Friday, October 16, 2009

Top Chef Las Vegas - Lots Of Pork, Plus Ashley Is Irritating, Michael Is Ignorant And Charlie Palmer Is Underused

Eli is talking to his mommy…with whom he lives. I hope he does the cooking, at least.

Robin is doing Pilates. Congratulations. Robin speaks (to us) as if she actually thinks she has a chance to win. Boy, THAT really is positive thinking. I think it’s great that she’s taken her recovery in her own hands and that she’s doing well, but she’s completely annoying.

They’re in the Top Chef kitchen. Padma is there with Charlie Palmer, who looks kind of scary. If he were a dog, he’d be an English bulldog. I would be scared to EAT near him, much less cook and I don’t scare easy.

We learn that Bryan worked for him for 10 years and Michael for some time as well. Charlie says he absolutely will not favor them over the others, which says to me that they have no chance of winning.

Charlie talks about how pairings are an important aspect of cooking. THEN Padma says they have to match Pinot Noir with some chips or others! Oh PULEEZ.

The Quickfire Challenge is to pair a dish with Alexia's Crunchy Snacks. Okay, I’m not wasting my time or yours. I’ll tell you who the winner is, but I’m not going through everyone’s junk food (no matter how healthy they say it is) dish. This is sooo pointless.

Truthfully, just having to cook anything in 30 or 45 minutes is challenge enough. And can you tell me that Charlie Palmer would actually put those Alexia snacks on the tables in his restaurants? I didn’t think so.

Plus I hate the name. What was that additive that they added to potato chips and they neglected to mention that it caused the runs? It sounded like Alexia, didn’t it? Oh, I remember… olestra. Whatever. Same difference.

Did Ashley get paid under the table for saying, “It’s incredibly difficult to pair something of such complexity with a dish"? He's talking about THE CHIPS - THAT THEY ARE INCREDIBLY COMPLEX. YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!

I’m about to boycott this episode. I hate Ashley. This cements it. He’s a moron. He can’t cook. He knows nothing. At least the others keep their mouths shut about the crappy challenge. If Ashley isn’t thrown out, I’ll eat my hat…which is a lot better than something made with a “snack food”.

I’m not saying potato chips are evil. I’m saying that THIS IS Top Chef and to pretend that a chef in the stratosphere of Charlie Palmer would be interested in judging dishes made from chips in a bag is completely ludicrous. Seriously dumb.

There’s more irritating stuff going on. Michael says, “If Charlie had to pick between my brother and I, he would pick my brother.” GREAT, except for one thing…it’s MY BROTHER AND ME!!! NOW I don’t care how good a chef Michael is, I hate him too!

They’re all in awe of Charlie. Bryan finds it amusing that Michael thinks Charlie doesn’t like him.

The worst dishes:

Jennifer – her pork chop was over cooked.

Robin – Charlie didn’t get her dish’s relationship with the chip. (I don’t get HIS relationship with a junk food episode of Top Chef.)

Ashley – Peculiar combination of ingredients. YES!!! Deep-six him now, so I don’t have to listen to him going on about how great the chips are.

The best dishes:

Eli – good combination of ingredients.

Bryan – his execution was spot on. (I’ll bet you a bag of Alexia snacks that Charlie doesn’t pick to him to win.)

Kevin – good pairing of the chips with other ingredients.

And the winner is…ELI! YES!!! I KNEW Bryan would get screwed, because Charlie didn’t want to show favoritism.

They draw knives to determine what part of the pig they’ll be cooking with. Jen gets a wildcard, so she picks the belly. They all seem quite happy and very familiar with pork cookery. Kevin says he has a pig tattoo and probably cooks more pork at his restaurant than anything else.

The second part of the challenge is somewhat more complex. They have to pair the pork with Pinot Noir. They’ll be catering Charlie’s Pig and Pinot charity event and they each have to prepare 150 tastings of their dish to feed to the folks.

Next they all walk into Aureole, which has wine babes (“angels”) flying around on cables to grab the wine.

They meet the master sommelier William Sherer and are invited to taste 9 different Pinot Noirs. They each get to choose one. Bryan gets to choose first. I don’t know why. And I don’t know why Michael is shaking his head at his choice. Eli says his restaurant has 110 wines by the glass and they pair every single dish with one. They don’t say for sure that they each have to pick a different wine, but I guess that's the drill.

They shop and they all seem to be looking for fat. I’m surprised Ashley isn’t looking for those great chips to use.

Back at the house, we see Robin blathering on and NO ONE is listening or cares. She and Eli have a bit of an altercation. He says she’s not his mother! She says she doesn’t want to be! (Have they been listening to H(usband)’s and my favorite argument?)

