Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Top Chef DC - Cross Dressing, Frozen Food Purveyors And Baseball Food

Top Chef DC – Making Concessions

Inexplicably, the show starts with Ed wearing a bright yellow dress of Tiffany’s. Amanda wants to know if he’s wearing her undies too. Gross.

We hear Angelo talking about his early dreams of being a great chef. Amanda mocks him (to us) for talking to himself and being an Anthony Robbins follower.

Rick Moonen is in the kitchen with Padma. Tiffany hopes it will be a seafood challenge. Padma starts spouting cooking idioms. Angelo looks really confused.

Their Quickfire challenge is to create a dish based on a food idiom. Schwan’s Home Service will turn the winning recipe into a frozen meal. I never heard of Schwan’s Home Service before Top Chef. It makes me think of Schrafft’s and the awesome kitchen sink sundaes they used to have. That sounds a whole lot better than some frozen entrée.

Actually was that Schrafft’s or Jahn’s? This is bad when I’m busy thinking of my ice cream past rather than the Top Chefs in front of me. Plus do people REALLY order and eat that frozen stuff? If you’ve ever #1 HEARD of Schwan’s (before Top Chef), please tell me. And #2 if you’ve ever actually ordered from them, I’d love to hear about it.

Kelly thinks it’s time for Amanda to go home. Ed thinks she has no technique and is a slob. Angelo thinks she could be the dark horse. I don’t think so. Amanda thinks that Ed is crazy for making gnocchi in an hour. Tiffany is using canned beans. Isn’t that always a problem?

These are the idioms they had to use to create their dishes:

Kevin – Bring home the bacon

Amanda – The Big cheese

Kelly- Sour Grapes

Ed – Hot potato

Tiffany – Spill the beans

Angelo- Bigger fish to fry

When Rick is tasting his dish, Angelo goes into a rather elaborate explanation of how he coated his fish “in an ancient preparation of glutinous rice and water”. BUT he didn’t have any glutinous rice, so he used cornstarch.

Oh, does he mean the same thing that Wanchai Ferry uses in their frozen Chinese food that that moth-eaten Panda sells on television? SO what IS the biggie about that?

This was so ridiculously grandiose of Angelo. Oh, I wanted to give you a ruby from ancient India, but I didn’t have one, so I went to Claire’s and got you this red glass piece of crap necklace. Dumb! The point is that it’s not news to coat a fish with cornstarch before frying!!! Luckily, Rick couldn’t have seemed less interested in all of that.

Losers –

Kelly – the Brussels sprouts and concord grape purée didn’t go well together.

Amanda – her dish was “like a sledge hammer to the gut”, Rick says. She REALLY thought it was good.

Winners –

Kevin – Bacon 3 Ways: Bacon Purée, Chopped Bacon & Bacon Froth With A Poached Egg.

Angelo says there’s no way that could become a frozen meal. Good point, actually…although his dish does sound awesome. Rick says it had a “new level of lightness and balance”.

Ed – Herb & Roasted Garlic Gnocchi, Spring Vegetables & Mushroom Fricassee

Rick says the gnocchi was “well conceived. Everything on that plate was well thought out.”

The winner is Ed. Angelo tells us he can totally see Ed’s face on the packaging of the Schwan’s meal. “He kind of does look like a potato actually.” Hardy-har-har.

Elimination Challenge –

They have to create fine dining versions of ballpark food at DC’s baseball stadium.

Angelo: “I love baseball. I’m half Dominican, baseball’s in my blood. Until this day, I still want to be a professional baseball player.” What was all that stuff about wanting to be a chef his whole life?

They’re working as a team to serve 6 dishes. Amanda wants to do something cold with crab, but Kelly wants to make a crabcake, so she asks Amanda to change hers to fish. She agrees for some reason.

They go shopping and go back to the kitchen. They’re all making huge amounts of food. They have to serve 150 people. Amanda decides to make tuna tartare. WHY? AND she decides to make it the day before. Angelo tells her she can make it in a meat grinder.

Ed’s math is bit off. He says he making 3 shrimp and corn poppers per person, so he says he needs 550 pieces. Okay, NOT! So he’s actually going to make ONE HUNDRED more than he needs, because he can’t multiply.

That night they suddenly thinks about who is going to take the orders during service. That’s smart to have realized that. HOW WERE they going to do that? Angelo volunteers to take orders, which means others will be serving his dish, I guess.

They arrive at the beautiful ballpark and the cramped quarters of the concession stand. Angelo realizes it might not have been such a great idea to be the one taking orders. He tries to change the whole thing and get each chef to take orders, but the other chefs aren’t having any of it, especially Kevin. I don’t blame him or any of them. Angelo shouldn’t have volunteered.

Tom comes by with some players. They’re really large. The chefs don’t have time to chat. “You and your tree trunks, leave,” Amanda says (to us). Amanda notices her tuna tartare is grey from oxidation. Oh well, Angelo thinks.

Kevin asks Tiffany to taste his dish. She says she’s always going to be honest and not try to screw the other chefs. She says it needs salt. “Nobody is going home, because of me.” She’s a great gal. I think she’ll go far – her food can be great and she is creating some pretty great karma for herself.

The place is opening. Millions of people arrive all at once. Well, tens at least. The only dishes that are being ordered are Tiffany’s meatballs and Kelly’s crab cakes. “It shows that the concept is appropriate for where we are,” Kelly says.

The ball players like everything, even the tuna tartare. Wait, they don’t like whatever dish they’ve described as a chewed-up caterpillar.

The judges arrive. Padma’s baseball jersey is cute.

Amanda - Tuna Tartare

Rick Moonen says Amanda’s choice of serving raw fish at a baseball stadium takes some “baseballs”. Eric doesn’t like that the tartare ees so grey. Here’s a recipe for tuna tartare from Chef Ripert. Tom says the Amanda did a nice job on the vegetables. His critique of her dish isn't as bad as I thought it would be.

Kelly - Crab Cake

Rick: It “has some good flavor. It showed off the flavor of the crab.” Padma finds it salty. Tom thinks it’s perfect if the aim is to get you to drink more beer.

Tiffany - Meatball Sandwich

Rick: ”Tiffany took the classic Italian sausage and brought it up to the next level. Eric: I find it a bit difficult to eat.“ Eric is definitely a white tablecloth and silverware kind of guy, so he worries about how messy things are. Rick replies, “You have to take charge...” in order to eat it.

Ed - Shrimp and Corn Fritters

Rick thinks he did a good job. Tom: “The corn is nice and sweet. That’s really good. ”

Kevin – Chicken Skewers

Kevin places the French fries on top to give a little crispy bite. That was a mistake. Eric says the chicken is moist, but he’s not a fan of soggy French fries. People are having a problem with the huge skewers he served it on, saying it could get dangerous.

Angelo - Pork Bun

Eric: It has “way too much bread”. Tom says hot dog rolls are too doughy. Rick says it’s spicy but has no finish. Tom says the bread kills the finish.

Kevin is worried because his dish didn’t get tons of orders and he thinks his execution was flawed.

There’s a senseless bit with Angelo on his bed talking on some red phone or other to his Russian “fiancée” (yeah sure – they’ve only met “a couple of times”).

Everybody is called into judges table. Padma asks how Angelo ended up running orders. There’s a bit of a scuff-up about how that happened. Tiffany (in odd patchwork, plaid shorts) doesn’t want them to think that Angelo was being a saint offering to do it. Kevin gets involved and finally Padma says let’s move on.

The top dishes were Ed’s and Tiffany’s.

Eric commends Ed on making a dish “that was not messy. It was easy to eat.” Ed is very diplomatic and just says COOL.

Tom, kind of mocking Eric I thought, says, Yes, Ed’s was a very “TIDY” dish, but that Tiffany’s was not, but it was delicious.

