Thursday, January 14, 2016

Top Chef 1/14/16--"Banannaise" summary

Previously on “Top Chef”: the Quickfire involved dates which wasn't that interesting, like, I get that people have cute stories but whatever. Jason won immunity and immediately became a really obnoxious smug jerk. Everyone had to cook in a group for a group gay wedding, which was actually cute and fun. Phillip failed because he made like, potato sauce or something, and then everyone tried to bitch at him for not being honest about how he totally didn't tell them it would be sauce and not mashed potatoes? I mean, the judges hated the potatoes and Phillip told them it was exactly how he wanted, and they weren't trying to argue that the team should have stopped him. So just let him fail. Anyway, Karen and Giselle also had a failed dish and Giselle basically admitted she didn't do anything so she went home. (click for more)

In Last Chance Kitchen Giselle and Grayson seem to have a bunch of fun making dishes with only 20 minutes. Grayson wins again, and Tom says it's because Giselle's food is too cold. I guess. I don't know, you guys, this season of Last Chance Kitchen is super-sketchy to me.

Back at the hotel or wherever they are staying, the boys make fun of Karen and Giselle's “drama”. Where Karen called her out for not doing anything and being “just” a sous chef. Karen is 100% not sorry. Jason is STILL bitching at Phillip for “lying” about how the potatoes turned out. HE KNOWS THEY WERE GUMMY BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT HE WANTED. I seriously don't think Phillip was ever going to admit he screwed up here, but he isn't blaming it on anyone else and it's not like the judges would have thought he was lying about mistakes. They would have just assumed he was an idiot. Everyone gangs up on him and says his opinion is wrong. Why are you all putting so much effort into telling Phillip he's a liar? Kwame does the best by telling him he's not in his restaurant and Phillip will end up being his own worst enemy. That's true. After a confessional about how much Phillip needs the money, Jason smugs that he can't imagine Phillip really wanted gummy potatoes. Are you stupid? I can imagine it with zero problems. Phillip brings up the excellent point of “what the fuck does that have to do with you?” only he's slightly more respectful and asks how it affects Jason's day. Kwame begs them to shut up because they're just going to talk in circles. Seriously. It's none of Jason's damn business because Phillip's poor dish doesn't make him lose or anything. And I'm tired of agreeing with Phillip.

Time for San Diego. Chad...says he joined the Navy after 9/11 and then was in San Diego. It's just so out of left field. Jeremy gives him shit about maybe he'll see his girlfriend walking around with some other guy. The contestants end up at the marina on the docks. Padma greets them with Javier Plascencia, who has extensive knowledge of Baja California.

Quickfire Challenge. Padma says San Diego cooking is built on fresh local seafood, and “the Baja Cali style of cuisine”. But she says it in an annoying way. Anyway, make fish tacos in 20 minutes. Winner gets immunity. Also it's another stupid “Sudden Death” Quickfire. Wesley tries to take all the lobster and says lobster and foie gras are a classic pairing. Sure but they aren't “California”. Isaac cuts up hot peppers and chants not to touch his eyes. Angelina seems confident, but she's asking Marjorie to taste her food. Wesley starts yelling about his lobster, because of course someone stole it from him. After accusing various people he ends up at Marjorie's station. She says she found it on her station, and then says Wesley probably put it on the wrong station. He probably did. He does apologize, but you're an idiot, Wesley. There's a lot of bragging from various people about how much they love fish tacos and how great they are at cooking them. Carl is pretty cocky, while Chad is making his tacos very spicy on purpose. Marjorie is trying to make tortillas from scratch. Phillip has a meta moment about making his food while giving the judges whatever he thinks they want. Wesley makes a roll thing with mango and apples. I don't know. When time is called, Angelina realizes she's plated on the cutting board, not on the plates.

Kwame: wahoo taco with truffle cream and chipotle salsa. Phillip: yellowfin tuna taco with seared foie gras, caviar, truffle, and chilies. Jason: yellowfin tuna and black summer truffle taco with jalapeno, dill, and ginger. Karen: oyster taco with kimchi sesame salsa, pickled red cabbage and avocado. Isaac: cornmeal fried soft shell crab taco with cane sugar vinaigrette and marinated tomato. He gets the criticism of “greasy”. Wesley: apple and mango taco with fried tortilla and lobster. It's just a rolled up thing with lobster in it, like a tube. It falls apart. Amar: beer-battered ono taco with guacamole and marinated cabbage, cilantro, and jalapeno. Not spicy enough? Marjorie: grilled wahoo taco with truffled melted leeks and radish citrus salsa. Her chyron says “wahoo (ono)” because as I just looked up, they are the same. Also not spicy enough. Angelina is next. Aww. They just walk on. Chad: grilled thresher shark taco with oyster and sea urchin salsa and sal de gusano. Sal de gusano is salt with toasted and ground agave worms. You know, the kind in tequila. I am not making that up. Carl: roasted bay scallop taco with poblano and tomatillo.

