Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Could You Be A Bigger Douchebag?

Knowing full well that he used to be a Hitler Youth member, my reaction to his latest yammering was still

"What (Chelsea Handler pause) an asshole."

If I may?
a) Please. Like we don't know that angel farts are the most significant contributor to global warming, and

b) WTF?

Look, "being a Nazi" is usually sufficient evidence that someone is an asshole, but if you still need convincing that Pope Benny Dick may not be your best source of moral guidance, there's the whole "equal rights for everyone is a threat to mankind on the same level as the wanton, wholesale destruction of our ecosystem" thing.

You know... in case you're still on the fence.

Monday, December 22, 2008


Kristi's new bud Crabman is on, and he gets a quick call home to check on his dad, who was diagnosed with cancer just before the show started. If I hadn't had my remorse gland removed, I'd probably feel bad for making fun of the fact that Crabman doesn't know what the phrase "gunning for you" means, but I did, so i don't.

Nat E. Dredd, Rasta Gourmet
Whoah, edgy challenge! Is it oregano? No, no, no, NO! We're cooking with pot, and... What? What's that? Ohhhhh, cooking with one pot. Martha Stewart's Quickfire challenge is to make a 1-dish holiday meal. Soup, anyone?

Top Dishwasher tells us that housewives and grandmas all over the world use cornstarch to thicken their stews. Too bad he's not on Top Grandma.

Martha Stewart calls Luigi's food gray, and they say guys are more likely to be color blind. You would think that someone who builds an empire on design would know the difference between beige and gray... Whatev'. I'm not seeing it, but I don't want to get shanked in the yard, so I don't say anything.

Starbuck is once again in the top three and you can tell by her tight little smile that she knows she's not going to win. Damn, what's a girl gotta do to get a little love?

Oh. She's gotta be from Jersey.

The LoJack on Martha's ankle starts beeping and she's got to run home or something, because she is out of here as soon as the Quickfire is over.

There's a choir, there's some caroling, there are some knives, and somehow we end up with a challenge instead of a multiple homicide. Oops. Is my lack of holiday spirit showing?

It's a celebrity gala for amfAR. The chefs are each assigned one of the twelve days of xmas, which several of them promptly ignore. The rest come up with the saddest, weakest, most pathetic links they possibly can. Did the chefs have some sort of side-bet that ended up on the cutting room floor?

Chutney gets the Partridge in a Pear Tree, and makes Duck Breast with, I kid you not, Pear Chutney. Time is so tight that she skips her de rigeur "Not just the Indian Chef" speech.

Crabman, that's not the kind of pipe they're talking about. He makes some lame ass piping, pipe, smoking excuse so he can serve smoked pork. You know, they do eat in Scotland, dumbass, and just off the top of my head, Ireland has both pipers and Guinness. I bet you could make a kick-ass Guinness reduction and... Hmm. I may have to do some experimenting.

Hair Product's Lords a Leaping is even lamer. He gets two kinds of Greek cheese and makes a preposterous "island hopping" connection. Look, I love cheese as much as the next person, but WTF? Really?

They scramble around in the store, they prep their food, they stuff the fridge.

Oh damn, someone left the fridge open, and Chutney and Crabman are so screwed.

Everybody pitches in to bail them out, even Bork. It turns out that Chutney and Crabman are slightly less screwed than one might assume: when Chutney broke down her ducks she put the other parts in another fridge, and Crabman "finds" a bin full of pork that "just happens to be laying around" the Top Chef KitchenAid Calphalon Wusthof Cusinart Glad-Bags Kitchen ...you know, as bins full of pork for 300 so often do.

Everybody kind of half-asses their dishes so that everybody has something to serve.

The winners will be chosen by popular vote. Each attendee has a red ribbon, and they vote by pinning them on the table (or chef's whites) of the judge whose food they judge to be the best.

Does Stretch know that Turtle Doves are actually birds and not turtles? ...or mushrooms?

Luigi serves up some bullshit story about dancing lady crabs, but nobody's really buying it, especially those of us that heard the equally bullshit Can Can connection he made last night.

Jersey Girl made Deviled Eggs? Now, I love me some deviled eggs at a picnic, but they don't really say "black tie celebrity bash" to me. This is clearly a "Who's got immunity now, bitches?" choice. Too bad there's not some kind of high-end delicacy that comes from geese... maybe one that's suitable for use in canapes or hors d'oeuvres. If only there was something like that, she'd have been in there like swimwear.

