Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Top Chef - 10.21.09

Guest judge this week is Rick Moonen, champion of sustainable cooking.  Red Beard based his restaurant on sustainable cooking.  The Quickfire is about teamwork - The Top Chef Tag Team Cookoff.  First ever.

They pull knives and find... nothing on their knives.  Except Jennifer got one that said First Choice, and Michael V. got Second Choice.  That means they get to pick the teams.

Jennifer took Red Beard, Mike I, and Laurine.

Michael took his brother, Eli, and Robin.

Robin called Eli her Little Buddy.  I think she forgets last week's drama.

Here are the rules - each chef cooks for 10 minutes each.  They cannot speak to each other, and to top it all off, they will be blindfolded.  The team that creates the most cohesive dish wins, and it's a High Stakes Quickfire, and they get $10K to split as a team.

Eli is going first, followed by Robin, then Bryan, and Michael.

On the other team, Jennifer is going first, followed by Laurine, Mike I, and then Red Beard to finish up and plate.

No one seemed to fall apart.  Red Beard decided not to oil poach the fish like his other teammates set him up to do, but instead to fry in butter.

Michael's Team ended up with Pan Roasted Strip with whipped miso, avocado mousse, and pickled vegetables. 

Jennifer's Team ended up with sablefish with sauteed mushrooms, shitake broth, and radish salad.  Jennifer thought the fish was trout, but it was black cod.  She got called out on it.

The winner was Jennifer's team. The Voltaggio brothers are disappointed.

Time for Restaurant Wars!!!!  The teams are staying the same.  They are not responsible for decor this season (and I think that's good).  Two members will have 1 hour and $1500 at Whole Foods, and the other two will have the same at Restaurant Depot.  Rick gave them a seafood watch card to keep their minds on sustainability, since they are cooking in his restaurant (two floors, two kitchens)

Jennifer decided to skip dessert.  Laurine did the front of the house for their team (she also is in charge of one dish). They went with Mission for their name.  They took the fine dining restaurant.

The Voltaggio containing team are doing a modern American menu.  Robin wanted to do an Asian Pear Crisp with elderflower.  It sounded grand.  Bryan wanted to do a chocolate dish.  His brother told him that his chocolate a previous time sucked and helped them lose the challenge.  Eli did the front of the house for the other team.  They decided to name their restaurant Revolt.  (As in Revolution, but also Robin, Eli, and Voltaggio brothers.)

Mission's Menu: 
Asparagus & Six Minute Egg
Arctic Char tartare
Bouillabaisse consumme
Seared Trout
Pork Three Ways
Lamb with Carrot Jam

Revolt Menu:
Chicken & Calamari "Pasta"
Smoked Arctic Char
Duo of Beef
Cod & Billi-Bi Sauce
Pear Pithivier
Chocolate Ganache

Eli got people to the bar when they showed up.  Laurine was flustered.  Customers seemed unsure of Revolt's menu, with one customer saying "Is it meant to be things that contradict each other?"  The judges hated the name, and Padma wondered if they didn't think they would think of "revolting."  Still, the first dish got really great reviews.  Eli's Char didn't pop for the judges.  The kitchen was slowwwww and no food was coming out for a long time.  The brothers were getting on each other's nerves.  Still - Michael's cod was called melt in your mouth.  Bryan's meat and potatoes was a bit lackluster and not hot enough.  Michael was stepping on Robin's plating, and she swore at him, which he didn't take well.  When Robin's pear pithivier went out, the judges thought it was easily the best thing she's done.  The ganache could have used more mint ice cream, but they liked it.  As far as front of the house goes, Eli got good marks for his intensity.

Time for Mission!

The judges noticed right off that there were no desserts.  There were gasps.  Mike I's char lacked salt, and Laurine was kind of inattentive.  The second dish was not going out quickly enough.  The dining room was kind of slow and all over the place.  Laurine left the judges without explaining the dishes they got, and they called her back.  The mussels and the clams were fishy, and the consumme was not consumme, but it was yummy.  Jennifer's trout was called a mess.  The lamb was not getting cooked evenly, and was too rare, and no one was asked how they wanted it cooked.  The pork plate from Red Beard got happy notes from the judges, but they wanted a dessert.

Judge's Table

Revolt was called back first.  They have won Restaurant Wars, and the judges said it was the best Restaurant Wars restaurant in the history of Top Chef.  Toby thought that Eli was underdressed, but liked his hosting skills.  Michael tried to take credit for Robin's pithevier.  She rolled her eyes about it and said there is a fine line between helping and dominating.  In the end, Michael won and got $10K and a cookbook from the guest judge.  He wanted to split his money with everyone.  Bryan had a hissy fit and told him to keep the money because he didn't think he had the best professional behavior.

Time for Mission's critique.  Mike I. thought he should have run the house.  I think that would probably be worse.  Laurine claimed to be comfortable in the front of the house.  Could have fooled me.  Jennifer's decision to steam the clams and mussels to order was a reason for the delay.  She was feeling as broken as her sauce.  Laurine didn't take control of the lamb dish and admitted she thought it was too bloody.  Toby chastised her for not explaining the dishes.  Red Beard didn't even get the positive review for his pork dish!  The whole team was lacking a leader, and they knew it.

In the end, it was Laurine going home, and I think that was the right choice.  She had some serious issues.

Do you think the right person went home?

1 comment:

Lori said...

I do think Laurine needed to go. But I really want Robin gone. She gets on my nerves. Michael V is such a butthole to his brother too. So I would like to see him go as well.