Friday, November 28, 2008

Top Chef: New York, Episode 3

Foo Fighters!
Well, well, well. Three episodes in, and only now are we seeing any conflict on Top Chef. Turns out, Jamie may be kind of a biddy. Is dripping peanut butter on the floor really grounds to bitch-out on a guy you've only known for a few days? I'm thinking no, but then again, I'm not a total jerk. But I digress.

The episode started off a little slow to me. The Quick Fire Challenge was for the Chefs to recreate recipes (chosen randomly) from the Top Chef Cookbook, featuring recipes from past seasons. Hello, product placement. Then halfway through the challenge, a twist - they had to take the ingredients they were using in the original challenge and create a soup for the judges. But not to fear, they had plenty of delicious Swanson's Chicken Broth - hello, product placement part 2 - to help them along.

This challenge didn't make much of an impact on me, other than that the guest judge, Grant Achatz, seemed like an interesting guy. He's one of those "molecular gastronomy" masters, and apparently is pretty dang good at what he does. He was named Best Chef in the United States by the James Beard Foundation. Not too shabby.

Anyhow, although Jamie's soup sounded the yummiest to me (Scented Chick Pea Soup with Cilantro Yogurt), Leah seemed to luck out a little with the win. She was working with white asparagus, so she created a white asparagus soup. Yawn.

So, after the Quick Fire, the big announcement was made. The Elimination Challenge would be to split the Chefs into two teams, both of which would create a Thanksgiving dinner for the FOO FIGHTERS and their road crew. The winners would be given VIP tickets to go watch the Foos in concert that night, and the losers would be left to clean up both teams' messes. And, of course, a chef from the losing team would be sent home. So, because she had won the Quick Fire, Leah got to pick the teams for the challenge. Obviously, she stacked her team with the better-performing chefs, and the other team was left with the more questionable chefs. This seemed like a recipe for disaster from the get-go.

Personally, I was psyched about the challenge. I could not love the Foo Fighters more. I've seen them in concert a couple of times, and I've always thought they were not just great musicians but also hilarious. What a fun fit for Top Chef!

So, after they went shopping, they were taken to the site that they would be cooking at - the arena where the Foos were performing that night. That was when they found out exactly how screwed they were. All they had to cook with were toaster ovens, microwaves, and a single burner. Ouch. Did I mention that they were cooking outside and that it started raining halfway through the challenge? Double ouch.

So, not surprisingly, the team of weaker chefs didn't perform up to par. There were a couple of stand-outs from the group, however, who the judges gave some props to during judging. Ariane apparently redeemed herself this week by making some seriously kick-ass turkey. Eugene was also praised for his smoked/grilled pork loin (he made an ingenious smoker from a chafing dish), and Carla's cobbler was also called out as being pretty tasty.

Unfortunately, the desserts on that team (other than Carla's cobbler) pretty much killed them. Jeff's pumpkin parfaits (which one of the Foos referred to as "barf-aits") were not a favorite. Richard's Banana S'mores were also a bomb. The Foos lead singer, Dave Grohl, commented, "I think the chef spit on mine," because the topping had gotten so goopey from sitting around on the buffet. Ew. Danny was also in the bottom three for his undercooked mashed potatoes. He never seemed to be in much danger, though.

Sadly, Richard, one of my early favorites, was sent home. I pretty much saw it coming as soon as he proposed the Banana S'mores. It was never a good idea, and then the execution problems were the nail in the coffin. As soon as the "spit" comment was uttered, I knew it was over. So long, Richard. We will miss your inappropriate comments about Tom Colicchio.


David Dust said...

Poor Richard. He will have to resort to lusting after Tom at home.

CLICK HERE for David Dust's Top Chef New York recap.


Robin said...

I honestly thought the judges made the wrong choice. Undercooked potates? From a top chef? Seriously? That's pretty basic.