Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Is Bobby The New Morimoto?

I mean in terms of making stern faces and his tough reactions to these neophyte Food Network competitors. I like that he's not a pushover. (I really do NOT like the name Food Network STAR. How about “The Next Food Network Well-Qualified, Amiable, And Not Bimbo Host”?)

Robert Irvine wakes up the contestants at 3 am by banging pots. Irvine will be on the
“selection committee”. There will be 3 teams of 3. These are the teams:
Lisa, Nipa and Shane; Jeffrey, Kelsey, Kevin; Aaron, Adam and Jennifer

The challenge is way too complicated for me to understand. Robert Irvine is actually barking orders like a dog. It’s too hard to follow. The winner will be featured in USA weekend and that‘s all I got. Oh wait, they have to get a bunch of ingredients and meet him somewhere. The winners will get an advantage in the main challenge. I guess Top Chef stole the exact same format.

Jeffrey, Kelsey and Kevin get to a bakery first. They have to answer a question from Rachel Cramsey, head baker of Amy’s Bread. If they get it right, they get to choose the first bread.

This is the question: To make white flour, what two parts of the whole wheat grain are removed?

Jeffrey says the hull and the husk. The correct answer is the bran and germ. They gave the answer before I had time to think. Now that I KNOW the answer, I could say “Oh yeah, it’s the bran and germ.” But honestly, I’m not sure I could have answered that.

Kevin has to do a task to get the bread. I’m guessing I’ll understand what’s going on by the end of the show. He has to roll out a bunch of baguettes and get all the air out.

Aaron puts down his own team by referring to them as “hospital caterer, military cook and barbecue boy”). Lucky for them, while Kevin is still rolling out bread, they get a very easy question: What does double acting baking powder mean? Even Adam knows that the first rise happens when liquid hits it and the second rise happens in the oven with heat – hence DOUBLE acting. They get to pick their bread first.

Nipa’s team hasn’t even left the house. What a prima donna she’s turned out to be! FINALLY, they leave – ten minutes late. Their question: What ingredient gives pumpernickel bread its color? WAIT, I know this! Molasses? Nipa AND I answer correctly. GO ME! GO ME! They grab a baguette and go.

Meanwhile Aaron, Adam and Jennifer run into the Alleva Dairy for their next question from Robert Alleva, the owner. “How many pounds of whole milk does it take to make one pound of whole milk cheese?”

I have no idea. I’ll guess. It’s either one or A LOT more than one. Lemme think. Does the milk evaporate? You separate curds and whey at some point. I’ll say FIVE. DARN, I’m wrong!!! Jennifer says ten and she’s right! I just realized something! I learned something from TNFNSThey pick ricotta cheese, even though we still have no idea what all these ingredients are going to be used for.

Meanwhile, Kevin is still rolling out the bread. He finally finishes. They run and get the last bread, which is semolina raisin. It looks really good to me, but I guess not if they’re making something with anchovies or pasta in clam sauce later on.

Next question at the dairy: What is the name of the cheese-making method in which cheese curds are piled on top of each other, cut up, pressed together and then piled up again? C’mon, EVERYBODY KNOWS THAT!!!

Actually, I do not have a single solitary clue of what he’s talking about. Shane says Cheddar and that he learned that from the Food Network. I’ve obviously been wasting my time watching the Neelys and Rescue Chef. The only thing I’ve learned lately is that Pat likes his "sugar" and Danny is annoying. (I don’t really think Danny is annoying. I think his show is.) They pick the Danish Bleu.

Aaron, Adam and Jennifer arrive at the next stop which is Esposito’s Meat Market, questioned by the very hunky Robert Esposito. “What is the main dietary requirement of pigs used for Spanish hams called IbĂ©rico." Luckily Adam worked in a Spanish restaurant and he lets Aaron give the answer – acorns.
I lived in Spain for 3 years and I didn’t know that. I’m not liking this. If I don’t know the answers, can the questions really be that important? They pick strip steak.

Jeffrey, Kelsey and Kevin's dairy question: ”What seed produces the vegetable dye used to produce orange cheddar cheese?” Okay, this is getting REALLY ANNOYING! ASK THEM SOMETHING I KNOW.

The answer is annato says Jeffrey. Wait! I’ve heard of that. I know it’s orange, but I didn’t know it had anything to do with cheddar cheese. I stink at this. Maybe I should change the channel. House Hunters is going to be good tonight. They grab their mozzarella and run out.

