Thursday, July 15, 2010

Top Chef Season 7, Episode 5: "Like a concrete truck pouring on top of silk"

There’s a lot of tension in the “Top Chef” house as the fifth episode gets under way. Tension because Arnold packed both his knives and all the conditioner in the house (Andrea’s hair is really starting to suffer), and tension because Angelo wants to extract the passion out of Tamesha and then turn it into a delicious broth.

Ed and Tiffany are also feeling the passion. He loves her laugh, she loves how silly he is, and we’re just confused because Tiffany’s laugh makes our ears bleed and Ed is about as fun as Amanda when she runs down children with her shopping cart.

For the Quickfire Challenge, Padma tells the 12 remaining chefs with a sly I-just-made-a-funny grin, “You’ve got crabs.” Angelo confides to the camera (incidentally, without the sly I-just-made-a-funny grin), “Well, I had crabs, so it just brought back bad memories.” We think he’s joking, but perhaps Tracey left him a parting gift on her way out the door?

The chefs will be preparing Maryland blue crabs for Padma and guest judge Patrick O’Connell who is Chef and Owner of the Inn at Little Washington and, according to Kevin, a really big deal. We take wishy-washy Kevin’s word for it. Maybe. We’re not sure. Ask us again later.

Ever sure Angelo is confident about his dish made with a “beautiful” blue crab broth infused with lemon grass and ginger and extracts of Tamesha’s passion. Tamesha, who has never picked a crab before in her life (given the eyes she’s giving Angelo, we hope she learns fast) is less confident, but manages to eke out a crab chowder that Padma doesn’t want to spit out. Master K, who apparently likes to refer to himself as “the beast” now, is jazzed about his crab 3 ways that includes Korean crab bisque, crab bruschetta and warm crab with sesame. He, Angelo and Ed, who prepares a jumbo lump crab with Thai basil, are in the top, and ultimately Kenny "the Beast" gets the win. Amanda, Stephen and Kevin are on the bottom for their lackluster dishes.

For the Elimination Challenge, the chefs will be using local ingredients from Ayshire Farms, Virginia’s first organic and humane farm, to create a family-style meal for 40 local chefs and farmers. All the chefs will need to work together in one team and they won’t see their ingredients or the cooking equipment until the next day. Kenny and Angelo immediately butt heads over who will lead the 12 chefs. Kenny (and everyone else in the house and in the audience and in the world aside from Tamesha) wants his presence to be the alpha male presence, but Angelo won’t lie down without a fight. (Apparently he likes it a little rough.) It’s a train wreck until the chefs finally decide to break up into the same pairs they worked with on the last episode and create tandem dishes together. Ed, who was paired with Alex the molestor for the previous challenge, is not happy about this. Ed says, “I’m up for working with somebody else – no offense – I’m just saying I’m game for anything.”

Translation: “Alex scares me and I want to work with Tiffany because her laugh is so adorable and she’s so adorable and I want to extract her passion and make it into a broth too.”

After the chefs arrive at the farm, they have three hours to prepare their dishes for the judges and guests. Kevin’s struggling with confidence after being in the bottom for the past four challenges, but Master K, whose other nicknames include Big Daddy, Black Magic, Black Lightning, the Black Angus, promises to take over the situation like a sexy, suave beast. We love Kenny. We really, really do.

Angelo is feeling the love for his duck and Tamesha’s cherry compote. He says, “Tamesha is working on her cherry compote and it’s really tart and luscious – I mean its just super sexy, and I’m working on my duck, and I butchered it perfectly, and I marinated it, and I rendered out the fat, I let it rest, I cooked it more… I basically made love to that duck, to be honest with you.” It makes us wonder if maybe he got crabs from the duck rather than Tracey? Or maybe he’s just taking notes from molester Alex, who is really really loving cooking in “God’s great outdoors” because no one can see what goes on behind the bushes.

Other than some fisticuffs over vegetables and a mishap with the cauliflower Kevin intended to use for his couscous, it’s fairly smooth sailing in the (outdoor) kitchen. The judges are, for the most part, impressed with the dishes the chefs create. Even silver fox Eric Ripert is pleased with the spread. He says, “The proof is in the pudding. I ate everything.”

The judges are particularly enamored with Kenny’s hot and sour curried eggplant, Kevin’s broccoli couscous, Andrea’s garlic and five spice pork loin, and Kelly’s roasted apples and beets, and strawberry rhubarb crisp that she does for “extra credit.” The four chefs have the best dishes of the meal, and ultimately Master K takes it for his curry that even Padma finds appealing.

Amanda, Stephen and Timothy are predictably on the bottom for their ho-hum offerings. Amanda is called out for not cutting all the vegetables in her minestrone soup uniformly and skipping the pasta, Stephen is reprimanded for his overthought and overdressed salad that he served in a (shudder) bowl, and Timothy is critiqued for his underseasoned roasted potatoes and turnips that were completely forgettable. Even though Amanda’s knife skills are likened to what a grandmother might have done with an ax, and Stephen’s dressing job is likened to pouring concrete over silk, Timothy is sent home. As he says good bye to the 11 remaining chefs he offers them one piece of advice, “Make sure you season your food, guys.” We’re not sure why he’s telling the contestants who did season their food this, but we appreciate the sentiment. As one of the only sane cheftestants in the house, his calming presence will be missed. We’d sort of like to extract some of it to make into a beautiful broth to forcefeed to Angelo. Maybe next week...


nelehelen said...

yay! thanks for the recap! i missed last night's episode due to late meetings, but i was at ease because i've got your blog. <3

but really, why isnt amanda cut yet?!

Esi said...

Angelo's obsession with Tamesha is beyond weird to me. Maybe there's something that Bravo isn't showing us, but I just don't get it. Hooray for Master K! Although I was a little creeped out by that interlude with him in the robe. Ew.

bagnatic said...

angelo is just plain odd!!

stuffycheaks said...

the love connections are very odd pairings. And Alex still creeps me out this episode.

Kristen Cheri said...

Wow, I am so glad the the Australian version of this show (MasterChef) leaves out all the personal dramas. The show focuses only on the cooking challenges, but the personalities of the contestants come through just enough so that you care about them, but not nearly enough to make it feel like you are watching a contrived version of 'Real World for the 20-30 somethings'. The contestants still live in a house together, but none of that is filmed for television. They get to keep their personal lives to themselves. And I'm glad about that.