Thursday, January 21, 2016

Top Chef 1/21/16--"Back in the Day" summary

Previously on “Top Chef”: the contestants had to make fish tacos on a pier in San Diego in a “Sudden Death” Quickfire. Angelina lost when she didn't manage to get her tacos plated on the plates. She picked Wesley to go against in making a dish with Caesar salad ingredients, but sadly she lost and was sent home. The Elimination challenge forced everyone to make a dish to pair with a specific beer created by one of the judges. Isaac temporarily lost his mind and made mayonnaise out of bananas, but luckily he was safe. Karen won with a delicious beet puree. Wesley had overcooked meat and terrible presentation so he was eliminated. (click for more)

Last Chance Kitchen: Angelina, Wesley, and Grayson had to make burgers in 15 minutes. After a ton of frantic running around, Angelina actually won. Very interesting.

Everyone heads back to LA. Finally. Jeremy says he'll miss Wesley for some reason. Someone else complains the challenges are insane, as if they haven't watched the show ever. Karen brags about winning. Kwame lusts after Padma and says his fantasy has to do with a picnic in the park and a Yorkie. “Surprise, I got you a dog! That's not weird, right?” Everyone laughs at him.

Antonia is with Padma. Hi Antonia! She tells everyone she threw up before every Quickfire. Hee. Each person will pick one item from the pantry. Those ten items are the only ten items they can use for their Quickfire. You don't have to use all ten, but someone could easily screw everyone else. Winner gets immunity. The list is: New York steak, chicken, jalapenos, salt, rice wine vinegar, olive oil, garlic, mushrooms, tomatoes, and celery. Jason picks celery last. Why? Why. Everyone is annoyed.

20 minutes to cook. I think no one needed to pick chicken after the first person picked steak. But celery is worse. Also I don't like Jason. Isaac picked the chicken but isn't using it? Who knows. Marjorie snobs that as they go further in the competition you'll need more refinement and that might be a problem with Isaac. Jason pretends he loves celery. He thinks everyone is going to use it even though they're confused. Well sure they are. They don't have a lot of choices. Jeremy is going for carpaccio, and he's made raw dishes a lot. Amar wanders around looking for tomatoes, but no one has any. Carl has a ton for some reason. Sabotage? You know what, I can't bring myself to care.

Kwame: fire roasted chicken with tomato sauce and celery. Jason: raw mushroom salad with shaved celery and chicken fat vinaigrette. Sadly Antonia tells him picking celery was smart. Amar: chicken breast with roasted tomato celery vinaigrette and mushrooms a la grecque. “A la grecque” means “in the Greek style”. Marjorie: heirloom tomato salad with seared steak and celery jalapeno vinaigrette. Chad: grilled New York steak with marinated mushrooms, tomato seeds and pickled jalapeno. Isaac: seared beef carpaccio with shaved jalapeno, with concentrate of tomato. I think, because FUCKING BRAVO AND THEIR ADS FOR LAST CHANCE KITCHEN. Don't put your fucking ads over the chyron for the actual show that is on. Literally if you had waited three seconds it would have been off the screen and you can put up your damn ad. Phillip: tomato with center cut tartare, roasted jalapeno, mushroom, garlic, and celery. Jeremy: shaved beef with mushroom crispy garlic vinaigrette. Karen: grilled steak salad with grilled and raw celery and jalapeno vinaigrette. Carl: pan roasted New York strip with tomato confit, grilled and raw jalapeno. He used too much tomato, so sabotage...? Eh.

For the Elimination Challenge, Padma reminds everyone about stuff from ten years ago, like MySpace. You must create a dish to tell the judges where you were ten years ago. Service right here in the Top Chef kitchen. Interesting.

Kwame says ten years ago was the beginning of high school and when he started to drift away from his father. Not the best memories. Marjorie was a new chef and nervous about everything, so because she was a green chef she's making green curry and other green things. She can't find lemongrass though. Jason says he was “way over intense” back then and he totally isn't like that now. HA! He then says he was a raging bitch who yelled at everyone, and he realized he doesn't need to be an asshole to everyone. Do you even hear yourself? Jesus.

