Friday, February 3, 2017

Top Chef 2/2/17--"Shrimp Boats and Hat Ladies" summary

Previously on “Top Chef”: the Quickfire was a blind taste test and Brooke destroyed everyone, which wasn't that surprising. Emily was terrible which also wasn't surprising. Then the chefs had to serve a charity cocktail gala, outside, and make dishes that were inspired by childhood memories. Sylva made fried beef patties which were light and super delicious so he was declared the winner. Emily made an icebox cake, sort of, and she thought she had elevated it but she did not. So she was finally sent home. (click for more)

On Last Chance Kitchen, Jamie and Emily had 45 seconds to shop and Jamie managed not to grab salt or pepper or oil for his dish. And yet he won anyway, which I find suspicious but I also don't care because Emily should have gone home several weeks ago and I don't think she should be in the finale.

Sylva is the last rookie left, and he just won. This show has let him make a comeback after his restaurant burned down. Tom appears in the Stew Room and everyone groans and is slightly annoyed. Casey is like, this is our area and Tom needs to not be in our area. Tom tells them they've all worked hard so he has a “treat” planned for tomorrow. He says to meet him tomorrow morning at “The Wreck” and Casey immediately assumes that's a restaurant on the marina and they're going fishing. They might be. Brooke says she has a phobia of vomit so she is not excited about possibly being on a boat. Shirley admits she has serious motion sickness so Brooke is like, please stay away from me. Hee.

Tom DOES meet them at the docks and Shirley is already sick. Time to go shrimping. Poor Shirley. Some dolphins follow them which is pretty cool. They also have to sort the catch. Sylva says to Tom he should do this all the time. Padma is waiting for them back at the dock, though, so everyone groans.

The Quickfire, obviously, is to cook up the shrimp they just caught. Also it's a Sudden Death Quickfire, and they are sticking to this season's variation where it's a real “sudden death” Quickfire. The bottom three will have another battle and someone will be eliminated. This is overly complicated but at least it's actually sudden death.

30 minutes to cook. Tesar says he isn't going home now, and I know he's not because the preview had everyone getting mad at him. He's making ceviche and making sure it's spicy. Sylva is annoyed he has to open cans with his expensive chef's knives. Shirley is out of it because of her motion sickness pills. Sheldon picks out two perfect shrimp. He's smoking shrimp with branches, like he did in his finale. Brooke is pulling a dish out of her ass. I mean that's basically what she says. She's using the shells to make shrimp butter. Casey can't believe her last dishes were under seasoned. This to her translates to having the biggest, boldest flavors possible. Shirley hates how her dish looks.

Casey: red curry shrimp with coconut broth, charred tomato, grilled pineapple, cilantro & sea bean. Sylva: togarashi & orange marinated shrimp with coconut broth, dill, corn, & mango. Togarashi is Japanese pepper. Shirley: garlic shrimp with charred sea bean, jalapeno & habanero. Brooke: shrimp with clarified shrimp butter, pickled sea beans & tomato seed vinaigrette. Sea bean is a vegetable that I guess everyone liked to use today. Sheldon: tomato water-poached roe shrimp with smoked pine, yuzu, radish & sea beans. Roe shrimp are just the shrimp that have roe in them. Tesar: shrimp ceviche with fennel, peppers, jalapeno, lime & olive oil.

Tom says that Sheldon is the winner. Nice. The bottom three are Casey, Shirley, and Sylva. This seems a fix. Sylva is great but as he is the last rookie left I don't have high hopes for his chances right now. Casey's dish was too salty (her stank face is great), Shirley's shrimp was rubbery, and Sylva's was too salty also. So the Sudden Death Quickfire is to use the “bycatch” from today. The bycatch is all the stuff they caught that wasn't shrimp, so there's a bunch of different things in there.

30 minutes to cook. Shirley is numb. Casey is annoyed and wants to go in a different direction than her earlier dish. There's a lot of cooking happening but not any information. I think Casey and Shirley both have squid while Sylva has fish that he only cooked on one side? It's raw? Something that seems like a bad idea. Casey worries her squid is too tough.

