chef”: The final three cooked for some dogsledders. Josh made breakfast again, but lost out to Brooke. The Elimination challenge was to make a dish that represented the moment they knew they wanted to be a chef. Brooke briefly freaked out because she’s wanted to be a chef for her entire life, but then she made chicken and quail and impressed everyone and won this challenge. Sheldon made his broth too salty, which almost doomed him, but then Josh tried to make a three-day dish in four hours and it failed. So Josh was sent home. (click for more)

On Last Chance Kitchen, after some time has passed (enough for Josh to lose weight, but they don’t say exactly how long it’s been), Josh, Kristen, and Lizzie competed for the final spot in the finale. Everyone should have voted for CJ, but whatever. No restrictions from Tom. Josh was sent out first, and then tonight we’ll find out if it’s Kristen or Lizzie.

Sheldon didn’t think he would make it this far. He and Brooke throw pillows at each other and giggle. They pack up. Sheldon plays his ukulele and makes up a song about the top two, no top three…something. It was cute.

We cut to two weeks before the finale, in Hawaii. Sheldon says it’s been six months since Alaska. Still not sure what the date is. I know I’m obsessing over this, but unless I can get the timeline to work out right, I’m not sure how we were able to “vote” on Last Chance Kitchen as the show aired. I mean, to choose between Lizzie and CJ, and for Lizzie to win, would mean that the final Last Chance Kitchen would have to be filmed like, the day before. Right? Because otherwise how could we vote to keep Lizzie and not CJ, she JUST got eliminated. Bah. Anyway, Sheldon has been trying to plan for the finale, knowing Brooke has had a lot of good experience. His food at his restaurant looks good. Everyone is taking pictures and asking for autographs. Cute.

Family BBQ time. His wife says she’s gotten on him for his language. Heh. His daughters are so cute. Sheldon talks about his grandfather and how this would change his life.

LA, one week before the finale. Brooke says she’s found it difficult to focus on food. Her son is adorable. She and her husband bounce between two restaurants. Then she makes pig ear salad which sounds weird. They have date time at some restaurant and then Roy Choi comes out and they hang out. She is ready to go, you can tell.

Finale, Day One. Brooke and Sheldon discuss who might have won Last Chance Kitchen. They both end up at Craft with Padma, Hugh, and Emeril. Only two challenges left. Padma reminds them about Last Chance Kitchen as if they didn’t just spend five minutes talking about it in the car. Now we have to recap everything for everyone, but at least I can see CJ putting his foot in his mouth and schooling John. Kristen won! Not surprising but deserved. Tom says that the Elimination challenge is to run Craft. In three hours the restaurant will open and they’ll be Tom’s chefs. Each one will make an appetizer, an entrée, and a dessert. Tom will expedite. Sheldon says it’s a big honor and hopefully he doesn’t set the place on fire. Tom says this is for real, with real customers.

Sheldon goes right for the spot prawns. They speak to him. They say “Psst! Pick me! I’m gonna make you win!” said in a whisper. Hee. Brooke is overwhelmed because there is just too much good stuff. The three finalists discuss their menus, and I’m not sure if it’s just because the producers want to see what they’re doing or if they’re trying to make a coherent menu. Sheldon is making roasted quail, which is out of his comfort zone, but he wants to show how he’s grown. Kristen’s ready to redeem herself. Sheldon tells Brooke there’s chicken breast for her fried chicken. I like when everyone jokes around and trash talks.

Hugh time! I wish they’d do this a lot. He tells Brooke to clean her sweetbreads and keep being creative. Sheldon makes a bunch of noise, and Hugh tells him not to burn the place down. As he looks away from Sheldon he makes eye contact with the camera for a split second. I can’t tell if that was on purpose or not. Tom comes to talk to Kristen, who is going simple. Even though she doesn’t quite know what she’s doing for dessert yet. She thinks moving quickly doesn’t give her the chance to overthink things. Sheldon gets Emeril. Sheldon thinks he’s grown a lot, and Emeril says to him to make sure he tastes everything.

Sheldon says you want to do right “especially in the man’s house”. I guess Tom. Then he and Kristen have a weird conversation about getting lost in Tom’s eyes. I think. Brooke keeps burning pistachios, and she’s behind because she spent too much time thinking about what to do. The oven are hotter than she thinks, I guess, and she’s messing everything up. Sheldon hollers to Brooke that she should do his dessert for him. He’s never made dessert. Never? He should have practiced that. Kristen’s dessert is an afterthought too. Sheldon teases Kristen about cooking Asian food and being Asian and it’s very nice to see the final three giving each other shit and laughing. Instead of seething hatred. Tom comes in to tell them it’s time to start, and also clean up because it’s a mess.

