Friday, November 21, 2008

Hot Doggity - Top Chef

We all have things to do, so hopefully we can make this snappy. I just hope they cooperate and not drag this episode out or make it super complicated.

I will, of course, be making my - what’s the opposite of foolproof? - prediction as to who goes home.

Goodness!!! Someone is actually naked. Let me slow that down a bit. It’s some blond guy, who is really hot, oh, he IS wearing something. It’s that blond guy, who only cares about his hair. I have no clue what his name (or story) is.

Richard has taken it upon himself to narrate what’s happened so far. Thanks, Dick. Ariane looks like hell eating cereal in the morning. I’m guessing just from the first 30 seconds that naked guy, Ariane or Dick may be on his or her way out.

Why is Fabio rubbing Eugene’s head? I just want to get on with it and not see these random strange things.

The Quickfire challenge features the lovely chef Ms. Donatella Arpaia, with millions of (okay, 5) restaurants. The contestants will be making something that New Yorkers spend 100 million dollars a year on – hot dogs.

They haven’t made it clear if they’re MAKING a hot dog or COOKING a hot dog. I can’t tell which they’re doing. At least some of them are cooking WITH hot dogs. The Indian girl reminds me of some snotty (not Indian) actress than I can’t put my finger on.

Jill made a summer roll with the hot dogs and cooked them in chili soy sauce and rice wine vinegar. Padma queries her on not making her own hot dogs. Frankly, it wasn’t that clear what they wanted. At least, Jill (no idea who she is) was inventive, even if the taste was atrocious.

Radhika - WHO does she remind me of? - did a kabob-style sausage with caramelized onions, cucumbers and tomato jam. That sounds good, even if her attitude seems a little haughty.

Daniel made a pork hot dog with horseradish, mustard, fried onions and garlic powder. Except for that last ingredient, that could be okay. Donatella seemed impressed that he put his own casing on. Did he bring that with him?

Ooh, Eugene, my fav is next. He made a (slightly nasty looking, sorry, but it’s true) hot dog rolled up like a maki roll in pita bread with Boursin and red onion. Donatella looks like she’s grimacing as she tastes. I can’t tell if he made his own hot dog. Hopefully, there will be worse ones.

Hosea made a pork hot dog with roasted poblano, jalapeƱos, smoked bacon and red vinegar. Donatella notices a smoky flavor. He says, yes, the bacon was smoked.

Full-of-himself Stefan is so proud that he made a “world dog”. I think that’s what he said. Italian sausage on French bread with Wisconsin cheese and Irish tartar sauce. Big Whoop! Oh, and German Beer. Isn’t he just the global gourmet? Donatella is really chowing down. I think she may have really liked this one.

Carla made lamb and pork sausage with sauerkraut and caramelized onions. Donatella said the meat was very moist and “really nice”.

They show Radhika glowering.

Ariane appears to blow it with a chicken sausage (it looks like hell), which is too strongly flavored with celery seed for Donatella’s taste.

Fabio made Andouille sausage (in 45 minutes?) with goat cheese, roasted bell pepper and sun dried tomatoes. It looks really good. I think the guy’s got game, in addition to a really thick accent. Donatella says it definitely has a Mediterranean feel.

Jamie’s hot dog is a pork and beef sausage with bacon, onion and cayenne pepper. Padma has a piece of bone in hers.

Then they taste an authentic New York city street hot dog. They say it’s darned good. Well, of course, it is and I doubt if any of the entries could beat that.

Major disappointments:
“Jill was one of the worst ones.” Tell us how you really feel, Donatella.

I was so wrong, she HATED Stefan’s hot dog. He’s mad and says to us that there was nothing wrong with his hot dog…the same obviously cannot be said for his attitude.

Donatella really liked:
Radhika’s. Darn, but it did look good.
Fabio’s. He bows his head in a courtly fashion and looks as if he could ravish her right there.

Hosea’s (he may be the guy to watch).

The winner is Radhika. Oh, we actually see a smile. WHO does she look like. She also sounds like her.

The challenge is to cook in a Top Chef restaurant. They each get to cook one dish. Don’t they do that much later on? Fabio says he’s already opened 7 restaurants.

Blondie, who turns out to be named Jamie, does a good job at organizing them into the different courses they’ll be cooking. They run to Whole Foods get what they need, and run back to prep.

Tom comes in with an enormous smirk on his face, telling them that they will be cooking in Craft, his “flagship” restaurant. Are you supposed to call your own restaurant a flagship, or do you let others do that? Yes, I know it means signature, crown jewel, mother ship type of thing. It just sounds rather conceited to say it yourself.

Anyway, I didn’t like Tom's full-of-himself attitude. It looked as if the contestants didn’t know if they should clap or guffaw when he said that, so some of them did the half clap.

He also reveals that the 50 people they’ll be feeding are New York chefs, who tried out for the show and did not make it. That’ll be an easy crowd to please…NOT!

Back at their crib, Fabio and Stefan are wrestling. Some woman (another chef) is after Hosea…Why do we care?

