TOP CHEF 5.10 - She Don't Eat Meat, But She Sure Likes The Bone (SPOILERS)
|It's another day in the Top Chef Barbie Dream House. Jen is embarrassed that lost she Restaurant Wars last week. She's been on a streak in a bad way. The pressure of constant competition... The pressure of being judged on every bite... The pressure is getting to her and she's starting to crack.
The usual Robin-isms apply here yet again. I'm not even going to bother going over. I'm honestly bored with this storyline. They can send her home anytime. She's outlasted her welcome on this show. She's hanging out in the kitchen and we catch her toss out this nugget of wisdom, "Waiting for coffee is like watching water boil." Which... Correct me if I'm wrong, waiting for water to boil is essentially what she's doing. Or at least waiting for boiling hot water to to slowly leak through coffee flecks. Your Moment of Zen, brought to you by Robin.
In the Top Chef kitchens Padma is waiting with Paul Bartolotta, Italian chef, surprisingly NOT a former Top Chef Masters contestant. Their challenge is simple. They have "60 Minutes" to create a modern "tv dinner" based on a television show. The editors of TV Guide have chosen seven classic shows to use as inspiration. Knives are drawn to determine chef/show.
Kevin - Sopranos
Eli - Gilligan's Island
Jennifer - The Flintstones
Robin - Sesame Street
Bryan - M*A*S*H
Mikey - Seinfeld
Brother Mike - Cheers
Robin is scavenging food from the kitchen. If she can't find what she needs she is going chef to chef asking to borrow some of what they've grabbed from the kitchen. I can't say I wouldn't do this too, but it is a competition. If you don't get the items you want there is no rule that says you'd have to share. Though, clearly people share all the time. It's just that these folks don't want to share with Robin.
Robin never really watched Sesame Street, but she knows a little about it. Cookies for Cookie Monster. An egg to represent Big Bird. Really? I'm thinking colors... numbers... maybe a deaf food. Sesame Street is where I first learned any Spanish. If this was me cooking, I'd toss in something Mexican as a play on that.
Brother Mike has let's us in on a little family moment. When he and Bryan lived with his Mom it was very wholesome, dinner on the table by five, Donna Reed-esque. Then moving in with his father it was dinner around the TV. I can relate to that. The only time I ever got to eat dinner in front of the TV was if we have company over and we didn't have enough chairs. I opted to take my food to my room or to the living room to eat and watch TV.
Brother Mike, with Cheers, wants to do a play of food you'd find in a bar. My thinking would be to do a beer battered fish and chips sorta thing.
Jennifer is struggling. She wants to make some meat with a bone sticking out of it. Yet there is nothing like that in the fridge. She picks chicken instead. Then the interview turns weird... This is the moment that I learn a little more about Jennifer than I ever needed to know. Jennifer must have clearly been asked which character she relates to from The Flintstones. She picks Pebbles because she's cute and has a strong boyfriend in Bam Bam. She isn't sure about him carrying a club and dragging her around by her hair, but "you never know. It could be fun sometimes." WHAT!? Well, I suppose a little light S&M never hurt anyone. Bruises mean love.
Eli's amused to get Gilligan's Island, because he says it's about 20 years before his TV time. And immediately I hate him for his age. Not that it makes me old, but because it makes me think I'm old. It's Gilligan's Island! Even if you didn't watch it when it originally aired it was in syndication for decades! Don't monkey scratch your head at it like it's the giant monolith in 2001.
Jennifer has made a chicken roulade with garlic cream, pea salad & caramelized peaches. Her TV dinner tray looks very bare...
Mikey admits he's never seen Seinfeld as he presents sausage & peppers, mushrooms & cheese, and a warm fruit salad. They don't mention it in the captions for the dish, but he serves a spinach pistachio puree that looks like a pool of bright green liquid. How would you eat that? Why would you eat that?
Kevin gives braised meatballs, creamy polenta, roasted cauliflower, roasted pear. So far this seems like the most TV Dinner-ish dinner. You've got your protein, your mushy stuff, your fruit, and your veggie. Plus the meatballs are clearly Italian. Way to go, Kevin!
Eli prepares a macadamia crusted shrimp, sweet potato puree, herb salad, cherries & bananas. I can see "island" in this, but I'd think overall that this would be way to sweet of a dish.
Brother Mike presents chicken tender Parmesan with braised Swiss chard, and cherry pie. The chicken tender kinda seems like 'bar food' I suppose. But I'm not totally sold as how it's Cheer's-esque.
Robin explains her Sesame Street motif. She thinks of colors and big eyes!! She mades what looks like a hamburger patty with an egg cooked in the middle... to represent a big eye? Yum! She gives a burger with egg (I WAS RIGHT), crispy kale, carrot salad, and almond laced cookie.
