Saturday, July 10, 2010

Top Chef DC - Weird Baby Food (NOT Food For Weird Babies, But Weird Food For Babies);Losers Win And I Think It Should Be Every Chef For Him Or Herself

Top Chef DC - Room Service

I’m sorry Tracey left. Is it just me or does it seem like it’s taking longer than usual to get to know these other chefs? I admit that I don’t really care about all these random folks.

I like Arnold, but he’s a bit full of himself since he won the last Elimination Challenge.

The Quickfire is strange. Since Tom has an 8 month old and Padma has a 2 month old, the challenge is to make a dish of whatever they find in the Top Chef kitchen AND to make its puréed counterpart in baby food. WHAT is the point of that? Kind of dumb.

Many of the chefs make things that seem way too spicy or strange for babies, but that doesn’t seem to be an issue for Tom or Padma.

Two winners will each get $10,000. Alex is a moron and says he could really use $20,000.

Kevin is sweet when he tells us his wife is pregnant and he has this challenge wrapped up. Tamesha talks to us in a voice which is sooo stuffed-up and nasal, that it’s hard to listen to.

Kenny tells us that his first wife died in a car accident when his daughter was just over a year old, so he’s been cooking for her ever since. (She’s 16 now.) So sad, I like Kenny even more now.

Idiot Stephen tells us that Kenny’s dish has a BROON-NWAH, which he thinks is a bad idea, because a kid could choke on it. BTW, it should be BROON-wwahhhhzzz.

Kevin’s dish doesn’t come out as he hoped. A few of the elements are missing and the duck leached out some juice on the plate, which isn’t that attractive. He’s mad.

Angelo has a son. Oh, is there a Mrs. Angelo? Dunno.

Padma asks Kenny if he has kids. He says he has a 16 year old and a 3 year old. He didn’t play the former widower card. He’s a cool guy. I really want him to go to finale.

Tom and Padma are tasting everything with coated baby spoons. They give nothing away, except Padma spits out a lemon seed from Kelly’s dish. Not good.

Lynne is funny when she says she’s never tasted baby food before and all her babies have four legs. Tom seems to be impressed by Tamesha’s licorice oil.


The worst: Tom says Timothy’s lamb was overcooked; he hates Alex’s overly herby watery purée.

Padma hates Kevin’s pool of duck blood on the plate. (I’m sure that was just a result of having to carve the duck before it had rested. Get over it! AND that’s better than having non-rare duck with no juices.) And she says Kelly’s meat is bland. She doesn't even mention the lemon seed.

The best: Tom loves Lynne’s dish and Tamesha’s with the licorice oil. Padma likes Angelo’s “elegant” baby food and Kenny’s nicely spiced dish. The winners – Tamesha and Kenny. They’re thrilled.

The Elimination Challenge could take hours to explain. In pairs of two, they have to create easily executable breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes for Hilton Hotels. BUT, they are competing “tournament style”.

They all have to make breakfast, then some are safe. The ones that aren’t safe will go on to make lunch; then some others will be safe. The three teams left will compete by making a dinner dish and ONE TEAM (yes, TWO chefs) will go home.

I already hate this, when the chefs have to depend on their partners being decent. I don’t like it when people get sent home for someone else’s mistakes. Or when THEIR mistake has nothing to do with actual cooking, but is because they didn’t speak up. I’m scared that someone good will go home. At least, they get to choose their own partners.

Ed and Alex are together. They could go home and that would be fine with me. Tiffany, from whom we’ve heard practically nothing, turns out to be quite a siren. She’s taking the lead with Timothy.

Kenny tells us that he became the head chef of a 5 star hotel at the age of 23. He’s awesome.

Ed is worried about Alex’s pancakes. I’m really thinking (hoping) it will be them.

They walk into the Top Chef kitchen and they see that Mike Isabella, Bryan and Spike are there with Beth Scott of Hilton Hotels, Nora Pouillon, Tom and Eric Ripert.

Alex and Stephen are so slow (Alex’s fault) that they don’t have time to put the hollandaise on the plate.

Angelo’s hot on Tamesha, so I’m guessing there is no Mrs. Angelo. Tamesha isn’t having any of it.

