Friday, December 16, 2016

Top Chef 12/15/16--"Choke Holds and Clammy Hands" summary

Previously on “Top Chef”: the contestants were divided into Rookies and Veterans, prompting people to whine that they weren't rookie chefs. But then the rookies failed at shopping and failed at cooking. Each team went to the home of a local chef, and then the teams were tasked with making a family-style meal inspired by that chef. Rookies went to the “biscuit queen's” house, and then didn't decide to make biscuits until after shopping was over. Dumb. So of course the Veterans won handily. Casey won with collard greens and coconut milk. Annie lost for tomato tart with a soggy bottom. (click for more)

On Last Chance Kitchen, Annie and Gerald picked out ingredients with times on them, in order to determine how long they would have to cook. Also you had to use everything you picked up, which Annie didn't do, so she lost.

Also I'm going to be out of town for the holidays, so I won't be home for next week and possibly the week after if there's an episode then. I'll try to watch online but I'm not sure when I'll be able to get to it.

Everyone goes back to the house after the last challenge and there are hugs. Katsuji doesn't know who Annie is, which is probably not something you should admit to? Casey is thrilled to have won something.

Jim talks to Amanda and Tesar so not everyone is like Emily. Amanda talks about how she needed three spinal fusion surgeries and how she wasn't sure if she wanted to come back to cooking. That sounds terrible.

When the chefs come into the kitchen Chris Cosentino is waiting for them. Tesar is freaked because that's who kicked him out last time. Also it's time for the mise en place relay race Quickfire. Draw knives for groups. Green team is BJ, Katsuji, Silvia, Casey, Tesar, Sam, and Amanda. Blue team is Sheldon, Jamie, Brooke, Shirley, Sylva, Emily, and Jim. Teams will peel and mince five ounces of garlic, finely dice two quarts of onions, turn three artichokes (that means strip the leaves off and clean out the fibrous part), peel and devein 30 shrimp, shuck 15 clams. Don't break the clams. Like Katsuji did his season because he had no idea. There are seven people per team, so two people will not be doing stuff but will be cooking with the ingredients. Padma and Chris will pick an MVP of the winning team to get immunity. 25 minutes to finish all your tasks and then cook when you're done. Also it's not really a relay race because you can do all the tasks simultaneously. Oh and to make this as complicated as possible, if your team finishes the mise en place first you can force the other team to pause for three minutes. The teams divvy up tasks without any drama that I can see. I mean Tesar kind of gets bossed into doing clams and he gets snippy but whatever. Once you finish your task you can help out everyone else.

Katsuji blows through the onions, but the containers aren't full so he loses some time. Sheldon finishes his team's onions next. Chris makes sure to mention Sheldon's station is clean, but did you expect Katsuji's station to be clean? Both of them go to help mince garlic. There is a lot of shouting and whistle blowing but at least there is teamwork happening. I actually don't mind this but I do like the relay race. It looks like Emily offers to help at one point but is ignored. The clams are taking forever, it looks like. Green team finishes first, and so they win by one clam. Now the Blue team has to sit there for three minutes, and there are only like 14 minutes left. Sam and Amanda run around to use their advantage and bake some clams with bread crumbs. Sylva shucks the last clam so Shirley and Brooke can get going. They decide to fry the clams and shrimp to save time. Amanda takes something out of the oven even though her entire team is yelling at her to leave it until the last second. Meanwhile Sheldon has been super helpful to everyone and Chris has noticed. Also show I didn't need the slo-mo shot of the stupid pause button.

Green team: stuffed clams with shrimp, fresh herbs, sambal, chili, fried artichoke and bread crumbs. Blue team: fried clam bellies and shrimp with shaved artichoke salad. Brooke for some reason describes the dish they didn't make because they ran out of time. Chris has praise for both teams' dishes, but the winning team is the Blue team. Nice. Sheldon wins immunity, because he ran around helping with the mise en place and was so team-oriented.

Elimination Challenge. Teams! Again! But at least the teams they are in. Cook a seven course progressive dinner for Top Chef superfans. Serve head-to-head, first team to win 4 matchups wins. You're only up for elimination if your team loses and you lose your battle. Also all dishes must include radishes. That's a good random requirement. Oh, and someone has to make dessert. It could be worse; Chris is known for loving offal so they could have been making dessert with offal.