Oy, we’re back at Esposito’s with Lisa, Nipa and Shane. They have to identify 4 cuts of meat on the tray. I say tenderloin, flank, head cheese and loin. The correct answer is boneless leg of lamb, flat iron, flank steak and head cheese. WHATEVER! This is getting tedious.

Shane has to cut up 3 chickens into 8 parts each. If he can’t do that, he seriously doesn’t belong in this or any other cooking competition. Hey, the kid just graduated from the CIA, why didn't HE know all those cuts of meat? He finishes the chicken task easily. They pick the lamb. Nipa wants to “represent her culinary point of view?”

Jeffrey, Kelsey and Kevin get to Esposito's for this question:
Name the four primal cuts of beef. They don’t give me time to think before Kelsey says loin and she can’t come up with anything else. I could probably have come up with chuck and loin and eventually rib, if I had had time to think about it. The answer is chuck, rib, loin and round. So Jeffrey has to do the cutting-up-the-chicken task. They get the duck and leave.

They are all going to Whippany, New Jersey.

Aaron, Adam and Jennifer pull up to a train station with Robert Irvine looking military-like and brusque. Lisa’s team is the second one back. Finally, the last group arrives. Each team will prepare a brunch for “the committee members” and 30 other guests. And a presentation is to be made to the guests.

Aaron, Adam and Jennifer get to go first. They fight about everything and waste ingredients. Adam suggests grabbing the attention of the judges by doing a little skit. It was kind of dumb, but Aaron comes out the best, as does his food. Everybody likes his boldly spiced steak. Jennifer’s French toast is bland and Adam’s eggs are grossly undercooked and gross. It’s not a good sign when one of the judges has to spit out her food.

Lisa, Nip and Shane
They didn’t like Shane’s overdressed salad and thought he was nervous. They thought Nipa had no energy or verve. She seemed matter of fact.

They all liked Lisa. Bob said it right, “She seemed…oddly for Lisa…really simple.” Is it possible that she listened to their criticism of her 3 C’s nonsense? (Not that lofty goals are ever out of place…just keep them to yourself.) And she came up with “beautiful basics idea of cooking” as her culinary POV that Bobby really liked.

Robert Irvine is oddly silent. I wonder whether he was on probation at this point and they already knew they were getting rid of him. Maybe they said sit there (or occasionally stand), look tough and don’t say a word. OR they may have edited out most of his contributions. The guests liked Lisa’s French toast.

Jeffrey Kelsey Kevin
Funny exchange (well, actually Jeffrey is talking to the camera) when Kevin says he’s making some crostini and goes on about dating and wanting to fall in love and that crostini is sexy. Jeffrey: “I have no idea what is romantic about a crostini.” Good one J. He also gets fed up with Kevin using up too much of the too little olive oil. Kelsey gets mad at Jeffrey for not bringing enough olive oil.

Jeffrey is starting to plate on the 20 plates that Kevin assured them is 30. Then they have to grab stuff off the plates to stretch them to correct number. Ewww. I REALLY hope they have clean hands. Kevin laughs like he has no idea what’s going on. That could be because he has no idea what’s going on.

Jeffrey is definitely the leader, making sure they check each plate. What’s missing? Kevin’s crostini. Kevin has the hubris to think he’s done a great job. It’s pretty clear by now that he is SOOO going home.

During their presentation Kevin is a big buffoon, Bobby looks ill.

Kelsey and Jeffrey do better in that department, but uh-oh. Bobby says Jeffrey’s bread pudding is a little tough and Susie was served only one piece. Robert’s big contribution is when he says, “Kelsey could look into your eyes and sell you something.” I have a feeling it’s not the young lovely Kelsey’s EYES that Robert is looking at. Greaseball! Bob likes her sunny personality. They all like the salad, but Bobby says the duck is very overcooked, which is funny, because they had so little time to cook.

Bobby also says, very seriously, that he has to talk to Kevin about his point of view and how he wants him to change it.

He gets quite heated about it. NOBODY, judges and guests alike, likes Kevin’s crostini because it’s way too sweet.

They’re showing Kevin so much that it’s clear he’ll be eliminated, according to the lessons I’ve from Top Chef. He should never have made it this far anyway.

Aaron’s steak and presentation: great. The judges liked that Adam gave away his good presentation idea to Aaron. They say Jennifer needs to show more authority.

Jeffrey’s group is asked who the leader is and Kevin shoots off his mouth that they did it together. Bob looks like he isn’t buying that for one second.

