Thursday, July 8, 2010

Top Chef Season 7, Episode 4: "A hooker and an 8 ball, please"

With the fourth episode underway, things are starting to heat up in the Top Chef kitchen. And not because Angelo thinks Tamesha is sexy and wants to wrap her up like a Vietnamese spring roll and eat her. Everyone’s starting to feel the tension – Andrea because she’s always in the middle and is ready to win, Timothy because he’s on a losing streak, and Arnold because he can’t like get the wrinkles out of his like chef’s coat like like.

For this week’s Quickfire Challenge, the chefs are charged with the task of making an adult dish for Tom and Padma and a pureed version that could be served to their babies who are 8 months and 2 months old, respectively. It’s a high stakes challenge meaning the winner (or winners) will go home with $10,000. Arnold, bless his little Juicy Couture-shaped heart, immediately says he would donate the money to two orphanages in Thailand that work with children who are infected with HIV and AIDS. Alex counters by saying he would buy himself something nice with the money – “a hooker and an 8 ball, please.” He continues to bolster his creepy molester in a van image by revealing, “I’ve never fed a baby before. I don’t make baby food. I’ve practiced making baby, but not baby food.”

Most of the chefs are a little intimidated, but the ever confident Angelo is excited. He loves educating his son with flavors and telling him bedtimes stories like “Goldilocks and the Amazing Fenugreek Broth.” Apparently, it’s Angelo’s favorite spice because it’s so amazing and he’s so amazing and he wants to amaze everyone with it’s amazing flavor and then make more Vietnamese spring rolls. Padma’s like, “Uh huh, yeah, tell me more while I lick my lips and picture you as the father of my next baby.” She selects his poached tuna with fenugreek broth, tomatoes, soy sauce and honey and Kenny’s curried chicken with mango salad, confit of butternut squash, and maitake mushrooms as her favorite dishes of the challenge.

Padma is not so fond of Kelly’s bland roasted pork loin with roasted peaches and ginger nor the puree that has a lemon seed in it. “That may not be very successful in a baby’s mouth,” she says with disgust and Kelly goes and cries next to Kevin, who’s panned for serving his seared duck in a big pool of what looks like the blood from Amanda’s hand in episode 1.

Tom praises Lynne, who makes everyone chuckle when she says, “All of my kids have four legs,” and Tamesha for her salmon vegetable chowder with licorice oil. Kenny and Tamesha ultimately take the win, and Kenny is seriously ecstatic to be beating Angelo again. “I want them constantly saying ‘Kenny.’ You know, ‘Kenny, Kenny, Kenny.’” Alex nods in understanding – he wants all his hookers constantly saying his name too.

For the Elimination Challenge, the cheftestants must partner up and compete in a tournament-style cook-off to create a new signature dish for Hilton Hotels. They will create breakfast, lunch and dinner options that must be easily executable, quick dishes that can be served in the hotels' restaurants to busy travelers. Two winners will be chosen after the breakfast round and the rest of the teams will have to continue and serve lunch. Two additional winners will be chosen after lunch service, and then the remaining three teams of two will need to battle it out over dinner. Both members of the losing team will go home.

The chefs pick their partners, and Tiffany is a little apprehensive to be paired with Tim, who has been on the bottom “quite a bit lately,” but Amanda is stoked to be paired with bottom-dweller Stephen. Mostly because he’s the only one who isn’t afraid she’ll try to get him drunk on Sherry and body slam him into a wall when she’s running through Whole Foods screaming, “Pancetta!”

For the breakfast round, Alex, who is paired with his good ole buddy Eddie Angry Face, is dying to make pancakes because the hookers always leave before he can make them breakfast. Ed is skeptical, but nobody can tell because his face never changes expression. Ever.

The chefs will be judged by Beth Scott, VP of Restaurant Concepts at Hilton Hotels, Tom, Padma, Eric Ripert, Nora Poillon from Nora restaurant in DC, and former Top Chef contestants Spike, Bryan Voltaggio and Mike Isabella. While it doesn’t seem like any of them are particularly excited about any of the breakfast dishes – Padma takes a bite of Stephen and Amanda’s poached egg with pancetta confit and declares, “I would have rather cubed the pancetta and rendered the fat off slowly” – Amanda and Stephen, and Tiffany and Tim are still singled out as the victors. The rest will need to move on to round 2, while Padma renders the rest of the fat off the plates she was supposed to be sharing with silver fox Eric Ripert who we love so much it hurts. (For the record, he has no fat to render off.)