Guest judge Martin Yan! Oh, you guys, back in the day before Food Network the only place to watch cooking shows was PBS and I used to watch his show all the time. Wow, that was a long time ago. Anyway, the show was “Yan Can Cook” and the slogan was “If Yan can cook, so can you!” Also he always put “a tiny tiny bit of” whatever in the dishes. It was his “Bam!” I feel old. Anyway, Martin Yan is awesome. John Besh is here too. I don’t have strong feelings about him.

Food starts moving, and Tom gets to eat in the back. Sheldon: sashimi spot prawns, court bouillon, radish, and Asian herbs. The prawns are perfect, and it’s delicate. Kirsten: chestnut veloute, duck rillettes, and Brussels sprouts. It’s good, but they want some acid or pickles or something. Brooke: crispy veal sweetbread salad with kumquat, beets, and mustard. The sweetbreads are maybe not perfect, and the beets are not melding. The flavors are good though.

Tom tells Brooke to make some more dumplings, extras, and he makes her replate something. She thinks she won’t last the round. In the weeds. Kristen: seared ahi tuna with veal mustard jus and Meyer lemon puree. It’s seared very well but the lemon curd is too much. John says one bite was almost too salty, and he says maybe Tom screwed it up. Brooke: braised short ribs, parmesan sauce, nettle puree and squash dumplings. They love every part of it. Sheldon: roasted quail, pine nut puree, garam masala and tangerine. Hugh makes non-committal noises. The pine nut thing is just OK. This is not Sheldon. Hugh and Emeril want the old Sheldon.

Brooke: brown butter cake, whipped goat cheese and blackberry sauce. Yum. This also goes over very well. Back in the kitchen Tom is rolling his eyes at how everyone is keeping him behind. Kristen: curry chocolate with cashews. There are microgreens in there, but I’m not sure what exactly they are. They like the flavor but it’s basic, says Hugh. Sheldon: white chocolate mousse with apple and fennel. The flavor combination is good but the raw fennel is kind of overpowering.

Commercial interlude: Tom is hard core when it comes to expediting. And yet, he does it without profanity, Ramsey. I shouldn’t say that, I enjoy Ramsey’s profanity.

Tom comes out to the dining room and they all talk about the dishes. Tom says everyone was good in the kitchen, for the most part. The menus seemed safe, but not bad. That was fun. Kristen is worried about her dessert, while Brooke is worried about the whole thing.

Judges’ Table. Sheldon’s up first, and they give him lots of praise for the prawns, but less for the quail and pine nuts. They all tell him his old style was really great and he shouldn’t change a thing. The raw fennel in the dessert was too strong. Padma asks if he came prepared with a dessert, which is an excellent question, and he says he has one for the next round. Well that’s good anyway. Kristen’s soup was good, but a little safe. She was trying to simplify things. The lemon in her entrée was bitter, although that’s what she was going for. She also admits she hated her dessert. Emeril says it tasted good enough that it might be turned into a great dish. Brooke didn’t clean her sweetbreads enough. She was cleaning them to order (what?) and she had to hurry. This brings up how she was in the weeds a lot, although I don’t remember that being a requirement of the challenge, not being in the weeds. Padma says her parmesan sauce was the best thing that round, and that she took some of Kristen’s tuna and used it to get every last bit of sauce. Ouch. Brooke’s dessert was fantastic. Well, Tom complains that it as unfinished and not “a restaurant dessert”. Brooke says she can do better.

Sheldon’s evolution has been amazing, and he did try to push it. Hugh is still disappointed he didn’t do what he does best, which is Filipino. Kristen destroyed Last Chance Kitchen, and she has skills. Her dessert, though. Not great. Brooke got her shit together eventually, and her entrée was fantastic. Tom is still kind of irritated about her failing at service. Brooke is consistent, though.

Now that it’s the finale, we can go back to the old way of Tom reminding everyone of how they screwed up, before someone is eliminated. I kind of like it, because Tom is very stern. He’s nice too, but he won’t hesitate to let you have it if you deserve it. And then Padma sends Sheldon home. NNNOOOO!! Aww, you guys. I was rooting for Sheldon. He’s pretty disappointed. Brooke and Kristen are both ready to go. Bye Sheldon. If I get to Hawaii again I’ll look up your restaurant.

Next time: a live audience? Like Iron Chef? What? Previous winners, eliminated contestants, someone wins. But I won’t be watching it live because I have “Book of Mormon” tickets! Neener neener. Of course they are the same night as the finale, but I’ll try to get it done that night after I get home.


Anonymous said...

Can you do a review of Book of Mormon for us? LOL. It looks so good but I sadly don't have the $ for it even if it does come to Detroit.

I like that this season is Brooke and Kristin, two of my favs and both women! We haven't had a woman win in a long time!


Toyouke said...

Heh, I can try to. I don't think I've ever written a review of a show or a movie or anything like that before. Should be interesting.