Bobby lays a trap for Kevin by asking him if his (too sweet) crostini ties in with his romantic point of view. Kevin falls for it and says yes he used “fun, fresh ingredients with a nice kind of creative, sexy, romantic twist.” The swiveling of his shoulders as he said sexy didn’t help matters.

Bob digs the knife in even more and says just what ingredient was sexy? Kevin’s voice cracks a little when he says “just using figs and the honey.” Huh??? The fresh mozzarella…he continues. The judges are stone-faced, so are the other contestants. He IS an idiot.

Finally, they stop him twisting in the wind and tell him they don’t understand this romance thing at all. Kevin looks clueless. They finish by telling Jeffrey that they want to see more passion. That’s a shame. I don’t think his dish accurately reflected his abilities.

Lisa’s team is next. Bobby says their dishes didn’t show much cohesion. Well, I don’t think that’s quite fair. THEY didn’t choose to have lamb and bleu cheese together. That was the luck of the draw.

Lisa says she was trying to respect the wishes of her team members in planning the menu and that Nipa did not want to do fusion style Indian. (I do LOVE Indian fusion, but never mind about me.) Nipa states strongly that she wants to make Indian food. Shouldn’t the judges be happy with that since they want a strong identity from their NFNS?

Lisa was sooo happy and relieved when they said they loved her French toast. Bobby asked Shane if he was happy with his dish. Uh-oh, we may have a crying fit again. He keeps his composure. He wasn’t happy with the seasoning in the vinaigrette. The judges disliked more than that.

Bobby told Nipa they didn’t hear enough from her. And then he asks her if she’s at all enthusiastic about the competition. Her fellow contestants look fascinated as she says she doesn’t know. Probably not the best response.

With prodding, Nipa says, I feel really different. I mean look at me. Oh please…then they do a close-up on the black guy, Aaron. That’s a little obvious, isn’t it? And Susie says you look great. Give me a break if Nipa plays the race card. It’s just not necessary in this situation.

Foodies LOVE Indian food. It just has to be good. The judges go on too long about how she beat out thousands of people and they liked her point of view.

Ok, give it a rest. Go do the whole Kumbahyah thing when the cameras are off. If she wants to go, let her…even if it means we’re stuck with Kevin for another week.

Nipa does leave, which doesn’t come as a complete surprise, since they’ve been promo-ing it all week. She SAYS she had to leave or she might have quit rashly. HONEY, they should kick you out of there for being such a dunce. They drag this out by having the people left in the room engage in a kind of group therapy session trying to understand her motivation. Bob says they want them all to succeed.

Ok, enough, this is seriously becoming a serious waste of time. Oh, lucky for the world, Nipa decides to go back in (WHO WANTS HER?) and apologize. She talks about her Indian roots and yada yada yada. How does having wonderful family memories of India make it so heart wrenching for her? She’s a complete waste of time, even though Indian food might be the one show I would be really enthusiastic about.

Susie announces the 3 winners. I say it’s going to be Lisa, Aaron and Kelsey. And the winners are…Lisa and Aaron. Oh, there are only two? GO ME for getting those right!!!

Kelsey is the next one that’s safe. Then Jeffrey and Shane are safe. That leaves just Kevin and Nipa. Finally they deep-six Kevin. Nipa is warned.

Kevin alerts us that we haven’t seen the last of Kevin Roberts. Oh please don’t say that.

For some reason, with the exception of Nipa, all these folks are becoming a bit more likable, particularly Lisa. She was rooting for her teammates at different times. Maybe it was because they were forced to work in teams that they seemed more sympathetic. Or maybe it just goes to show that it’s all in the editing. And any one of them could be the villain in any given week.


AndiePandie said...

Oh did they really nix Dinner Impossible? I admit I never really got into that show.

This episode wasn't so bad but I was yelling at the guy who insisted on making runny eggs. Dude, cooking for a bunch of people you don't know, always cook the eggs through. Jeesh.

And Nipa? Needs to go. There is no room for a Drama Princess at the Food Network.

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

I admire your fortitude for watching this. I haven't caught any episodes yet, but I think your great recaps are all I need. Maybe it's because I'm pretty jaded on this whole contest. If the winner is any good, the show won't last. If the winner is some annoying cook who makes the same variations on the same food all the time *cough*guyfieri*cough, then maybe that person will survive.

Emiline said...

I still haven't watched this - I'll have to get back to you on my opinion.
When do they have reruns? I haven't seen it on.

Tracy said...

OK ... I know you're mad at Top Chef, but admit it. The plates they put out on every episode of this show look like slop compared to the ones on Top Chef.