Thursday, January 26, 2017

Top Chef 1/26/17--"For The Kids" summary

Previously on “Top Chef”: it was Restaurant Wars and that always goes down how you would expect. One team was great and one team was a disaster. Emily benefited by being on the great team (and to be fair, making a good dessert) so she did not go home. Brooke did both front of house and made a great salmon dish, so she won. On the other side, Katsuji turned down the executive chef position and said it was because Tesar deserved it and he deserved to win? But then Katsuji took on literally half the menu because he wanted to win? Anyway, the judges knew he had set Tesar up so Katsuji was sent home. (click for more)

On Last Chance Kitchen, Jamie and Katsuji used five ingredients to make dishes. Jamie won handily.

Casey is still freaking out about how her team lost. Tesar knows they all failed. Casey tells the Stew Room they were all cocky and thought they got this and they didn't. Tesar is personally hurt that Katsuji tried to throw him under the bus and now he's interviewing about what a terrible person Katsuji is because he's so desperate to win. Brooke can't really celebrate, and she blames Tesar for a lot of the loss.

Sheldon comes downstairs and is like, did you guys know there was a beach behind the house? I kept it a surprise for you! Let's go! Hee. Casey says the people left are the cream of the crop. I guess. She claims this is her last hurrah at Top Chef. Sure, Casey.

In the kitchen Michael Voltaggio is here. He is the less attractive Voltaggio. Shut up, it's true. Emily gushes over him and hopes she doesn't look stupid in front of him. Padma announces a good palate is a weapon and busts out a blindfold. Then she's all “I like a good blindfold” like, calm down, Padma. Each person gets five minutes to name as many things as they can. Once you guess you have to say “Next” or you will just stand there. Padma is very insistent about how they won't give you another ingredient until you say “Next” so I am anticipating someone fucking this up. You can also pass, and if you have time you can guess again. There are 20 total ingredients. No immunity, but if you win you get 14 cases of wine. I mean, it's Terlato wine, but still.

Brooke is first and she does a decent job. It's stuff like okra, pistachio, cream cheese. There is pimento cheese but that seems to be the weirdest thing. Tesar is doing dumb things like guessing “flour” for “cream cheese” and Padma is making faces. She has to tell him to say “next”. Emily passes on a million things. Like chicken. Also she is sure no one is getting this. Casey is convinced she is eating fish eyeballs. Shirley is hilarious with her reactions.

So the loser is Emily, with five correct answers. Shirley and Sylva both got eight. Sheldon got 10, Casey got 11, and Brooke got 16. Nice. Brooke is on a roll, but she is more entertained that she beat Voltaggio than with her wine.

Elimination Challenge. Padma has a plug for a hospital, and then says they will have to make a dish inspired by one of their happiest childhood memories, served to 100 people at a cocktail gala. Tickets are $500 so don't fuck it up. Also there's a plug for cars.

Tesar is making scampi and buying every piece of king crab at the store. Sylva now has to change his plan to make crab cakes, and I think he's getting rib eye to make fried beef patties? Sylva, always get your protein first. Sheldon is making a dish based on tea and rice. My mom says that's how they used to eat leftover rice back in the day, before microwaves. They would make hot tea and then pour it over the rice. Sheldon plans to make barley tea, which is delicious, but he also manages to spill barley all over the floor. And also buy a hat.

Cooking time. I'm not sure how much time they have? Brooke is making eggs Benedict in a crepe. She has a plastic alligator in her pocket as a good-luck charm from her son. Emily is making icebox cake that her grandfather used to make. Listen, icebox cake can be great, but is it “Top Chef” worthy? I mean, unless she's making all the components from scratch? I think she is, but what she's making doesn't sound like icebox cake. It sounds like fancy parfaits or something. Shirley is telling some story about jumping off a roof or something. Sheldon says he doesn't know what she's saying but he's in awe about how many words are coming out of her mouth right now. Hee. Shirley was a big troublemaker, it sounds like.

