Thursday, January 7, 2016

Top Chef 1/7/16--"Big Gay Wedding" summary

Previously on “Top Chef”: there was a weird Quickfire about cooking with the sun, that Wesley won. Also Phillip put his dish on rocks he picked up off the ground, because Phillip. Giselle managed to break her solar oven and Grayson kept on complaining like she does. The Elimination challenge involved cooking in pairs on the golf course. Jeremy won, I would like to think partially for making ceviche and keeping it on ice. Grayson served bad corn? It wasn't good enough to serve raw so she cooked it but this is still terrible? Whatever, she went home and was pissed because she has so much experience, etc. You can fill that part in. (click for more)

In Last Chance Kitchen Grayson and Garret got mystery ingredients. SUPPOSEDLY Grayson didn't do enough with one of her secret ingredients, while Garret made some fish to go with his and overcooked it. And then Grayson still won, so I call shenanigans. You can't argue that you're making a decision based on use of mystery ingredients and then award the win to the person who fucked one of them up.

Also, knock it the fuck off with the “extended episodes”. Edit your show down and quit wasting my time.

Palm Springs. Everyone hangs out in the hotel and hi-fives Jeremy for winning. Someone says they'll miss Grayson, which is probably true. She is entertaining. Giselle says Grayson kept her mouth shut, which is hilarious. There is a bunch of dumb “drama” about how Angelina (Grayson's partner) didn't go home but is less experienced but it's so great she fought for herself or whatever.

The next day she has a bunch to prove. Everyone drives to an orchard. It's a bunch of date trees planted in rows. Orchard. Anyway, Padma isn't even there! No one is there! Just the farm owner! She demonstrates the giant hook/glove combos used to harvest, but sadly no one is harvesting today. She's only there to make them pour the baskets of dates into plastic boxes and haul them off to the kitchen. Padma didn't want to be outside today, I guess. See, you could have just had the dates in the kitchen and saved 3 or 4 minutes right there. I mean “the kitchen” isn't even anywhere near the orchard. They get back in the cars.

Chrissy Teigen is there too because of reasons. Fanservice. Kwame makes a big deal of sighing and collecting himself. Calm down, fool. You're my favorite, don't act weird. At least Chrissy clearly is a fan of the show and is entertained. So the Quickfire you have to “tell the story” of your best date, using dates. Carl tells a cute story about how his date brought him a giant milkshake when he had his tonsils out. I feel like most of these people's “best date” stories involve food in a major way, but not necessarily something with dates. Which is an extra challenge. Giselle is waving a lighter around to get the stove going, and says very few burners have flames. You're at a culinary school. I have the feeling the stove works. Jeremy tells her to stay away from his burners. I dislike how chefs are hollering at others to share their stories, which is clearly producer-influenced and not natural at all. It's just so forced. Especially since Giselle starts talking and they cut in shots of other people looking irritated. Chad has daddy dates with his daughters. Aww. There is a lot of “my partner is sweet and spicy” stories going on. Phillip says he and his wife started dating at Stefan's restaurant. Stefan!? Phillip worked for Stefan. How in the hell did Stefan put up with Phillip? Can you imagine? Isaac has to sear his chicken to cook it through at the last minute.

Isaac: chicken ballotine with Medjool date sauce. Amar: stuffed Medjool dates with chorizo, bacon, toasted almonds, and blue cheese. Chad: pan roasted halibut, orange salsa verde, and pine nut date froth. Jeremy: pork tenderloin with chilies and Medjool dates. Angelina: branzino with quinoa, fennel, arugula salad, and Medjool date vinaigrette. Wesley: braised dates with fennel, orange, and goat cheese. Jason: roasted baby carrots with Deglet Noor dates, brown butter and pine nuts. Kwame: goan fish curry with salted potatoes and naan. Karen: blue cheese-stuffed hot dates with date tomato sauce and smoked cinnamon hazelnuts. Carl: date milkshake. Giselle: date salad with pork sausage, arugula, sweet and spicy pecans, and watercress. Phillip: tuna crudo with peach and Zahdi date sauce. Most people told their date stories but they weren't super interesting or super annoying. Not even Phillip.

Chad had some bitterness in his sauce, Phillip's crudo didn't have enough date flavor, and Carl just made a milkshake. So that's the bottom. The top is Jason's carrots, lots of char and flavor. Also Isaac's ballotine with crispy skin, and Giselle showcased the dates and it was tasty. The winner is Jason. He reminds us he feels uncomfortable with all the bros in the house so this win is great. Plus he has immunity.

The Elimination challenge is a throwback to Season 1: gay wedding! Guest judge Art Smith! Should be a good time. Everyone has to work together to cater this reception, which of course is not for just one couple but for 25. PLUS Padma just got ordained today so she's going to officiate. Hee! Art is going to renew his vows with his husband too. Aww! You know what, I wonder if the extended episode is to show some of the ceremony. I'm OK with that. Plus Art's making the cake so no cake mix drama! They still have to make a dessert though. 3 hours to prep and cook tomorrow. Karen gets emotional because she went and got married in Massachusetts, where it was legal. Isaac freaks because he's done weddings, but it took a couple of weeks.