Bryan has cooked meatloaf, mashed potato, asparagus & apple tarte tatin. To me, this seems almost too much like a TV dinner. Not a TV dinner that's been made by a Top Chef, but Top Chef making a TV dinner. I could go to the store right now and buy that same tv dinner. Plus I'm not getting M*A*S*H out of this. Unless you count mashed potatoes... I would be thinking Korean Asian foods and flavors.
I've got to be honest with you... Even though there were some good and bad tv dinners served, I didn't get how most of them were really inspired by the television show each chef drew.
In the bottom are the ladies... Robin and Jennifer. Jennifer's pea salad wasn't good and her chicken roulade completely missed it's target. Robin's burger was dry and overall not very special.
In the top are Bryan and Kevin. Kevin's meatball was excellent and clearly very Italian. His pears were perfectly cooked. Bryan's food was overall just plain delicious. In the end... Kevin's the winner with his Soprano's inspired meatball dinner. Can we just crown him champ and get on with it?
There is no more immunity, though I don't think Kevin needs it. Even tho he was in the bottom last week. The only choices were top or bottom. There was no middle ground to skate through. Even though he may not have won immunity a version of his meal with be featured from the Schwann's Home Service foods as a new line of Top Chef inspired meals. Seriously? The Padma Bot 5000 was clearly switched to Promote again. She's pimping the hell out of shit today. TV Guide, Schwann's, and Top Chef's new line of products. All within 15 minutes of the show being on.
For their Elimination Challenge they will be taking over Craftsteak, Chef Tom Collicchio's restaurant at the MGM Grand for one night. At first I'm thinking it will be like the last time they did something similar. They were basically running the show in his restaurant. Instead, they are just making use of his kitchen to serve dinner to a very special guest. Once at Craftsteak, Tom is there to explain they will be serving dinner to actress Natalie Portman and a few other guests. Natalie Portman walks in looking STUNNING! Seriously y'all... Mark called me and pointed out, it takes a lot to make Padma look like a slouch, but Natalie Portman did it with ease.
Eli points out that the only thing Natalie Portman is known for is her role in Star Wars 1, 2, & 3. And with that statement Eli seals the deal on Geekiest Chef Ever On Top Chef. You know he's used the Force on his lightsaber a few times, if you get my drift. Some lonely night while watching the Star Wars trilogies in his parents basement... AAAAND now I just went to that scary visual place that you need Comet for your brain to get rid of.
Natalie drops the bomb that she is a vegetarian. You can see that some of the chefs look like they've been kicked in the nuts. Cooking a vegetarian dish in a steak house? Even the steak is offended. Kevin points out the obvious that all the chefs how have to change their dishes because they thought they were going to cooking orgasmic meat dishes. Instead of giving Natalie Portman a meat-gasm they have to wow her with veggies. Veg-gasm?
Jennifer is in the weeds and she's not even started cooking. Her meat dish is now vegetarian. She calls out she wants to use morels and Robin chimes in that both her and Kevin are using the mushrooms. She opts not to use those and picks eggplants which Eli is also using. In true Top Chef fairness they flip a dried piece of fruit to determine who gets the eggplants. Eli wins. Jennifer ends up getting these mini eggplants that are so cute! Though, I can't imagine they are going to be as fulfilling to cook with. Mikey is going for something he's calling a leek scallop. I'm having a hard time understanding how that will work.
Kevin utters the sad line of "my wife and I"... and hundreds of Kevin hoyay fantasies have been crushed. THANKS TOP CHEF...
Kitchen chaos ensues! Robin is making a dish she's never made before. She is literally overwhelmed by the options of freshness. It seems pretty risky to try and make something you've never done before during an elimination challenge. Go big or go home, I guess. Robin doesn't seem like that type. Even though Eli doesn't see vegetarians as equals he has a plan to wow them with his dish. He's tired of being in the middle of the pack on the show. Mikey is having issues with his preparation. His leeks aren't cooking because the pan is warped and not getting direct contact with the flattop. Jennifer isn't happy. At all... She only cooks vegetarian if she has too. Girlfriend has got to get her shit together and FAST or she'll be going home.
Robin offers stuffed squash blossom, beet carpaccio, fresh garbanzo beans, and chermoula. Everyone seems to find it overly salty. She doesn't get garbanzo beans on all the dishes. Chef Paul shares his with Chef Tom.
Eli has made confit of eggplant, lentils, garlic puree, and radish salad. Everyone seems to be enjoying it. Personally, I've never enjoyed a salad that is strewn all over my plate that I have to chase around to eat what amounts to a half-bite. When Eli gets back to the kitchen he comments to Brother Mike that Natalie has "like 10 reeeeally hot friends." Remember what I was saying about Eli and his parents basement? Yeah... just let that one sink in for a moment.
Brother Mike cooks up an asparagus salad, Japanese tomato sashimi, and banana polenta. There is a mixed reaction to the dish, but not in a bad way. Confused. Exciting. Glad. He is compared to Picasso again. I wonder if Natalie friend who made the Picasso comment knows Ash?
