Thursday, December 11, 2014

Top Chef 12/10/14--"Clean Up in Aisle 2!" summary

Previously on “Top Chef”: Restaurant Wars! One team was awesome and one team sucked, as always happens. Doug was the executive chef of his team, and he won for making pork and beans. That was the good team. The bad team had Katie for an executive chef, and she flailed and was useless. Keriann’s dessert was terrible, and set up weirdly, and then she didn’t leave an example and no one asked her if it was OK if they changed it. Then it was still terrible. In the end, Keriann was sent home. Yeah, that wasn’t her dish, but it’s not like she was going to make the finals or anything. (click for more)

Back in the Stew Room after elimination everyone teases Doug for winning. He does seem to be a stealth competitor. Katie says Keriann’s dish was terrible and she doesn’t feel responsible. Yeah I would like to know why Keriann didn’t seem to notice her dish was hot until she served the judges, and also why Katie didn’t mention it to her either.

Adam says they’re halfway through so they just need to keep on doing what they’re doing. Gregory says it’s like running a marathon. Well that was productive.

Jasper White greets the contestants. He’s a local icon and he has a big table full of clams. Sudden Death Quickfire! Make clam chowder. Padma tries to say “chow-DAH” like a Bostonian but she fails. She keeps trying to do it, even when Jasper is pronouncing the R. Stop it Padma. Winner gets immunity, loser has to battle.

30 minutes. Adam and Mei agree to share a bucket of littlenecks. While she and Adam are in the pantry Melissa walks over and takes a bunch of clams and now Mei has three. That’s super low. Don’t steal peoples’ stuff. Currently Mei doesn’t know who stole them but she may find out soon. I hope. Doug says 30 minutes is really a short amount of time to get good flavor into the broth. He’s got some oysters on the grill. Gregory is making curry again and Doug is like “OMG stop making curry”. Just kidding he says “Keep on doing what you’re doing because clearly it’s working”. Weird. Adam is making tomato water which is lame because it’s TOMATO WATER and also, too much like Manhattan clam chowder and you’ll probably get yelled at. Katie says “black tea sourdough chowder” which sounds interesting. Or terrible. Katsuji has chilies of course.

Mei: clam and lobster chowder with yuzu aioli, celery, and fennel. Katsuji: oyster chowder with poblano, jalapeno, and toasted garlic broth. Gregory: razor clam and sweet potato chowder with bacon, dashi, and coconut milk broth. Adam: red wine poached littleneck clams, boiled potatoes, carrots, celery, and tomato water. He pours the tomato water over the dish like a sauce. Melissa: cioppino chowder with clams, shrimp, white wine, onion, leeks, and garlic. Cioppino is like a stew and it’s not thick like chowder. Weird. She does not own up to the theft. Doug: grilled oyster chowder with steamed clam broth and fresh jalapeno. Katie: clams in lobster stock with black tea and sourdough.

Jasper says Adam is one of his favorites, as well as Gregory, and Melissa. Of course. They all seem to have a good flavor. Gregory wins, because he is a very strong competitor. Adam was a close second. He kind of rolls his eyes. Bottom three are Doug (!) for using oysters, Katsuji for making his broth too strong, and Mei (!) for underseasoning. And Katie for using raw sourdough. The loser is Katie. She has to battle someone, but they are mixing things up.

In walks Tom with all the eliminated contestants. Already? UGH. I don’t even remember half these people. Outcasts get to decide who battles Katie. If they win, then that person rejoins the competition. Padma says they can pick anyone BUT themselves. A bunch of people vote for George because he went out after the first Quickfire. Interesting. The battle is to make a rabbit dish in 45 minutes.

Adam shouts advice to Katie. George is making a bunch of stuff. Lots of running around. Outcasts tell George to plate with two minutes left. He is in trouble timewise. First chef to get two votes wins. Katie: braised rabbit leg with Moroccan tomato sauce. George: roasted rabbit loin, barley risotto, glazed carrots and mustard rabbit jus. Jasper votes for George as the “clear” winner. Tom praises both and then votes for George. So George gets to come back and Katie is eliminated. Aww. She’s proud of herself. Off to Last Chance Kitchen!

