Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Top Chef - 9.23.09

Why do I have the feeling that Mike I. will be sticking around forever, just to spite me?  Mike and most of the guys are wearing some of Mattin's scarves in honor of him.

Michelle Bernstein is the guest judge today.


Create a duo that has to do with the battle between good and evil in their culinary life.

(Moral of the story, many of these chefs love scallops, channeling Jamie from last season)

Michael V: Angel - Rillettes of salmon  Devil - Confit of salmon and ice cream.  Modern vs. Traditional

Kevin, aka Red Beard: Angel - Halibut and seasonal vegetables.  Devil - Deviled egg puree and bacon.  Obviously healthy vs. not.

Ron: Angel - Chilean sea bass with corn hash Devil - Chilean sea bass with yucca.  Not sure what his dichotomy is.  He had bones in the fish.  Not good.

Ashley: Angel - Scallop crudo (very light) Devil - Seared Scallop Puttanesca.

Eli: Angel - Scallop with radish top pesto.  Devil - Scallop with brown butter risotto.

Bryan: He went literal with an all white and all dark desserts.  Angel - Frozen coconut lychee and vanilla Devil - Dark chocolate mousse. While they looked yummy, I wonder if he missed the spirit of the challenge.

Jennifer: Angel - Scallop crudo with olive oil.  Devil - Seared Scallop with butter.

Ash: He announced that his biggest devil was time, and he only got one custard done, which happened to be his Devil custard: Spicy Asparagus custard with pink peppercorn shortbread.  His Angel was supposed to be a coffee custard.

Robin:  Angel - Arugula, apple, and fennel salad.  Devil - Cardamom apple ginger crisp (omg, I want some.  Like, right now)

Laurine: Angel - Chicken and vegetable consumme.  Devil - Chicken saltinbocca

Mike I: Angel - Cucumber yogurt soup.  Devil - Rack of lamb kabob style.

At the bottom are Ash, Bryan, and Laurine.  At the top are Michael, Eli, and RobinRobin won it, to Mike I's consternation.  I still want some of her apple crisp (and I found the recipe!!!).  Mike I. thinks she won it because she played the cancer card.

Elimination Challenge

Enter Penn and Teller!  They deconstructed a classic ball and cup trick.  The chefs will be deconstructing classic dishes.

Jennifer got meat lasagne.
Michael got caesar salad
Ash got shepherd's pie
Robin got New England clam chowder.
Eli got Sweet and sour pork.
Laurine got fish n' chips.
Red Beard got Chicken mole negro
Michael V got Reuben
Bryan. got eggs florentine
Ashley got pot roast
Rob got paella

Toby Young is back on the panel tonight.

Bryan is planning his deconstructed reuben with tuna instead of pastrami... hmmmm.  We'll see how that goes.  Mike I. doesn't know precisely what Eggs Florentine is supposed to taste like, calling it Egg's foreign to me.  Jennifer is freaking out just a little bit.  Eli's pressure cooker looks dangerous, and in fact, the safety latch broke and it exploded a little.  He decided to bring his own broken pressure cooker instead of using one in the Top Chef kitchen.  Robin was chatting to herself about everything, and pissing Laurine off.  Ash told Tom he was doing stuff with textures and flavors and stuff.  How profound.  Jennifer was avoiding talking to Tom.  Rob tried to get Tom for advice, and Tom told him that wasn't allowed.  Tom tracked down Jennifer, and she was obviously flustered about the whole thing.

Back in the rooms, Red Beard tried to give Rob advice on how to make his paella deconstructed.  Laurine and Jennifer grumped about Robin and the challenge.  Mike I. tried to really figure out what eggs florentine is.  Too bad he can't wikipedia it, because it's apparently eggs benedict with spinach instead of canadian bacon.  I think I already knew that. 

The next day, they are back at the prep, on location at Marinelli's restaurant.

Michael and Mike I are serving first.  Michael encapsulated the dressing.  Pretty cool.  Mike I. more reinvented the eggs florentine instead of deconstructing them. 

Laurine and Bryan are up next.  Laurine's chips are a little soggy, and she tried to put them in the oven.  Not so much.  They burned.  The fish was dry, and she messed up with the chips, because they are supposed to be french fries, not potato chips.  Bryan's tuna reuben was deemed delicious, but Penn and Teller didn't think it was really reubenesque, so to speak.

Next up were Ash and Jennifer, who are both nervous.  Ash did pea puree instead of mashed potato, because his original puree didn't go so well.  Though she was nervous, Jennifer did super well.  Ash's lamb was totally unevenly cooked, and his pea puree was not appreciated.

Ron and Eli were next.  Ron's paella suffered from bad rice.  Toby thought that Eli's pork balls were reminiscent of bull's testicles.  Resident bull testicle expert, Padma, said they were a bit big for bull testicles.  The taste was good, though.

Ashley and Red Beard were next.  Red Beard's mole was hugely successful.  Ashley's pot roast was also given top marks, and her meat was called the best cut of meat the judges had been served.

Robin's clam chowder was last.  It prompted Teller to do some magic, but no one liked the actual dish much.

Judge's Table

Ashley, Michael, Red Beard, and Jennifer were called back first, as the top.  Tom said Michael's dish made him excited about food.  Ashley's dish made the judges fall in love with pot roast.  Red Beard's mole made some much sense it wasn't funny.  Jennifer brought it home, though she was nervous before hand.

And Red Beard wins it, and also gets a set of Calphalon Unison non-stick cookware (which I have not seen yet - would be interested to, though)

Laurine, Ron, and Ash are in the bottom rung.  (So, Mike I. stays in it, yet again) Ash defended his lack of potato, and his inconsistent meat cooking was a problem, and he hadn't even noticed it.  Bad.  Laurine just had problems around.  Ron's seafood wasn't cooked properly, and his rice was simultaneously mushy and dry.  That's hard to do.

In the end, it was Ron going home, and I think that was the right decision.  I wish it could have been Mike I.  Hopefully, his day will come.

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