Bork hasn't even bothered to come up with a connection to his theme, aside from the fact that he ate a chicken pot pie once at Christmas or something. Padma and guest judge Natasha Richardson try to help him out, but he couldn't care less. The conversation goes a little like this:
"So the pot pie is the drum?"
"Yeah. Sure. Whatever." (blank stare)
"...but the drumstick is inside?" (helpfully)
"Oh, drumstick. I see what you did there."

Not Everybody Leaves
Crabman and Hair Product run away with it, with Bork and Chutney rounding out the top 4. Crabman wins and gives props to everyone else for saving his ass. They all get a cookbook. For Augustmas. I guess.

The crowd hated Top Dishwasher, The Mouse, and Starbuck. One of them got 8 votes. Eight out of 300. Ouch.

Radicchio eventually comes in and tells them that they all sucked, even the winners. But, in the spirit of August, or whenever the hell they filmed this, and recognizing that they all made sacrifices to bail out Chutney and Crabman, he's not going to send anyone home.

Conspiracy theory, anyone? I think they wanted to send Starbuck home for her slimy scallops, but they realized they would have looked like total dicks if they sent the last member of Team Rainbow home from an amFAR benefit on the Christmas episode. Maybe?

Maybe not. Maybe they just realized that everybody sucked, and that it was partly due to the production staff not checking out the kitchen before they turned off the lights.

Whatever. I like Starbuck. I'm glad she stayed, and I'm sure she's learned her lesson and will steer clear of scallops for the rest of the season.

Next week: Double elimination?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Gratuitous Shower Scene

Dude. Not Cool.
Sexy Pants and Crabman explain to the cameraman that they both have significant others back home, so ixnay on the akingmay outway otsshay. Start the clock... Countdown to the scene that triggers their breakups with the at-home players begins now.

Return of the Taste-off
The chefs play Name That Ingredient. This challenge is a good idea still looking for a good format. This version is not so much about who has the better palatte as it is about who wins the coin toss, who can play the other contestant, and most importantly, who has made this particular dish before.

They made some effort to standardize the challenge level by making each pair work with the same dish each round, but there are again some stupid inconsistencies in the challenge level. They ask what kind of basil is in the curry (Oh, really? They used Thai basil in green curry? What a twist! Someone call M. Night Shamalan.) but "salt" and "pepper" are specific enough to count as ingredients. "Salt." Really? They use salt when they cook? No shit? Still, there are some amusing mistakes, like when Chutney guesses chili powder is an ingredient in curry. I laughed and laughed.

It gets down to the last three, and it's Bork, Crabman, and Stretch. Ha! Stretch blows the very first ingredient. She should have guessed salt. Crabman wins and, not for the last time tonight, Bork looks like he just ate a bug.

They get back to the house and Bork goes all creepy uncle on Starbuck. Stretch is there to help fend him off. Dude... boundaries.

A Little Something Something
The chefs are going to cater a bridal shower for Gail and all her Food and Wine friends. The chefs are divided up into teams of "something old" (Bork, Hair Product, and Crabman), "something new" (Top Dishwasher, Stretch, and Bobby with the Stupid Beard), "something borrowed" (Starbuck, Chutney, and Jersey Girl), and "something blue" (Luigi, The Mouse, and Sexy Pants).

The Oldies will work with heirloom tomatoes. Surprise! Bork is a dick. He's going bitch about Hair Product's tomato sorbet nonstop for the rest of the show, except when he takes a short break to tell the other teams how they should be making their dishes. Hair Product thinks Bork is a tool, and Crabman has immunity, so Bork might as well be talking to a wall, or... you know, blogging for the Dead Spot.

The Newbies will make Surf N Turf Sushi. Stretch doesn't like the idea but doesn't say anything. Sound strategy, Stretch. That's always worked out so well in past episodes. Honestly, do any of the contestants watch the show before they audition? Back at the house, Top Dishwasher has a brainstorm. Deconstructed Sushi. Bobby Stupid Beard loves the idea. (Has he ever not loved anything this whole season? I think he might have a skepticism deficiency. He should get that checked out.) Stretch says nothing. Bobby Stupid Beard "helps" Stretch by hiding some mushrooms that he found under her salad. He's lucky there's not a spare salad fork, or it's going to end up in his eye.

The Borrowers borrow a cuisine from Chutney and a secret ingredient from Starbuck to make Indian-inspired marinated lamb with raita and carrot mush. Go get a drink. Chutney's going to make her mandatory "not just the Indian chef" speech. Jersey Girl cooks the lamb. A little. Then she cooks it some more, and Starbuck kindly refrains from stabbing her to death while the clock runs down, probably because it would mean that they would then only have 11 people to plate. When Jersey Girl finally finishes, all of the other chefs dive in to help plate, and they literally finish plating at the buzzer.