The other chefs are amused, but no one is interested in hanging out with her. I don’t care. Get back in the kitchen.

Ashley goes on about how he’s changing his dish. I’m not really listening.

Oh gosh, HERE we go again with Michael. For someone with so many sibling rivalry issues he HAS GOT TO LEARN that when he talks about the issues he has with his brother, he has to use the word ME after the word between, not I.

AGAIN, he says, “The difference between Brian and I is blah, blah, blah.” Moron. He really disses Bryan when he says Bryan stayed in one place (with Charlie Palmer) and HE (Michael) moved around. I guess they didn’t speak English (properly) wherever he was.

Robin says the young kids are in a clique and the old bags are in another. (I made that up. She’s the only old bag.) I so TOTALLY don’t mean that...that much.

Tom waltzes in. They are much more comfortable with him now than they have been. He chats and leaves. Mike I. brags how great he is and all the different cuisines he’s made. He says anything less than being in the finals is unacceptable for him. The brothers are yelling at each other. Actually, it’s Michael yelling at Bry and trying to get under his skin. GROW UP!

Let’s get down to it.

They arrive at the Springs Preserve. Pretty. LOTS of people arrive and all at once. That’s difficult. I don’t like when 6 people come over all at once. Padma, in a Kentucky Derby-worthy hat, walks over with the judges and introduces Michael to the same people he’s seen week after week. Dana Cowin is back. She’s so sweet and nice.

Michael shakes their hands as if it’s the first time he’s ever seen them. Hokey. Toby is next to the hugely taller and bigger Charlie Palmer.

Michael V.

Root Beer Braised Pork Cheek

2006 Cuvaison Pinot Noir

Dana:” The pork is good.” Toby: “The truffle bun is really good.” Chuck: All the flavors work really well with the wine.”

Ash (Why couldn’t they have called him that when Ashley the girl was there?)

Chilled Pork Tenderloin (Eww.)

2007 Sanford Pinot Noir

Dana: “The pork is a little clammy.” He’s going home!

Toby: “Overcooked and over salted.” Charlie says the big rich wine needed something big…which this wasn’t. Buh-bye.


Braised Pork Belly

2007 Terlato Family Pinot Noir

Dana: “The carrots have oomph and delicious flavor.” Why are the female judges dressed up and the men are schlumpy? Oh gosh, ANOTHER one of H’s and my arguments raises its head.

Shorty: “The pork belly itself was great.” Chuck pronounces, “Eli did great with the dish. I don’t think it’s a great pairing with the wine.”


Pork Leg Paté

2006 Sokol Blosser Dundee Hills Pinot Noir

How did he have time to do that?

Oh, THIS is fabulous - Kevin lived in Oregon and has been to the Sokol Blosser winery many times. He knows that they have hazelnut trees on their property and so he incorporated hazelnuts into the dish. He is sooo winning this week and I’m thinking he may beat the brothers at their own game and take the top prize. He’s great.

Toby: “I thought it was a great decision to make a terrine.” Dana: “It’s punched up. It’s really smart.” Chuckie: “Good dish. Great with the wine.”

Mike I.

Stuffed Pork Shoulder

2005 Wairau River Pinot Noir

He’s really full of himself as he describes the dish to the judges.

Dana: “The orange in Mike’s dish is incredibly overwhelming.” Tom: “I don’t mind the kibbeh though.”


Braised Pork Spare Rib

2007 Rochioli Pinot Noir

He is such a stiff…literally.

Not too much chitchat from the judges, but they like it.


Braised Pork Belly

2005 Chanson Clos de Bèze Pinot Noir

Padma: ”Mmm.” Charlie: “Nicely seasoned.” Dana: “Jennifer’s pork is delicious.” Charlie: “I think it works great with the wine.”


Pork Butt Rillettes (I love rillettes!)

2005 Chanson Clos De Fèves Pinot Noir

Dana: “Cat food.” Toby: “The rillettes is a disaster.”


Brined Center Cut Pork Chop

2005 Mischief And Mayhem Pinot Noir

Toby:” The overall sensation was one of sliminess.” Charlie:” I don’t taste any porkiness.”

Robin thinks she could be on the top…I think she lives in a dream world.

Michael, Bryan, Kevin and Jennifer are at the Judges’ Table. I say KEVIN will win. Charlie says the four of them were spot-on with what the whole event was about. He can’t pick the brothers, so it will definitely be Kevin.

Oh gosh, Toby goes on and on to Jennifer about how hers was the first European Pinot they’d had that evening. I guess we’re supposed to know what he’s talking about. I’m sure it has to do with European Pinots being so much better than American ones.