The remaining teams are not happy to be moving on to lunch service – particularly Angelo who says, “In the kitchen, it’s super intense. It’s like you want to get out of the pool and this piranha is trying to bite you.” Cue camera shot to Amanda.

Despite Ed and Alex’s lackluster breakfast dish, Alex is really excited to be making scallops and “gnuddi” for lunch because it sounds like “nudie.” The judges seem excited about it too and Ed and Alex are ultimately safe from elimination. Angelo and Tamesha also make it through for their (read: his) slivers of beef with jicama-Asian pear salad with mint, cilantro and kimchi vinaigrette that would never be on a Hilton Hotels' restaurant menu ever, but would taste really good in a spring roll. Possibly with an amazing Fenugreek dipping broth?

Arnold and Lynne, Kenny and Kevin, and Andrea and Kelly must now battle it out over dinner service. Everyone is freaked out and it’s even more intense, and Arnold’s hair is started to get frizzy and even Lynne is starting to crack under the pressure. While Kenny and Kevin and Andrea and Kelly face off with two versions of short ribs, Lynne plays commander-in-chief over some squid ink pasta that she refuses to cook until the last freaking second which kind of makes us want to shake her a little bit. Arnold, who is making mussels with pineapple red curry to serve over the pasta, really really wants to grab it out of her hands and throw it on the pot (or braid it into some hair extensions), but refrains because he’s afraid Lynne is going to throw him into the pot too and then feed him to her four legged children.

Andrea and Kelly ultimately win it for their version of short ribs that had more jus than Kenny and Kevin’s which is panned for lacking adequate glaze and horseradish flavor. Not even beautiful and amazing silver fox Eric Ripert can find the missing horseradish. Arnold and Lynne are tragically, yet predictably, sent home for Lynne’s woefully undercooked pasta. Arnold is dejected, but confident with his performance on the show and the color he added to the competition. We’ll miss that color. And his serious collection of Louis Vuitton bags.

10 comments:

Nomsnotbombs said...

My favorite part of the shopping trip was when Angelo was running around shouting, "CHEDDAR! DO YOU HAVE CHEDDAR?!" No, Angelo. Whole Foods does not have a cheese which is available at the grungiest of grocery stores lol.

weezermonkey said...

Sometimes your recaps are better than the actual episode.

RECAP WIN!

nelehelen said...

I was sad to see Arnold leave! I did NOT agree with that decision at all~! And not because he loves LV as much as us girls do! hahah

love your recap!

Diana said...

Misty - Haha, I must have missed that! Probably deaf from Amanda screaming, "Pancetta!!!"

Weez - Thank you, thank you very much. ;)

Helen - I was sad too! Even though I poked fun at him a bit, I really liked him! And he was a great chef who was really starting to step up his game! Such a shame.

bagnatic said...

yeah, arnold could have stayed for a few more episodes. he made me chuckle.

Ashley said...

NORA! I only caught part of the episode, but it made me miss DC. Restaurant Nora was one of my favorite places.

Esi said...

I have to admit, I was so tense seeing Master K in the bottom that I fast forwarded to the end to make sure he wasn't sent home. The double elimination was brutal. Hope they don't do that again.

Daily Gluttony said...

Agree w/ Weezer: Recap win!

Re: Alex: "He continues to bolster his creepy molester in a van image..." Spot on, sister.

I was actually sad to see Arnold go. He'd seems like he'd be the perfect gay boyfriend for me.

And for the record, I used to take lots & lots of fenugreek when I was nursing to help my milk supply. It was in tablet form, but still, I did not like its herby taste at all. And for some strange reason it makes you smell like maple syrup. :P

Diana said...

Amy - I was really really started to like Arnold! Half-way through the episode I was thinking, "Gosh that kid is growing on me!" Sad sad. :(

Ashley - I thought of you when they announced her as a judge! Why, may I ask, did you not bring me there when I came to visit???

Esi - I was SO nervous Master K was going to get the boot! My brother texted me "Interesting" before I started watching the ep and I was sure that was why. So so glad he's still in! Love Kenny!

Pam - Maple syrup? How strange! Now I kind of want to try it. Fenugreek quinoa, anyone? ;)

stuffycheaks said...

alex really creeps me out! I doubt he's ever seen a hooker or an 8 ball.. unless he's referring to a magic 8 ball?!?!