Thursday, December 17, 2015

Top Chef 12/17/15--"It's a Dry Heat" summary

Previously on “Top Chef”: everyone traveled to Santa Barbara to cook with sea urchins and drink wine. We saw the return of the “Sudden Death” Quickfire, which is a waste of time because although Giselle lost the Quickfire she was fine. Grayson won the Quickfire so she had immunity, meaning we didn't have to listen to her complain about things. Mostly. The Elimination challenge at first involved cooking in pairs to make surf and turf, then in a twist everyone had to cook head-to-head, one surf and one turf. Kwame won and was kind of shocked, which was cute. Frances lost, apparently because she had too much on the plate? It wasn't super clear. (click for more)

In Last Chance Kitchen, Tom gave Frances shit about using canned chickpeas that one time, then told her and Garret to make vegetable dishes with ranch dressing. That happened. Anyway Garret won again.

Kwame says he's been doing better than he expected. The chefs hang out at the house they've rented or whatever and toast the fact that they're still there. Angelina is glad it's not her. Of course they all have to pack up tonight and go to Palm Springs. Jason seems to be the only one who knows anything about Palm Springs. He says it's the “Gay Mecca”. Wesley has not been doing well. That is for sure. They all end up in the middle of nowhere with some guy who welcomes them to “Desert Adventures”. Ominous. They all get into Jeeps for a while and then continue into the middle of nowhere where Jose Andres and Padma are hanging around.

Padma says some stuff about clean energy and the San Andreas fault line and shaking things up. Sigh. They will have 30 minutes for their Quickfire, to make something using the sun. There are two types of fancy solar stoves to use. One is like, a glass tube and a metal shield, while the other one is like a satellite dish. Knives are drawn for what type of thing to use. Winner gets immunity. Jose reminds them to keep orienting the ovens towards the sun.

Why didn't they let anyone get sunglasses? Jason makes a Spanish dish. Gutsy. The stoves that are dish shaped seem to be pretty hot. Giselle didn't want the oven but now she's making cous cous. Except for the part where she poured something into a hot glass tube and shattered it. Oops. Wesley says he's confident but he was also confident last time. Grayson can't get her meat cooking fast enough. And then Phillip wanders off as everyone laughs at him. He went to get some rocks to plate on. Seriously. He is putting raw oysters on random ass rocks he got off the ground. Wesley makes sure to be clean.

Isaac: hatch pepper and manchego cheese cornbread with smoked butter and vanilla milk. Jeremy: seared halibut with pickled mushrooms and habanero tomato vinaigrette. Carl: bacon wrapped date with chorizo and pistachios. Grayson: skirt steak with fresh tomato salsa and goat cheese. She complains about not having heat and Padma is like, did you not listen to Jose telling you to angle the oven towards the sun? Padma is not having any of Grayson's shit. Giselle: Mediterranean cous cous salad with roasted asparagus and bacon. Jason: insalta russa with scallops, asparagus, and potatoes. Marjorie: halibut puttanesca. Puttanesca sauce has capers, olives, and anchovies, usually. Amar: achiote-marinated shrimp with panzanella salad and romesco sauce. Wesley: shrimp with coconut broth, lemongrass, sauteed mushrooms and pickled red onion. Phillip: Italian sausage with raw oyster and coconut chamomile. It looks like snot. Padma makes a face.

The bottom chefs are Grayson (too dry), Giselle (boring), and Phillip (warm raw oysters). Top chefs are Jeremy (well cooked and simple), Wesley (balanced acidity and sweetness), and Isaac (took a risk baking cornbread). The winner is Wesley. Huh. He is glad to actually be safe. Then Jose gives him one of the stoves as a bonus prize.

Elimination challenge. Padma divides them into teams based on if they had the stove or the oven just now. Tomorrow everyone is going to the golf course and the contestants will make a four course progressive meal in their teams. To be served on the golf course without a kitchen. All they'll have is “refreshment carts”. Shopping today, and one hour per course tomorrow.

Blue team (Karen, Jeremy, Marjorie, Jason, Wesley, Carl, and Phillip) discusses a vegetable-driven menu. Orange team (Kwame, Chad, Angelina, Grayson, Giselle, Amar, and Isaac) are going Latin. As the courses get shaken out Angelina and Giselle get shoved together and Angelina says she's not OK with that. Giselle says in confessional that she's not OK with it either since Angelina called her a bitch. I mean, they were coming back from the last challenge and Angelina announced to everyone “This bitch beat me AGAIN!” but fine. So everyone figures out who they can work with. Grayson doesn't make Latin flavors.

While shopping Kwame and Jeremy buy the same things. Jeremy gives us a lecture about clean living by the ocean or something. I don't know, it sounded kind of arrogant. Angelina is confident about the Latin flavors. Phillip tells an annoying story about Coachella because Phillip. Isaac doesn't think Phillip's limes are ripe.

Back at the hotel there is hot tubbing. Jeremy says the guys are a clique. They certainly are all jammed into the hot tub together. Jason interviews there are a lot of bros being loud and he's really not excited about that.