They go to Craft. They’re impressed. Fabio is doing some mumbo jumbo with his olives. Jamie likes her soup. Hosea feels good about his crab. Carla doesn’t think her crust is perfect. Richard tastes Ariane’s lemon meringue cocktail and pretends it’s good. Dick is no fool. My prediction: Ariane is going home.

The disgruntled chefs, who make up the tasters, arrive and make snide remarks about the menu.

Tom arrives in the kitchen with Damon Wise, Craft’s chef. Oh, the chefs get to order what they want. I thought they were going to taste everything.

Gail and Padma like Jamie’s corn soup.

Gail hates the crab. Everyone hated it.

No one liked Leah’s scallops (she’s the one that was after Hosea).

Fabio’s beef carpacchio was very impressive. Donatella loved it.
Melissa’s avocado dish doesn’t impress the judges or chefs.

About Jill’s quiche – one person said it looked like dog food. The judges said it tasted like glue.

Donatella said Eugene’s open meatloaf sandwich presentation was bad.

The judges thought Stefan’s halibut was lovely and so did a chef amongst the tasters.

Jamie is all worried blaming the burners, but Donatella and Padma think his chicken is seasoned nicely. One of the chefs says he has no complaints about his dish at all.

Donatella: “I don’t think it’s good at all” about Alex’s pork tenderloin.
A chef guest doesn’t think that should represent one of a top chef contestant.

The judges hate Radhika’s avocado mousse for dessert, calling it “basically sweet guacamole”, but she has immunity, so she can’t go home.

Daniel’s ricotta cheesecloth got high marks from everyone.

Padma actually gags on Ariane’s lemon meringue martini, which isn’t actually a martini (THAT’S the problem), but an individual serving in a martini glass. Donatella says she’s in sugar shock.

Richard is serving a banana bread peanut butter sandwich with grape gelato on the side. That sounds truly gross. Gail says it’s an after school snack. Donatella says her nieces and nephews would love it.

The judges don’t like the “sweaty” piece of cheddar on the plate with Carla’s apple tart, but they like the tart and, particularly, the crust…a lot.

Tom tastes every dish. The spurned chef contestant tasters write evaluation cards. It seems as if most of them hated most of the dishes.

Tom was “absolutely shocked” at how bad a lot of the food was.

Back at kitchen stadium (oh sorry, WHERE am I?), Tom tells them he wasn’t impressed by their food.

Jamie, Hosea, Ariane, Fabio, Carla and Jill get called in.

My prediction: Fabio will win and Ariane will go home. We sit through hearing the judges say how disappointed they are.

Tom loved Carla’s pastry. Fabio thinks he’s here because they didn’t like his dish. He was relieved that they did. Jamie was the third good one.

The winner is Fabio. Score one for me… (So what if it was kind of late in the game! I’ll take it…and probably for the last time.) Fabio practically jumps on the table to make love to the women judges. Fabio is proud that he and Stefan as the two Europeans have had the winning dishes so far.

The other three get chewed out. Hosea’s was bad. Ariane’s was boring and bad and Jill’s was REALLY bad. Jill puts her foot in her mouth trying to explain what happened.

Padma seems a little too thrilled at picking a loser. And it’s…Jill, who is surprised that Ariane didn’t get the boot when Padma spit out her dish. (See? Even Jill agreed with me. Jill's horrible dish came out of the blue, when we saw all along that Ariane's would be awful.)

Ariane cries. Jill leaves. We didn’t see enough of her to really care. Ariane cries some more and Carla consoles her. Jill says this is not the end of her cooking career. That’s an odd thing to say. Why would she say that, unless it was?

This is the problem with large groups at the beginning. We don’t care enough about them to be invested in whether they stay or go. The only exception is some Omarosa-obnoxious-type character, but we don’t have that here…yet. There’s always next week.


JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

I love the hotdog challenge! See to me that is actually challenging and requiring people to think outside the box!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

I caught the rerun of this last night. I finally got to see whom all of the blogs are talking about.

The show does seem to be trying to create some kind of rivalry between contestants by cutting over to the displeased glances of the contestants.

It was cool that for once one of the judges was someone whose restaurant I have actually eaten in.

I didn't get that lemon "martini" thing either. The contestants all chose what course they wanted to make, so why, if ARiane said she wasn't a dessert person, did she choose to make a dessert?

DebCarol said...

Thought this second episode was odd. I agree that the Hot Dog challenge was not defined AT ALL. Never said whether to just use hot dogs or create one. And for the second challenge where they shopped at Whole Foods for ingredients - what kind of store has giant Ostrich Eggs (for Jill), and no fresh crabmeat (for Hosea)? And why would you buy a giant egg for its Wow factor and then make it into a quiche?? Dumb. Lastly Ariane wierds me out totally and is an awful cook. How she ever made the cut is a mystery to me.

Emily said...

I knew Jill was going home, once I heard she was going to make an ostrich egg quiche. I could feel it.

That lemon chocolate dessert sounded awful as well. I never put lemon and chocolate together.

Tracy said...

Radhika reminds me of the Precious Moments figurines my mother in law collects. Those big dark brown eyes.

I'm personally rooting for Fabio and Carla. Carla's kind of wackadoodle but in a nice way.