You know, on the off chance that rules will be important this episode.

Team Blue goes with seafood, because blue food is hard to come by unless you're Veruca Salt. You know, the Willy Wonka character, not the band. She turned blue from chewing defective gum. Yes, there was too a band. They did that Seether song. ...and that other song where they talk about the fact that they sang Seether. I seem to have strayed off point.

Service Up!
Hair Product owns Bork. His sorbet is the highlight of the round, although Crabman's gazpacho shooters looked pretty tasty to me too. Bork's dish was the low point for his team, and Bork's bug is even bigger and wrigglier than the last one.

Top Dishwasher forgot to explain how to eat their Sushi Gesundheit, but that's the least of their worries. Dude, if I may? If you have to explain how to eat food, you probably need to simplify. A little tip from me to you. No charge. The bigger problem? Their food is just bad, and Gail is pissed.

Starbuck and the rest of Team Borrowed save the day. Hey, Bork. Just for future reference, that's what an ass whipping looks like. Is there any doubt that they won this?

Team Blue relies on the fact that Gail's cougary friends will wet themselves over Luigi's accent and smarm and forget to taste the food. They do get all schoolgirl giggly when Luigi tells them that they're all byootifool, but the nursing home fish brings them crashing back to earth.

Why U Gotta B A H8r?
The fix is in, and Jersey Girl's Lamb Interminable takes the win. Poor Starbuck, always the bridesmaid and never the bride. You know whose fault that is, don't you? That's right. Fucking Mormons...

New and Blue get called in. The old people food was bad, but not as bad as the sushi, so it's the end of the line for Top Dishwasher, Stretch, or Bobby Stupid Beard. Top Dishwasher is gutted. Stretch says that she didn't like the idea, but refuses to throw Bobby over the bus for dragging her dish down with his last minute addition. I admire her show of character (Really, I do, all sarcasm aside. I would have crucified the moron if he'd survived long enough to see the judges.), but let's face it: even if he hadn't screwed up her salad, she made a salad. Bobby Stupid Beard is clinically upbeat in the face of disaster.

The judges know the score even if Stretch didn't say anything. Bobby's lack of critical judgement is the deciding factor, and we're out of Bobs.

Next week: Save your cigarettes and sharpen your toothbrush; it's Prison Chow with Martha Stewart.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Season of the Spit Take

Foam Kills
First, a few highlights from the Thanksgiving Episode:

Sexy Pants beats out Starbuck to win the Soup Is Good Food Quickfire, and gets to choose her team for the Elimination Challenge with White Asparagus Soup that she hates. She picks everyone who has won anything and Crabman for Team Sexy Pants.

The Elimination challenge is to use a copy of their concert rider as a guide and make Thanksgiving dinner for the Foo Fighters. Winners get front row seats to the concert, losers wash all the dishes.

Chutney makes Stuffing Vindaloo ...I kid, I kid. It is pretty much unanimous that her vegan stuffing is the best dish of the day. Of course it was. Everybody knows that stuffing is the best part of thanksgiving.

Luigi makes Pumpkin Tiramisu. I make gagging noises.

Team Jersey Girl's Workout Shorts is everyone who hasn't won anything.

Hair Product emerges as the leader of Team Jersey Girl's Workout Shorts, but once again, the talk is all about his organizational skills, and not so much about his cooking skills. None of his dishes are good and his Pumpkin Slime Avec Berries is singled out as one of the worst dishes on his team.

Faced with nothing but microwaves and toaster ovens to make Thanksgiving dinner for the Foo Fighters, Top Dishwasher busts out his mad MacGyver skills to make a grill out of bear skins and stone knives, or a chafing dish and some kind of rack, I forget which. His grilled pork nets praise and helps send his team into an early lead.

Jersey Girl's turkey is somewhat surprisingly the best dish for her team.

Bob (man, I wish I could think of a nickname for this guy) makes Banana S'mores with Vanilla Cat Spit.

In a close match, Team Sexy Pants pulls from behind to win in the Dessert Round. Team Jersey Girl's Workout Shorts goes down on the weakness of their foam-based desserts.

After the break, we find out that nobody on Team Sexy Pants can dance, and No Nickname Bob goes home with a tearful farewell, leaving Starbuck as the last member of Team Rainbow.