Padma says they’re doing something they’ve never done before. Gail and Blais come out and greet George. Contestants will cater a tasting event for “Boston’s biggest foodies and Top Chef fans”. They tweeted about it, and got 15,000 responses. They then picked out 75 people. The judges will be doing the shopping. Ha! Have fun in Whole Foods! They won’t know what ingredients they’ll have until tomorrow. Gail thinks they can guess based on knowing the judges. Knife draw to figure out who’s shopping for you. Tom shops for Mei, Padma for George and Gregory, Gail gets Melissa and Katsuji, Blais for Doug and Adam. Adam is pissed.

Shopping is hilarious. Richard clearly has the advantage here because he’s done this before. Everyone else is strolling around all casual. Tom is being nice to Mei and buying a bunch of stuff. He Jedi-mind tricks Blais into giving up some lamb. Gail buys a bunch of vegetables. Padma discovers Tom took all the fennel. She says she can barely park her car in 30 minutes. Hee. Richard is buying all his dumb chemicals and whatever, but also real ingredients. He doesn’t want to be that guy. Padma discovers Blais’s shopping cart and runs away with it, and then dumps his cooler with seafood on the ground. He laughs about being “initiated”.

Back at the house George tells us he never even saw the house before. Gregory is slightly annoyed because the judges aren’t tired of his stuff, because he hasn’t’ been here.

Day of competition. George feels like an outsider because he is one. I mean…he is. Adam and George talk about their lives and get screen time. 

Everything is nicely labeled. 2.5 hours to cook. Mei is excited that Tom left her options. Adam, however, is pissed because he doesn’t think anything goes together. Turns out Padma did a pretty good job, Gregory says. He and Padma like the same flavors. George says he’s comfortable with those too. Melissa is making shrimp and an herb salad, much to Adam’s annoyance. Doug has mussels and chorizo. Adam wants to stop being in the middle. He’s scalding shrimp in hot oil to sear them. Katsuji makes a bunch of weirdo shit that somehow all works. Gregory breaks down a jackfruit. Mei is having trouble with cooking the lamb evenly.

All the fans come in and drool over everything. They are really excited to be here and it shows. When the judges come in everyone turns around to look. Gregory has the remains of the jackfruit on his station to give out samples. Katsuji: harissa poached shrimp with Tunisian potato salad, and white sangria. He tells Gail her basket was “cute”, which Blais translates to “not enough chilies”. They like the potato salad. Gregory: coconut milk and chicken in madras curry with jackfruit relish. Very nice. Some random people say they liked the one challenge where they had to hack food out of ice. No, that challenge was terrible and gimmicky. Adam: flash marinated shrimp, mushroom conserva, peppadew peppers, herbs and aioli. Gail wants the shrimp to maybe be cooked 5 seconds longer.

Commercial interlude: some little kid loved Doug’s dish so much she e went back for thirds and then he gave her the board with the menu on it. Aww.

Melissa: sautéed shrimp, harissa yogurt, roasted fig, fennel, dill, mint, and artichoke salad. Needs more spice, or less salt, and is maybe too safe. Mei: rack of lamb with charred eggplant puree, scallion ginger relish and lamb jus. The lamb is pretty rare. The flavors are good. Doug: chorizo marinated mussels with sweet pepper and cauliflower relish. I think they like it. George: beef and lamb kabob with green lentils and cucumber-mint yogurt. Lentils are perfect. He’s relieved.

The judges meet up again and talk about how great the fans are. George did a really great job, as did Gregory. Doug picked out a classic combo. Mei’s lamb was too raw, Adam’s shrimp didn’t work (they weren’t cooked at all and everyone was weirded out). Melissa was too safe.

Judges’ Table. Loser Gong. George, Doug, and Gregory are the tops. They basically say all the stuff we heard about before. George had a great flavor, they like that Gregory introduced people to a new ingredient, and Doug had a classic combo. Doug wins.

