Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Four, If You're Counting

Spoiler Alert
I'm going to go out on a limb and make a prediction for next season. It doesn't matter who goes home in the next Restaurant Wars episode, they will not go home because of their food. Put it on the board, mock me if I'm wrong.

(I'm not.)

They start the episode with a recap of last week's episode, and so will I, just as though you haven't read my recap of last week. (Insert awkward silence here.)

Oh, hey. It's Hung, so the quickfire is to make a dish really fast without stabbing anyone.

What the hell? Don't they teach these clowns how to use a can opener in culinary school? Fair warning, if you open a can with one of my knives, I'm probably going to use it to cut you so bad you wish I no cut you so bad. If you're planning to audition for next season, tuck a can opener in with your knives instead of one of those stupid herb smoking dealies. Word to the wise? You're always going to look like a pretentious tool when you're trying to use saran wrap to hold smoke on top of your food, but when the other chefs are trying to hack their way into a can and you bring that bad boy out and zip your can open in 5 seconds, you'll look like a genius. I recommend the OXO Softworks (as seen in the Deadspot kitchen), because it's got nice fat comfortable grips, it's got a built-in bottle opener, and in a pinch, you can grip an uncooperative twist off top between the non-slip handles and it works like a charm to get it open. You gonna buy one or what? I can't do this all day.

Crabman reluctantly decides to help Bork. That probably won't bite him in the ass. Personally, I'd have been a jackass. "This Spam, Bork? You want this piece of Spam? The Spam that I'm licking right now? Mmmmm, I love me some Spamjuice..." If I'd had the time, I may have even come up with a little dance to go with it. Then again, I have a genetic predisposition for jackassery, and he seems to be a decent, caring human being. Your mileage may vary. In my defense, the Universe is, you may have noticed, a bitch, so of course Bork narrowly wins immunity over Crabman.

Lesson for the day: Virtue is its own punishment.

Meanwhile, Back At The Ranch

OK, I've been giving Luigi a lot of stick this season, partly because it's fun, and partly because I think he's a mediocre chef who's coasting on his accent, but I can't disagree with what he said about taking care of animals. I, too, would like animals to be happy right up until they become food. Well said, Luigi.

Team Chicken is all about the cock, baby. This is, after all, Bravo.

Hair Product makes fried green tomatoes out of some stuff he found on the ground and it turns out to be the best thing on the plate. This does not speak highly of the rest of Team Pork.

Crabman and Sexy Pants let Jersey Girl take the lamb. She won with lamb before, and it's not like she got carried by the rest of her team and had to be bailed out by everyone on the show, right? I mean, that would be crazy.



Mini-Radicchio creeps us all out with his necrobeastiphilia fantasies and we never want to eat anything again ever. OK, that was unfair. He was actually talking about the lamb, so it would technically be pedonecrobestiphilia, which makes it totally acceptable. In any case, if you're dining with Mini-Radicchio, you may want to ask about the vegetarian options.

Or not. I don't know your life.

Once again we have an episode without a winner. On Team Chicken, everybody wins. There's no middle team; everybody else loses. Jersey Girl goes home for her Lamb Krueger, and we all laugh.

Caught up now? All is forgiven? On with the show...

The chefs pitch their restaurant concepts to Chefstar! for the Quickfire round. Chefstar! has opened a lot of restaurants, so the chefs will want to impress Chefstar!

Luigi's high concept is apparently that you can pay the bills by selling sandwiches. His is made of thinly sliced steak and melted cheese on a roll. He's offended by Chefstar!'s suggestion that it resembles cheesesteak, which leads me to believe that Luigi has never actually seen one.

Starbuck has a vision of the future. She will lead the twelve colonies to... what? Wrong Starbuck? Sorry, I meant to say that she doesn't want to win this Quickfire because one of the winners is probably going home.

Chefstar! chooses Sexy Pants and Chutney as the winners, and they get to pick their teams, gym class style. Right off the bat, Sexy Pants grabs Crabman. Figuratively, that is. You know... for now.

Ha. Bork is the last one picked. Nobody likes you, Bork.

Crabman, Sexy Pants, You're Go For Throttle Up
Remember that countdown to the relationship-destroying scene being caught on camera? You can stop counting now. Do you think the cameraman felt like an awkward perv filming that? I hope so, because I felt like an awkward perv watching it.

War! What Is It Good For?

What's the deal with non-functional equipment this season? We had the fridge failure in the xmas episode, last week the ovens weren't working, and this week it's the freezers. For those of us keeping track at home, that's a major equipment failure in one-third of the episodes. Are they screwing with the chefs on purpose, or are the production team getting into the cooking sherry instead of doing their jobs?

