Friday, August 24, 2007

Coulda Been A Contendah...

wow. Just wow. ...but I'm getting ahead of myself.

We have a quick montage to recap last week's episode, which you no doubt have already read about, and then we go to the Quickfire challenge, which is mercifully product placement free.

It seems wrong somehow.

I Could be Manager in Two Years. King. God.
It's the Mise en Place Race. Those of us who just read Kitchen Confidential know what the Meez is, and nod knowingly, but Raddichio explains for the viewers at home. The winning team gets a sommelier and extra wine money. I go out on a limb. Could it possibly be Top Sommelier?

The prep consists of shucking oysters, dicing some onions, cutting up whole chickens, and separating eggs and whipping the whites until they'll stay in an upside-down bowl. One person has to do each step, and they have to finish before the next person can start. Gee, I wonder which Overdog will take on the seafood. Radicchio toots his bosun's whistle, and they're off. It's Tiny Bald Howie vs. The Talking Dog. Sweaty has no chance. He's only 2/3 done when the Dog steps aside.

BattaBatta tells us that dicing onions isn't exactly "brain science", but I think the phrase she's looking for is "rocket surgery". Holy crap. They need a time lapse camera to make this watchable. It's like Casey saw a diagram of how to dice an onion once, but has not actually done it before. As soon as Tiny Slow Howie steps aside, Second Sara has become Shiva, the destroyer of onions. There is a bowl of onions, and then some flashing blurry stuff happens, and then there's a pile of diced onion. Second Sara just made everyone her bitches. She's got so many bitches, they're gonna have to call her "Bitches". (...and if you've never watched Boondocks, you have no idea what the hell I'm talking about. It's OK. I get that a lot.)

Hung goes after those those chickens like they killed his mom, and everybody counts their fingers afterward... you know, just to be sure.

Casey finally finishes dicing onions. Tre starts on the chickens, but Team Overdog is so far in the weeds, they're hearing banjo music. Mohawk cruises to a finish, and in the end Tre just watches him.

Speed of Lightning, Sound of Thunder, Hold the Vanilla.
Both restaurants have to open again, and this time, they have to have two options for each course. Major menu changes are the order of the day. But first they are going to redesign their restaurants and ditch the stinky candles.

Oh look. It's Obnoxious Douchebag from last week. He's a designer... not a very good one, but he's Madonna's brother so he still gets work. I think it's because people hope that Madonna will show up... the hot one... from the early 80s. If this were Clue, it would be Mohawk with a candlestick in the dining room, but it's not, so Mohawk pretends not to remember Douchey Ciccone. Team Underdog renames their restaurant "Quatre". Douchey doesn't like it, but they tell him he can lump it.

Back at the house, Tre spies on Team Underdog's menu meeting. Hey, Tre, it's Top Chef, not Top Weasel. Tre's big scoop on the rabbit course will turn out to be wrong, so he's acting like a tool on national TV for nothing. Fresh Market only has 2 bunnnies, so the Underdogs will have to scrap the rabbit idea.

They're off to shop. Oh, look, it is Top Sommelier.

When they get back to the kitchen the menus are as follows.
Restaurant Overdog: last week's scallops or some kind of salmon-pesto-grapefruit thing / cold carrot soup or lobster salad with cauliflower / last week's Beef and Butts or monkfish with mascarpone mashed potatoes / and to finish, bread pudding, which Tre assures us he can make in his sleep.
The Underdog Four: Hung's Tuna Tartare Nicoise from last week or Mohawk's poussin with mint gnocchi and some kind of orange drool / halibut with grapes and leeks or lamb with white and green beans / and for dessert, Hung makes panna cotta with berries for anyone foolish enough not to try last week's killer crepes.

Radicchio is going to hang out in the kitchen. According to her blog, Lee Ann had to bust the chefs' chops after the show last week for letting their dishes and shit pile up until it became a safety hazard. They tried to give her some shit, so he's going to ride herd and eat with the help. They should keep this for future episodes. If they are going to judge chefs on leadership, it seems like a good idea to see if they are leading, as opposed to hoping someone gets thrown over the bus.

