We’re reminded of all the prizes. It’s sure a good thing that one of them wasn’t a feature in Gourmet. Then again, would something like that have perhaps helped the ill-fated magazine? Who knows?
We see palm trees. Kevin is making eggs for breakfast. Ashley (the guy) blathers on about why culinary school wasn't important for him. The more he talks about it, the more it seems like he has a chip on his shoulder. Just pipe down and let your cooking do the talking. (GSOHM#1)*
My feeling is that culinary school is NEVER a mistake. You learn the basics, you get lots of practice and, yes, it’s a piece of paper to carry around that DOES help in getting you in the door.
Of course, you can be successful without it and it definitely doesn’t make sense to borrow thousands of dollars to attend and then land the usual low paying cooking jobs that are out there. BUT if you can swing it, do it. Many of this season’s chefs are clearly out of the ordinary and amazingly gifted, so they obviously got the most out of cooking school.
Oh my! ASHLEY IS STILL TALKING about it. We get the point, Ash. You feel unworthy because you didn’t go to culinary school. Get over it. (GSOHM#2)*
Michael says he has always put cooking ahead of anything and that he has 9 and 5 year old daughters, from whom it’s very hard to be away. No mention of a wife. Hmmm. He’s 30. He’s a young daddy. He says it’s important for him to do well on Top Chef, or he can’t justify the time he’s away from them.
Are they setting us up for Michael failing this week? There was a promo of Ashley (the guy) saying EVEN Michael can overcook a fish. It is interesting how they edit stuff to give the episode a story line – Ashley feels he has to prove himself; Michael can screw up; Robin won’t shut up. Stuff like that.
Jen feels sick and nauseated. Ashley (the girl) says if she were that sick she wouldn’t want to be cooking food. Frankly, I wouldn’t want to be EATING food that someone sick has cooked. Could she have the same “thing” that Padma has?
Ooh, there’s Padma. She IS showing a bit…And the greatest chef daddy of them all is there - TYLER. Gosh, he is nothing but cuteness.
They’re doing a Quickfire Challenge with Cookstr.com, where they have to create a dish incorporating three keywords. The keywords will tell them the mood (?), taste and texture and what kind of cuisine they’re making. They look thrilled. Not…Ashley (the guy) says he would type in “Lazy, Broke and Spicy.” That’s funny.
It’s a high stakes Quickfire, but Padma’s not saying what’s at stake. They have a slot machine with all the choices on it, with a lever which the contestants get to pull.
They have only 30 minutes to make their dish. Everyone who gets the word umami grabs mushrooms. I would have gone with parmesan. Oh, I guess that wouldn’t go with Asian elements.
Here are the dishes and judge
Laurine - Romantic, Tart And Latin American
Crusted Goat Cheese Salad With
Kevin – Stressed, Hot and Spicy, Asian
Char-Grilled Pork With Vietnamese Herb Salad
Padma asks if this is a cuisine he cooks a lot. Kevin says he NEVER cooks anything Asian, EVER.
Mike – Stressed, Umami, Asian
Raw Mushroom Salad With Yuzu Emulsion
Jen – Adventurous, Nutty, American (Remove the commas just for fun.)
NO reaction from Tyler or Padma.
Eli – Stressed Umami, Latin American
Mushroom Ceviche With Avocado Marble (Whatever that means…)
Michael - Adventurous, Tangy, Asian
Yuzu Curd With Whipped Greek Yogurt & Seaweed Cracker
“That’s a great flavor combination.”
Robin – Stressed, Umami, Middle Eastern
Root Vegetable Hash With Cumin & Curry Oil (NOT a good choice, I don’t think.)
Padma says curry isn’t Middle Eastern. Robin reluctantly agrees.
Bryan – Adventurous, Crunchy, Asian
(Padma seems to be having fun.)
Seared Scallops With Bok Choy & Tempura Beads (I have no idea what Tempura Beads are, but I think I want some.)
Oh, could that spell trouble for the golden boy?
Ashley (the guy) - Tired, Tart, Italian
“Pantry” Pasta Puttanesca
“Straight from the street in
Ashley (the girl) - Blue, Cheesy, Middle Eastern
Feta Pudding With Sumac Dusted Halibut
(THAT’S original. And using sumac gives the dish an instant Middle Eastern sensibility, so that was smart of Ashley.)
“Good. Nice shot.”
The losers and
Robin - “Curry oil with a lot of salt in it doesn’t mean Middle Eastern.”
Eli - “You killed any umami flavor by drowning it in a lot of citrus.”
Jen – “Putting caviar on top of scallops is not that adventurous.” Yeah, but doing it without hurling IS. Give the girl a break!
Mike I. – “Light and fresh.”
Michael – “Great flavor combination.” I guess leaving those kids at home really paid off…
Kevin wins. He has the choice of immunity or $15,000 from the M resort. I would take immunity. He takes the money. What do I know?
Ashley (the girl) says she would have taken the money too, because they all want to live or die by their own dishes and NOT because they have immunity. Um, let’s see, I would still take immunity. They go back to the house.