Shirley: grilled baby squid with roasted fennel, mirin, ginger, garlic & chili broth. Casey: charred squid with mushroom soy broth, roasted fennel, poached radish & mirin. Sylva: redfish with tarragon butter, tomato, cabbage, fish sauce & champagne vinegar. Shirley's dish had some good spice, Casey had lots of umami, and Sylva went subtle. The loser is Casey. Huh. I didn't think that would go that way and I will miss her. The squid was a little chewy. This show has been a huge part of her life, and it's been hard but it's worth it. Aww. Bye Casey.

Padma claims it's time to have fun with your food. For the Elimination challenge, here is Dominique Ansel. What does he have to do with Charleston or southern cooking? Whatever. Was Wylie busy? Anyway, he's the guest judge and the theme is “mash-up brunch dishes”. The chefs will make their own dishes that use both breakfast and lunch items. This is tricky but I am kind of excited about what might come out of this challenge. They'll be serving the “Hat Ladies” which is a thing? So it's a group of women who have monthly parties and then the rest of the month they do volunteer work. Seems very genteel but I can get behind that ratio of volunteering to parties. Brooke points out that the cronut wasn't invented in ten minutes so how is she supposed to come up with something on the fly like this? Good point.

Whole Foods. Sylva really wants to impress Ansel. Shirley is doing dim sum but with American flavors. Tesar buys octopus to make “Korean octopus hash”. He claims to not be creative. Brooke is annoyed because her egg yolk crepe she made last episode would be perfect and she can't make it again.

Back at the house the contestants have all the leftover shrimp so they're making what looks like gumbo. Sheldon misses his family. They have a picture and they are THE CUTEST. I love Sheldon. I don't like this editing.

2 hours to cook. Tesar immediately decides to scramble his eggs instead of poaching them, due to how crowded it is and the time constraint. Shirley is making cheeseburger pot stickers. It sounds like something I would order at Applebee's. Listen, Shirley's potstickers will be far superior to anything I would get there, but it just sounds like a Guy Fieri-style fusion thing. And I'm not sure how it fuses breakfast and lunch. Anyway, she has a TON of work to do. Sheldon is making chicken and waffles, but putting the chicken in a waffle iron and then he bought frozen Belgian waffles to make a crumble. Sheldon! Goddammit! Pre-made waffles!

Tom Time! Sylva is making a frittata with fish underneath. Lots of techniques to show off. Or screw up. Brooke has an ambitious plan with yogurt cups and broth inside. She says she doesn't want to tell them how she's planning to present it, in case it doesn't work and they wonder what happened. Hee. Then Tom and Ansel leave so that was not productive.

Tesar says they will have to plate 20 dishes at a time, plus judges. The guests file in, and they all have solid Southern church lady church hats. You know what I mean. Gail says something about being worried about wearing a hat, but she's got a fascinator so essentially it's a big flower attached to the side of her head. Not a hat. Padma has the same deal happening. Sylva is worried his eggs aren't cooked but time is up.

Shirley: beef and cheddar dumpling with bacon tomato jam. It's meant to be dim sum meets burgers. It works, partially because Gail likes the cheese that leaked out and got crunchy when she seared the potstickers. One of the guests says he missed the brunch part but he'll eat it. Sylva has to turn his frittata into a scramble because it's not cooking, and he didn't get any dishes out in the first round. It's not what he wants but he needs to serve something. Sylva: arctic char frittata with morel mushrooms, beet sabayon & pancetta. They know it's not a frittata. Why did you call it that?! Call it a scramble.

Brooke's yogurt cups aren't holding the broth so she just has to plate it like a normal person. Brooke: matcha and chia Greek yogurt with hibiscus & strawberry broth, peanut butter crumble. Padma asks if it's decadent enough, and Brooke is like, decadent doesn't always mean heavy? But there's butter in the crumble? Ansel likes the flavors but it's not the most creative. Brooke says the flavors were more important to her than whimsy. Tom is just all, liquid nitrogen. That would have been helpful when you had Tom Time, TOM, so thanks for your timely advice.

