Two Guys, a Girl and a TV Set

Three college friends out in the world, filling the void with television…and loving it.

Posts Tagged ‘Top Chef All-Stars’

Restaurant Wars: Top Chef (S8: E7)

Posted by CJ Cregg on January 19, 2011

Charming and determined

Jamie and Tiffany left us last week in a double elimination that involved the chefs catching their own fish to cook.

Now, it’s the best Top Chef tradition…restaurant wars!

But first, a stop at Eric Ripert’s restaurant, Le Bernardin.  They meet a famous fish cleaner guy.  Who cleans fish really fast and really well.  For the quickfire, they have to portion one cod and one fluke up to the standards of Mnsr. Ripert.  Oh, and they only have 8 minutes to do it.  Fabio cuts himself.  Again.  But, since, as he says, he’s not Jamie, he keeps going.  The top four have 45 minutes to make a dish using the fish refuse (like the heads and stuff) for a chance to get immunity.  During this challenge, we learn that Richard used to work at at McDonald’s and he was in charge of the filets 0′ fish.  Dale wins the immunity for something made out of fish livers.  Om nom nom.

Since Dale is the winner of the quickfire, he is a team captain, and he gets to pick the other team captain.  Due to intense loathing, Dale selects Marcel.  (Mike:*@!$ I have to work with Marcel.)  Dale considers Fabio his sleeper pick for his charm so he can work front of house.  This time, the diners will select the winner.  During the planning stages, Marcel’s team is a trainwreck.

Dale’s restaurant is called Bodega and is whimsically playing on grocery store items.  Marcel’s restaurant is called Etch and has a Mediterranean theme.  (Dale: Our team dynamic is quiet.  A little too quiet.)

No sooner has service begun and diners at Etch are sending food back.  The judges are definitely into the concept of Bodega.  But some of the diners think it’s a little bit too conceptual.  Overall, though, the food at Bodega gets rave reviews.  Tiffany is failing to direct traffic in the front of the house and things seem chaotic at Etch.  Things are chaotic in the kitchen as well as Mike, Marcel, and Angelo get into it.  The food is also not impressing anyone.

Etch unsurprisingly loses by a significant margin.  Marcel’s dish was majorly mushy.  His dessert was, as Anthony Bourdain pointed out, ‘a thumb in the eye.’  As the judging continues, Mike and Marcel break down and begin throwing each other under the bus.  The problem was clearly one of leadership, but as much as Marcel tried to lead, the team just didn’t listen.  They needed a different leader.  As Bourdain noted, even prison breaks have more organization.  (He’s very quotable, that Anthony Bourdain.)

Anthony Bourdain compliments Dale’s egg dish as ‘stoner food at its finest.’  Nonetheless, Richard wins.

The judges recognize Marcel’s failure of leadership and send him (and his knives) packing.  Mike must be so happy.


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New York’s Finest: Top Chef-All Stars (S8: E3)

Posted by CJ Cregg on December 15, 2010

Quickfire time!

Racing against the clock, our cheftestants have to hurry to prep ingredients.  Then, they’ll have 15 minutes to make a dish as a team, starting when the first team finishes the prep.  On the team selection: Fabio: Angelo wears his pants a little too tight for me, but he’s a great chef.  (Is this an Italian phrase I don’t know about?  I mean, the Italians wear really tight pants, too, right?)

The knives are flying.  It’s way easier to believe that Jamie would cut herself in these circumstance than at the museum.  In fact, I’m surprised everyone still has all their fingers attached at the end of this.  Sadly, Angelo’s and Fabio’s team despite finishing first ended up in the bottom.  Richard, Tre, Spike, and Stephen come up with the win.  And with 40 fingers.  Among them.  Right.

For the elimination, each group gets to dine at one of New York’s award winning restaurants.  They then have to create a dish that would fit on the menu of that restaurant.  Their teammates will be their competition, and two. people. will. go. home.  This would be shocking if the preview of this episode hadn’t been playing ad nauseum on Bravo and gave that little gem away.