They will be doing the cooking in their not overly-large kitchen in their house. They have to work in pairs (I hate that) to create one family style dish, each of which will be in the style of one of the guest chefs. They draw knives to determine pairs and ingredients. They have 2½ hours to cook.
They RUN into the kitchen. Eli stakes his claim right next to the stove. Mike is unhappy that he’s working with Robin, until he decides to just do his thing and pretend she’s not there.
Michael is kind of snotty as he says that Ashley (the guy) will be a great chef ONE DAY, if he keeps his head down. (You know, as opposed to himself, who is a great chef TODAY). (GSOHM#3)*
Robin says Mike I. is all about the “I”. GOOD ONE, Robin. She says (to us) that she doesn’t need to be in charge, but she does need to be “a part”. Mike says he’s giving her little things to do that wouldn’t affect the final product. That really sounds horrible, but I don’t blame him one bit. Then he says he’s going to throw out all the stuff that she’s doing. That’s kind of humorous, but it’s still GSOHM#4.*
Tom comes in and gives Eli the stink eye when Eli says he’s putting prawns on top of gnocchi. Tom denies it. Tom admits (to us) that there’s no way that soft gnocchi can support a prawn, but I say vamos a ver. Tom says the chefs that can figure out how to do the most in advance will probably do the best.
(Guy) Ashley and Michael are in trouble because the circuits keep getting tripped and they’re losing power. Their fish is screwed. Mike I. says Robin is overcooking the tuna. (GSOHM#5)* Ashley (the girl) says Eli is oversalting the gnocchi. Is ANYONE happy?
The judges are all seated outside at a table by the pool. It’s nighttime, but it looks hot as hell.
Ashley (the girl) And Eli
Grilled Spot Prawns With Red Beet Crème Fraiche Sauce, Gnocchi & Kale
I had never heard of spot prawns before. Apparently, they are prawns with four definite spots on them, which EVEN show through the shell. They are VERY delicate and meant to be eaten NOT overcooked in any way. The hilarious (and very hungry) Phyllis told me all about them. She wrote a book-long post on spot prawns that is fascinating.
Robin & Mike I.
Marinated Mushroom & Pickled Asian Pear Roll With Seared Tuna & Scallop
Oy, Mike keeps saying “I, I, I”. The judges are sure to notice that. Either he’s going home for being a pig or Robin’s going home for being a do-nothing.
Laurine & Bryan
Halibut With Sherry-Chorizo Vinaigrette, Yellow Corn Cake & Avocado Mousse
I didn’t see or hear Laurine ONCE during the cooking.
Kevin & Jennifer
I don’t like that in every single case of a guy paired with a gal, THE GUY IS DOING ALL THE TALKING!!! Let’s remember that men are thousands of times LESS verbal than women, except, apparently, when they’re shooting their mouths off about how great they are! (GSOHM#6, 7, 8)*
Michael V. & Ashley (the guy)
Pancetta-Wrapped Halibut With Egg Yolk Ravioli, Asparagus & Fennel Salad
Toby is there too. They all agree that the halibut is overcooked and the pancetta is undercooked. Tom doesn't like the idea of egg yolk and halibut.
The table agrees that Bry and Laurine’s halibut is much better cooked. They like the combination of the dish too.
They say the gnocchi is really salty and sautéing it took away its “fluffiness”.
Toby actually has a good line about Ashley (the girl) and Eli’s dish. “It was a Monet, good from a distance, not too great close up.”
Tom Douglas waxes eloquent about the delicacy of prawns and how they were mishandled. I feel like crying…for the prawns, not Eli and Ashley.
They’re all wild about Kevin and Jen’s dish. They like Mike I.’s dish with a few reservations. For the first time, we actually see Michael and Bryan relating well together. Michael is convinced he’s going home.
Okay, let’s cut to the chase…
Winners: Laurine, Bryan, Jennifer and Kevin
HEY! Was there always an apostrophe in JUDGES’ TABLE?
Jen and Kevin say they worked well together and that Kevin cooked the beef. He should win.
Laurine is actually doing a lot of talking. The winner is Jennifer. OH GOOD! She wins a $10,000 gift card from Macy’s.
Michael, both Ashley’s and Eli
In the stew room,
In front of Padma, Tom, Toby and
Ashley (the guy) stirs things up when he says that Michael had all the good ideas and he didn’t mind playing second fiddle. He said it was like washing paint brushes for Picasso and that Michael is an amazing chef. Even though Tom looks really amused, I still have to call it as GSOHM#9.
The judges go on for ages with Ashley and Eli debating the demerits of their dish. Finally, Tom sums it up nicely. He says the prawns were undercooked and the gnocchi was salty and tough. Maybe it will be Eli. Yup, that’s my guess.
And the person going home is…Ashley (the girl). I’m getting worse at this as the weeks go on. She’s “bummed”. I was liking her more, but, oh well.
By the way, in their texting poll, 87% of folks said they would take the money, instead of immunity. I am so far out of it… Which would you do? My thinking was that I would keep my eye on the grand prize and if I got eliminated THAT week, $15,000 isn’t going to make me feel better. You know the old expression “You gotta be IN it to WIN it”? But on second thought, $15,000 could go a long way to assuaging my hurt feelings.
*Guy shooting off his mouth.