Tom Time! And Voltaggio. Sheldon has snapper, that he's going to make for 100 which is ballsy. Casey is making crab macarons. It's crab and shrimp mousse, between white bread. Tom calls it a hot pocket which is more accurate than macaron. Shirley says her mom wouldn't let her eat street food because it wasn't sanitary or whatever, so one of her good memories is sneaking it. Bye Tom!

Emily burned some of her cake, and now it's falling apart. Sheldon notices she's making something simple, but then admits that he is also making something simple, so whatever. Brooke is trying to bag her eggs with the vacuum sealer but it's acting all weird. I think she gets it done.

In the morning everyone sits around the house and talks about how much work they have to do. Shirley is already awake and goofy. Sylva is missing his mom. After his mom died, his dad gave up a lot to get them out of Haiti and apparently now resents Sylva for being “just” a cook. Tesar interviews that he went through some therapy and meditation before this season. In the other car Casey is telling Brooke and Shirley that she's known Tesar and she could see the old Tesar during Restaurant Wars.

They arrive at the venue, which is a very pretty patio by a pool. But they are not in a real kitchen, and are outside, so that might be a problem. Brooke is frantically making crepes. It is very hot and Sylva's meat lollipops are melting. Shirley plans to sear her lamb to order and hoping she can keep up. She believes in quality over speed. Emily's cake didn't soak up anything right but she claims to be rolling with it. Guests are here I guess to stare at everyone for the last few minutes of prep.

Oh look, Graham is here. Voltaggio says they should do some tequila shots first. Whatever it takes to get them into the pool. Tesar: butter-poached king crab with garlic flavors. Tom stands there in front of him talking about how great it is. Weird. Casey: crab macaron, orange and lemon marmalade, fennel & pea shoots. It looks like a scallop. Padma wants a smidge of salt. Away from the table they also think the marmalade needs something. Brooke: fresh ricotta and egg yolk crepe with trout roe and crispy prosciutto. That sounds so good. They like it a lot. Shirley: roasted leg of lamb with Beijing spice, sesame sauce & cucumber radish salad. Padma is like “it's hard to cut this lamb” and then Voltaggio reaches over to steal her chef's knife to cut it. It's hard to cut for everyone.

Emily: icebox cake with orange bourbon zabaione, cherries, hazelnuts & cocoa nib mascarpone. It sounds pretty good. Tom and Graham have nothing to say in front of her. No one is impressed. Sheldon: toasted barley tea & rice with steamed snapper, mushrooms & turnips. They love it. Sylva: island beef “lollipop” with ground rib eye, turmeric potato & truffle jus. He says people are coming back for seconds. Tom is like, you should make this food all the time. The judges get together to talk about how impressed they are with everyone pretty much. Well worth it.

In the Stew Room, Brooke declares that Sheldon's dish was the best she's had in a while. Casey is worried because they told her her dish needed seasoning. Judges' Table. Sylva, Brooke, and Sheldon were the top three. Sylva took something simple and really elevated it, and it was not heavy. He says he also really enjoyed talking to the guests. Brooke's crepe was beautiful and Tom declares it the best breakfast/brunch dish he's ever had. Sheldon's dish was so flavorful, and Tom was touched by the story of how they wouldn't even waste tea. Voltaggio says the winner is Sylva. He's surprised, but humbled that the show has brought him back to his roots.

Emily, Shirley, and Casey are the bottom. Tom says first of all, these are all good dishes. Casey's' dish was appropriate for the event, but it needed a little bit of salt. Tom is all “you just heard what we thought of the other dishes” and the “uh oh” music sting plays but I don't know what I'm supposed to be reacting to here? Casey said “it was under seasoned and that's not me” and then that was Tom's response. I don't get it. Padma asks Shirley about the difficulty they had cutting the lamb, and Shirley says she thought it was one bite but maybe she just takes bigger bites than everyone else. Hee. It was delicious once you could get into it. Emily blames the heat for her dish not being perfect. It was fine, but the flavors were a bit muddled and I think the judges are not impressed. They ask her why she stopped where she did and I'm not sure she had a coherent answer about why she didn't go further.