Alex and Ed forget to put a round of prosciutto hash on Spike and Beth’s plate.

Angelo and Tamesha’s Slowly Cooked Egg In A Bacon And Cheddar Broth seems like it might not be that easy to replicate. The judges think that the yolk is overcooked and there’s some snotty white part on the plate, which Bryan remembers Mike getting nailed for.

Arnold and Lynne did a Tortilla Espanola. Eric likes it, but Tom says the texture’s “off”.

Kevin and Kenny did a Poached Egg On An Herb Brioche With Tapenade. THAT looks like something I would order. Hopefully, they’ll be safe.

Oy, the judges think it’s too soft without enough texture. Yeah, but maybe old people with no teeth would enjoy it! Plus Tom says it has too much going on. Sheesh! It sounds like they’re LOOKING for things to criticize.

Amanda and Stephen made a Poached Egg With Pancetta, Rösti And Hollandaise. Okay, THAT has a lot of elements. Are THEY going to be slammed for that? Some like the confit-ed bacon, Padma doesn’t like how they cooked it.

Andrea and Kelly made a Bacon And Cheddar Whole Wheat Waffle With A Poached Egg. I don’t think that waffle sounds good at all. Eric says the egg has no seasoning. Mike and Bryan say the waffle is too heavy and dense.

By the way, do you think it’s kind of gross that pairs of judges are sharing plates? They really are swapping spit that way. I don’t think that’s a good idea. Who knows WHERE their saliva has been!

Tiffany and Tim’s Crab Cake Benedict looks awesome. He was right to leave it mostly up to Tiffany. Bryan says the crab cake is seasoned really well. Tom and Nora say it didn’t need the hash.

Gosh, how much longer? Are there any chefs left? Good they’re done.

Stay with me here. The first round results for cooking breakfast are:

Amanda and Stephen, Tim and Tiffany have all made the judges' favorite dishes. They are safe. RATS! I wanted Kenny and Kevin to be safe after the first round.

The others have no clue why they weren’t chosen and they have to move on to make lunch. That’s kind of difficult. They have 45 minutes.

Kelly says she’s frustrated because there’s no feedback. Kenny, too, was mad about not being chosen in the top. Angelo is “fuming”.

Round 2. Here are the dishes.

The judges like Alex’s and Ed’s gnudi. Eric thinks Angelo and Tamesha’s beef has too many onions and Mike wants something crispy with it. Arnold’s and Lynne’s tuna dish looks gorgeous. Spike says it’s not easy to execute, but Nora says the salads are wonderful.

Mike loves Kevin and Kenny’s chickpea pasta with its hummus flavor profile.

Andrea and Kelly make a crispy red snapper with a panzanella. The judges seem to have a problem with the canned beans in the dish. Tom is incredulous that they didn’t have time to cook them from dried. And they all agree the fish was overcooked.

Results: The two best are Angelo and Tamesha and Alex and Ed!!! WHAT?!!! Alex and Ed are not going home and Kevin and Kenny MAY?!! Angelo says it would be awesome if Kevin and Kenny went home.

Kelly says she’s bitter. Kenny is heated and po’ed. Arnold doesn’t understand why Lynne is mad. He actually has a good attitude, which is that they have the opportunity to present another good dish. That’s a healthy way to look at it, but they’ve probably been cooking ALL DAY. Enough is enough.

Lynne is super worried about overcooking the pasta. Arnold is worried about not finishing in time. Kevin and Kenny are tasting, tasting, tasting.

Kevin and Kenny do a braised short rib. Mike loves it, Padma thinks the jus is delicious. Nora doesn’t think there was enough of the jus.

Kelly and Andrea also do a braised short rib. Spike likes it. Tom says both dishes are good, but Mike says the gals’ polenta was stiff.

Lynne and Arnold make something quite exotic. (Was that a good idea, though, for the Hilton Hotels?) They do Squid Ink Pasta With Red Curry Mussels. Uh-oh, Bryan says the pasta is not cooked. Eric agrees, but says the sauce is good. Nora loves the balance between the lemon and spice. Spike says this dish made more sense “conceptually” than the other two dishes.