They need a menu that is cohesive, but it's still individual judging, but they'll probably be in pairs or groups. Kwame ends up being responsible for two sauces for two different dishes, for example. Karen really wants a vegetarian dish. Giselle says she feels like she's a floater, but the boys tell her she's paired with Karen. They make it sound like the decision was made and Giselle forgot. Karen is less than thrilled, calling Giselle a “good cook” (total insult on this show) and saying she eventually gets there but the journey is tough. Wesley tries to tell them what to do, which is dumb because isn't this Karen's dish? Doesn't she already have a plan? He mentions ingredients and Giselle pounces on him, saying dashi and feta don't go together. Wesley's like oh I use ricotta, and then says “Doesn't matter. It's unbelievable.” Shut up, Wesley. This is for some reason followed by Giselle complaining that she's the nicest person here and yet she can't make any friends so fuck off everyone. First of all, why be Wesley's friend when he just tried to mansplain to you about salad, and second, you're not here to make friends. Isaac is also ordained and says he'll marry whoever, whenever, wherever. Hee. This is Marjorie's second dessert and she's pretty confident since the last one gave her a win.

The next morning Carl calls his wife for their anniversary. They met when they were ten. Hee. Everyone is lounging around the pool for no reason. I'm about to be annoyed but then some guy Stephen comes in and says Padma sent him to get their day started with yoga. OK now I actually am annoyed. I don't care if they do yoga every day. I don't need to watch this. Wesley lies on a lounge chair and says he's not a hippie so he doesn't do yoga. Shut up, Wesley.

Cooking time. The sauce Kwame is making for Wesley has some Asian influences, and Wesley is like “Whatever you think dude, you lived in Asia and stuff.” Wesley says he wants to learn about other cuisines, but his stupid hippie yoga comment indicates otherwise. Giselle asks a million questions of Karen, because she trusts Karen. Karen, meanwhile, wants her to stop asking questions and figure it out. OR if she has a concern, to voice it. Angelina and Jason argue about the dish, because Jason says it's precise and Angelina doesn't understand that. I don't know how easy it is to do a very precise dish for a catered event where you might have to adjust on the fly. Angelina feels they're really pressed for time and Jason doesn't care about that enough because he has immunity. Phillip is making potatoes in the stupid whipped cream canister thing. You know what I mean? The thing people use to make foam. Kwame doesn't like them but Phillip insists they're perfect. Kwame interviews that maybe it's how Phillip wants it, but that's not mashed potatoes. Isaac is working alone and he is perfectly fine with it. Jason and Angelina are still arguing, and Jason is convinced he is going to win with this dish and he won't let her fuck it up.

Wedding time! Everyone cries. I think maybe there aren't guests? So just the couples and judges to feed. The contestants have 30 minutes to set up and can't watch the wedding which is too bad. I'm gonna cry too. Yay! Oh, there are guests too. Nice. Jason names the stations like “first look” and “happily ever after” and whatever.

Amar and Chad: sherry-glazed pork belly with smoked orange marmalade, pickled fennel, onion, and smoked salt. Jeremy: citrus roasted carrots with harissa yogurt, shaved radish, baby kale. Wesley and Kwame: pickled shrimp with cucumber onion salad, citrus vinaigrette, and cashews. Wesley makes sure to say “we” a lot and it just strikes me as something I was supposed to notice. All of these get good reviews from the judges.

Angelina tells some guest their dish is almost like a dolma (stuff wrapped in grape leaves) and Jason loses his mind and tells her not to say it's a dolma because it's nothing like a dolma. Calm down. First of all, it's stuff wrapped in a leaf, and secondly, she said it's “like” a dolma, not that you made dolmades. He's insulted this was his dish and she's fucking it up somehow by telling random ass guests who have no say in anything that it's sort of like something they're probably familiar with. Jason and Angelina: Swiss chard stuffed with braised chicken and caramelized honey sauce. Isaac: dirty rice with smoked chicken and jalapeno sausage. The rice is great, and sadly Jason's stupid roll is great too.

Giselle and Karen: charred eggplant puree with asparagus, smoked mushrooms, citrus vinaigrette and kumquats. Kwame and Phillip: center cut New York steak with potato cream and eggplant tomato relish. The asparagus is slightly undercooked and it's underseasoned. Oops. The potatoes are gummy, but Kwame's relish saved the dish. To be fair the potatoes are exactly how Phillip wanted them, because Phillip. Marjorie and Carl: grilled apricots with cherries, mascarpone cheese, and hazelnuts. It's perfect. Also Art made a rainbow cake which is super cute.

Judges' Table. Tom raves about everything, and then Padma says Wesley and Kwame made the best dish today. I know they both contributed to that because Kwame didn't have anything to do with the shrimp. Then Padma is like “Well only one of you can win” and Art is about to announce when Wesley is like “Hey think about the Southern boy”. OK, heh. He is clearly joking. But Kwame is the winner and Art actually says he'd hire him. I think the relish from Phillip's bad dish pushed him over Wesley but I'm OK with it.

