Saturday, July 17, 2010

One Chef’s Yucky Admission; Tim Gives Up His Beets; I DO NOT Agree With The Outcome Plus The Best Minestrone Recipe On The Planet (Ok, It's Mine)

Top Chef DC - Farm Policy

Kenny says he’s getting affected by each chef that leaves. Angelo is telling Tamesha (the only person he feels close to) to take the first step, to take action and not to hesitate. (Is he talking about life in general or about her sleeping with him in particular?)

Make people chase YOU, he continues, not the other way around. Wait, doesn’t that contradict what he just said? Is she supposed to pounce on him or the other way around? Then Angelo says that he’s attracted to Tamesha. Quelle suprise! He’s sleazy. Kelly says Angelo is trying to imitate Anthony Robbins.

We see a lot of chit chat amongst the chefs. Great. Put your chef coats on and let’s go! They do.

There are live crabs on the table. Patrick O’Connell, chef of The Inn at Little Washington is there. Oh good, Kevin cooked for him at the Bocuse D’Or. I hope that gives him an advantage.

EW, listen to this. It’s gross. Angelo: “Well, I had crabs, so it brought bad memories.” TMI on the highest order.

They are given no directions except to cook crabs.

Angelo teaches Tamesha how to deal with the crabs. That’s pretty nice considering they only have one hour and pretty brazen considering his medical history.

Kenny says he’s a beast in the kitchen and he’s doing 3 dishes. Kevin is sweet and says he’s thinking about all his support back home and he has no intention of being on the bottom.

Amanda’s dish sounds disgusting. Tim is awesome. He’s dealing with them super fast.

Patrick is really charming and very lovely to the chefs. He looks like he’s liking everything. Oh, not completely. He didn’t like Andrea’s. And Amanda’s is out of balance, he says, and unhappily, he says Kevin’s illustrated confusion and the crab got lost. NO!

Ed’s dish is on top, along with Kenny’s, of course, and Angelo’s. Timothy is sneering. Ed wins. Dang! Who cares about him AND he gets immunity! That is a real drag.

The Elimination Challenge is to create a dish using produce and proteins from Ayrshire Farms, Virginia’s first organic farm. Their task is a bit confusing. Padma says they’ll be on one team…but making individual dishes. Then she says that they’ll be putting out a minimum of 6 dishes. Huh?

They won’t see the ingredients until they get there. They get back to the house and Kenny and Angelo are fighting about how they should proceed. Stephen has the stupidest idea of ALL of them saying they should put out a fruit platter at the end that represents all of them. More fighting.

Finally, Kenny suggests working with the same partners as they did yesterday. Ed doesn’t want to work with Alex, but in the end - since he has immunity - he agrees. He wanted to work with Tiffany and she didn’t want to work with Timothy. Oy, this is getting like high school.

They arrive and run to choose things. It’s kind of dumb. They have portable burners, which barely work. Kelly has no vegetables and goes begging to Tim. He gives up the beets and keeps the turnips.

Angelo is gross. He says Tamesha is working on a sexy luscious cherry compote and then he tells us that his duck is so good that he basically made love to it. (Should the diners be warned about that confession?)

Tamesha drops all of cauliflower on the ground…OUTSIDE. Angelo is fine using it; Kevin is not and it’s for HIS dish. I think he’s nice not to have freaked out and, luckily, he gets more zucchini from the ingredient truck. Andrea is ruminating over how to cook the pork loin.

My early prediction? Andrea is going home. Amanda says she feels really confident with her minestrone. Okay, SHE’S going home.

Kenny has already proclaimed himself the alpha male in the house (no argument from me) and there is a little piece where he’s striding around the house in a big fuzzy tan bathrobe, which enhances his largeness, oh, I mean largess.

The women all admire him and the men do a strictly hetero way. Tiffany says, “He’s a beast! He’s smooth.” He acknowledges that he is indeed supremely sexy.

Back to the challenge. I’m not really getting this whole thing. It seems really disorganized. They get a bunch of ingredients and are supposed to cook them using junky cooking equipment. Plus they’re outside with the bugs, dirt and dung; sorry, that should be...they’re outside in the glorious outdoors with all Mother Nature has to offer.