So the top is Karen (blend of Asian ingredients), Chad (heat was perfect), and Kwame (tortilla was cooked really well). The winner is Chad. He seems really relieved. Phillip bitches about how he thinks he made something perfect just because he didn't get any negative feedback, and I want him to shut up again, and all is right with the world. Also he uses the word “yummy” which I have an irrational hatred of. Negative points, Phillip. Angelina automatically loses because she didn't plate anything. Too bad. Wesley is thankful he's not in danger, which is fine, but then says she's stupid, which is annoying. He gets his comeuppance though because Angelina chooses him to battle. She thinks she has a chance to beat him, but not many others around here. The challenge will be to make a dish in 20 minutes, using only the ingredients in Javier's Caesar salad. Heh. It does not have to be a salad.

Oh, wait, I just remembered if Wesley loses he doesn't go home. Sigh. Angelina is making crostini, and Wesley wants to make an egg dish. Jeremy heckles Wesley about being old and breaking the yolks and stuff. And then when Wesley tastes his dish Angelina is like “not the same spoon girl”. Ha! Wesley: fried egg with anchovy remoulade, grilled romaine, croutons, and lime zest. Angelina: crostini with garlic, olive oil, Dijon vinaigrette, grilled romaine, and anchovy. Wesley's dish had a perfect egg but needed more lettuce. Angelina had a good idea but needed more sauce. The winner is Wesley. BOO. So Angelina is eliminated. She thinks if she had plated her tacos this would never have happened. Yeah this is too bad because Wesley is going to be super annoying now.

Padma calls Emeril, Tom, and Blais over, and says they should all be proud for making it halfway through the season. Everyone gets a bottle of beer. Karen brags (in the most obnoxious way possible) that she knows something's up. The four judges “collaborated” on these beers with a local microbrewery. For the Elimination Challenge they will have to make a dish to pair with the beer they have. Padma's beer is a golden ale with jalapeno, ginger, and tamarind. Blais made a stout with beets, chocolate, and ras el hanout. Of course he did. Emeril's beer has coffee, cayenne, and tangerine. Tom's wheat beer has lemon, coriander, and banana. Isaac has Tom's beer and wants to trade away the banana. They'll have 2 hours tomorrow to cook in Blais's restaurant. He tells them not to break anything.

On the way to shopping Isaac wonders aloud how he's going to get banana in a savory dish. “Oh, that's it! I'll freeze banana in nitrogen, and then stick it up my ass.” Hee. Marjorie buys turkey necks. Kwame is buying bananas or maybe plantains in order to get banana in his dish. Jason says a bunch of pretentious stuff while wearing a really ugly jacket, but he does say that the squid he's buying looks weird, so let's hope it's bad.

They all go to the hotel and then Emeril shows up with like, six bottles of wine. Nice. He just came to hang out and chat about how they're doing and give them encouragement. Oh, how nice of him. It really is a nice pep talk and does not feel producer-influenced even though I'm sure it is.

Blais's restaurant is pretty sweet. Wesley knocks things down and mentions his tie to Blais, which is apparently that when Blais left whatever restaurant, sold his shares, cut all ties, etc., then Wesley took over. So...really no connection. Marjorie is going to try the pressure cooker for the first time. Wesley thinks the challenge is designed for him to fail. Oh yeah, the producers are out to get you. I doubt it. Carl says Jason's a good chef but makes “old” dishes. I think every single chef has had at least one personal anecdote today. Usually it's just one or two. Amar creates jalapeno poppers. Phillip tries to have people taste his food, I think because he has lost all confidence. He says he is now just going to make “technically proficient food”, so I guess look out for the judges to complain his food has no soul. Gratuitous shot of Wesley's plumber's crack which I didn't need to see, SHOW. Issac decides to make mayonnaise out of his bananas instead of sticking them up his ass. “Why don't I make...BANANNAISE!” His voice when he says it is absolutely hilarious. “Am I high or is this good?!” You guys, I think Isaac is losing it. Marjorie goes to check the pressure cooker and finds she hasn't put the lid on properly so it's not cooking right. She gets it going but it might be too late.

The judges arrive with the two guys from the brewery who made the beer. First up is Padma's beer with jalapeno, ginger, and tamarind. Chad: carrot herb-roasted opah with ginger hominy, jalapeno puree and tamarind glazed carrots. Amar: sous vide chicken breast, crispy chicken thigh, jalapeno popper and tamarind ginger chutney. They both get a lot of praise.