Back at the hotel everyone grills and talks about themselves ten years ago. Then they drink wine and imitate Tom. Hee. OK everyone but Chad, who doesn't drink and I guess doesn't really want to be around them because there are a lot of shots of Chad by himself staring at windows and stuff.

In the morning Jason brags about his red shoes and how he doesn't want to be normal like all these losers. I mean he doesn't call them losers but that's the subtext. Then he complains about being quiet because everyone else is a big personality, and how that's not how he usually is. Yeah but when you decided to stop being quiet you became a smug asshole so I personally would not mind you staying quiet.

I missed how much time they'll have to cook today. But the dining table is set up in the kitchen so if the judges show up early they can watch everyone work. Jeremy is making ravioli and salmon. Isaac talks about Katrina and making gumbo for the family after they evacuated. Marjorie is grilling lemons to hopefully replace her lemongrass, and she admits that ten years ago she probably would have just cried about it. Carl's making a ragu and snails. Chad was still in the military, or he'd just left, and he was inspired by ceviche. Jason is poaching trout.

Tom Time! And he brought Michael Voltaggio! Woo. The “what...motherfucker” look on Isaac's face is great. You can tell he's nervous but respectful. They visit Phillip, who is Phillip and tells Tom and Bryan that he came in intending to do his thing but “on Top Chef they want us to cook food that makes the judges happy.” See, Jason, you could just let him hang himself. Tom looks very confused, and Michael is like “it's about cooking GOOD food.” Ha. Michael met Amar ten years ago. Amar talks about how he's making a dish he learned from someone who now has ALS. Tom knows him and gets really solemn. Then they leave.

Kwame is making jerk broccoli which sounds cool. He is still not really glad to have to think about a time that is painful for him. Then he cuts himself on the mandolin. Aww. The judges arrive, including Voltaggio and Blais and Antonia. There are also some big LA names but I don't recognize them. At least, they aren't former contestants.

Marjorie: seared halibut with grilled and roasted vegetables and green curry sauce. They like the grilled lemons and Blais says the vegetables are so good she doesn't really need the halibut. Chad: shrimp ceviche with tomato concasse, shrimp cracker, pickled serrano, olive, and caper. “Concasse” means peeled and seeded, basically. They like this one also.

Jason puts finishing salt because his trout is underseasoned. Gail remembers that the first Top Chef challenge had a budget of $20. Voltaggio jokes about how everyone's stories about back in the day are like “I had to walk through the snow!”. Isaac: duck gumbo with roasted jalapeno andouille sausage, crispy rice cake, duck cracklings. OMG that sounds so good. The sausage casing was maybe too tough but otherwise it was delicious. Jason: poached trout with toasted beets, spring vegetable salad, and goat milk vinaigrette. He claims he's a much calmer person now. The fish was poached but then the dish kind of stops and is still underseasoned. Tom is like, you wold have gotten yelled at.

Karen: orecchette with pork ragu and broccoli rabe. She makes sure to put Italian pronunciations on everything which just seems annoying to me. Ten years ago she lived in Italy and made a bunch of pasta all the time, using the stove to heat the apartment. All the elements are here but somehow the dish isn't coming together. Amar: butter-poached lobster, sauteed bok choy, tapioca coconut curry, and tempura onion rings. He did a really great job. Carl: fricassee of California vegetables, burgundy snails and egg. It goes over pretty well. Phillip: ceviche mixto with tiger shrimp, halibut, razor clams, and squid. He calls it “lime-driven” which is annoying. It's not good at all. It doesn't taste right, but when given this criticism Phillip claims to have tasted every piece? What? Tom makes his “whatever you say, moron” face. Antonia tells him when she mixed it up, then the seasoning was much better.

Kwame is really not happy. Jeremy: lobster ravioli with shellfish sauce and king salmon. The salmon isn't really necessary, and Padma tells him it's a good thing he has immunity. Kwame: jerk broccoli with corn bread pudding and smokey blue cheese. Tom looks like he's trying to do trigonometry in his head. The pudding is mushy, and it didn't work. Tom says these two just confused him a lot.