What have we learned? Put it on the board, kids: Foam is stupid.

Ready Now? Here We Go.
No Nickname Bob left sad notes for his buddies telling them that they should bring it, baby girl.

Let There Be Bacon
It's a breakfast amuse bouche challenge. I wonder if anyone will stuff an apple.

It comes down to Sexy Pants and Starbuck again, and again, Sexy Pants gets immunity largely because Starbuck didn't cut hers in half. Starbuck can't believe this crap. Maybe that thick layer of Big Top Pink lip gloss is throwing off her palate. She's wearing a lot for someone who isn't a clown, is what I'm saying.

How About Tomorrow Instead?
The challenge is to make a dish for presentation on a TV show within a very strict time limit (or not so much, you know, whatever).

Starbuck is up first, and holy crap, she can't cook eggs. She waffles on whether to break the rules by going over the time limit or to serve a very runny egg. She foolishly decides that rules count.

Chef Raddichio spits out the Mouse's Shrimp Napalm. Even Padma can't believe how flaming hot it is. Rocco (did I mention that Rocco DiSpirito is the guest judge? Consider it mentioned.) bluntly tells her that he doesn't believe she tasted it.

The top 3 are chosen right away. Luigi's Tuna Tartare is chosen. Apparently the judges are so giddy over his accent that they've forgotten how passe they think Tuna Tartare is. Somewhere the Veterans of Foreign Foods are mobilizing for a march on New York. Jersey Girl's Tomatoes, Feta, and Watermelon goes through. Tomatoes and feta is great. I can see watermelon and feta being tasty. Tomatoes and Watermelon? I'm not so sure about this one. The group is rounded out by Hair Product's Middle Eastern roll.

Because it is sooooo late they will put off judges table until tomorrow. Surprisingly, everyone seems to buy this.

Chef Radicchio wakes up the winners in the middle of the night, and whisks them off to 30 Rock to meet Tina Fey. Not really. Instead of getting a real prize, they have to prepare their food on the Today Show. They all avoid laughing when someone is introduced as the show's "food stylist."

The other contestants are woken up at a slightly less horrible hour, but they have to watch the Today Show, so it's kind of a wash.

Big Hair Lady spits out Hair Product's food, and somebody hates fish or something and Jersey Girl wins by default.

Doubleyou Tee Eff?
There's 10 minutes left, so hold on to your seats. There must be some huge twist coming up.

Oh, hey, look at that. The twist is that they run 8 straight minutes of commercials broken only by a 30-second segment that tells us that Sexy Pants and Crabman are an item. In the interest of good taste, I'll refrain from making crab jokes and instead reflect upon the fact that we now have an explanation for Crabman's spot in Team Sexy Pants last week despite his awful Canned Whatever The Hell Is In This Can Salad.

...on Team Sexy Pants, I mean. My bad.

When we come back from this interminable commercial break, I'm confused by the fact that I've apparently tuned into The Next Food Network Star by mistake. You didn't like Starbuck's body language? Seriously? What happened to "all about the food"? Hung was a complete jackass, and I don't recall that ever being brought up as a reason to kick his ass off the show.

And that brings us neatly to my biggest beef with the show. Bear with me. You've heard this before. If you're not going to enforce the rules of the challenge, there's no point actually giving the challenge. Give Starbuck an extra 30 seconds like you gave Sexy Pants, (How many of the other contestants ran over the time limit? I remember several still cooking after time was up who aren't in the loser's circle.) and she's in the top three instead of the bottom three. How are the contestants supposed to know when you're actually going to care about the terms of the challenge? Did she miss a memo, or did you just expect them to know that you were only joshing around with the time limit this time?

Fortunately, in the end, the judges realize that they're just being dicks by expecting Starbuck to follow the rules since they didn't really ask anyone else to, and The Mouse becomes the second contestant this season to advance after having a judge spit out their inedible food. (The third if you count Hair Product, but he was one of the winners in this episode. Take a moment to roll your eyes. I'll wait.)

That leaves Whatshisface with the failed Rose Creme Brulee as our victim du jour.

Next Week: "I thought she said thespian.": Bork's Secret Heartbreak

Friday, December 5, 2008

Delay of Game

Sorry. I'd hoped to write it today, but the Top Chef recap will probably happen on Monday or Tuesday. I'm completely swamped at work, and I've been working through lunches instead of blogging. I'll get something up before the next one airs.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Muffin Buffalo

Did anyone else catch the Wonderfalls reference on Pushing Daisies last night?


Just me then.