Top Chef, episode 5

Pardon the delay, I’ve been busy/sick/poor/frustrated/bored/screwing around online.

Onto the fascinating piece of not reality that IS Top Chef!

Oh, wait. Wrong show. I’m sorry.

So far Jennifer, Zoi and Ryan have commented on leaving (or not wanting to, or not seeing why someone would).

Guest Chef: Ming Tsai. I won’t comment on his hair lest I be catty. I passed him once at McCormick Place at a food show in Chicago. He’s very tan.

Blind Taste Test Quickfire! High end gourmet versus not high end. Which is which? I predict a lot of these folks will fail this. There’s a reason that the way food looks is such a big deal around here.

Maple syrup, bacon, crab, chocolate, butter, cheddar, soy, sake, caviar, pork, olive oil. Lowest score, Stephanie. Highest score, Antonia. Jen & Ryan tied for 2nd. That’s impressive because people taste at all different rates and ranges. It’s important to know the differences in quality, but the margin of error there is pretty tricky.

Challenge: Celebrity chefs preparing a Meals On Wheels with the cheftestants chipping in with a few courses here and there. “Taste, taste, taste,” says Chef Tsai. Hint hint hint, says blogger me.

Four elements (fire, earth, water, air), teams of three, cooking for 80 people, $500 budget, with 15 minutes to plan the menu. Considering Whole Foods has the same exchange rate to most grocery stores around here as England does to the US I’d say the chefs’ pockets won’t be jingling with to much change. Ahhh Whole Paycheck. Good tomato bisque, though.

Fire team wants to grill or do a deviled egg (clever but boring), air team wants to do mousse and foul, earth team is talking about soup…(huh?), water team with wacky Richard the Gastronome wants to do fish.

[Do you ever watch reality shows and all the sudden see someone you’ve never noticed before even though weeks have gone by? I just did that with Nikki. “…There’s a Nikki…?”]

Crazy Richard seems to be taking friendly conversational liberties with Chef Tom. I also think Chef Tom can smell schmooze a mile away and knows Crazy Richard is standing in a pile of it.

Richard’s fish had scales. SCALES! Again? Really? How many more times will the scales be part of the dish? Next you’re going to tell me they didn’t taste their dishes before service. I like how pissed off Tom seems to be getting this season. It’s like he’s had it with how unskilled their seasoning and flavor combinations have been.

The fire team with their spicy shrimp with bacon is the winner, the judges agree. They’re giving the team member most responsible a secondary prize to Italy. Lisa wins, even though she has immunity from the elimination already. Double word score! Hey the girl won for making bacon, and I’m going to stand behind her win for it.

Earth and water are up for elimination. Wacky Richard (earth) is bs’ing about the scales on his fish. You never scaled it, just say it man. Don’t tell them you ran it under water thinking that would do the trick. A knife perhaps, but water? No dice. ADHD Andrew answered “of course” to a question, Tom shakes his head and clearly wants him out of there. As do I.

Antonia says the dishes that went out where delish but the judges think it tasted like nothing, except for the rosemary, Zoi’s job, of which there was too much. The carpacio was a bad choice, they all agree. Spike is now throwing everyone under the bus because the judges liked his soup but his teammates did not… of course.

And hanging their heads low tonight we have the Earth team, specifically Zoi. I knew they’d break that duo up eventually. Interesting, I thought it would be Richard. Especially after how many times in the history of Top Chef have they railed these guys for scales on fish.

And a little bonus material shows a few folks screaming at each other in the Glad storeroom.


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