Casey for some reason can't handle her criticism and wants them to say “it was the best” or “it was horrible” and nothing in between. Padma wants to ding Shirley for her lamb. Everyone's food is so good that they have to ding Casey too. There are too few people left. Graham points out the two rookies left are Emily and Sylva and one of them stepped up and one didn't. Emily's cake was fine for a team challenge with more people than are left.

Padma tells the bottom three they should be proud of their food, and Tom talks about how they were asked to cook based on memories, but he hopes they made some memories too, or something, and then Emily is eliminated. Finally. Listen, this was overdue. She brags about how she doesn't have regrets in life, which is crap because just on this show she's had regrets. Whatever.

Next time: Casey gets pissed at Tesar, hats, something is on fire, everyone curses.

Last Chance Kitchen: Emily says she has been putting forth everything she's got. Sure. Also she's learned from the judges. She also thinks she's going up against Katsuji. Nope. Also why are we bitching about Katsuji? Whatever. Suddenly Voltaggio told her the icebox cake wasn't sweet enough and Brooke and them in the Stew Room are telling her if she's going to make a dessert just make a decision and make it sweet. I don't remember this detail from the actual episode. So anyway, this challenge will be about decision making. You have 45 seconds to shop and you can only use what you can carry. Then you will have 20 minutes to cook. Someone in the peanut gallery says “Sweep the leg, Jamie!” and something about salt and pepper. Jamie fails at grabbing salt or pepper. Or oil.

Jamie is like, “Emily, did you get salt? Could I have some?” and Emily says she already has some for him. She interviews that Jamie is a team player and she'd “like to think” she is also a team player. Ha! Anyway, Tom ruins it by telling them they can't share ingredients. Emily says she is really disappointed she can't help him, I think because she is still feeling guilty that he gave up immunity and saved her. Jamie is making watermelon and tomato salad, dressed with...watermelon, I guess. Katsuji tells him to take some oil out of the deep fryer and let it cool. As the peanut gallery tells Katsuji he's smart, he's all “I know, I'm in MENSA”. Sam immediately fires back that he's part of NAMBLA. HA! Emily is making charred corn and tomato. Jamie puts some of the watermelon rind in his dressing.

Tom Time! Emily is pulling the cork out of her oil bottle with her teeth. As Tom mentions that it looks like she's making something similar to Jamie but clearly she has the advantage, Emily breezily says “I think I'll make gazpacho!” and runs off. Tom just stands there blinking. Did she just invent that? She seems confident. Katsuji jokes that he should sweat on the food for salt. Tom is not laughing as hard because he has to eat it. Now Emily is scrapping her gazpacho idea that I guess she had for all of five minutes. Jamie says all his ingredients are really fresh and hopefully that will be enough. Emily announces to everyone “For the record, I was going to share my salt and pepper.” Emily. Stop trying to kiss up. Katsuji tries to ask Emily something but she refuses to answer. Still mad at him. BJ says Emily should salt Jamie's food for him, that way she's not sharing. They joke about her just throwing salt around the kitchen.

Jamie: watermelon &heirloom tomato salad with arugula puree & fresh radish. Tom asks him if he forgot the salt because he though it was already on the station (kind of a leading question, Tom) and Jamie says that's basically it. Emily: heirloom tomato salad with charred tomato & corn vinaigrette with fresh corn & radish. The vinaigrette is warm, and Tom wants to know if that's on purpose. It's because the gazpacho wouldn't get cold so she used it. Both dishes are lacking in something. Jamie had no salt, but he got some bitter notes in there. Emily had salt, but the cold tomato salad and warm vinaigrette didn't work. Tom asks what dish he'd eat again, and it's Jamie's. I wondered how they would have him win with no salt. Emily's indecisiveness screwed her. Jamie doesn't really want to see any of the people left but he's ready for them. He says he's a gangster, but he made a dish with no oil and no salt and still won so I can't really fault him for being cocky.

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