A long, really long, farm table is set up and the farmers and judges come out and are seated as the chefs bring out the dishes. Padma, swathed in 20 feet of a warm scarf (apparently, it’s absolutely freezing out) asks them how they liked cooking in this environment. They pretend they liked it.

Amanda makes a minestrone and Patrick says,”The rusticity of everything is shocking.” I guess cutting things up with a pen knife will get you every time. Eric and Tom agree that nothing is cooked uniformly.

That’s silly that Amanda couldn't make a good minestrone.

Here’s MY recipe.

(It’s the best one you’ll ever have. Seriously.)

Stephen made a salad where he tried to incorporate everything INCLUDING the kitchen sink. Padma says it was wet and heavy and over-seasoned. Patrick hates that it was served in a bowl. Tom is enraged (maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but let’s see if Stephen goes home for it) that Stephen bruised his lettuces.

Everyone loves Kenny and Kevin’s couscous. Padma says it’s lovely.

Patrick says Tim’s turnips “didn’t register” with him. Tom: “The overall impression is that it didn’t make one.” Well, poor Tim got his beets snatched away!

Tom and Patrick feels that Tiffany’s greens are way undercooked. Eric thinks Andrea’s pork is delicious and cooked perfectly. Interesting, because she struggled with how to cook it and she eventually hacked it into smaller pieces so it WOULD cook with their inferior burners. Padma likes Kelly’s beets and apples with the pork. Yeah, because she stole Tim’s beets.

Angelo and his pretend girlfriend Tamesha’s duck dish with cherries goes over well. Their asparagus - not so much.

Eric and Patrick have a bit of dustup over Ed and Alex’s Ratatouille Stuffed Beef. Eric, sounding more French that ever, says he doesn’t like that combination. It brings nothing to the beef. Patrick, defending the dish, says we learned to stuff beef from the French, although often with truffles. Eric says, “Truffle eeez different than ratatouille.” Bien sur.

Kelly made an extra dish, a strawberry rhubarb crisp, that Tom is very happy with. Padma likes the combination of the basil and lemon zest. That does sound good. Interestingly, we hear absolutely no comments or reaction from the other 36 people at the table.

Back at Judges’ Table, Kenny, Kevin, Andrea and Kelly are called in. Thank goodness that must mean that finally Kevin is on the top. Great.

They are indeed the winners. Patrick says it was fortuitous that Kevin’s cauliflower was knocked over and he had to change his idea. (He quickly cut up broccoli and zucchini, which worked very well.)

Padma liked Kenny’s curry and Tom says that’s high praise coming from Padma, who’s usually very hard on curries. Patrick liked the elegant, rustic appearance to Kelly’s pork.

Patrick announces the winner by proclaiming his or her dish “striking in its clarity. It was also beautifully balanced.” And it’s…Kenny and his Sweet And Sour Curried Eggplant.

“The beast came up with the win on that one,” Kenny says. Tim, Amanda and Stephen are called in. Tim can’t believe he’s in the losing group. Neither can I. Come on, just bounce Amanda and Stephen and be done with it.

Tim explains to the judges that he was originally going to do a mousseline, hence the reason for the vegetables being cut so small. Then he decided to leave them as roasted vegetables. Eric says the dish was bland. Okay, well, bland isn’t BAD, it’s just blah and so Tim shouldn’t go home for that.

Tom is kind of witchy when he asks about the asparagus on the dish. Tim says he added them for color. Tom takes that as Tim not being happy with the dish overall.

WHY are they dissecting this one dish that wasn’t great, but certainly wasn’t poison?

Don’t they say all the time that the mark of a good chef is fixing things that go wrong? So SHOULD he just have left the dish as tiny white roasted vegetables without any color? They would have slammed him for that. I don’t think this is fair. If they didn’t like the way the asparagus was cooked, then fine, but that’s not what Tom said. Oy, finally they move on to Stephen.

Patrick says, with regard to Stephen’s salad, that a bowl is the worst way to serve it. A plate allows you to continue tossing it, he says. And he called Stephen’s dressing gloppy. Time for him to go home. Tom isn’t pleasant to him either, but THAT I don’t mind.

Eric gives Amanda the third degree about what a minestrone is and he says, “You don’t think it has PASTA too?”

(Hey Monsieur le Chef, mine has pasta, AND it’s vegetarian – when made with vegetable stock - if you’re interested.)

