Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Top Chef - 1.28.09

Oh, Radhika, if only you had been a better leader, you could still be here. sigh.

(This Top Chef, and all others, blatantly sponsored by Glad, as evidenced by gratuitous Glad product shots in the kitchen while Carla was chatting.) Leah said that she and Hosea will not hook up again, and Stefan is feeling like Top Dog.

And it's time for Quickfire.

Scott Conant is the guest judge this week. In Top Chef time, the Superbowl is right around the corner. (This was taped months ago, so it's all pretend). The chefs write their name in squares and get a food group, and after that is revealed, they got a secret ingredient on the other axis. It was pretty complicated.

Jamie got fruits, Leah got seafood, Fabio got vegetables, Hosea got meat, Stefan got Dairy, Carla got Nuts & grains, and Jeff got poultry.

Their secret ingredient was.... oats! Because this a Quaker Oats Food Group Challenge. They have to create a dish using oats and featuring their food group, and use the oats in a new way.

And Fabio gets the quote of the week so far with "I am not excited about vegetables. There is no good reason to eat vegetables when there is meat and seafood around."

Hosea pronounced Wienerschnitzel with a W sound instead of a V, which was humorous to me. Jeff (according to Carla) couldn't "quiet the creative monkeys" and focus. The dishes look interesting.

Stefan - Banana Mousse with Quaker Oats and a Oat-Almond Petit Four. Looked good.

Fabio - Quaker Oat Crusted-Eggplant with corn and parmesan salad. It was kind of crazy looking. Fabio was offended when Scott picked on his food.

Carla - Pecan & Oatmeal Crusted Tofu with oatmeal and lentil salad. It looked interesting. I would not have gone with tofu if I were her.

Jamie - Coconut & Oat crusted shrimp with nectarine salsa and avacado creme fraiche. Looked very good, and unexpected for fruit. At least she didn't do a scallop.

Hosea - Oat encrusted wienerschnitzel with warm potato salad with lemon mustard sauce. I'd try that.

Leah - Oat encrusted branzino & mussels in escarole with bacon. Leah pronounced her love for bacon.

Jeff - Oat crusted chicken paillard, grits, and fried zucchini. He used oats in everything. It's all very brown.

Leah, Fabio, and Jeff went in the bottom. Jeff's brown plate landed him there. Carla, Jamie, and Stefan landed in the top, with Stefan taking the honors (this is 5 challenges in a row). No immunity, but an "advantage."

The Elimination Challenge

They get chef jacket jerseys with their names on them, and it's Top Chef Bowl. The opposition is....

Past Season Cheftestants!

I can't keep track of who everyone was on the AllStar team. It's a head to head cook-off, with regional food from Football team hometowns.

Stefan chose his Region - and he chose Dallas Cowboys, and picked Andrea to go against.

The rest of them have 5 minutes to pick their regions, and the AllStars pick theirs.

Jeff and Josie go head to head for Miami.
Fabio and Spike are for Greenbay.
Hosea and Miguell are Seattle.
Leah and Nikki are NYC.
Jamie and Camille are San Francisco.
Carla and Andrew are New Orleans.

They will compete the next day in a 20 minute cookoff in front of Culinary students, with ingredients given. Anyone who loses their head to head will be eligible for elimination.

They got a little time to check out their ingredients and have 2 hours to fiddle with their recipes. They can only bring raw ingredients to the arena the next day.

Elimination Challenge Time. Padma is the hottest referee ever.

The rules are:

1) Two Chefs cook per round
2) Judge vote scores a 7 point touchdown
3) Fan Tasters' vote scores a 3 point field goal

Round 1 is Leah vs. Nikki. And it's not a quiet crowd (eliminated chefs are also in the audience).

Nikki's - Chicken livers with onions and goat cheese on challah bread with arugula.
Leah - NY Strip with creamed corn, snap peas and an arugula tomato salad.

Padma went for Leah, Toby went for Nikki, Scott went for Leah, and Tom went for Leah. That's 7 points for Leah. Leah only got 2 of the fan votes, so Nikki got 3 points for the AllStars.

Round 2 is Hosea vs. Miguell.

Miguell - Cedar plank salmon with noodles and mushrooms.
Hosea - Crispy salmon roll with a ginger-blackberry sauce.

The judges except for Tom pick Hosea. Hosea also took the field goal.

Round 3 - Andrew vs. Carla.

Andrew - Crayfish crudo with a spicy lime vinaigrette
Carla - Crawfush and andoille gumbo over stone ground grits.

Carla got the touchdown hands down. However, she only got one vote for a field goal, so the field goal went to Andrew.

Round 4 - Stefan vs. Andrea

Andrea - Tex Mex Chili with Fried corn chips and guacamole cole slaw
Stefan - Roasted pork with coleslaw & NY Steak salad

Padma chose Andrea, Toby chose Andrea, Scott chose Stefan, and Tom gave it to Stefan. No points for Stefan there, and the field goal went straight to Andrea. Yipes! No one is really upset about Stefan getting knocked down a notch.

Round 5 - Jamie vs. Camille

Camille - Miso sweet potato mash with mustard crab meat and salad.
Jamie - Crab Cioppini with olives, basil, and toasted sourdough.

The judges are split again, but Jamie gets the Field goal (and wins the touchdown points, too)

Round 6 - Jeff vs. Josie

Josie - Warm rock shrimp ceviche with papaya
Jeff - Roch Shrimp ceviche with sangria sorbet

Padma went with Jeff, Toby went with Josie, Scott went with Josie, and Tom went with Josie. She also took the field goal.

Round 7 - Fabio vs. Spike

Fabio brought on the charm, and talked a lot, but may have overcooked his venison.

Spike - Five-spice venison with port reduction and micro herb salad.
Fabio - Venison with mustard sauce and mache salad with cheddar

Padma went with Spike, Toby went with Fabio, Scott didn't like Fabio's overcooked venison, and went with Spike, as did Tom. Fabio took the field goal, though.

Season 5 won the challenge, but only Jeff, Stefan, and Fabio are up for elimination.

The others were called back to Judge's table to determine the winner.

Carla's love came through in her flavors this week, and Scott said that he likes watching Leah cook. Carla's love won it for her, though. She won two tickets to the Superbowl. Crazy eyes got crazier.

And who is leaving?

Fabio claimed that his venison got overcooked because it was plated on top of hot cabbage. Bull. He said in the kitchen that he thought it was overcooked. He then talked back to Scott when Scott said he should have put some acid with his greens, and Scott basically looked like he wanted to bitch slap him.

Stefan was called out for playing it safe, and counting on his opponent being weak (which she was not).

Jeff was thrown off by plastic plates, and brought up how many extra steps he made, and that should matter for something, right? Ummmm... what matters is what ends up on the plate.

In the end, it's Jeff's time to go. I am pleased with that. While the Euro-duo are annoying at times, Jeff has just been too crazy this whole time, trying to do 89 different things on a plate at a time. There's something to be said for streamlining.

Miami Ken is out. I kept forgetting he was in the competition, so I won't miss him.

Next week, they need to do some eel butchery. Fun never ends.

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