Top Chef, season 5, episode 5

WARNING: Spoilers ahead.  Readers beware!

Gail’s Bridal Shower:

Sorry for the super late post, everyone.  I’ve been extremely busy lately.  I just got back from B&H with a ton of new photography gear, so expect to see the image quality around here improve drastically within the next couple of weeks.

This past week’s episode of Top Chef was another bittersweet episode.  Bitter because Gail is getting married (noooo!!!!) and because Jamie didn’t win another challenge (noooo!!!!) and sweet because that lunkhead Danny finally got the boot (woooo!!!!), that arrogant bastard, Stefan, was one-upped by some of the other cheftestants (woooo!!!!), and my homie Ariane won another challenge (woooo!!!!).

The quickfire challenge was “Name That Ingredient!”  This was a lame challenge because obvious things were eligible as ingredients and not everyone picked up on that.  Shame on them.  Basically, pairs of chefs had to taste a mystery sauce and then see how many ingredients they could name correctly.  The chef that claimed s/he could name the most ingredients rattled them off first, and if they were all correct, s/he would move onto the next round of *drum roll* NAME THAT INGREDIENT!!!

So, what was the lame part?  Salt counts as an ingredient.  Pepper, too.  And oil (although you have to specify which kind: olive, vegetable, etc.).  The bases for most sauces are going to have oil or butter, salt, pepper, onion, and maybe celery, garlic, parsley, thyme, and bay leaf or something.  Look at that.  I just named 9 ingredients.  The most anyone else (Stefan) could name were 8.  C’MON!

Anyway, Stefan gets eliminated when he wrongly guesses “tomato paste,” so the win goes to Hosea. He’s another lunkhead, IMO.  Maybe I’m just hating on him for being so flirty with Leah.  Maybe I should stop, cuz I’m actually not seriously obsessed with her, despite my numerous confessions of love (you HAVE to love a woman who prizes salt, olive oil, butter, garlic, and pork) and I’m taking it a little too far. . . . Nahhhhh.

The elimination challenge is to cook for Gail’s bridal shower.  There will be 45 guests and the cheftestants all seem to freak out.  I’m not sure why they’re freaking out, cuz catering for 45 people is a cake walk when you have two other chefs on your team, helping you.

The themes that help guide the teams to what they should cook are “old,” “new,” “blue,” and “borrowed.”  Team “old” consists of chefs Jeff, Hosea, and Stefan — a strong team.  Team “new” consists of Carla, Danny, and Eugene.  Team “blue” consists of Leah, Fabio, and Melissa.  Finally, team “borrowed” consists of Radhika, Ariane, and Jamie.

Team “old” goes with a trio of heirloom tomatoes (I SEE WUT U DID THERE).  Stefan makes a bland eggplant-wrapped heirloom tomato terrine.  Jeff makes a bombtastic tomato sorbet.  Hosea makes . . . I forget what he made, actually.  I’ll check and update this, maybe.

Team “new” goes with a disgusting mess.  Eugene fucks up sushi rice and instead of tossing it, tries to salvage it.  Dumb, dumb, dumb move.  He makes a DIY sushi roll, which he forgetes to explain.  Doesn’t matter.  It’s terrible anyway.  He also makes a yuzu sorbet/granita, which melts by the time everyone is supposed to eat it.  Carla makes a salad, which is lame, but probably the tastiest thing from the team.  Danny crowds his pan and steams his beef rather than sears it, so his dish is gray, tough, and flavorless.  Plus, he soaks some mushrooms in water and throws them everywhere in Carla’s salad.  It looked like she was about to stab someone when she found out.  She shoulda.  Now THAT would have been entertaining!  Reality tv, ftw.

Team “blue” goes with “the ocean” as a theme.  They make a blue corn crusted Chilean sea bass with a corn puree sauce, I believe (again, I’ll check and update).  Gail comments that the dish isn’t the most politically correct dish in the world (Chilean sea bass is overfished and endangered).  One of her girl friends comments that it’s like “old people food,” like something they’d serve in a nursing home.  Oh well.  The dish didn’t work, even though they sent Fabio out to charm the ladies with his accent, self deprecating humor (always awesome), and flattery.  Accent and flattery?  Check.  More than check — they ATE it up.  Loved it.  The food though?  Not so much.

Team “borrowed” “borrows” Indian flavors from Radhika and Radhika’s mom.  I forget what Radhika made, but this was an upset for Jamie, because she pulled off a vadovan scented carrot puree that required a lot of finesse to prepare, yet she lost the challenge to Ariane, who made an Indian spiced rack of lamb.  *shrug*  The lamb was cooked perfectly, had great flavor, and was the best tasting thing of the night.  The whole thing was Jamie’s idea, but she didn’t emphasize that.  Probably, if she brought it up at Judge’s table, things would have been different.  She didn’t.  Sucks.  Ariane wins her 3rd challenge (all right, technically her 2nd challenge.  The turkey should have counted, from the Thanksgiving episode, though).

The judges wanted to send all 3 of team “new” home, but they decided to send Danny home because, despite all the harsh criticism, Danny still thought their dish was a good dish.  Tom Colicchio mentions in his blog on the Bravo TV website that there’s a way to cook mushrooms (SEAR them in a really, ridiculously hot pan before they wilt and give up water, which kills the searing process) and that Danny obviously doesn’t know what that way is (soaking shrooms in water does not good food make, young [fat] grasshopper).

That’s all for now!

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