Monday, May 16, 2011

Top Chef Masters - Speedy Quickfires And Hungry Band Members

Top Chef Masters – I’m with the band

Top Chef Masters was all about speed challenges this week. I think I’ll give it a try (being speedy), so here goes:

The Quickfire is a race with the clock. The chefs have a table of amazing, high quality ingredients that they are thrilled to see. THEN they find out that they have exactly SEVEN minutes to prepare a dish, after being reminded that Tom had gotten the job done in 8 minutes and 37 seconds.

It is truly AMAZING what some of the chefs come up with, especially Naomi with her seared Foie Gras with Fried Lady Apples. I LOVE that idea. They are my usual Roast Turkey garnish, but I’ve never thought to fry them.

The dishes are here.

Hugh is worried that one of his two tuna preparations will turn out like catfood.

After seeing Naomi’s foie gras, Celina feels she hasn’t challenged herself enough. (I think she should have gone home weeks ago.)

Curtis tells the chefs that THEY will be tasting each other’s dishes and scoring them best to worst – 1 is the best, 7 the worst. The interesting thing is that the chefs are very realistic about their own dishes and don’t judge them too easily.

Celina is on the bottom after the scores are tallied and the top two spots go to Naomi’s dish and Traci’s Beef tenderloin. And the winner is…Traci. She wins $5000 for La Cocina and immunity. Naomi is disappointed but says that Traci has been cooking for 20 years longer than she has. (Meow!!!)

Traci gets to pick a team for the elimination challenge. She picks 3 chefs and leaves the other team with 3 – Alex, Floyd and Celina.

The challenge is to cook a meal for Maroon Five. This cross-pollination of “celebrities” on the networks of NBC is getting kind of tiresome. I’m sure plenty of people have seen Adam Levine on The Voice, and Maroon Five will be included on The Today Show Concert Series.

I know that’s how it works these days, but it’s as if someone is saying to Adam Levine, “Okay, we have you on The Voice, let’s design an entire episode of Top Chef around you guys to air when The Voice is on and we’ll guarantee a Today Show appearance AND we’ll even get Nate Berkus to design your tour bus (I actually have no idea if he’s on NBC) and Katheeeeeeeeee LEEEEE to write a song about you and you can make a cameo on Jay AND we’ll get you on whichever Housewives you want and you can chat to Andy after that episode. Enough already! (Oh, I guess my desire for brevity is going out the window.) It doesn’t help that his demeanor during most of the episode is kind of smarmy and superior.

All the members of the band say what they want included in their meal and the chefs have to prepare family style dishes with these requests in mind, which range from steak to vegan to Thanksgiving. Oy! AND each team has to cook in the tiny kitchens of giant RV’S.

The space situation is really tight. Floyd is searing beef on an induction burner set on top of the toilet. Ew.

Oh, the meal is being served at the Roosevelt Hotel. We were just there a few weeks ago. We opted to stay at the Roosevelt, because I was told that was where I would see the most famous people. Can you imagine if they had been filming Top Chef while we were there?!!! No such luck.
The most notable thing about this hotel is that it’s bathed in darkness. If you’re over 26, you better bring a flashlight, especially to see the numbers in the elevator.
Also, we were shown to a room that was SO small we actually didn’t have room for our suitcases. (There WAS a portable bar, though, with many varieties of chic vodkas.) They did switch our room and it was bigger, but, unfortunately, it was also the site of a major fight between a despicable birthday boy screaming at his girlfriend IN THE HALL AT 3AM about what she WOULD and wouldn’t do.
Wait, I’m wrong. It was all about what she WOULDN'T DO (in the bed chamber). I was about to call protective services when they finally disappeared into their room. It was a memorable night...not in a good way. (As we left at 5:30 am to catch our flight, I stopped in front of their room and yelled at the top of my lungs about HOW BRATTY SOME PEOPLE COULD BE ON THEIR BIRTHDAYS.)

The rest of the Maroon Five band was kind of cool, but Adam was sort of full of himself. I think he wanted to be the main event.

The band tastes the food along with the judges - (Gail is in for Alan Sytsma this week). They sit at a long table in the middle of a huge (dark) room. The team of Alex, Floyd and Celina have a lot of misses with the judges. And Alex, for some reason, was responsible for four different mediocre dishes. They think Floyd’s salad is tasteless and no one is a fan of Celina’s Spanakopita with Couscous Salad.

The other team gets called into the judges first after the meal. Danyelle says she liked Mary Sue’s fried avocadoes coated with seeds. That’s funny. At the table, various people said it looked most unattractive, even if it did taste good.

James says he liked the addition of chanterelles to Naomi’s mashed potatoes. That’s funny. At the table, various people really didn’t like it. They did praise Hugh’s spanakopita and liked it tons more than Celina’s.
AND the winning chef is…Traci…again. That’s awesome. $10,000 for La Cocina and Traci has won $25,000 dollars in total.

The other team comes back in and the judges give them a really hard time. James says Alex’s enchilada was bizarre.

In response to lots of criticism, Floyd says he gave the salad less seasoning, because he wanted it to go with the other dishes. Gail kind of yells and says WHO CARES how well his dish goes with the other dishes. HUH?!!! They always talk about that. The menu, as a whole, is often criticized (or praised) for its integrity as a unit.

Celina’s spinach pie was awfully indistinctive and forgettable, says Danyelle. And James doesn’t understand why she paired it with couscous. She EXPLAINS (I use the word loosely because Celina’s answer is nonsensical) that she wanted to make it a bit traditional and give it a touch of home. Wah? HUH? Is couscous a traditional accompaniment to spanakopita.

Curtis says that the “duress” they were under on the bus has come through in the food. (I DO like how Curtis takes the side of the chefs in many instances and tries to give the judges a chef’s perspective.)

Okay, so who gets the boot? Alex’s pasta dish was particularly bad. Floyd's salad was unremarkable, Danyelle says again. Celina continues to confuse James with her combination of dishes. And going home…it better be Celina…is ALEX. Oh puleez. These judges are getting it wrong as much (or more) than they get it right.

Alex IS happy, though, to discover that after 30 years of cooking, he still has the fire. I’M unhappy that the chef I wanted to go home weeks ago is still there. Why is there one of those in every group? Hey! It’s the end of the episode and I’m at least 2 pages shorter than usual. Until next time…

1 comment:

Emily said...

How awful! And that poor woman! I would have dumped him.

Glad they switched you to a bigger room! :)