Mei, Adam, and Melissa are the bottom. Yikes. Mei’s eggplant and other things were great, but her lamb was very rare. She says next time she’ll have to take it off the bone. Adam talks about his technique, and everyone liked his dish apparently, but the shrimp texture was weird and Tom says the peppers were underseasonsed. Melissa spent 2.5 hours prepping and then cooked the shrimp to order so…what did she do for so long? She says something about knife work but it doesn’t fly. It was good, but not top 6 material possibly. Adam is sent home. Dammit, I like Adam. Boo. His risk didn’t pay off. He’s so upset! Aww. This is what he breathes and he loves cooking enough to be an emotional mess on national television. Nice. He knows he can still do great things even though he didn’t win.

Next time: Padma flirts with a football guy, Gregory and Katsuji trash talk, choose an author to represent.

Last Chance Kitchen: so first everyone fights for a spot, then that winner will take on Adam and Katie. Everyone talks about how they’re ready for the fight and how Kristin won after winning Last Chance Kitchen. You will have to redo the dish that sent you home, except make it good this time. One hour.

Joy’s redoing her veal chop but with less vanilla this time. Keriann I guess is going to make her dish not suck. She’s still bitter. Rebecca is doing everything differently. Aaron will not be making scallop noodles again, but he has no idea what he’s doing. Well, that’s what he tells Rebecca, right before he tells us he really wants to prove to Tom he can pull off this stupid technique.

Tom Time! Stacy is using bacon to get the smoky flavor in, because she doesn’t have an open flame. Aaron has tossed his scallops. James is taking a bigger risk. Tom comes by and Aaron pretends he never would have done that dish again, liar, and he tells Tom with 8 minutes left he has no idea what he’s doing. Stacy’s pot almost boils over. She discovers her clams are terrible and not keeping the crust on them. Aaron just sears some scallops.

Ron: haddock with bay scallop and corn puree, tomato corn salad and fried capers. James: ponzu marinated clams, shaved vegetable herb and citrus salad. Rebecca: seared scallops with fennel garlic puree, wilted fennel and crispy shallots. Aaron: nori and soy pork sausage, seared scallop, hon dashi pickled vegetables and lemon ginger syrup. Joy: roasted veal with celery root puree, bacon studded kale and pickled vegetable vinaigrette. Stacy: butternut squash and bacon soup with brown butter poached lobster tail and fried clams. Keriann: vanilla crepe, burnt banana and white chocolate mousse, marinated berries, salty sweet fritter and caramel sauce.

Stacy put too much cream, so she’s out. Ron improved, but the relish was too salty. Aaron had dry sausage. Keriann also improved but it wasn’t good enough. Rebecca, Joy, and James did a really great job. Joy overrested her veal and so it was a little dry. Rebecca is the winner! Nice.

Part two: Adam and Katie. They will have a chance to redeem themselves. There are two labels on the table: “dry” and “slimy”. That’s what Katie and Adam got nailed about, respectively. Two people move on.

30 minutes. The peanut gallery yells things. Rebecca has some octopus. Adam took oysters because if he undercooks it, no one will mind. Katie thinks she was hitting her stride. Sure. Tom appears. Adam gives acceptable answers. Rebecca says she’s been too busy to know what everyone else is doing. Katie knows she might be in trouble time wise. Adam gets in some trash talk about the peanut gallery. Rebecca finally tastes her yogurt and discovers it’s vanilla sweetened yogurt so she’s in trouble. She just leaves it out.

Adam: salt baked oyster, white miso glacage, pickled morels and nori. Katie: pancetta and mascarpone stuffed morels with tomatillo, cranberry, and pepita salad with miso vinaigrette. Rebecca: warm octopus and confit potato salad, toasted pepitas, and pickled red onions. Tom says everyone did a good job. Specific praise for all dishes, which is not helpful because we don’t hear what people did wrong. Tom’s favorite was Adam’s. So he’s in. Tom’s least favorite was Rebecca’s. Aww. She should have found something to replace the yogurt’s acidity she was planning on.

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