Oh, sure, Sexy Pants has pliers, but nobody had a can opener last week? Really?

Time's up! The judges arrive and no matter what the teams serve up, the best thing we'll see tonight has got to be Padma's fabulous gams. Rawr! ...and now I've creeped everyone out. I don't care because a) as far as I'm concerned, stockings with seams down the back can make a comeback whenever they darned well please, and b) Padma is pretty much on the show because she's hot, just in case anyone forgot.

Another round of awkward silence? I'm done now.

The Judges begin with Restaurant Chutney. Starbuck's soup starts things off on a high note, and things continue to go reasonably well until the dessert, when there are problems with missing silverware and Stretch's not-so-frozen yogurt. The judges do a dine and dash while Chutney's in the kitchen trying to sort out the problems with the waitstaff.

Team Sexy Pants is a mirror image of Team Chutney. Luigi brings the smarm, but the food is utter crap until the desserts. The judges send back the undercooked fish and refuse a replacement plate. Back in the kitchen, Sexy Pants melts down over her Cod Salmonella and Crabman goes in for a hug. Rejected! Ha! Take the shame!

By this point, Stretch's abysmal dessert and the wretched fare at Team Sexy Pants have erased the memory of Starbuck's lovely soup and Hair Product's delectable chickpea cake that wowed them at the start of the evening. With the judges' expectations at their nadir, Bork serves up some nice desserts and suddenly we have a competition again.

Absolutely Nothin!
OK, remember that time I said something nice about Luigi? I take it all back. Luigi is this season's Brian the Talking Dog, and the sooner he goes home the better. Congratulations, you have an accent and a suit. You bore me. Go the hell home already.

The difference in the restaurants came down to the fact that Chutney is an introvert who prefers to be in the kitchen and thrives under pressure (She and Sexy Pants have won more Quickfires than any other chef with three each, and Chutney has never been in the bottom of an elimination challenge.), while Luigi is a smarmy, outgoing wanker with an accent and Ricardo Montalban's suit. I'm curious to see how the comment cards stacked up when you eliminate all of the comments that had nothing to do with the food, since this is, or so we've been told, a cooking competition.

Full disclosure: I'm an introvert who would rather be in the kitchen than making nice with the guests, and I don't own a white suit.

Bork wins this episode of Top Maitre De by dint of the fact that Stretch's complete meltdown (ha, see what I did there?) left him with no competition for his desserts, but mostly because someone on his team has to win and the rest of his team sucked ass. Monkey ass. On an empty clam shell.

Although nobody actually spit it out, Sexy Pants becomes the fourth chef this season to advance with completely inedible food, so kudos to her. No seriously, give Sexy Pants some Kudos, because she's probably hungry and it's not like she can eat that fish she made. Is it time to re-evaluate the whole "everybody on the winning team gets immunity" thing?

Chutney goes home, and I blame Stretch. She blames herself too, but no so much that she (as other chefs in this situation have done) falls on her sword. Or her Wusthof Classic 8" Chef's Knife. Whatever. Metaphorically, it's a sword, and it remains unfallen upon.

I'm a little torn. Chutney certainly didn't do anything to help herself. In retrospect, she probably should have put Hair Product in front of house, and she should have told Stretch to stick to her mad pastry skills. Should she get a complete pass? I don't know. She'd certainly be a lot easier to defend if she'd cooked something--anything!--but in an episode when the winner made mango on a stick, and the worst dish of the night doesn't even get considered for elimination, I'm calling bullshit.


Natalie said...

A call of bullshit is completely warranted. That episode was insane. If everything but the dessert was delicious in one restaurant vs a restaurant where the only delicious thing was dessert who really should have won? Question, if you ate a horrible meal in a restaurant would you stick around to order dessert? No.

SouthernBelle said...

That was crazy. But sorry I still love Luigi.

"We can serve monkey ass and empty clam shells; I am front of house!"

PLEASE let that be this season's t-shirt quote!

Anonymous said...

I thought it was unfair to kick Radhika off for front of house. The Winner was selected from the kitchen. The loser should have been from the kitchen too. Ultimately, they kicked her off for not doing something well that she doesn't do well. But Carla knows how to make desserts and sent three crappy ones to the table (with love). She should have been the one to go. And really, its ok that Ariane butchered the lamb and gets booted but sexy pants can serve raw fish and stay?

The whole Hosea/Sexy Pants panting makes me feel like TC is jumping the shark this season.

GETkristiLOVE said...

Oh, I'm counting alright... what a disaster. I felt the Chutney hunt was on from the start.

Starbuck is going to lead us all to a scalloped-cooked earth!