Thursday, December 3, 2015

Top Chef 12/2/15--"Stop the Presses" summary

I feel like this show hasn't been on in ages. Right? And I actually like this show. This season is “California”, meaning they're going to drive around a bunch for no reason. Whatever, I'm still excited. Mainly because I actually LIKE this show. (click for more)

Tom and Padma greet everyone in L.A. The kitchen looks nice. They'll go all around California and end up in San Francisco. Padma asks executive chefs to raise their hands and I think everyone does except Frances. Frances is the only sous chef, which both sucks and hopefully is an opportunity for her to humble some arrogant bastards. Now is time for introductions which start out with Renee, who is already annoying. To both me and others. Also there are several James Beard nominees (including Tom who raises his hand, which is too funny to me). Some girl is missing the actual awards ceremony to be here. Whatever, girl. GRAYSON! Remember Grayson? There was a dumb song. She was on the Texas season and was not a horrible garbage person. Also I like that they just let her in without making a big deal about second chances or shit like that.

Quickfire time. There's some new graphics I don't think I like. First task is the mise-en-place race, which I like because it's easier to recap. Turn 4 artichokes (which I think is taking all the leaves off and then removing the choke and trimming it so there's just the heart left), peel 45 asparagus, separate 40 eggs, break down 5 chickens, supreme 7 oranges (that's where you take the peel off and cut wedges so you just have orange and not the pith). Padma sells this as “California ingredients” as if you can't get chickens and eggs outside of California. She says to pick the one you think you can finish the quickest, and the first 9 chefs will move to round two. Round two has immunity, and let's be honest, is probably going to be “make a dish with these things”. I think there are 17 people? Tom says the ingredients are first come, first serve, so you might get stuck with something you suck at preparing.

Phillip says he has won “Chopped”, “Guy's Grocery Games”, and “Cutthroat Kitchen” so he is now on “Top Chef” and I hope he gets eaten alive. Food Network shows don't compare to this, son. Tom says he would have picked chicken or artichokes. Frances actually is pleased because this is her job. True. Renee brags that she gave herself a challenge about breaking things down before she came here? I'm not sure. She does win though. Wesley is also done. Phillip promptly gets orange juice in his eye. Ha! Wait no one fought over ingredients! Boring. Marjorie used to work for Mike Isabella so I feel bad for her. Grayson isn't done yet and she's starting to flip out. Garret is separating eggs and has broken a yolk, so Tom says he has to redo it. He actually goes through two or three eggs and can't stop breaking yolks, so Grayson finishes before him and he loses out. Womp womp. Phillip quickly blames the 30 seconds he used to wash out his eyes as why he lost, even though the woman next to him points out his shitty supremes.

The nine people get into groups of three to make a dish that has to showcase “at least one” ingredient from the race. See I told you. 30 minutes, but tag team style. You get ten minutes and are blindfolded for the rest of it. But, all three of you get immunity if you win. Renee spends a lot of time getting ingredients. Isaac is making breaded chicken and I guess is having everyone else figure out what to do. Jason has no plan. Grayson seems to have a big plan to put stuff out so the last person can plate so I anticipate him not seeing that. Jeremy puts a pan of chicken in the oven, which is a problem since you can't tell anyone what you've done. Why would you do that? Wesley can't find the chicken because why would you think to look there? He does find some back-up chicken Jason put on the grill, which is both burned and raw. Amar finds their chicken and the slaw and Renee and Frances gloat.

Grayson, Isaac, Carl: breaded chicken breast with asparagus and mushrooms. Jason, Jeremy, Wesley: grilled chicken leg with orange, anchovy, and potato, and some carrot puree. It's a really small portion because the chicken was raw. Renee, Frances, Amar: sweet and sour chicken with marinated slaw.

Clearly the tiny portion of chicken leg is not winning. Grayson's team was well cooked, and Renee's team had good flavors. Tom says flavor will always stand out, so Renee, Frances, and Amar all win immunity.

Elimination Challenge. Feed 200 VIP guests at a “Dine LA showcase”, whatever that is. You can make whatever you want but you should probably make something that stands out from the crowd. In this crowd of 200 will be a bunch of food critics who are going to be scoring everyone, with the scores determining the top and bottom. Also Gail and Emeril will be there. 3 hours to prep today, and 1.5 hours tomorrow. And a Whole Foods trip of course.

Just so you guys know, Top Chef's normal night is going to be Thursday because of course it is.

Grayson goes to Whole Foods and buys meat for meatballs and makes jokes about balls because that's Grayson. I think Frances is making mung beans and bitter melon. Daring, but she's got immunity so I'm guessing she doesn't really care. Phillip says he knows all the food critics in the area? Or something? Then he says he has no style or signature, he just makes yummy food. I hate the word “yummy”. You know how some people hate “moist”? That's how I feel about it. Shut up Phillip.

Three hours to prep. Amar's making meatballs too. Isaac talks about making good Cajun dishes for Emeril and his Louisiana accent really comes out. Garret says a bunch of shit about the manifestation of cuisine. I don't know what he's talking about. Wesley is making tomato water and also a ridiculous mess. There is just trash and crap all around him.

Tom and Emeril show up for Tom Time. Angelina is terrified of Tom. She escapes pretty unscathed, while Isaac also does well since he seems competent. Wesley is literally on his knees cleaning or looking for shit or something. Turns out Isaac was unscathed because Emeril knows him, but Emeril promises that he'll be harder on Isaac. Yeah probably. Some frantic last minute running around and packing.