Tesar likes his dish but he knows it's not the most creative. Tesar: octopus hash & kimchi scramble with chorizo, hollandaise. Tom says it's not crispy enough for a hash, but Tesar didn't want to make it crispy because then the octopus would be overcooked. The eggs are weirding people out. Sheldon: Korean fried chicken with umami butter and waffle crumble. The umami butter has seaweed and oyster sauce. I want that right now. They love it, even though they're not getting the “waffle” part of “chicken and waffles”.

Judges' Table. Tom starts out by saying it wasn't their best day. Sheldon and Shirley had the best dishes. Shirley's beef was juicy and it all worked. Sheldon made a delicious butter and his dish had the most flavor. Shirley is the winner! It's just weird, you guys. You can get cheeseburger egg rolls at Applebee's, I looked it up. Whatever, she and Sheldon are safe.

Tesar knows he didn't make hash. Everything was cooked well, but Gail doesn't think it was inspired. Brooke brings up her last challenge, but she also admits she wasn't creative. The presentation was sloppy. Sylva explains his execution problems, and Tom lets him know that the eggs were overcooked anyway, in addition to not being a frittata. None of them were creative, and Padma kicks them out.

Brooke's dish made Padma angry because if she had put it in a cup it would have been a yogurt parfait and I think Padma's bored. Tom does point out she didn't just open some yogurt and plate it, which is true. Padma doesn't know how it was a breakfast-lunch fusion. Well it was supposed to be a yogurt parfait and a peanut butter & jelly sandwich. If you told everyone the challenges ahead of time, she would have made egg yolk crepes today and they would have been stellar, and then Tesar and Sylva would have still had execution problems. I really like the idea of telling everyone all the challenges in advance so they have time to come up with shit, like they do on “Great British Bake-Off”. Tom disagrees with Padma so I guess Brooke is safe. Gail argues that even though Tesar and Sylva had terrible execution you could at least see the mash-up. Brooke is frustrated because she thinks she's good at whimsical food. Tesar was sort of OK and things were cooked well so the judges agree he's safe. Padma says the question is, is it better to follow the challenge but do it poorly (Sylva), or make a more edible dish but not follow the challenge (Brooke). Oh like they'd get rid of Brooke over Sylva. Right?

Tom says something about being creative and making magic happen on the plate. Then Sylva is sent home because I told you guys. I told you. He was the last rookie and there was no way they would send Brooke home when I think it's entirely possible she's only here to allow her to win. Sylva has reawakened his passion for cooking.

Next time: some random people, probably family members, too much pressure.

Last Chance Kitchen: Casey is pissed off, and Sylva is here too so luckily I won't have to watch two episodes of this. Sylva says he cannot have a bad day. Casey knows they're battling Jamie. He is great at Quickfires. Tom says two of them will move on. Also today they will be cooking with stupid [product placement] ranch dressing. Snack time. Invent a snack and also use ranch dressing. Stupid. How are you going to demand they be creative but then also force them to use ranch dressing? Whatever. Also make enough for the peanut gallery, so that means 10 servings.

30 minutes. Jamie aims for pretzel nachos. Sylva thinks everything is already snacks. Casey believes Cheetos and ranch will be great. Sure. She is breading chicken strips. Sylva has pork belly and cheese which sounds gross. Jamie makes pimento cheese. Sylva braises his pork belly in ranch which still sounds gross. Ugh. Casey spills milk everywhere. Now Sylva is making s'mores, still with ranch.

Tom Time. Jamie still has pretzel nachos. Casey has chicken strips. Sylva has so many things happening and I don't know that they'll all go together. Casey is pissed about the peanut gallery asking her questions. Also she's anxious.

Jamie: pretzel nachos with pimento cheese, fire-roasted peppers & sriracha ranch. Casey: cheese puff chicken tender lettuce cups with aerated original ranch. It's a chicken tender with a piece of lettuce wrapped around it. Sylva: cilantro-lime pork belly on honey graham crackers with cheese sauce & kimchi strawberry jam. That...still sounds gross.

Jamie had a good twist on nachos. Casey worked Cheetos in there and used the ranch in several different ways. Sylva managed to get the pork belly done in half an hour. In the end Sylva is eliminated. There was too much graham cracker. I'm not surprised by this. The peanut gallery liked Casey's dish.

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