Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Top Chef 1/14/15--"Sous Your Daddy!" summary

Previously on “Top Chef”: everyone made ramen, which was less exciting than I thought it would be. Probably because stupid Andy Cohen was there. Anyway, Melissa won a bunch of money which was cool. Then the chefs were asked to make dishes to honor Julia Child, which means cooking French food. Mei made duck a l’orange, but put her own spin on it, and won. Doug took a huge risk by roasting a whole lobe of foie gras but didn’t execute it properly and was eliminated. Sure there aren’t any villains left or people to root against, but that means every elimination sucks because you like everyone. (click for more)

In Last Chance Kitchen everyone had to make dishes with liver, and Katsuji was eliminated for not cleaning his goat liver properly. So Adam and Doug live to fight again.

It’s the final four and everyone is ready to win and everyone is nervous because they’re taking risks. And so forth. No one says anything earth-shattering.

This episode’s guest judge is Ashley Christensen. Everyone claps politely. No Quickfire today! Good, that makes my life easier. The Elimination challenge is to go to an oyster farm to collect various shellfish and seaweed. I swear Padma says “You’ll even forage for your own seaweed, and seaweed.” I don’t know. You get the idea though. Everyone has to make one appetizer and one entrée. You need help though! Here are some family members! Melissa’s mom, Mei’s brother, Gregory’s sister, and George’s dad. For some reason I find it really interesting that they didn’t repeat any family members. Like, one mom, one dad, etc. These are the sous chefs for this episode. Mei freaks out because her brother can’t cook. George makes out like a bandit because his father owns a diner. Seriously, that is such a ridiculous advantage that I immediately am suspicious. Just to make sure the sous chefs actually are sous chefs, the contestants cannot touch the appetizer course. So one of your two courses totally depends on your family member. So no one is screwed by them, there will be NO elimination today. So what is the point of this episode!? Ugh. Winner will go directly to the final round of the show in Mexico. OK, so you can’t go home, but if you win, you get immunity for next week. Not bad.

Melissa’s mom is so proud of her. She’s so cute. Mei is half asleep in the car and she’s not really emotional. She says her family is in the restaurant business so they didn’t really want her to be a chef because it’s a hard life. She gives her brother shit for not being done with school yet. Gathering oysters means going out in a boat and dredging the bottom, I think. The guy says not to be delicate with the thing and then Mei’s brother breaks the handle off. Ominous. Mei is disgusted. I wonder if they got this great idea for forcing everyone to work with family members but then thought if someone was sent home for something that family member did, that would be totally unfair. I can’t tell if anyone has a good haul or not. Back on the dock there’s a bunch of stuff laid out on ice for people to pick out. Mei plans something raw.

In the car, Melissa explains that her mom used to heat up milk and sugar and it made a custard sort of. So she wants to do that. Gregory and his sister Jessica tell a story about how once they tried to make a cake, but they burned it so they rode their bikes down the street and hid it under a bush. Hee. George loses his dad in the Whole Foods briefly. Did they give them a time limit? Because this seems very leisurely. No, Gregory is calling out times. Maybe George is just relaxed. Mei is disgusted because she gave Harly four things to get and he’s dicking around.

They put everyone up in a sweet house in Gloucester to have family time and touching moments. I assume, I wasn’t really paying attention. I was wrong, the moments seem to be mostly Melissa saying her dad has never been into any of her restaurants, because he doesn’t support her career or possibly her having a girlfriend. That sucks. Mom seems cool though. George’s dad took his diner, sold it, and then put the money into George’s restaurant. Nice. Of course now he comes in and yells at George. Mei says both her parents are like Melissa’s dad, but she manages to do it like she’s one-upping Melissa.

Two hours to cook today. Everyone plans while in the house. Mei is seriously rude to her brother; I guess he really fails at cooking? Everyone else seems more supportive. When they finally start, Mei is freaking out at the lack of organization and how slow her brother is. She is talking about how he’s going to ruin her chances to get into the finals, except for the part where she can’t be eliminated today and she can still do well next week and get into the finale. Gregory is not playing safe since he can’t be eliminated. When Jessica struggles with knife cuts, Gregory says he has to stop to help her because she’s never worked in a kitchen before. I guess this is supposed to contrast with Mei’s anger at her brother not being useful.