Second Sara takes control of her kitchen. Every once in a while she goes over the top, like when Mohawk comes back and tells everyone that table 7 is VIPs as a segue into telling everyone that Sara and Joey are in the house (Hung is confused, "Who are Sara and Joey?") and she tromps all over Mohawk's news by interrupting with "They're all VIPs". But most of the time, she just demands that they send out good food, like when she tells Tiny Decaf Howie that his shit is not, in fact, going to get better if he "lets it rest" and to do it over. He slams an oven door, but astonishingly, does not revert into bulldog mode.

I can't believe that the snappiest thing I can think of to say about Hung is "Your monkey could forget his housemates' names." That's so weak. C'mon, Hung, give me something to work with.

There are only a few misses in the Underdining room, and they don't seem that bad. The guest judge has been hanging out down at the VFF and tells us that everyone serves tuna tartare. Frankly, he's so boring I'm not even going to make fun of him. Joey Bagadonuts tries to impress Sara by picking out Tiny Mancrush Howie's dishes, and dissing on them: they're underdone.

Midway through the service, Mohawk tells Top Sommelier not to "overserve", which is a polite way of saying "Less talky, more poury, monkeyboy."

Team Overdog wins in the former contestant challenge. They get Camille Who and Sassy Lia. We miss you, Lia, come back. Take Casey's place. She bores me. They also pulled Meltdown Dog back to the kitchen and put Casey At The Front. Aside from that, things go straight to hell. Ted says that Tre's salmon and grapefruit is terrible and has to wash the taste out of his mouth. Lurch's lobster is too salty. Tre's Beef and Butts, even if not oversmoked this time, is just not good. BattaBatta's monkfish isn't seared, it's overdone. To finish, it looks like Tre did make the bread pudding in his sleep.

Much Ado About Something
The judges can't believe it. Team Underdog is called in to be told that they won. Everyone gets praise. They liked Mohawk's lil chickies, so I guess losing the bunnies worked out just fine. Second Sara takes the win for her stunning victory over Team Overdog. I hope Rocco DiPlasticHair feels like a dumbass for saying she was the wrong choice to lead the kitchen. I wish I'd told him he was wrong. Oh wait, I did. Check me out... first post. Go me. If she actually won something, I missed it. That would suck, hunh? Opening a bag of frozen pasta gets you a trip to Italy, opening a fucking restaurant gets you a pat on the back. I don't get it.

The judges take Team Overdog to task. It sounds like they wish they could send a couple of them home. At commercial, I predict that they are looking for a loophole to send Lurch home instead of Tre. In a huge surprise upset, they follow their precedents and Tre has to pack his knives. He was the team leader, even if Lurch abdicated that position to him, and he turned out the worst of their dishes.

After the show, Lurch sidles over to Tre with the producers' Ambien: I Could Cook That In My Sleep Immunity. "Dude, I think you dropped this."


Anonymous said...

I must admit I was shocked to see Tre go. He was the most talented and experienced chef on his team, and I honestly thought he would have made it much, much further in the competition. The judges held him responsible not only because he was the executive chef, but because of his poor execution on a couple of dishes.

How funny was it that Hung, who was on the opposing team, found it so frustrating to watch Casey labor over those onions? And as for Brian . . . I don't even recall really seeing him do much of anything. Is that less of a crime than taking the initiative and failing ?

You gotta wonder if this were "Hell's Kitchen" would they have let Tre go? I think not...

Writeprocrastinator said...

I wondered why Tre got drummed out (I keep popping into this episode during the final eight minutes) and now I know why.

As much as I hate to say this, they should bring back Tiffani or Marcel. The show is not going to have worthwhile villain for the finale and this season's cast is somehow even less talented than last season's.

Plus, you know that everyone from Season One believes that they would destroy these kid's best effort with the scraps that they throw away for breakfast.