Losers are Karen, Giselle, Phillip, and Kwame stays out there too. Padma promises him he's not going home but they do want to know what happened with the steak dish. Phillip says that no one had chosen to do a “main beef” so he took that on and told everyone he was going to make the potato like a sauce and a “vegetable-driven” garnish that Kwame would make. Jason makes a face like he smelled a fart and interrupts Phillip to say that's not how he described the dish to the group. On the one hand, Jason has had a stick up his ass all day and he doesn't need to be involved in this conversation, but on the other hand, Phillip. As Phillip says he did describe what he was going to do, Marjorie joins in and says he said mashed potatoes. OK from the clip they just showed, he said it would taste exactly like mashed potatoes. Not the same as “I'm making mashed potatoes”. Also just let him fail. Tom shuts them up and says the “potato” was just all cream. Karen made the asparagus, and also the mushrooms. They were both not cooked well. Giselle speaks up and says she didn't understand the dish and these are not her “flavor profiles” and whatever, and Karen interrupts her to say it was very difficult to collaborate with her because Giselle kept asking questions and saying “whatever you want”. Giselle tells the judges she won't step over Karen, but Karen asks if she's trying to be Top Chef or what. At least Karen tried. Giselle tries to say something but is like “Oh, I don't know how to say this” because she's realizing she shouldn't but it's too late now. So she blurts out with “I think it's shocking that Phillip doesn't recognize his flaws.” Where did THAT come from?! Giselle thinks she and Karen know what they did wrong in their dish, and acknowledge they could have done better. Phillip then tells everyone Kwame told him the potatoes were gummy and he responded that he wanted them that way, so you guys could have kept your mouths shut and not looked like jerks and he would have dug his own grave. Seriously.

Back in the Stew Room, Phillip says if he gets sent home today, he's fine with it and he's said everything he wants to say. Jason interrupts him to snidely ask if his story shouldn't be accurate. When Phillip is confused, Jason is SO CONDESCENDING about how whatever Phillip said was not anywhere near what happened. He didn't say you all enthusiastically loved the dish he described or even that you all approved it. No one blamed the team for his stupid gummy potatoes. He had a Phillip idea and went with it and stands behind it even though it's terrible. So this doesn't fucking involve you so how about you shut your mouth. Phillip's response is that Jason doesn't have to believe him. We all know Phillip is delusional, Jason. Just let him dig his own grave.

Padma says that because of Kwame, she actually preferred the steak to the asparagus. But the problem with it was the potato sauce, which Phillip loved. Karen did a lot of the things in her dish that turned out poorly, but Gail points out that they can't figure out what Giselle actually did, and if she did nothing then that's worse.

Tom tries to say no one worked together on their dishes, which is dumb because I think Phillip and Kwame worked together. Giselle is sent home, and Karen has the balls to look upset. You're not upset. You wanted her to go home. Giselle says she's a nice person and she got no support here so that's why she did poorly, and she also says “honor” twice and you know how I feel about that. Annoyed. Padma tells everyone else they're going to San Diego.

Next week: “Sudden Death” Quickfire, a stupid fight about stealing lobsters, Blais thinks a dish is strange so you know it's super weird.

Last Chance Kitchen: Giselle interviews that she didn't get to show what she could do. She hopes it's Grayson because she's rooting for Grayson. You make no sense, Giselle. Grayson says Giselle exudes a ton of nervous energy and it screws everyone up. Tom tells Giselle she didn't stand up for herself and Giselle talks bout how nice she is again. The more you talk about how you're super nice, the less I believe it. Giselle and Grayson have 20 seconds to look at the ingredient table and write down two dishes they think they can make in 20 minutes. Giselle comes up with chicken or lamb, Grayson has lamb or shrimp. Tom picks Giselle's fig, lamb, and pistachio, and Grayson's shrimp and jalapeno. Interesting. Grayson makes a face because the second dishes were the afterthought. They both did that. Tom is like, whatever, do the other thing. So Giselle is making a chicken dish, and Grayson is making lamb.

Grayson is already tired. She is trying to make mashed potatoes with mustard seed, and lamb and fig sauce. Giselle has chicken and summer polenta. She's also shouting at the peanut gallery. Grayson is tearing around. Giselle can barely talk to Tom and she pours something and it flies out and she almost nails him. Basically she says to go bother Grayson, who is running from him. Tom is having fun screwing with them, poking the lamb, asking if Giselle is making popcorn. Hilariously as Giselle is plating her polenta, Tom is talking to the camera about how it's too early, and she hears him and puts her polenta back in the pot. Ha! Grayson puts cheese in her potatoes and Tom is like “Come on Wisconsin!” The lamb is cooked, thank goodness.

Grayson: roasted lamb with fig and port wine sauce and aligot potatoes. Aligot potatoes are potatoes with cheese. These aren't authentic aligot potatoes so Tom gives her shit for that. Giselle: chicken, summer polenta with corn and tomato salad. Tom is like, this was supposed to be hot right? But she says Italians leave their food out for a little bit. They were both good dishes, but the polenta could have been hotter so Grayson wins again. Now suddenly Giselle is fine with losing and going home.

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