Tom gives Amanda an elementary cooking lesson, “When we cook, why do we cut things uniformly?” She says so they all cook the same way. He continues, “WHY DID YOU NOT CUT THINGS UNIFORMLY?” Yeah, she says acknowledging he was right. Padma says it felt amateurish. Patrick says it was like the vegetables were cut with an axe. That’s better than my pen knife remark.

They leave and the judges discuss.

There is no way Tim will go home. I think it should be Stephen first, then Amanda. Either is fine with me. Padma says Stephen’s salad was over thought and over dressed. They believe Tim should have puréed the vegetables after he cut them so small. Eric says Amanda’s soup was absolutely not a minestrone.

And it’s…Tim. Whah?!! That’s ridiculous. I totally am not with them on this one. Tim is obviously a super competent chef who made no huge errors. REALLY. I’m po’ed. I really can’t believe we’re still left with Stephen and Tim goes. NO!!! This makes no sense. NONE. Arrrggghhh!!!

I’m so steamed up about this week’s verdict that I have to go back and look at exactly WHY Tim didn’t make the mousseline. First of all, he was all on his own, which is fine. Tiffany didn’t want to hold his hand in two challenges in a row. Really, I don’t think he needed it either time. He was probably just feeling a little insecure. SO WHAT and so what happened to his dish?

Tim had his (little) vegetables all nicely roasted when he decided the mousseline could get gummy and would be hard to keep hot. SO he decided to keep them the way they were. He said he just wasn’t feeling the mousseline.

If he HAD decided to make the mousseline and it had failed, the judges would have told him that a chef has to go with his gut, which HE DID. It really didn’t seem as if those vegetables were bad enough for Tim to be sent home. Not stellar maybe, but not supremely bad either. Wrong choice.


Anonymous said...

I was rooting for Tim, but I can't say I'm surprised he went home.

As Tom put it in his blog post, Tim put up a non-dish. Amanda may have cut her veggies badly, a very amateurish mistake, but it was a fully conceptualized dish. Stephen's salad was overdressed, his lettuce bruised, and the like, but it was a fully conceptualized dish.

Tim's dish didn't get that far. He may have thought about doing a mousseline, but he abandoned that concept and didn't replace it with anything. Yes, Tim almost certainly would have been criticized for an absence of color if all he served was white roasted turnips. But adding asparagus just for the color isn't fixing the dish when it goes wrong. In the end-what was his conception of the dish? He didn't really have one. Roasted turnips and asparagus is a fairly forgettable side even on the most pedestrian table. Compared to what everyone else did, even Stephen and Amanda, it didn't register as a real dish.

It may come down to the chefs having several hours. Give me an hour, heck, make it an hour and 15 minutes in case I have trouble figuring out how to deal with turnips, and I could have made Tim's dish without a great deal of trouble, and I'm a basic home cook. Tim didn't reconceptualize his dish when his first concept didn't pan out, he just tossed something out there that nearly anyone could have done just as well. That's what got him kicked off.

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

I finally remembered to watch this week. Since I haven't watched since the first episode, it's hard to know whom to root for and whom to root against. I did watch the two reruns a little bit beforehand so I saw a bit more of who was out there. I hated Angelo from the start and I'm not loving Amanda as I'm seeing more episodes.

Is it just me, or are we seeing a lot more smoking in this season? Are just more of the contestants smokers this season, or are the producers decided not to edit the smoking out because they realized seeing contestant smoke a cigarette can help villify them more?

I got a very generous b-day check from Dad. I have my plane fare to Paris covered!

Emily said...

I agree with you - wrong choice.

This episode didn't do it for me. This season's not doing it for me either.

Also, I wonder exactly how cold it was at that dinner? Everyone had on coats and scarves. It seems kind of silly to eat outside when it's that cold.

Babka1 said...

I have yet to see this. Here is an off-handed comment. I e-mailed FN about a month ago and told them they have had many cultural cooking shows, but I was very suprised that considering the very large Polish population in this country (Illinois, New York, Michigan, Ohio, Connecticut to name the most heavily populated areas)that there hasen't been an eastern European themed show. Polish, German, Czech,etc. These are foods that have a rich and informative history. They need to get someone who is well versed in this cooking and is good in front of the camera. Any feedback folks?