There seem to be divergent opinions about many of the dishes. And it doesn’t seem like there were huge errors in any of them. The last 3 teams are called into Judges’ Table. Andrea and Kelly had the best dish. The other two teams look like they’ve been sucker-punched.

Andrea and Kelly get their dish on the hotel menu and one of them gets a trip to Barcelona and one of them to Venice. THIS makes no sense. The only reason they were in this final round was because THEY LOST IN THE FIRST TWO ROUNDS. WHY would they then get these fabulous prizes? It really isn’t fair.

Padma asks Lynne and Arnold if they were happy with the dish. Lynne says she liked the flavor, but thought the pasta was undercooked. Arnold says it was cooked beautifully and he’s surprised that Lynne said that. Lynne says it could have been refined a bit more. Arnold grimaces. Tom scowls…or is that a scoff? Hard to tell.

Then Tom launches into a dissection of the glaze on Kenny and Kevin’s dish. They assure him that they glazed the short ribs A LOT. Kenny didn’t want to make them too salty, so they stopped the glazing, but they believed they did more than enough.

OMG, if Tom asks them once more if they thought they glazed the short ribs enough, I’M GOING TO GLAZE HIM!

THEN the judges start complaining about the lack of horseradish flavor in the dish. If I had to guess right now, I’d say it would be Kevin and Kenny who were going home, but that would just be ludicrous!!! Are they doing this just to scare us? IT WORKED.

Cut to the chase and tell us who you’re cutting free. Oh my, they’re STILL not done!!! Tom wants to know why each of their dishes should keep them in the competition. ENOUGH! Tom smirks when Arnold says if HE were a judge he’d like “his quirky avant-garde approach”.

With the chefs out of the room, Tom says they can only base their decision on TODAY’S dish. I hate that. I think their total skill level should be taken into account. Padma becomes the voice of reason and says squid ink pasta with mussels is “a hard sell on a hotel menu”.

Meanwhile a fight’s about to break out in the stew room because Kevin says (in response to what, I’m not sure) that you have to tell people how to eat your food. Amanda says he’s “not of that stature”. He says she’s crazy, and that, of course, you have to instruct your guests how to best eat the dish.

They go back in and it’s…Arnold and Lynne. Too bad, but thank goodness. Arnold gives a little speech to the judges about how honored he was to have been there. Arnold’s sad that Lynne wasn’t happy with the dish. Lynne says (to us) she shouldn’t have let a younger chef take the lead.

I have to read Tom’s blog now to see if he mentions going postal (albeit in a calm way) about Kenny and Kevin’s lack of a frickin’ glaze. Hmm. He does admit that all three dishes were good and that they “had to pick the weakest among strong dishes for elimination. He doesn’t address his obsession with the glaze.

From baby food to squid ink, this WAS an action-packed episode, which really tested the mettle of the chefs. Kenny, Angelo and my hometown hero, Kevin, are my favs. If the others don’t show up next week, that would be fine with me. I am a bit disappointed, though, not to see what Arnold’s stylist would have come up with for the rest of his run.


Anonymous said...

Totally stupid that Andrea & Kelly won a trip. "We finally have an elimination win under our belt." Uh, no, you lost twice in a row. You sick.

And Kelly got called out for a lemon seed in her baby food, but Angelo was in the top for his HONEY dish. You CANNOT feed honey to kids under 1. Potentially fatal. Plus, you can't feed solid foods to babies until at least 4 months. Such a stupid, ridiculous challenge.

Sue said...

Hi Amy,
OMG!!! I can't believe I missed the honey. Isn't that actually criminal?!! Well, it's stupid anyway. And, obviously, that's another excellent point about not feeding a two month old swordfish, ginger or licorice, for goodness sake.

Were they scraping the bottom of the barrel with that one or did Padma demand to be more involved in the challenges? If they were so desperate to get Tom and Padma to judge a challenge together, they could have just done food that beautiful women and bald men like.

Emily said...

I missed the the first half of the show, so I'm glad I could read about it here! Yeah, I'm confused about the baby food challenge. They made duck baby food? What? Licorice? Amy is sooo right about the honey.

Yeah, it's way too early right now for me to like anyone. I wasn't sad about the two who got kicked off. Arnold annoyed me. Lynn was a little too butch, too.