Jennifer has prepared charred baby eggplant, braised fennel, tomatoes and verjus nage. Jen is adding the sauce table side. Which seems like a HORRIBLE idea... I'm nervous for her! She's clearly nervous and some of the guests end up a little 'sauced' themselves. The editors are killing me showing her go nervously and shakily from diner to diner. In the end her dish looks more like a side, rather than an entree.
Mikey has made whole roasted leeks with onion jus, baby carrot puree, and fingerling potatoes. The leeks don't look like scallops to me. Nor are they prepared well. Overall it's a sad dish.
Bryan cooks an artichoke barigoule, confit of shallot, wild asparagus, and fennel puree. Padma makes a comment about the the garlic blossoms being "like a little prick on the tip of her tongue." Padma goes on to say teh garlic blossom may be "tiny in size, but big in your mouth." Natalie can't hold back the laughter at the sound of that and the dick jokes fly. Chef Tom is red with laughter. The person looking most uncomfortable is Quickfire Judge Paul Bartolotta.
Kevin prepares a duo of mushrooms, smoked kale, candied garlic, and turnip purée. Ok... Now I clearly love me some Kevin, but this looks like a pile of wet forest floor scrapings. Kevin admits that his dish isn't as pretty as some of the other dishes. He instructs the servers on placement by using the "brown streak in the front." That alone should tell you it's not a pretty dish. You eat with your eyes first people.
I wonder how many Padma / Padme (Star Wars) jokes were made during this challenge. You know they all came from Eli. You know he was the only one who found them funny.
The is a bonus clip shown during commercials where the cheftestants are invited to chef Paul Bartolotta's restaurant for dinner. Everyone looks thrilled to be there and WHOA!! JENNIFER!! What's with the Just Had Sex Hair? Seriously, y'all... I don't know if she did this on purpose or the Vegas heat has made her loopy. But, damn! In the meanwhile Kevin is talking about being a Power Eater and makes some joke about going to a buffet after their meal and Chef Paul's restaurant. But I'm too distracted by what is clearly a seemingly drunken Jennifer's hair. It cracks me up that she's all gussied up and then after eating leans back and tosses her arms out. All that's missing is a manly belch and for her to stick her hand down the from of her pants a la Al Bundy. Alas, she does neither of these things.
At Judge's Table... Kevin, Brother Mike, and Eli. Eli is just as shocked as the rest of us. They loved the unexpectedness of Brother Mike's banana polenta. Natalie makes the comment that she loves food that makes you question, "What is going on? Who is his dealer and does he want any clients." Thus Natalie secures a place in my heart. I want to have margaritas with her.
Gail has returned as judge and comments on the beautifulness of Eli's dish. That's about the only accolades he's going to get though. They are too in love with Kevin's pile of flavorful forest droppings. Big surprise that Kevin is named the winner. As a result he wins a suite of GE appliances like the ones they've been using in the Top Chef Kitchen. "Sweet," chirps Kevin. I'm sure he'll have fun using them to cook veggies with his wife. Grr!
Brother Mike is now emerging as the villain of the show as he is shown talking down about Kevin's dish. He could've made that dish in twenty minutes he claims.
Eli announces the bad news of Jennifer, Mikey, and Robin being in the bottom. It's been a while since Mikey has been called out solely as a bottom dish. He's clearly upset, more with himself. They call him out for his lack of protein in his dish. He mentioned about how his leeks didn't cook properly because of equipment. That just seems like a bad idea to even bring up. I know he wasn't blaming Chef Tom, but it is Chef Tom's kitchen. I'd be nervous about even dancing near that topic.
Robin elaborates about her dish in only a way Robin can. She literally drones on and on. Jennifer nods off at one point. Padma has to reach over and stir Natalie from her own slumber. Finally Tom has the good sense to just shut her up and call her out on her dishes issues. Bless you, Tom!
Padma questions Jennifer about the time spent on what amounted to a side dish. Two hours to cook what essentially didn't amount to much. They also ask her why she is suddenly so nervous and falling apart. Remember in the beginning of this season why she was coming off as the self proclaimed bitch and ran her kitchens with an iron fist? That's the Jennifer I want back! That's the Jennifer I want in the finales. Not this neutered self-conscious wall flower who is tossing sauce all over judges.
Speaking of sauced judges... what the fuck is Gail wearing?
In the end... Mikey is sent packing. He is gracious yet still has a 'meh' attitude about it. He doesn't seem really upset about it. He is wishing everyone good bye at Judge's Table, and when he goes to wish Jennifer goodbye she gives him a big hug and kiss. It apparently was pretty emotional at that moment because Gail seems a little verklempt herself.
Sorry to see you go, Mike. Watching you was an up and down affair for me. I didn't care for you, but I didn't think you'd go home just yet. I pegged you as #4 or #5 in the end. See you at the reunion!
Washington Post aritcle about Mikey
I posted this @ 10/30/2009 08:52:00 AM.............Need a link?..........