Tom has NO clue what Toby is going on about as he says it’s like the difference between a shaved armpit and a hairy one. Hey, don’t they NOT shave their armpits in Europe? So what is he trying to say? Oh, that WAS what he saying. Jen’s dish brought out the earthy armpit-hair-like flavors of the wine or maybe it was the other way around.

Tom says Kevin went deep into that wine. They like the brothers’ dishes too.

And the winner IS KEVIN! Yay me!…I mean him. Bryan sneers, I mean smiles. It’s hard to tell the difference.

Kevin wins a cool prize. Charlie invites him to be a guest chef at the 2010 Pigs and Pinot event in Healdsburg, Ca. Neat. He’s thrilled. I like him. Charlie loves that he has a pig tattooed on his arm.

When he’s called in, Ashley says the judges love him in there. Robin and Laurine are on the chopping block too.

They could do us all a favor and get rid of all three. I LIKE Laurine, but she hasn’t shown us anything. Robin is a complete waste of airtime to watch. We know she’s not going to win, so why should we bother watching her and Ash I’ve already marked as the one to go.

Well, this isn’t nice. The remaining chefs say they hope Grandma (Robin) goes. The only reason I’m not going to go on my soapbox spiel about the lousy treatment of women is that she really is annoying and it has nothing to do with her gender. They keep her JUST because everyone dislikes her so much.

Tom says Robin’s sauce was gummy. Tom says Ashley’s dish was too simple. Padma is a little hard on him. “Did you TASTE your dish?” He says yes. She says “You didn’t think it lacked flavor?”

Ashley says he wanted to do something else, but he ended up with this because he is “an idiot”. Tom says that’s his pattern. Okay, let’s not make it a pattern that he stays…again.

Oh, this is awkward. Charlie asks Laurine how she made her rillettes. And she says SHE POACHED THE PORK IN CHICKEN STOCK! OMG! If you only know one thing about rillettes, know THIS - they are about fat, fat and MORE fat. That is moronic. Charlie is left open-mouthed. Now this is hard, each one of the three losers is sounding worse by the minute.

Ashley IS funny. He says, “I forgot FLAVOR!”

Okie dokie and the loser is…

One more commercial and another little scene, with them mocking Robin (when she’s not there) and Eli. This is distasteful.

Michael keeps ribbing Eli about Robin. So immature. And dumb. Another example of Michael not at his best…

The loser is Ashley. I am batting a hundred.

Next week is Restaurant Wars, the brothers battle and Robin’s food apparently still stinks.


Anonymous said...

I think both of the brothers are stiffs. And so is Jenn. I think Kevin rounds out the top 4 best, and he's the only one who has personality.

DebCarol said...

The only thing that could have redeemed this episode for me is if Ashley, Robin and Laurine had ALL been shown the exit door. Now we have to slog through two more weeks waiting for Robin, then Laurine to go. Maybe I'll just take a nap until then . . .

Heather said...

I think Jenn always gives a fairly solid performance but she is a bit stuffy. I love Kevin. How is Robin still on? She's never produced anything that has been any good. What am I missing?

Sue said...

Hey Amy,
I guess I like Jen (Jenn? - I think I've written it both ways) is because she's a woman and I've actually eaten in her restaurant. Although, now that I think about it, I didn't even like it that much. But I think she's a really competent and excellent chef.

I haven't NOT liked anything about Kevin. I really would like him to win, but I think it's gonna be the older brother, the kings of stiffs.

I feel exactly the same way!!! You just know they're going to screw up.

They still have so far to go. Are we still going to be watching this season at Christmas?!!

Sue said...

Hi Heather,
Give the baby a huge pat on the head for me. (No kisses during flu season.)

I guess what happened with Robin is that someone else always screwed up just a bit more than she did. But honestly, I think the producers are in on this too. They don't want everyone getting along, they need tension and she's the bait. But she's not fun to watch...either cooking or outside the kitchen.

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Eventually I'll stay awake for this show again. Now that I think about it, the reason I missed the last episode was due to being holed up in a hotel in Radnor, PA that didn't have Bravo.

It was interesting to see Jen do badly in a challenge, even if it was a dumb one.

Mike I can make all cuisines? Then why was he so unfamiliar with basic French sauces a few episodes back?

It is interesting how much Robin keeps squeaking by. Either she makes something decent, or else someone else makes something worse. She won't make it to the top by just surviving though.

and this blog said...

weren't the wine angels crazy? only in Vegas!.... i love watching the show but it sucks when I can't get any of those dishes and I can't cook =( they are so creative! Robin seems like she's hangin there... sad when she said she prob won't be the last standing, i mean at least she knows where she stands... i thought it was mean when the boys said she won the quick fire cuz she mentioned cancer, i would like to see them get through something like that!