Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Top Chef - 10.28.09

Padma is joined by Paul Bartolotta, a celebrated Italian chef who is based in Vegas.


They have to take the classic TV dinner, inspired by a television show.  They draw knives for shows. I kind of dig it.

Jennifer - The Flintstones - Chicken roulade with garlic cream, pea salad, carmelized peaches.
Mike I. - Seinfeld (which he claims never to have seen) - Sausage & peppers, mushrooms, cheese and warm fruit salad.
Red Beard - Sopranos - Braised meatballs with polenta, roasted cauliflower and roasted pear
Eli - Gilligan's Island - Macadamia nut and cashew crusted shrimp, sweet potato puree, herb salad, and cherries and bananas.
Michael V. - Cheers - Chicken parmesan with swiss chard and apple pie.

Robin - Sesame Street - Burger with Egg, crispy kale, carrot salad, lace cookie with chocolate ganache.
Bryan - M.A.S.H. - Meatloaf, mashed potato, asparagus, and tart tatin.

Jennifer and Robin are in the bottom.  Red Beard and Bryan are in the top.  Red Beard takes the win!  Yay!  No immunity, but a version of his winning dish will be featured in a new line of Top Chef inspired frozen meals through Schwann's.  Neat.

Elimination Challenge 

They will be taking over Tom's Craft Steak restaurant at the MGM Grand for one night, to serve the judges and other guests.

At the restaurant, they all raided the gorgeous meat.  Tom showed up, and told them they will be cooking for VEGATARIAN Natalie Portman.  At a steak house.  She loves food and is adventurous with flavors.  But yeah.  No meat.  Jaws dropped.  Tears may have been shed.  The meat was gorgeous, and they can't use it.

Eli and Jennifer flipped an orange chip for the gorgeous eggplant.  Eli won.  Jennifer got these little eight ball sized eggplants instead.  Red Beard worried about making vegetarian food satiating... but turns out, he and his wife go vegetarian for lent, so he's used to cooking to fill you up with vegetarian options.  Robin was super excited about the array of produce available.  Fresh garbanzo beans?  Cool.  Mike I's mom was vegan, and he thinks he can cook anything.  Eli thinks that vegetarians get the fuzzy end of the lollipop a lot of times, and doesn't want to do that.  Michael V. cooks artistically, and mixed banana and polenta together.  Mike I's leeks aren't cooking right, because they are on a too small burner pretty much.  Oops. The leeks are the center of his dish.  Jennifer is mad about not getting the eggplant she wanted, and vowed to never ever be a vegetarian.  Bryan worried about his timing.  Robin ran out of time to get her garbanzo beans on all the plates.  Oops.

Robin - Stuffed Squash blossum with beet carpaccio, fresh garbanzo beans, and chermoula.  Padma thought that the moula had so much salt she felt her ankles swelling.  Tom had no garbanzo, but Paul shared.  It was seasoned poorly, but Natalie thought it was beautiful.

Eli - Confit of eggplant, lentils, garlic puree, and a radish salad.  Gayle liked the eggplant, and the salad was good, save for the lavender blossom.  Oops.

Michael V. - Asparagus salad, japanese tomato sashimi, and banana polenta.  The polenta got a big mmmmm from Natalie, and one of the diners called Michael Picasso, saying it made her smile and laugh, and she was confused, but she liked it.

Jennifer - Charred eggplant, braised fennel, tomato, coriander, and a sauce served table side with shaky hands.  The guests noticed she was nervous.  Gayle thought it didn't feel like a main course, and Natalie said that a lot of times it feels like she's getting a collection of sides.  Someone said they thought it would make a great side dish. For a steak.

Mike I. - Whole roasted leeks with onion jus, baby carrot purre, and fingerling potatoes.  There is no protein, though he envisioned the leek as protein.  Right.  The leeks were said to smell like turnips and cabbage, and the color was lauded, but the taste was lacking.

Bryan - (he missed plating a couple items) Artichoke Barigoule, confit of shallot, asparagus, and fennel puree, and garlic blossoms.  Padma said that the garlic blossoms were like a little prick on her tongue, and Natalie laughed and then they were said to become big in your mouth.  The expected jokes abounded around the table.

Red Beard - Duo of mushrooms, smoked kale, candied garlic, and turnip puree.  Not super pretty.  It was called meaty, though the smoke on the kale was a little strong.  Tom thought that it proved that vegetarian doesn't need to be light, and Natalie called it a manly vegetarian meal.

They got to go eat at Paul's restaurant in the mid-commercial break, and Red Beard admitted to never turning down food.  My hero.

Judge's Table

First back are Red Beard, Michael, and Eli.  Tom said that Michael's dish reminded him to have an open mind, and Natalie wondered who his dealer is and does he want new clients?  All in jest, of course.  Eli's dish was called beautiful, interesting, and fun.  Natalie appreciated how well Red Beard's kale was done, and Tom thought it was a plate full of flavor.  Again, Red Beard for the win!  He got a suite of GE Appliances!  Holy cow!  Michael V. thought that he could have made Red Beard's dish in the second year of his apprenticeship, and snarked about it.

Robin, Jennifer, and Mike I. were sent back.  Mike I's lack of protein was a big problem, and the poor cooking of the leeks didn't help.  Tom admitted that the carrots were ok, but it didn't matter, because the leeks were so bad.  Robin started defending her dish before they even asked her about it, and kept referencing the fact that she's never done much of it before.  Tom thought her dish lacked cohesion.  Natalie appreciated the garbanzo beans, but not all the judges got them, so it didn't matter.  Jennifer's lack of substance was a problem, (they said it was more like a garnish) and her shakiness in presenting the sauce did not go unnoticed.  Mike kept saying "Whatever, whatever, it is what it is."  He annoys me.  The judges worried about Jennifer's second guessing herself.  Gayle thought that Mike was too arrogant and thought that he wasn't going to go home, even though he sucked on this dish.  The judges thought that Robin was focusing on different pieces of the dish instead of the dish as a whole.  In the end, it's....

WOOOT - Mike I. is finally gone!!!!  I'm so happy.   I may have squealed a little.

How about you?  Do you think it was the right decision?  Mike thought that Robin should have been sent home... because, you know, he can do no wrong.  Unless he does.  And then it isn't his fault.

Looks like they are serving Padma breakfast in bed next week!  Fun.  And, more arrogance from Michael V.  Good tv.  Can't wait.

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