Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Top Chef - 8.26.09

Week 2 of Top Chef: Las Vegas is on!

Quickfire Challenge

Todd Englishman joins Padma and a GIANT craps table to introduce their challenge.  Each chef will roll the dice.  The number they get is the amount of ingredients they can use.  Salt, pepper, and oil don't count against them.  The winner of the Quickfire will win $15,000.

Lots of rolling and some pretty high numbers, except Laurine, who rolled a 3.

They pick their ingredients and have 30 minutes.

Laurine had three ingredients and made an asparagus, lemon, and leek soup.  Sounds good.

Jennifer had Salmon with Lemon, Garlic, Shallot, Parsley, and jalapeno emulsion.  She had 9 ingredients.

Mattin had 4 ingredients and made a carrot soup with ginger.

Eve had 8 and made grilled asparagus salad with pine nuts, golden raisins and some other things.

Michael had 4 ingrediens and made nitro gazpacho, compressed cucumbers, and toast.

Kevin, aka Red Beard had 10 ingredients and made an asparagus and celery salad with fennel and cream and a boiled egg.

Ashley had 8 and grilled lamb and made apricot moustada.  Padma commented that the lamb looked really rare.  Not a good sign.

Bryan made a poached black cod with carrot, ginger puree, daikon radish sprout with his 10 ingrediens.  He also got rare comments. 

Jesse had 9 ingredients and made scallops with chimichurri and smashed garbanzo beans with toasted garlic.

(I understand timing issues, but I really hate when they don't show all of the chef's ingredients)

Todd thought that a lot of the chefs had great flavor.  The least favorites were Jesse because she didn't have a sear on her scallops and her textures were mushy on mushy.  Eve had too much blue cheese and sloppy presentation.  Bryan also got low marks.

The ones on top were Michael, Jennifer, and Red Beard Michael, aka Brother Goatee, won the challenge.

For their main challenge, they are cooking for a bachelor/ette party.  They will be cooking women vs. men, and the men will be cooking for bachelorettes and women will be cooking for the men.  There are some bad feelings about the splitting of the teams by sex.

The bride and groom enter, with their three favorite shots.  They want good food to be paired with the shots. Each team needs to make at least 2 dishes to match each shot.  The bride eats fish but no meat.  She doesn't mind meat on the menu, though, and she has at least one vegan friend so she wants to have something for them.

Off to Whole Foods, and then back to cook!

Eve has her diploma in Wine & Spirits.  I think that's what she said.  That's something else.  Everything needs to get packed into Gladware and ready to go.  The guys gathered around Hector at the end to help him finish up the tortillas.  The girls were feeling good about being more put together.

The next day, they got to cooking by the pool side.  Eve may be good with wine and spirits, but spicing isn't the best, and her vinaigrette didn't penetrate the ceviche.  Add salt and pray!

The guests arrived to opposite sides of the pool.  Mattin was sad that he couldn't take the time to flirt with the hot women.  Ashley is pissed to be taking part in a marriage challenge when she can't get married legally in all states because she is gay.

But, how's the food?

Robin made a duck mole with cocoa nibs and apricots.

Laurine made a moroccan lamb chop.

Eve made a shrimp & avocado ceviche with popcorn and salsa.

Jennifer did an octopus ceviche with smoked salt.

Eve's ceviche gets terrible reviews from the judges. 

Ashley did a watermelon carpachio, and a bay leaf pannacotta with cranberry powder and honey.

Preeti made Coriander and sesame crusted tuna with spicy eggplant and wonton crisp.

Jesse did a thai chicken cup with shitake mushrooms, shiso, and ginger beer.

The judge's thought that Jesse's dish was too complicated and Preeti's dish was called pedestrian.  Ashley did two dishes and didn't hit a homerun with either one.

Time for the men's team!

Michael made an apple sorbet with a goat cheese cookie, claiming to have used the same ingredients as the shot, but with all fresh ingredients.

Red Beard (that's Kevin) made a chilled almond soup with cucumber, king crab, and white grape. 

Both of them get fabulous comments.

Mike I. made Artic char with smokey caper sauce and cara cara orange.

Bryan made a (very odd sounding) sweet and sour macaroon, filled with guacamole, corn nuts, and corn puree.

Ron made a lobster cocktail with jalapeno tomato sauce.

Hector made a tofu, lemon-lime ceviche for the vegans in the group.

Hector got good marks, but Ron's was not spiced enough.  Mike I's dish didn't work with the shot, and his fish was called floppy.  Bryan's macaroon got great marks.  Interesting.

Eli made a thai tuna tartare with puffed wild rice.

Mattin made a bouillabase with aiuli crouton and petit basque croquettes.  That's a whole lot of French from our French cheftestant.

Ash made an Asian drumstick wingwith pickled pearl onions. 

Eli's tartar got great marks.  The croquette was off for Mattin and the bouillabase didn't match the shot.  Ash's chicken?  Very nice.

The boys (and I will not call them men) decided it would be a good idea to take off their chef coats and jump in the pool after the service was done.  I don't think that was the best idea.

Mike I. has some nicknames for people, but I like mine better.  He's just obnoxious.  Maybe I'll refer to him as Mr. Annoying.  That might work.  What do you think?

Judge's Table Time!

Bryan, Hector, Eli, and Michael were called back first.  That would make the men the winners. 

Eli's tuna tartar was memorable and exciting for Gayle.  It matched the shot well.

Michael's sorbet was called great from concept to execution.

Hector changed people's minds about tofu.

Bryan's dish was also conceptually brilliant.  And this time, he takes the win from his brother. 

They were told to send back Eve, Jesse, Preeti, and Ashley.

These are the least favorite dishes.

Jesse's dish was watery, and didn't add real ginger, just ginger beer, and that left it muddled because it was too complicated.

Eve wanted to do something with spice for the groom, but in the end, they could only taste the salsa.  She needed more salt.

Preeti's tuna was called cured and the shiso was wilty because of the heat, and the eggplant didn't seem to be cohesive, and none of it went with the shot.

Ashley's choice of doing two dishes was a mistake.  Her watermelon was great, but the pannacotta didn't set right.  Tom gave her a science lesson about tannins in bay leaves and how you shouldn't expose them to heat too much before they overtake the dish.  However, her watermelon got excellent marks.

The people the judges had a problem with most were those who really seemed to have no concept of where they went wrong.  In the end, it's Eve going home, and I think that was the right decision.  She defended herself on the way out, saying that the judges just didn't understand her cooking.  I think they just didn't like it.

Do you think they made the right choice?  I was hoping for Eve to go from the beginning of the episode.

1 comment:

Lori said...

Yes, they made the right choice. She has been in the bottom the entire time. It seems she has an issue with seasoning. She also seems a bit of an airhead, like the lights are on but no one is home...