Judges' Table. Tom tells everyone the challenge must have gotten in their heads, some of them. Marjorie, Chad, and Carl are the top. Chad's ceviche was really great even though they've had a lot of ceviche. Marjorie's flavors were delicious and it was sophisticated. Carl cooked everything really well and it was classic, timeless French cooking. Voltaggio says Marjorie is the winner. Nice.

Kwame, Phillip, and Jason are the bottom. Kwame admits that he really struggled to find a good memory from ten years ago and it affected his dish. Phillip babbles about something, but you know it's just him trying to cover his ass. Padma says his sweet potato puree overpowered everything, and Phillip says he knows “this panel” likes things more spicy. Tom insists they just want good food (because even if the judges all hated spice or garlic or something, it's not like Tom is about to admit it) and Phillip tells them he believes he did the best at the beginning of the show, when they didn't have any “preconceived notions”. Oh so you think they're out to get you. I see. Padma dryly says he should go back to his roots. Jason didn't season things properly, and then Gail says something about how she didn't sense him in the dish. That's such a copout but fine.

Then Tom is like “Jason, what is going on because you seem really tight and joyless.” OMG can we not do this. Have they ever asked a chef what their deal is? Like, asking what is up because they feel bad and want to help them and have sympathy? I'm pretty sure they haven't. Let's not waste this on a person who was a complete dick to both Phillip and Angelina and is now claiming he's not a raging asshole. Anyway, Jason says he needs “more courage” and he left his restaurant two months before coming on the show. Tom sympathizes with his tough place and having emotions. Can we not paint Jason as a victim here? Oh good, we aren't because Jason is eliminated. Bye Felicia. He says mistakes make you a more vibrant interesting person. Whatever.

Next week: Instagram, beef, fire. I don't know because even though I was taping this channel, it cut out and erased the first three minutes of the other show I was taping ON BRAVO. Get your shit together, Bravo. Apparently eating with your hands. AND HUGH!! I love you Hugh. And Ron Funches! OK this looks fun.

Last Chance Kitchen: Jason is of course out to prove himself or whatever. He hopes Garret is the one he is up against. Angelina is not really thrilled because she knows Jason will be a challenge. Jason has the fucking nerve to say he thinks everyone underestimated Angelina. Oh you mean like you did when you yelled at her for telling you your stupid dish took too long and was like dolmades? Anyway, Jason didn't season his dish properly at all, so here are two fridges full of boring ingredients. You must make something exciting. Also they are giving you some product placement teriyaki sauce. UGH. Whatever.

20 minutes. 30? Whatever. OK, look, I'm all for people to be themselves or whatever, but when you talk about how you don't dress like anyone else and you're an outsider in a contestant pool full of bros and then I look and you have red clogs and rainbow socks, and you rolled up your pants to your knees so everyone can see your socks? You clearly want everyone to notice how quirky you are and all your complaints about how everyone else is not like you are invalid. You aren't upset you don't fit in. You don't want to fit in. Anyway there's like, vegetables, good proteins, and of course teriyaki sauce. Jason is making salmon meatballs, and broccoli and sweet potato. Angelina grabbed shrimp.

Tom Time. Apparently Jason is now making bacon soy glaze for salmon fillets. He's boring talking to Tom. I miss Grayson messing with Tom. Angelina seems to be in good shape with her shrimp. Tom says Angelina might have cooked her shrimp too early. Wesley thinks Tom will win. Hee. Jason says the egg and the salmon both need seasoning but he doesn't want to have too much salt. Angelina: teriyaki shrimp with potato and onion hash, celery and orange salad. The shrimp might be a little overcooked but the salad is good. Jason: teriyaki salmon, soft cooked egg, broccoli and sweet potato salad. He cooked it medium but sadly Tom likes it that way. Angelina says Jason's dish is good but he says nothing about her dish. They both seemed to do a decent job but the winner is Jason, GODDAMMIT. I'm so sick of his smug face. You can't complain that you don't fit in when you clearly think you're better than everyone and you go out of your way to make everyone see how you don't fit in.

No comments: