Monday, June 25, 2007

Top Chef -Episode 2 Sunny Delights

Finally the Golden sister gets to talk. Unfortunately for most of the episode she's kind of clueless, being incoherent at the Quickfire, having no idea about the heat of a scotch bonnet, and then acting as if she's never had to light a BBQ before. She wasn't covering herself in glory this episode but she does pull it out in the end.

So we open in the Hotel "Fountain Blue." The poetically named Sandee Birdsong is talking about her rise to power. Micah is grumpy about getting up. She parades her grumpiness to the crew. Howie is feeling vulnerable and wants to win the next challenge. Wow CJ is tall.

The contestants walk into the kitchen overflowing with citrus fruits. I correctly predicted there would be a plethora of blood oranges being used because blood oranges are the go to citurs of the snooty and pretentious. The guest judge is Norman Van Aken, some Flordia foodie bigwig. Salman Rushdie's Trophy Wife (SRTW) says that the challenge is to make a dish with some of the gorgeous citrus in the kitchen. F4 F4 F$. Sarah the Golden Sister says she wants to keep it simple and expects to win the challenge if she can keep her cool. Fat cha nce girlfriend. Micah self deprecatingly points out that she is having a harder time figuring out what to do with citrus than with geoduck and monkfish liver. F4 F4 F4 Tre and Hung are both feeling confident. Sarah the Golden Sister is discombobulated about her unpeeled and undeveined shrimp.

CJ towers over everyone. He makes satueed sea perch with tangelos and oranges and a citrus seed. Casey the unremarkable makes a citurs style s'more. The presentation is a big ol' mess. Sandee does a key lime mojito, a brulee of pink grapefuit and a orange/scotch bonnet sea bass. The mojito has a big flower in it that's kind of silly. Micah does an avacado soup that is the consistency of pudding. Lia does a crab salad with grapefuit vinaigrette but blows it on the execution when SRTW bites into a piece of shell. She's endearingly sheepish about it. Dale does a salad of Belgian endive, watercress and citrus segments. Sounds pretty pedestrian to me since even I can make that. Although I hate fennel so I wouldnt. Sarah N. completely loses her shit and can't even get the words out to describe her dish. She hates her own dish which is always bad. Hung, on the other hand is calling the other dishes "slummy" and thinks he will win the challenge. He does a slow roasted sea bass and a citrus crumble and a watercress salad. Ray leky. Tre does a hot and cold salmon which gets raves from Ray. Howie doesa vanilla butterpoached lobster tail with a ctirus salad. Why is this sweeping the nation? It sounds a little silly to me since I love vanilla as a sweet thing. Brian Malarkey does a halibut with a blood orange and pomegranate molasses. That also wins approval from Ray. I am really hoping they do a team challenge and kick off two people because I am getting sick of recapping this many dishes. New York Joey does a watermelon shooter and a fennel salad with blood oranges. YAAWN but Ray likes the shooter. There's a portentous shot of Hung looking on. OOOOO! Foreshadowing!

At the bottom are the ladies - Sarah N. SanDeE*, and Micah. Micah is pissy about being at the bottom. The top three were CJ (complex and coordinated), Hung, and Tre. Hung wins and he thinks the win is totally expected. What gets more interesting as the episode goes along is that Hung only is a ass in confessional. He's actually really nice face to face. Joey is pissed that he wasn't in the top three. It's fennel and citrus salad. INA GARTEN makes it. It's not all that innovative.

The next challenge will be to cooking at an"ulta-glamorous champagne BBQ" thrown by some male socialite (would that make him a social?) Lee Schrager. The challenge is sponsored by Kingsford and they have to make an upscale BBQ dish for the sexy and sophisticated crowd. They have two hours to cook it. And what seems to be causing flames of outrage across the internet food world, two hours is GRILLING not BBQing. Having in-laws from Texas, I know BBQ takes DAYS not a couple of hours. Tre is from Texas and he's feeling good about this challenge. Howie wants to prove himself.

Much F4 at the market. Sarah N is getting a lot of confessional time. Caset tries to get CJ to help her buy meat but CJ begs off on helping her. Malarkey goes with seafood since everyone is going for the meat. Micah is focusing on the produce and also whining aobut being away from her daughter. Ok seriously, this was not inflicted on you. Noone FORCED you to be on a reality show that would take you away from your daughter. You are not Sophie and this is not your choice This is working my last nerve. At least she isn't saying she's doing ALLLL for her daughter. GAWD these reality show people are like 6 year olds at camp. In a total moment of non-assholeness, Hung helps Sarah N. out by pointing out getting 20 pounds of ribeye would blow her budget. She scales back. And Hung becomes a touch more endearing.

Back at the GE kitchen, lots of F4 style scrambling. Hung s going nuts. He's not jsut F4ing, he's F16ing. Something drops and Hung says he didn't do it but he also cleans the mess up. CJ is making some pineapple thing that is wrapped in salt. Brian is pureeing scallops to make a seafood sausage. For those of your who think this is the shit, I'd like to point out Lee Ann did that two seasons ago and it feels like a whitey version of the Vietnamese chao tom which is pureed shrimp wrapped in sugar cane. Tre is feeling good about his grilling skillz. Lots of onion chopping. SanDeE is doing lobster with bacon and vanilla butter. Dear god there's more whining from Micah. Everyone sees right through her and points out she DID lose the quickfire and seems to excusing her whinyness by missing her daughter. OH MY GOD, Sarah N is freaking out because her hands are on fire using SCOTCH BONNET PEPPERS! Did she go to culinary school? One trip to California Tortilla would have taught you THAT lesson. Think of all the bottles of hot sauce that say sotch bonnet and have some red faced cartoon character on it.

Bakc at the apartments, Tre and Hung are doing pushups and SanDeE is calming Joey down from cooking for 60 Hung and Brian Malarkey dress up for the challenge. Joey derides Hung, saying that he looks like John Travolta from Saturday Night Fever. Hung just laughs it off. I would have responded by saying "at least I don't SOUND like John Travolta from Saturday Night Fever." Hung is clasier than me. Sarah N is stressing. The editors are giving her a big loser edit.

Poolside at some condo complex, there are 14 BBqs lined up. And Sarah is completely hapless about lighting the BBQ. Micah freaks me out by pour a gallon on lighter fluid on the coals. Poor Brian some constantly bent over cooking food over the BBQ. Chef Tom does is patented sniff and sneer. He approaches Hung who refuses to rest on his laurels and Tre who is confident that his BBQ skills will carry him through. He questions Joeys taste level for cooking chicken. He also disapproves about SanDeE's poached lobster and Howi'e dried out meat. Timing-wise, it looks as if everyone is ready to serve. Gail, Chef Tom, Ray and Padma arrive and the oh so glamrous people arrive. Sarah decided to just chill the heck out and serve her dish. Much shots of produced place Moet. Brian is very organized and able to socialize and serve. Micah does have mad plating skillz. Her lamb and grilled haloumni sounds great. Sarah does a traditional Vietnamese BBQ on a lettuce leaf with cucumber. Brian des a badly plated seafood sausage. Tre does a peach BBQ glazed salmon. SanDeE* vanilla butter lobster spends absolutely no time on an actualy flame. Howie's pork is dry as the Sahara. It gets back to Joey who says if that happened in New York someone would go home. Joey spreads the sunshine even more by criticizing Hung's watermelon champagne and cribbing off of his watermelon shooter. YOU DO NOT HAVE A PATENT ON WATERMELON DRINKS JOEY! he then calls Hung a kiss ass. Huh? Joey insults Hung by saying he will buy him knee pads (for the ass kissing). Hung has the good taste to just laugh it off. Padma does a little more product placement by telling the chefs to clean up using the glad force flex bags.

At judging, Hung gets dinged for having a simple dish. Tre's salmon gets criticized for being both salty and unseasoned. SanDeE* is duly ripped for her lack of BBQ or even GRILLING. At the top Brian, Sarah N. and Micah get accolades. Padma in her mean judge voice asks for the top three to come in. They are all releived when they are told they are the top three dishes. Sarah is losing it in her surprise. She gives very good answers of her reasoning. Brian is kind of weird and bubbly while Micah talks about lamb being her country's go-to BBQ meat. Ray likes the redemption stories of Sarah N and Micah. In the end, Brian wins.

The bottom four are Tre, SanDeE*, Howie and Joey. At their evaluation, the pot is serious stirred when Joey is asked whose dish he would send back. He points out Howie even though he never tasted Howie's dish. Howie then pints out Joey's whining. When they leave judging it's the battle of the meatheads as Joey does the "be a man" attack on Howie and Howie does some major finger wagging at Joey. Is this an episode of the Sopranos?

You would think all of that whining would impact the judging but in the end the judges tell SanDeE* that she's the one to go based on her lack of actual BBQ. It makes me sad as she really does seem very chill. Bye SanDeE*!!!!!

1 comment:

Erin said...

love your reviews of top chef and next food network star (don't even get me started..) funny stuff!