Everyone eats raw radishes and discuss how spicy they are. Brooke says she had planned a dessert for her finale battle, but they did that weird Iron Chef judging that year and Kirsten won before she could serve dessert. Also Brooke has a radish tattoo. Silvia is going to do dessert for the other team. At least this challenge each team has a mix of veterans and rookies so hopefully shopping won't be as much of a cluster as last time. The teams decide on order and only then find out who they are going to be up against. Amanda says she's going head-to-head against Shirley and she's terrified. Sam is going to make a radish bahn mi but since butter and radishes go together so well he's putting them on brioche instead of a baguette. Katsuji tells Tesar he wants to check out first because he doesn't trust him. Good idea.

I'm not sure what the cooking time is. Emily talks about her salmon and black radish dish, and how she's intimidated by Sam because he's one of the first high profile contestants? What happened to Emily being so obnoxious about how great she is? Katsuji is battling Jim and he's trying to get in his head by doing things like asking what Jim's doing and then turning on the blender. But then he forgets the lid so it backfires. Heh. Sylva cuts perfect circles. Casey cuts circles also, because they look like scallops. Casey! Don't do shit Mike Isabella did one time with leeks! Or Blais and bananas! Jamie is making roasted kale, which means that for the third time he's trying to roast vegetables. Shirley is making pasta but all of a sudden she has 45 minutes to hand roll and hand cut each piece of pasta so she's freaking out. Tesar is making radish sriracha. What. Sam and Brooke taste Silvia's cake and say it's fucking amazing. Silvia is not intimidated by Brooke.

The room is weird. There are tables around, but set up like a cabaret, and then metal tables in the middle of the room for prep. Brooke's panna cotta is too thin, but she's carefully being quiet about it so the other team doesn't know she's having to thicken it with cornstarch. Shirley is out of time so she's making random misshapen pasta now. Everyone is getting along and helping each other. It's weird. The fans show up and yell things and applaud for the judges. Actually it looks like there are cafe tables, and then behind them a counter with tall seats, and then bleachers or something behind that. Someone yells at Sam that her daughter is a Type 1 Diabetic so he can plug his charity.

Each pairing gets five votes, four from judges and one from the fans. Blais is here. Emily: black radish-cured salmon with black radish aioli. Sam: radish bahn mi with brioche and crispy chicken skin. The fans pick Emily but just barely. Emily wins, although Tom voted for Sam. Also we see that the show has wasted money on a board with the courses, where you can take a knife and put it by your course as a visual. Jim: grilled radish with oyster emulsion, pickled mushrooms, radish tops and green onion. Katsuji: crab salad enchilada with radish tortilla, sweet pickled radish and salsa verde. It's like a shiny slimy looking rectangle. Fans overwhelmingly vote for Katsuji. Tom once again goes against the judges, but Padma joins him so Chris has to break the tie and vote for Katsuji. That's twice now that Tom has disagreed with the results.

BJ says some of the plates are messy. Jamie: braised French breakfast radish and pink radish with red miso emulsion and kale chips. BJ: pink radish conserva with trout, pickled and raw radish. Conserva is basically a paste. Fans take Jamie, as do Tom and Padma so he's the winner. Behind the judging for each course, you can see everyone running around still cooking. Casey: radish scallop with sweet corn yogurt sauce, pickled radish and salsify. Sylva: berere-rubbed halibut with radish and tomato broth, dashi-braised daikon. Blais says “wow” and Sylva makes sure to ask everyone if they heard that. Fans vote for Casey but Sylva gets the judge votes. Green team has to win everything from now on. No pressure.

Shirley: beef braised daikon with misshaped pasta, toasted walnuts and daikon greens. Amanda: roasted black cod with black radish puree, caramelized radish greens, apricot and pistachio vinaigrette. Fans vote for Amanda by a wide margin. Blais and Chris go for Shirley, but Padma goes for Amanda and then Tom is all “Shirley your dish is heavy and the pasta stuck together” so Green team is still alive. Tesar: radish ramen with radish custard, hon tofu and radish oil. Sheldon: adobo radish with radish porridge, raw radish, spiced cashews and micro radish greens. The diners vote for Tesar. Man if they have a tie then this show is just like “Hell's Kitchen” with the constant ties. Of course now it's a tie and Padma has to break the tie here and she votes for Tesar. OF COURSE. Of course there's a tie and everyone can serve all their dishes. Dumb.