Wesley rested his lamb for too long and now it's overcooked. He seems to be throwing sauce at plates and making a mess. Karen: roasted duck breast with cocoa nib beet puree and ras el hanout roasted carrots. Wesley: lamb with roasted beet puree and ras el hanout roasted carrots. The lamb is dry too, in addition to being overcooked. Jeremy: duck with chocolate granola, habanero ras el hanout pickled beets and pickled blueberry hibiscus reduction. It's great but maybe is not fatty enough.

Marjorie's chicken seems to have cooked. Marjorie: roasted potato gnocchi with chicken ragu and roasted mushrooms. The chicken was supposed to be braised in the beer but they can't taste it. I think that's what happened when she didn't put the lid on right. Phillip: roasted duck breast with rutabaga puree. The sauce tastes like the beer, I guess. Carl: grilled short rib with ancho chili, coffee, and dried cherry salsa. Apparently it's too close and cancels out the beer?

Isaac: corn and crab veloute with crispy potato, king crab salad, and sriracha banannaise. He could have just served crab salad and banana. Kwame: chicken mojo with banana sofrito puree, garlic puree, and charred green onion. Delicious. Jason: pork and squid meatball with grilled marinated squid, carrot wheat beer sauce, salsa povera. The meatball has a weird texture. Blais says it's one of the weirdest things he's had. Jason lectures the judges about Catalan dishes or whatever. Tom makes one of his faces that is not a good sign for you.

The judges sit around and discuss the dishes. They have stopped doing that video thing, which was a failed experiment and I'm glad about that. Tom brings up Jason's stupid dish and how terrible it was and maybe it's “historic” but it sucks which is why no one makes it anymore. It was worse than banannaise.

Judges' Table. Amar, Karen, and Kwame are the top three. Amar's dish was bolder than anything he's made yet. Karen's beet puree was really delicious. Kwame's dish could go on any menu. The winner is Karen. So great! She's thrilled.

Jason, Isaac, and Wesley are the bottom three. Isaac did two things (salad and veloute) and he should have stuck to one. Plus, banannaise. Wesley had poor presentation, and then served overcooked meat. But he says he had to serve something, and in his restaurant he would have thrown it out. Jason made something super weird, plus the tentacles were slimy.

Tom thinks the challenge wasn't the problem, it was people's shitty cooking. Wesley is finally sent home. That was overdue. Plus the lamb was overcooked and the slopping of sauce, which they totally noticed. He says everything on this show is hard.

Next week: back to LA., lots of Top Chef alumni, I'm sure people trying to make the most of their latest TV appearance.

Last Chance Kitchen: both Angelina and Wesley are here. Angelina is thrilled to get Wesley. Angelina calls Grayson old. Grayson is ready to get rid of Angelina since she feels that she got eliminated instead of Angelina. Grayson yells that she hopes Tom doesn't screw this up for her. Interesting. Tom tries to be coy about the challenge, but Wesley figures out it's burgers. Then Tom tells Wesley that he has a fine dining restaurant but he looks like he knows about burgers. Tom, a fat joke? Wesley models his gut. 15 minutes. “Make sure you get it on the plate”.

Lots and lots of peanut gallery yelling and telling Wesley to run (“...I can't”). Grayson grabs pork belly but discovers it's not ground. So she runs over to the grinder and forces it through even though it's the wrong die. And then doesn't put a bowl down so just runs around with a double handful of pork cubes. And is making a traditional “Wisconsin” burger with cheddar. Wesley has lamb. Angelina is trying not to over complicate her dish too much. Tom appears and Angelina says he makes her nervous. She's having a great coherent conversation with him though. She has 5 or 6 things on her burger but she says it's simple. Tom eats some of Wesley's garnish and says it's good. Grayson hasn't started cooking yet possibly with five minutes left. Wesley made his burgers thin and so he has like a 30 second window for perfect doneness. Tom hollers at Angelina and asks if she's going to get her food plated on time. I think everyone makes it.

Wesley: lamb burger with ras el hanout, goat cheese, and fennel, jalapeno onion slaw. Grayson: beef and pork belly burger with mushrooms, pickled red onion and Wisconsin cheddar cheese. Angelina: beef and pork burger with avocado, heirloom tomatoes, pickled habanero and arugula. The only one that Tom said anything negative about was Grayson's cheese was not melted enough. Tom says all the flavors were great, but one really stood out, and that was Angelina. Grayson is I guess personally offended she's not as good a chef as Angelina. She's super excited.

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