Tom Time! When Tom is introduced to Harly he’s like, did you know your brother is burning his mushrooms? Hee. Mei just picks up the pan and dumps it, as Tom “jokes” about how he’s ruining it for his sister. HE CAN’T BECAUSE SHE CAN’T BE ELIMINATED. Jesus, stop doing that. Mei says after yelling at her brother he’s doing really well. Blais is here, as well as Rick Moonen and several other chefs. Suddenly Mei thinks they can win today.

Mei: oyster with soy-yuzu vinaigrette and radish. Harly’s never shucked oysters before but he seems to have done a good job. Surf clam and lobster in tomato-coconut broth. The seafood is perfectly cooked and everyone raves about the broth. Now that everything is done well Mei is really proud. Seriously she was negative for most of the episode and suddenly she’s all smiles.

Gregory gives his sister orders and then discovers his oven is too hot, so his halibut might be overcooked. Tomato watermelon soup with pickled cucumber and shrimp. It’s really good. Halibut with oysters, mussels, and dashi. Gregory admits that the fish maybe is overcooked. Gregory’s dish is kind of a letdown.

George says his dad is taking direction well. Grilled oysters with razor clams and cucumber. They are grilled well but maybe not salty enough. Butter-poached lobster with sunchokes. Tom gives him shit about the microgreens or whatever garnish is happening here. Unnecessary. George showed respect for the ingredients.

Melissa’s mom did so well she’s done early and is helping Melissa plate. Egg custard with shiitake mushrooms, clams, and lobster. It’s turned out really well. Butter-poached lobster with onion soubise and pea puree. Melissa’s mom is so pleased she did well. It’s cute. The lobster is perfect. The judges are impressed.

The judges discuss. Gregory’s sister did better than he did. At least they liked the appetizer better. Everyone raves about Mei’s broth. George did well, but Mei did a better job with the lobster. And then they bring up Melissa, who I think did even better and also had her mom make egg custard, unlike everyone else who tried to have their family members do simple things.

Judges’ Table. They start by Tom throwing out how Gregory’s sister did better than he did. Burn. Mei and Melissa are the tops today. Mei’s broth was absolutely perfect, in addition to her clams. Melissa had perfect lobster. It’s hard to pick a winner but they did, and it’s Melissa! The edge was in how she got her mom to make something complicated. It kind of is not fair to Mei because her brother doesn’t cook, so I wouldn’t have him make anything complicated either. But this is also Melissa’s first Elimination challenge win, so I can’t hate on her.

Next time: double elimination, lots of trash talking, Wylie Dufresne, I can’t tell what is going on.

Last Chance Kitchen: so the deal is, since there was no elimination today Adam and Doug will battle, and then the winner will battle whoever next week, and THAT winner will get back into the show. Now is the time for the sponsor to demand their payment. Tom lets Adam and Doug guess who is coming in before telling them that no one was eliminated. They’ve battled twice before and they each won once. The challenge is to take these two crudité platters (not complete without [product placement] ranch dressing!) and make a dish. This is your only source of produce.

30 minutes to cook. It appears you have to use ranch dressing too. Sigh. Adam is making pasta with ranch dressing maybe. He puts ranch on his pizza crust. I mean there are bell peppers and stuff on that tray, it’s not like it’s all sad carrots. It’s the ranch dressing that’s the hard part. Katsuji passes the tray around for snacks. Hee. Doug’s searing a steak but it may be too early. As Tom is asking questions, Adam runs away to fiddle with crepes, and then he comes back and picks up where he left off. It’s really entertaining to me for some reason. Doug has a lot of ranch going on. Tom seems surprised that these two are having trouble with this challenge. Whatever, Tom. Doug slices his steak and curses because it’s overcooked. And there are five minutes left. Keriann gets a bunch of interview time, which is too bad because I don’t want to hear from her. A million people are talking about what Doug’s doing. WHATEVER. Just let him do it. He slices some pork loin. Adam is confident and says if he doesn’t win, he’s OK with going out on this dish.

Adam: “white pie cannelloni” with ranch pancetta and agrodolce raisins. It’s like a crepe wrapped around filling. There’s ranch in the filling too. Doug: seared pork loin, spiced cauliflower, red pepper ranch and ranch pickled vegetables. Tom basically is like “how do you fuck up your steak with so much on the line?” Rude.

The final round of this is in Mexico. Adam’s crepe is a little thick and he didn’t use a lot of vegetables. Doug overcooked his steak and had to scrap it, which Tom is still railing on, but the veggies were nicely cooked. Doug wins! Tom drags it out FOREVER but he finally tells Doug he’s going to Mexico. Adam seems mostly OK with losing. So that’s why everyone got interview time about Doug.

No comments: