December 10, 2010

Top Chef All-Stars Episode 2: "You don't fuck with somebody else's mise en place."

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A couple of seasons ago, I used to write Top Chef and SYTYCD recaps. The other day looking through them, I realized I had fun doing it and kind of miss it. I can't say I'll do it every week because well, kids, husband, life, blah blah blah. But when I can, I'll be here!

Top Chef 8x02: Night at the Museum

As usual, we start with a little recap of last week. Poor Elia was the first to go home. I do not agree when someone says "for her to go home, it's like anyone could go home." Really? I don't think she was in my top five at all. I hate watching Fabio vs. Anthony Bourdain again. Let's leave it behind us. 1 down, 16 to go.

Quickfire Challenge

WTF. Is that... a JONAS?!

Sorry, that kind of threw me off. It's Joe. Or "eyebrows." I love that Dale thought he was a pastry chef.

American Museum of Natural History is having a sleepover! 150 kids are spending the night at the museum, where Joe will be a surprise guest. The challenge is to create a midnight snack for these kids, and Joe will choose the winner.

When Joe said "you have 30 seconds" that was pretty funny. Especially Richards eyebrows going up. They actually have 45 minutes.

Tall Dale grabs pretzels, graham crackers, whoppers and marshmallows and says that he is "basically making crack for small children." Or 30 year old housewives. Whatevs, Dale, it sounds good to me.

Marcel is swearing and people are annoyed because short Dale took the sugar out of the pantry and didn't put it back.

Marcel also likes cooking for kids, which is a little bit of a surprise to me. Spike is making chips and dip. Eh.

Tiffani admits that in season 1 when they cooked for the Boys and Girls Club she was a "complete asshole." This time around she is going to get it right. How? "The dish that I'm making is somehwere in between a snowball and a moon pie and a rice crispy treat. If all those three things had a threesome and had a baby, that would be my treat."

Stephen is making snickerdoodles. What the hell Stephen? Step it up.

Short Dale has made some kind of corn cakes. They don't look good.

Mike is swearing a lot. Padma and the Jonas return.

Spike's dessert looks disgusting to me. Tre made a cracker with bacon on it. What the fuck, Tre? That's not a sleepover snack. Casey made chocolate lasagna. Hm. Tall Dale says his treat has a lot of sugar and will cause a "ten year old rave." I think Dale should win just for his attitude. Fabio's apples are totally cute! What the heck are all these people thinking? Half of these things are NOT going to make 10 year olds happy.

In the end, Joe puts Tiffany, Mike and Stephen in the bottom. On top are Spike with his potato and carrot chips and marshmallow dip and Tiffani's crazy sugar ball. He says it's a tie and the kids will decide. Tall Dale does not want to go to the museum because he thinks kids are "called brats for a reason."

Spike and Tiffani choose teams to help them make their snacks. Fabio is chosen last and chooses to be on Spike's team just to piss Spike off. Tall Dale is a front runner to win for my favorite quote of the week with "I'm really happy with the way this team worked out beacuse it's like the Spice Girls and a bodyguard versus the cool guys and their babysitter Carla." Then Spike calls Fabio "Fabian." Really? You can't even remember his name?

Fabio says he likes to be under the radar, but I hear "under the rudder" and for a minute I can't figure out what the heck he's talking about.

"When kids arrive it is madness. You know it's like cows. They just open the cage with 300 little tasmanian devils." Way to go Fabio. Spike begins campaigning. The kids don't like the raisins in Spike's snack. This may be one of the most bizarre things I've seen on this show. Then, hey, let's add Joe Jonas to the mix. Why not? The kids FUH-reak out. When he asks which snack they like best they scream shrilly. Is that a word? Well, you know what I mean. Of course they all choose Tiffani's sugar bomb. Obviously. She wins immunity.

Elimination Challenge

Create a breakfast for the kids and their parents, inspired by the diet of a dinosaur. Service starts at 7:30 am.

In walks my favorite baldie, Tom. He announces that their elimination challenge starts... now! It's 1:30 in the morning.

Tiffani has the spirit - she says "reserve the crankiness for your real life, this is crazy fun!" It makes me like her.

Tom announces that they will cook only with what is found in the museum's kitchen. They will be split into teams and the dishes will be inspired by T-Rex and Brontosaurus - one team will cook with animal byproducts (meat, eggs etc) and one with vegetarian stuff (fruits, veggies and grains).

They will spend the night in the hall of North American mammals. Tiffani is so right - spending the night in a museum is totally awesome. They all have Top Chef jammies. That's awesome. Stephen uses the word 'uncomfortability.' Is that a word?

Team Brontosaurus decides to team up to create parts of the meal. Team T-Rex breaks into teams of two also. Casey points out that it's hard to know what they're going to make because they have not seen the pantry. This will be some planned, but much of it will be on the fly.

A bunch of the guys decide to talk around the museum with flashlights instead of sleep for 45 minutes. Awesome. How could you resist that? Sleep schmeep.

The alarm beeps at 3:45 and it's up and at 'em time. Tre has no shirt. I decide I might like him more if he cooked that way.

The Brontosaurus team was excited because they had a bounty of fruit. The T-Rex team realizes they don't have flour, herbs, sausage, etc. It's not an omnivore, it's a carnivore. Tall Dale wants to punch someone because he looks over at Brontosaurus and it's like "puppies, sunshine and rainbows over there."

Apparently Fabio and Stephen are making gnocchi for breakfast. Jamie cuts her thumb and needs stitches. She heads off to the hospital to get stitches. Casey says "what the hell? Really?" Fabio reminds us that in his season he splinted his broken finger with a fork and completed the challenge. At the time, he said "Hospital? No. I'll chop it off and sear it on the grill to stop the bleeding, and tomorrow I will deal with nine finger" which remains one of my favorite Top Chef quotes EVAR.

Tre and Casey don't know what they're doing. She is de-boning salmon and he goes to make a sauce. Fabio says that Spike is stirring the gnocchi like "a tsunami" but Spike doesn't care, he just wants to finish. Antonia says it well - "who wants to eat gaspacho and gnocchi in the morning." Jen's pork belly tastes like "wet bacon." Mmmm....

Breakfast will be served outside. Angelo says the plums are too large, when Marcel turns around Carla is slicing plums and sliding them to the side because Angelo told her to.

Marcel overtakes tall Dale for week's most awesome quote with "Really dude? You don't fuck with somebody else's mise en place."

Jamie is back. She got TWO STITCHES. Are you kidding me? Tall Dale thinks that should not have been an issue. Dude, I had a baby in my bathroom and I didn't go get stitches. THIS IS TOP CHEF. I don't understand.

Casey trusts Tre's sauce, and doesn't taste it. This does not bode well.

Here come the judges. The gues judge is Katie Lee, who was the guest judge of season 1. The V9 Gaspacho? No thanks. The gnocchi also doesn't look like breakfast to me. The chefs sit down at random tables with kids. I like that. Fabio is workin' the ladies and gets a kiss on the cheek. I feel like they used too much veggies and not enough fruits. The adults may have liked it, but the kids don't like it as much. Except the banana parfait. FRUITS people, this is breakfast!

The salmon does not look like breakfast to me either, and I wonder if the kids will like it at all. One kids points out that the meat line is much longer, "people like meat." That's right! MEAT. But... the judges are not super impressed. The salmon sauce is way too salty. Did I call it, or did I call it? Some of the frittatas are undercooked.

The judges gather and think the kids were awesome. The kids liked meat, eggs, fruit... not so much with the veggies.

Judges Table

Before judges table we get a little montage of Fabio 'selling' his gnocchi to the people. "Vote for Fabio" says Richard.

Team Brontosaurus is called first. Tall Dale says he thinks their dish choices were off for the kids. Jen says that she doesn't cook for the people anymore, she cooks for the judges. Tall Dale thinks that's selfish. Jen says she wants to win, not make the 50 people she's never going to see again happy.

Padma congratulations Team Brontosaurus. Tom asks if anyone took the lead, and they say they worked as a team. Fabio calls out Spike's gnocchi cooking skills. The banana parfait was the winning dish. Marcel, Richard, and Angelo. Who, honestly, I could see being the top 3. Although I'd really like Angelo to not be... I really like Richard though.

Then it's time for Team T-Rex to face the music. Tiffani points out that she assumed they would get to cook everything AND meat. They keep pointing out that T-Rex eats everything, which I don't think is actually true. I think T-Rex eats MEAT. The frittatas were inconsistant. They liked the steak and eggs, but thought it was simple. Tre says his sauce over-reduced. Padma points out that Jen seems pissed off and she says she doesn't think they deserve to be there. She did not like the other team's dishes.

"Gnocchi for breakfast?" Jen raises her eyebrows.

Tom asks why they decided to put everything on one plate for the judges. Jen responds with this gem:

"You guys are smart enough, you're the judges. Why don't you say 'hey, can I get a different plate for this?'"

REALLY, Jen? Antonia points out that none of them really thought Jamie should have left to get stitches on her measly cut.

Tom says Jen's dish was bland, and she argues and says it was perfectly seasoned.

Tom says that he doesn't care if people talk back, they will only go home for serving bad food. I can't wait to read his blog this week (which can be found on the Bravo website, and is awesome). Tre thinks Jen jumped out in front of the bus. Tom can't get over Jen's bland eggs. Gail doesn't know what to do with Jamie. Jamie says she feels she let her teammates down and Jen smacks her lips in agreement.

Tom says he admires that Jen vigorously defended her dish, but in the end, it doesn't make the dish better.

In the end, Jen is sent home. She laughs. Antonia says "holy shit." Jen still thinks she cooked a great dish. She thinks maybe she was too strong or too vocal at judges table. Now I KNOW this will be on Tom's blog. After she leaves we hear her crying and swearing outside the door.

Next time: Double elimination! Sea urchin! Frozen melons! Wiley Dufresne! Bourdain!

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