Sam hisses encouragement at Silvia which is hilarious for some reason. It's like 25% cursing. Oh and this is the dessert they demanded so of course they made the competition last so it could be served. The Green team has a “radicci!” rallying team cheer and the Blue team rolls their eyes and someone says “Shut up.” Hee. Brooke: purple daikon panna cotta with sour pineapple curd, white chocolate pop rocks and pineapple black radish juice. Silvia: daikon radish cake with tarragon-marinated blackberries and yogurt vanilla cream. Fans vote for Brooke by a wide margin. Chris votes Brooke. Padma votes Silvia. Tom (after a commercial) votes for Brooke so the Blue team wins. Sheldon says “radish tattoos for everybody”. Hee.

Judges' Table. Padma says that was the best meal she's had on the show, and Tom backs her up. Huh. Two people stood out on the winning team: Sylva and Brooke. Sylva's dish was elevated and the fish was cooked perfectly. Brooke's dessert was maybe the best they've ever had on the show. It's up there. Brooke wins again. She's thinking maybe this season she won't come in second.

Sam, BJ, Casey, and Silvia are up for elimination. Tom tells Silvia her dish was wonderful, she just had the misfortune to go up against Brooke. Padma thought Casey's daikon was really a scallop. Sam talks about his bahn mi and they nail him for not using a baguette. “Bahn mi” is the bread so if you're going to call it that you have to use the right bread. Secret requirement. BJ's purple radishes were too soft. The radishes weren't as pronounced.

Tom says it's between BJ and Sam. BJ's dish didn't pop and it was all similar textures. Padma thinks it was a fish dish and not a radish dish. Sam's dish didn't satisfy, and it wasn't punchy enough. Padma calls everyone back in so Tom can tell them their dishes were actually all great but the competition is very high. Then Sam is eliminated. Everyone is all shocked. Well the veterans have to start going home sometime.

Next week: we pretend it's December and it's like chopped. Lots of cursing. Also it looks like more teams. Amanda is a hot mess.

Last Chance Kitchen: Sam apparently promised his mom he would come home a winner. Sigh. He obviously didn't think he'd be at Last Chance Kitchen this early. Plus he isn't familiar with the whole set-up. Gerald comes out to possibly the fakest “surprised” face from Sam. Poor awkward Annie has to be the peanut gallery by herself. Tom reiterates that Sam didn't really do anything that wrong, it's just the competition is hard. Tom thinks if you can't make radishes stand out, then maybe you should try something lamer. Like celery. Bleh. Wait are they going to have to use their bullshit product placement ranch dressing? Oh good, no.

30 minutes to showcase celery. Sam has cream of celery soup which entertains me for some reason. So Midwestern. Gerald is making BBQ sauce. What? Sam says he's cheating and is a dick. I guess because it's Alabama style which is mayo-based? Mostly Sam's pissed he didn't think of it himself. Annie starts yelling that celery is one of her favorite ingredients and she's jealous. She's so awkward. Sam's like “well come over here and help me, shit”. Heh.

Tom Time. Sam is making soup and charred celery salad. And vinaigrette. Gerald explains Alabama BBQ sauce to Tom. Also, celery Dippin' Dots. I hate Dippin' Dots. Gerald might not have time to finish. Then he cuts himself which sucks. Also the Dippin Dots seem to have frozen in a big disc in the bottom of the pan instead of in little spheres.

Sam: cream of celery soup topped with apple and fried capers. Tom compares it to a Waldorf salad. Gerald: celery salad with Alabama BBQ sauce and celery juice sorbet. See when the Dippin' Dots don't work you just call it sorbet. He says “It looked better in my brain”. It's refreshing. Sam and Gerald taste each other's dishes and then Sam's like, now we have a full dance off.

Tom says Gerald's dish was simple but had good flavors. Sam's dish was complex and had some good combinations of flavors. The winner is Sam. Gerald could have done better if he had managed his time better. Sam thinks he can beat eleven more people. Whatever.


Anonymous said...

Toyuke, I would be interested in why you are such a big fan of Top Chef. I watch both this and Project Runway, and personally feel that the judging in this show sounds more unprejudiced than PR, but in the end it feels like a chosen one will win, and an audience favorite will come in second, and we'll all be either confused or angry and threatening never to watch again. My best TV pal also loves TC, but she's a fabulous cook bordering gourmet, so it kinda makes sense. She too, loves Tim Gunn, and yells at the TV when they announce the final decision. We're still getting over Kelly's loss... Just interested.
Signed, Waiting for PR Old Farts

Toyouke said...

I just really like cooking shows and how creative people get. Plus the judging is not as clearly skewed because we can't know if the food is too salty or whatever. Not to say it's never skewed, just that it's not as obvious as PR.

Anonymous said...

BTW - just saw Hot Makeup Guy Scott on PR Junior Ep. Only a few seconds worth but a nice surprise!