Everyone gets a “refreshment cart” which looks like a glorified golf cart with cabinets and a George Foreman grill jammed in there. John Besh is here. Good, he's usually good for some entertainment. Teams drive around and end up at stations scattered about. Both teams are serving ceviche for the first course, but Jeremy's plan is to put a bowl with ice, and then another bowl on top with the ceviche in it, to keep it cold. That's a good idea. Jeremy and Karen: citrus-marinated halibut with kumquats, passion fruit caviar, avocado mousse. Kwame and Chad: marinated swordfish with tuna and sweet potato emulsion. Sounds like Kwame and Chad had better flavors but warm ceviche. Tom's group comes through with Mary Sue Milliken and Douglas Keane and Blais. Tom makes fun of Blais's crappy golf skills. Hee. They seem to have similar opinions.

Second course. Grayson wants to put vinegar in the hash and this is presented ominously. Grayson and Angelina: avocado, chorizo, shrimp, and corn. There is some discussion about the corn, and how it should be raw? Fresher? It's cooked in the chorizo hash. Grayson says she didn't think the corn was impressive enough to serve it raw so she's not doing anything. Jason and Marjorie: grilled shrimp with summer squash, roasted eggplant puree, tomato and celery salad. Fresh and delicious. The second group wants more acid from Grayson and less cooking on the corn.

Third course. Carl is kind of nervous because he's paired with Wesley, who has immunity. Amar's paired with Giselle, who has been on the bottom, so he's also nervous. Wesley and Carl: roasted pork loin with yogurt, green chile, apple, and grapes. The grapes should be cold. Giselle and Amar: spice-rubbed New York strip with bacon asparagus potato salad and salsa verde. The dish doesn't mesh; it's like two different dishes. Wesley and Carl change their dish a little bit between groups so we'll see how that turns out.

Fourth course. Issac is making dessert, because Phillip is making dessert. He says he must be high. Hee. The wind has kicked in, so no one can keep the burners lit. Phillip is also losing bowls. Isaac: grapefruit sabayon with tequila whipped cream and lemon shortbread almond crumble. They kind of want more grapefruit. Phillip is hiding behind the stand he's supposed to be serving on top of, to keep the wind from ruining his dish. But of course he's still talking to the judges while his head is under a blanket because Phillip. They can't stop laughing at him. Phillip: coconut pudding with strawberries, basil, and rum lime air. Of course he has air. When the second group comes by Isaac can't resist telling them the limes at the store were unripe. Heh.

The judges discuss how everyone did, and of course it's all very vague and everyone has problems. They call everyone in and tell the Blue team they won. Sigh, that means Phillip is safe. Padma says one dish stood out as the best, and that's Karen and Jeremy's dish. The ceviche was really clean and no one says so but I bet the trick with the two bowls and the ice put them over. They declare Jeremy the winner and give him a week at the hotel they're staying at. Karen looks reasonably happy for him.

Orange team had decent dishes but the clear loser was Grayson and Angelina's dish. Aww. Too much fat and not enough lime or acid. Grayson tells the judges the corn wasn't good enough to serve raw. Padma asks why they used it then, which is kind of obnoxious. Some things are not good enough to serve raw but are fine to serve cooked, Padma. That's how it works. Anyway, Grayson kind of stammers that she thought it would be fine. The shrimp had too much marinade and were kind of rubbery. Blais asks Angelina who should go home, because they always do this just to start shit. She says they're a team, but that she doesn't want to go home. Of course no one wants to go home, but neither of them will say the other should go.

Tom tells everyone a really labored golf analogy and then Grayson is eliminated. Aww. She goes up to shake the judges' hands, and Tom is like “You have to hear me, it was the corn.” Oh, leave her alone, Tom. She is PISSED. She doesn't think it's all her fault, but she's willing to take the fall because she's been on the show before. But she's also more experienced and she doesn't get why they would get rid of her over Angelina. On the way out she curses up a storm. Hee.

Next time: dates, and catering a gay wedding. Plenty of dumb arguing. But it won't be on until January, I'm pretty sure, so that'll be a nice break.

Last Chance Kitchen: Grayson insists she respects Tom. However she guesses correctly she's battling Garret. She's nice about it, but Garret thinks she has a big mouth so the trash talking is coming. Tom brings up the corn again, but then says the judges didn't think she was pushing herself. Today's challenge involves a bunch of boxes with exotic ingredients. They each get two boxes and have to feature them in the dish. They have no idea what they've gotten, but they have 30 minutes to figure something out.

Garret has tomatillos and crisp broad beans. Grayson has ginkgo nuts and coconut. Which is hilarious because she just spent five minutes hoping she didn't have coconut. The ginkgo nuts are sour and bitter and she does not like them. Frances is loud and mocks everyone which is fun. Garret gets some branzino and makes a flour/breading out of the broad beans. Grayson can't get the coconut open and Garret can barely refrain from gloating about it.

Tom Time. He is trying to talk to Grayson but he looks dubious, asking her what she's burning. Then he laughs at her when she says she has coconut. Basically he asks her a million questions and laughs when she's flustered. Oh, Garret, it's nice and calm over here. Heh. Grayson: pork tenderloin with a sweet and sour coconut shrimp, fresh herbs and candied ginkgo nuts. Tom actually gives her a compliment. Garret: broad bean crusted branzino with melted fennel, chorizo and tomatillo salsa. Lots of textures. Garret's fish was slightly overdone but the flavors were great. Grayson cooked everything well, but maybe could have done more with the coconut. The winner is Grayson. What? Tom says they were going to go with the use of the ingredients. Garret's problem was with the fish which was not one of the ingredients he was given. Grayson needed to do more with her coconut which WAS an ingredient. I smell shenanigans.

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