Tiffany laughs and says that if she eats a hamburger and juice isn’t coming out, she’s not enjoying it. Tom guffaws along with her. Rick says, “You had to wrestle it a little bit, but I found that the fun of it. “

The winner is Ed. Rick says as the winner he gets a copy of his book. Ed is diplomatic again and says “Awesome” without a hint of "What the HAY, what’s the rest of my prize?" THEN Padma announces that he’s also won a trip to Australia and will be staying at the Hilton Sydney. “Cool”, he says. He may have liked the book better, I can’t tell.

Tiffany and Ed get to leave.

As far as the other dishes: Tom says he liked that Amanda tried to do something different. Eric wasn’t happy with the dish. He says when the tartare oxidizes, it gives the impression that the fish ees not fresh.

Eric says Kevin’s fries became soggy and all the judges felt the dish lacked distinctive flavors.

They’re saying bad things about Kelly’s crab cakes now. I thought they liked it. Oh, they think the bacon was too thickly cut, so did Kelly, actually.

This is funny about Angelo. Tom says, “You have sandwich shop. The proportion of bread to everything that’s inside it is so important.“ I can attest to how good his sandwiches are, though, in his sandwich shop.

Padma says his bread was a problem and so was the fact that it was too sweet. They’re REALLY letting him have it. Angelo says he used napa cabbage to cut down on the sweetness. They say Napa cabbage is sweet.

The chefs go back to the stew room. Tom seems rather rambunctious in his criticisms of the various dishes. He’s actually mad about some of them.

The loser is…Amanda. Not a surprise, except that it took so long. Frankly, Stacie having a Caucasian mother seems a lot more enthralling than the prospect of future Top Chef episodes this season, their Emmy notwithstanding. I really think they lost a lot of verve when Kenny left.

Amanda is proud of what she accomplished, especially, she says, since she was the only sous chef that made it that far. I’m not sure why, but I don’t hate her. I kind of like her…now that she’s gone.


Lunch Buckets said...

I routinely spot the Schwan's truck in my neighborhood - my parent's used to be regular customers too! Of course they live in rural Arkansas and much of the sort of stuff Schwans sells just isn't (or wasn't) available to them in stores. I think they fill their niche pretty well.

Sue said...

Hey LB,
How's it going?

Thank you for that. So Top Chef didn't make it up. Schwan's really exists. Good to know.

Anonymous said...

First, when Amanda pulled the big cheese, I asked my husband, "Is she just going to serve a hunk of cheese?" because ya' know, she disguised her french onion soup by serving french onion soup.

Too funny about Angelo and the Claire's crap necklace! I hate when they say what they were going to do. You don't get points for that! Plus, sometimes you end up making the dish you did present sound much worse than it really is, by saying the great things you'd intended to do.

I thought Kevin was a bit snottier than necessary with the whole Angelo/server thing. Not showing even an ounce of thankfulness that he had offered. I don't like Kevin much.

My husband noticed Ed's multiplication error, and was so proud of himself that he caught it!

And I really like Ed, I know you haven't much in the past. We just said watching tonight's episode that we wouldn't mind if either him or Tiffany win the whole thing.

Anonymous said...

One of my friends was at the game. She said it was a super hot day and the tuna was disgusting. She and all her friends thought Tiffany's and Angelo's were the best by far.

Sue said...

I was sooooooo ready for Amanda to go home, even though in the last 45 seconds of this episode I sort of liked her.

That is true that when the chefs say all the things they left out of the dish, they are really telling the judges the dish stank.

I know what you mean about Kevin. He may have overreacted, but, remember, Angelo was an annoyance to him and his buddy Kenny since the beginning.

I’m impressed that your hubby was actually watching with you…no matter what he said!

Ed’s cooking HAS been pretty solid.

Hi Anon,
That’s so interesting. I would absolutely have thought the tuna was gross. Tiffany’s dish I get, but Angelo’s sounded like a soggy mess - tasty, but soggy.