Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Top Chef, New York: Episode Six

The Twelve Days of Christmas

Wow. This was a seriously disappointing episode of Top Chef. Other than the greatness of Martha Stewart, it was pretty much a total let-down. I will just jump right into it.

Anytime Martha Stewart is involved, things can't be all bad. Oh, how I love and worship her. Had I been one of the Top Chefs and she walked into the room, I might have screamed like a Jonas Brothers fan before passing out cold. That being said, were any of us surprised that she was there to hock her new book? I think not.

Martha's Quick Fire challenge was to create a one-pot holiday dish suitable for a home cook. Kind of blah, but some people had trouble with it anyway. And I have to say that personally, if there is a dish with a bunch of steps where you have to remove things and wash the pan in between them, that is NOT a one-pot meal.

There were a few bright spots. I thought Hosea's paella sounded pretty tasty, and I was extremely impressed that he was able to get it done without crunchy rice within the hour time limit. I thought Jamie's scallop also sounded pretty yummy, although I am pretty biased, because I think scallops are pretty much the most delicious food on the planet. I also must admit that I thought Eugene's Korean Pork Stew sounded pretty tasty, but I figured he was out as soon as Martha asked about the corn starch in it. Ouch.

Seriously, Ariane wins again? I'm sure her steak and pureed cauliflower was good, and it definitely sounded like something Martha would be into, but give me a break. Also--not a one pot meal, my friend. Anyone cooking that at home would use one pot for the steak and one pot for the cauliflower. Oh, well.

After Martha left, things quickly started going downhill. First, the Harlem Gospel choir randomly showed up in the kitchen. Entertaining, obviously, but oh so random. The chefs then had to pick knives, which were numbered 1-12. I think we all see where this is going. They each got one of the 12 days of Christmas, all the way from 12 drummers drumming to a partridge in a pear tree. They then found out that they would be catering an AMFAR benefit, and would need to have 250 servings each of their dishes. And they would be preparing them alone with only three hours to prep after their trip to Whole Foods. OUCH.

The bigger ouch came the next day for Hosea and Radhika, who found out that the refrigerator where they had left their meats (smoked pork for Hosea and duck breast for Radhika) was left open all night long, leaving their dishes inedible. Needless to say, they were both freaked, but in the Spirit of Christmas (although we all know this was filmed months ago), the other chefs really came through for them and helped them pull together some very respectable dishes.

So respectable, in fact, that Hosea and Radhika both ended up in the top four with their respective 11 Pipers Piping Smoked Pork and Potatoes with Paprika and Partridge in a Pear Tree Duck over Brioche with Pear Chutney. They were joined by Stefan's 12 Drummers Drumming Chicken Pot Pies and Jeff's Ten Lords-a-Leaping Island Hopping Salad (I guess it was Greek?).

Hosea was named the winner, and in true Top Chef fashion, was awarded guest judge Michelle Bernstein's book. Shocking.

The bottom three all sounded pretty terrible this week. Eugene made Five Golden Rings Fish Stew with Golden Pineapple Rings--get it? Geez, could that be more obvious? Perhaps only if he had done onion rings. But in any case, the dish was deemed to be under-seasoned and too sweet. Melissa made Eight Maids-a-milking Beef with Gorgonzola. Sounds promising, but apparently the cheese was VERY over-powering and basically ruined the whole dish.

I actually thought for a second that Jamie would be the one kicked off this week, because her dish sounded pretty gross. It was Seven Swans-a-swimming Scallops in Vichyssoise. Raw scallops. In room-temperature soup. Ewwww! Tom also mentioned that the scallops weren't of particularly good quality and were very slimy. Double ewwww!

Then, before making a decision, in order to totally irritate me, Tom decided he wanted to make an announcement to all of the chefs. He confronted them all in the stew room, telling them that even the top dishes were pretty ho-hum this week, and that none of the chefs were cooking like they wanted to win the competition. He ranted for awhile about this, then told them that in the spirit of Christmas (in July), they would not be kicking anyone off this week. GAG. I watched this for an hour and fifteen minutes - yes, it was an extra-long episode - and nobody got kicked off? Not cool, Top Chef. Not cool at all.

Maybe next week TWO chefs will get kicked off in order to satiate my need for carnage. I doubt it, though.


Anonymous said...

I doubt two people will get kicked off. They eliminated two people in the first episode so this was their mercy episode.


Megan said...

I completely agree, this episode was a dissappointment. Even I can make a deviled egg!