Everyone heads back to the hotel/apartments/whatever to settle in. Frances asks Renee to teach her yoga. Aww! Frances also busts out a picture of her and her wife...who looks creepily like Renee. Hee. Karen is the woman who ditched the James Beard awards to come here. She says her spouse went for her, and she calls home to find out she lost.

Out at the park everyone gets a little tent with a sign showing where they're from and some chafing dishes and hot plates. Chad brags about his super hipster beard. Garret appears to hate Mike Isabella so I kind of forgive him for that “manifestation of cuisine” stuff earlier. Phillip wants to smoke some crab or goat cheese or something so he just picks up the dead grass from in front of his counter to light on fire. What? Marjorie points out to him there are dogs around and that's gross. True.

Once again everyone runs in at once, creating lines. I wish Top Chef would come here. Isaac: Grandmother's shrimp court-bullion. Delicious. Angelina: goat cheese croquette with smoked romesco and caramelized parsnip puree. Lots of puree. Maybe too much. Also a blogger says it was cold. Garret: Vietnamese chicken brodo. Renee: citrus-marinated pork with polenta. Could use some seasoning. Kwame: spicy romaine mah haw with shrimp, pork, charred pineapple, and toasted peanuts. Mah haw is pork on pineapple? I think? The peanut flavor is great. Amar: spicy sherry-glazed pork belly meatball with cherry root cream cheese puree. Lots of flavor. Karen: salmon and apple tartare with pomegranate pickled cherries and Szechuan walnuts. Grayson: pork and veal meatballs with spicy tomato sauce and gremolata. Tom and Padma are underwhelmed with the sauce because it's just a regular Jersey pizza sauce? Or something.

Carl: spiced carrot soup. Goes over well. Jeremy: Pacific snapper crudo with kombu gel and lime zest. Very simple and clean. Wesley: shrimp and clams with mustard potato salad. While he's talking to Padma and Tom he's futzing with a pan and I guess making everything to order right then. He's also tasting and I thought he got a new spoon because he tastes and then puts the spoon somewhere. But maybe it was into a pan to add garlic or something so it's the same spoon he just put in his mouth? Padma can barely hide her disgust at his double dipping. They like the dish though. Phillip: California produce with flavors of the Pacific. There's foam on it. Sadly everyone likes it. Giselle: cauliflower almond soup. Marjorie: lamb tartare with smoked egg yolk, shaved vegetable and herb salad. Jason: poached heirloom chicken with salsa apicius. “Apicius” refers to an ancient Roman cookbook. Chad: tangerine aguachile with scallop and shrimp cake. Aguachile is ceviche spiked with chiles. Frances: mung bean soup with bitter melon. Tom likes it.

There is a montage of other chefs talking about their dishes but without chyrons or explanations. Garret gets yelled at so I guess he hasn't done that well. The judges gather and Padma tells them the critics scored Isaac, Amar, Jeremy, Carl, and Kwame in the top. The bottom is Angelina, Renee, Grayson, Garret, and Frances. The judges don't totally agree. They do some discussion of how good everyone is, which is basically them saying how good things taste. Frances and Renee have immunity, so the person going home will be Angelina, Garret, or Grayson. Tom and Padma hated Garret's, but Emeril and Gail got good portions of his stuff. Gail didn't like Angelina's. I think their problem with Grayson was less a bad dish and more them being underwhelmed.

The Stew Room looks nice. Phillip is bragging to the room that he knows all the critics and no one is impressed. Everyone gets called out, which is boring and as I've said before, they should let the middle chefs sit down. Overall it was great. Amar, Jeremy, and Carl are the top three. Amar's meatball was not ordinary. Carl's soup was not heavy-handed with the spices. Jeremy's crudo was simple but very well executed. Emeril makes a comment about how clean his station was and Padma can't resist a dig and pointed look at Wesley. Jeremy is the winner!

Angelina, Grayson, and Garret are the bottom. Boo, no Loser Gong. Angelina maybe didn't push herself as much as she should have. I think that's what Tom is saying. There is disagreement about Garret's dish, but they do point out he should have been consistent. Grayson is like, well I'm sorry you didn't like my food, and everyone shuts her down by pointing out the critics put her here. It was boring. Emeril expected more from her, and Grayson says something about sparkles. She's totally not sorry or contrite. Everyone is wincing on her behalf.

Tom makes a speech about standing out, and then Garret is sent home. Really? When half the judges thought it was fine? That seems suspicious. Back in the Stew Room there is drinking and general freaking out about “oh the littlest thing could send you home” like they didn't know that. Grayson is still defiant. Was she this defiant the first time? I'll have to look.

The next morning there is a note from Padma to meet her on the roof. What is this, Project Runway? Sigh. Anyway Padma is up there with Ludo Lefebvre to tell them they'll be creating four pop-up restaurants today, in various places around the city.

Tomorrow: pop-ups and the usual Restaurant Wars-style drama and nonsense.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Grayson was very defiant in her season, remember when she went at Tom over the head to head challenge in which she and Chris went up with a chicken salad sandwich and her line "a meatball?" was thrown at the judges' faces? If she brings that fire to each episode, we're in for a fun season.