Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Top Chef - 1.14.09

Very little intro before the ...

Quickfire Challenge

Hung is in the kitchen with Padma. The challenge is to work with all sorts of processed foods and canned good - because it's easy to create good food out of fresh ingredients.

They only have 15 minutes to create the most delicious dish they can without fresh ingredients.

Everyone complains bitterly, but gets to work.

Leah - Waffles with Strawberries and Sausage. Hung called it crunchy, and Leah proudly said that she fried it. Not so sure about that decision.

Stefan - Baked bean & Spam soup with Spam and Velveeta Grilled Cheese. Sounds hideous.

Fabio - Mac & Cheese with Roasted Artichoke and chili pepper. Hung appreciated the heat.

Radhika - Spicy Red Bean Dip with Grilled Bread. That looks pretty yummy. She put tahini in her dip, so it's akin to hummus, maybe?

Hosea - Sweet Pea soup with fried spam, onion rings, pork rinds, and hearts of palm. Hung likes pork rinds. Who would have guessed?

Jeff - Deep fried baby conch, coconut sauce, pina colada. That's kind of impressive out of the pantry.

Jamie - Bruschetta with garbanzo beans, artichoke & smoked mussels. Because there were no scallops in the pantry.

Ariane - Open-faced turkey spam sandwich with gravy and cranberry pineapple chutney. Hung called it interesting. Padma was amazed that they make turkey spam. Is that an attempt to make spam less gross? Hmm.

Carla - Asian Salmon Cake with fried green beans and lemon-grass ginger mayo.

Leah, Radhika, and Jamie were on the bottom. Hosea, Stefan, and Jeff were up on top. The winner is Stefan, and I can't be happy about that, because I can't stand Spam. Hosea kicks himself for letting Stefan have his extra spam.

Time for the Elimination Challenge.

The Cheftestants draw knives. The challenge is to create a seasonal meal around pork, lamb, or chicken (their knives had their assigned meat). They have to cook family style for 16, including dessert.

Leah, Ariane, and Hosea are Team Lamb. Leah and Hosea are on the same page, and Ariane won a challenge for her lamb before, so they think they are in a good place.

Carla, Stefan, and Jamie are Team Chicken. Jamie is pissed about being on a team with Stefan. Carla can't create in this environment. Jamie and Carla came up with a different menu and Stefan refused to listen. The tension mounted.

Jeff, Fabio, and Radhika are Team Pork. They seem to have something lovely in mind.

The next morning, everyone started to get nervous and rethink their dishes. Their is major tension on the way to ... not Whole Foods! No, they are at a famous restrauranteur's Stone Barn Farm and Agriculture Center. They are shopping at the farm, and meeting their meat, so to speak.

Jamie was attacked my a chicken, and Stefan thought it was hilarious, though he had to bring up that it was him and a bunch of hens ("I'm the only cock in the stall."). Nice, Stefan.

It's cooking time.

Team Pork is making: Seared pork loin, sausage ravioli with pesto, fried green tomatoes, grilled corn salad with bacon, and a creme brulee.

Team Chicken is making: Chicken Cutlet, Lemon-herb roast chicken, chicken ravioli soup, nectarine & strawberry tartlet.

Team Lamb is making: Roasted duo of lamb, heirloom tomato salad, roasemary & garlic roasted potatoes, swiss chard, and a summer berry trifle.

Tom came to check in, and everyone seemed on track. He questioned the butchering choices of Team Lamb, the soup decision of Team Chicken, and the dessert choice of Team Pork.

Ariane had issues tying the lamb roullades up, so Leah helped her out.

And it's service time!

They are serving the farmers, their family, and the judges including Dan Barber.

The judges didn't like the Chicken Soup idea. Others say it was good soup, so it wasn't too bad. The lamb was called a mess, with awful butchering. Their meal was called out of season. Fabio's ravioli was "fine" but the pesto was too aggressive. Jeff's fried green tomatoes got good reviews. Tom questioned the logic of taking pork off the bone and removing all the fat, which got rid of a lot of the flavor.

Carla's tartlett got really good reviews, and Tom praised her crust and the use of thyme. The creme brulee was called too sweet. The trifle was compared to airline food. ouch.

Judges' Table.

Jamie, Carla, and Stefan were called back first. They are the tops. Carla's tartlett got the best praise. She called herself the mediator in the kitchen between the two strong personalities. All three of them are winners. That's cool for them. I still can't handle Carla, but I appreciate her ability to make a good pastry.

The other two teams are sent back to the judges.

Jeff's butchery of the pork was a bad decision. Fabio added too much pesto, but says that they wanted to make a cherry tomato sauce, but there were no cherry tomatoes. Radhika didn't produce much in the time given, and Tom seemed critical.

Ariane's butchering and decision to tenderize already tender baby lamb were both criticized. The fact that Ariane was the only one to do anything with the lamb was a problem. Ariane said that she told them that she wasn't familiar with rolling and tying, and Leah said that she knows how to roll and tie, and Hosea said he knows how to butcher, but neither of them helped out, so that's not good.

The new judge (I missed his name) said that he wanted to have unprotected wild sex with the pork, but the other judges thought the lamb was much worse. They didn't like Ariane's work, but Leah's non-helpful demeanor was more annoying. Who's going home?

Radhika's minimal contributions, Fabio's heavy hand with pesto, and Jeff's butchery were questioned. Jeff's fried green tomatoes saved the team, and Team Pork is safe.

Leah didn't do much, Ariane didn't do a good job at all, and Hosea didn't take any responsibility to help with the butchering, which he claims to have experience with. In the end, it's Ariane going home, and she was in the bottom a lot, so I can see that. She left, calling Leah lazy, and Hosea a wimp. Her roller coaster ride on Top Chef is over.

Next week is Restaurant Wars!! Yippee!! And, Hosea and Leah are getting a little frisky. Hmmm.


David Dust said...

The new judge's name is Toby Young, AKA "Sir Milk of Magnesia".

CLICK HERE for David Dust's Top Chef recap.


Ed said...

I'll have the spam, spam, spam, eggs, spam and spam, please.

Great link(s)!

Astrid said...

Thanks, David!

Ed, glad you liked the links.

"Spammity spam, spammity spam!!"