If they would just stay away from the nouvelle and fusion, and just cook what tastes right with a balance of flavors, you know? I really get the impression that contrary to what they say, they don't even taste the food before they send it out.

Anonymous said...

OMG WP, You're so right. Just thinking about Marcel's foam dishes makes me laugh! He was such a little prick. I thought Hung would be the "bad guy" but he's turned out to be the ADDH kid coupled with hyperactivity, and not that great a cook. Though he could probably murder chickens in his sleep. There's not too much going on in the personality department on this show this year.

vikkitikkitavi said...

1. Hung, your MONKEY could make raw tuna.

2. Definitely, Radicchio needs to be in the kitchen for these kind of challenges from now on. I'm tired of the judges speculating about "leadership."

3. Tre, I like you, but you didn't PEEL THE APPLES?! You made bread pudding with apples and you didn't PEEL THE APPLES!? Dude. Hung's monkey knows you peel the apples. Christ.

BeckEye said...

Yeah, I can't believe they got rid of Tre. Casey can't cut a damn onion. She will never be a Top Chef...unless all of her meals are cooked without onions.

I haven't read all of your recaps, but have you mentioned anything about that hostess, whatsername, Pashmina or something? Does she always seem like she's drunk off her ass or is it just me? She's a slurring mofo. She should get together with Paula Abdul and start their own show, "America's Top Alcoholic Reality Show Host."

deadspot said...

Holy crap. It's almost time for Top Chef again... this week has flown by.

I also thought Tre would be in the final. He seemed like he was consistently good, the other chefs respected him, and everybody wanted to work with him. I don't think he listened closely enough to to the critique of the food in the last episode, and he had a couple of bad days at just the wrong time. I think a huge part of the problem was that he didn't delegate. They only made 7 dishes, and I think he was responsible for 4 of them (scallops, salmon, beef n butts, and the bread pudding). No wonder he got into trouble. He was doing more than half the cooking for his team.

Hung was hilarious. I thought he was going to grab the knife and cut Casey's onions himself.

Everybody has played together so well for the last two episodes that I don't think it can last. I think everybody was a little freaked out over how acrimonious things got in the episode where Sara left, and then they got thrown into a couple of episodes where they knew teamwork was critical. We've got 7 chefs now, and there's no way to make even teams, so I think we'll be back to an individual challenge tonight. I bet things get ugly again.

I think Hung is more bluster than talent at this point. He's been in the bottom so often, it's hard to see how he can keep dodging the bullet.

You're right, Vikki, I know that they edit out most of the deliberation, but it seems like they take way too much for granted. For example, Ted said that Sara's dishes were a disaster in the epsiode where she left, but he also said that he liked his burger and said he hadn't tasted her milkshakes because they were sold out by the time he got there. It's hard to see how he got from "good burger, didn't try the milkshake" to "all your dishes sucked".

You haven't read all my recaps? Why haven... Padma... mmmm... Padma.

I'm sorry, Becks, what did you ask again?

deadspot said...

Oh, I forgot to say that Season One would destroy these guys. They did so much more with so much less. It's weird, I heard they did a pretty exhaustive search for these contestants, and they were all highly recommended.

Writeprocrastinator said...


"OMG WP, You're so right. Just thinking about Marcel's foam dishes makes me laugh! He was such a little prick."

But he could actually cook, when he wasn't "foaming"...or at least the judges thought so.

"I thought Hung would be the "bad guy" but he's turned out to be the ADDH kid coupled with hyperactivity, and not that great a cook. Though he could probably murder chickens in his sleep. There's not too much going on in the personality department on this show this year."


Writeprocrastinator said...

"Oh, I forgot to say that Season One would destroy these guys. They did so much more with so much less. It's weird, I heard they did a pretty exhaustive search for these contestants, and they were all highly recommended."

By who, their cousins?

Granted, maybe they can cook when they are using someone else's recipes, but outside of the Latino and the Med. pasta dishes, none of their cooking realy seems that appealing.