Our chefs go out to enjoy their dinners with their team.  (Tiffany: Angelo is annoying.)  Or not.  (Tre: Stephen is arrogant.)  As they eat, some of the chefs start to worry that their cooking styles don’t match up with the styles of the restaurant they’ve attended.

At Marea, Tre’s swordfish is a hit with the judges.  At Ma Peche, Fabio’s dish is too heavy for the judges.  At townhouse, Jamie’s dish lacks the wow factor, and Dale’s dish is too sweet.  At wd-50, Tiffany’s dish was too complicated, and Dale T’s breakfast was a winner.

Dale T., Angelo, Antonia, and Tre made the favorite dishes for each of the New York chefs they cooked for.  Dale is crowned the winner, and he wins a trip to New Zealand.  Right.  Cuz this wasn’t a challenge about New York or anything.  Stephen, Tiffany, Fabio, and the other Dale are on the other end.  Two of them will be sent home.  Most of these chefs have tried to do too much.

Tom: Stephen, you may have great knowledge of Italian food.  But I have great knowledge of Led Zeppelin.  Doesn’t make me Jimmy Page.  (Touche, Mr. Colicchio, touche.)

Padma: Stephen and Dale, please pack your knives and go.

Dale: Fair is fair, I got eliminated.  Maybe I’ll come back for Top Chef 16-senior edition.

And there we have it.

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Night at the Museum: Top Chef-All Stars (S8: E2)

Posted by CJ Cregg on December 8, 2010

Come in for a midnight snack!

I’ve been slacking off in my blogging duties, and for that I apologize.  Blame the end of the semester here at the UW.

But here goes.  Top Chef time!

Joe Jonas makes an appearance in the Top Chef kitchen for our next quickfire.  Hilarious.  (Dale T: I had no idea who Joe Jonas was.  I think he might be a pastry chef?)  Our chefs have to create dishes for a sleep over at the American Museum of Natural History.  Joe will pick a winner to serve at his sleepover/fundraiser for a midnight snack.

The junk food that these chefs are making is making me drool a little.  Some are trying to be healthy, but those don’t look very good.  (Dale T: Healthy food sucks.)  Tre made a cracker with bacon and fresh basil.  Someone doesn’t know what 10 year olds like.  Tiffany D’s coconut rice pudding, Mike’s cookie, and Stephen’s cookie sandwiches land in the bottom.  Spike and Tiffany are Joe’s favorites, but since it’s a tie, the kids get to decide at the museum who wins.  Spike made carrot chips with marshmallow dip, and Tiffany made a snowball/rice krispie treat/moon pie thing.

Spike and Tiffany get to pick teams to help them prepare their snacks for the museum fundraiser.  None of the other chefs are happy about having to help Spike or Tiffany win and get immunity.  It’s basically salty vs. sweet, so let’s see what the kids want.  Some of the chefs really try to campaign amongst the kids.  Others stay away.  (Jamie: I never want to have kids.  Ever.)

Whoah, Padma.  That’s a lot cut top to be wearing around a bunch of ten year olds.  Wardrobe questions aside, upon Joe and Padma’s poll, Tiffany’s dish carries the day overwhelmingly.

The elimination challenge starts right after the midnight snack feeding.  They have to create a breakfast for the kids and their parents.  They only have the ingredients in the museum kitchen.  They are split up into their teams: tyranosaurus v. brontosaurus.  (Two popular exhibits at the museum.)  One team can use meat and dairy, the other can’t.  Guess which is which?  Since Tiffany won, she and her chefs decide to be team T-Rex.

The chefs then get to have their own sleepover in the Hall of North American Mammals.  There are 17 little cots and Top Chef pajama pants.  Some go to bed, and some take their Top Chef flashlights and go run through the museum.  Despite the fact that they only have 45 minutes to sleep anyway.

Team T-Rex comes to a realization, though, that T-Rexes aren’t omnivores.  So they ONLY have meat to work with.  They don’t even have flour.  Uh oh…

Team T-Rex ends up down a member when Jamie cuts herself and has to go get stitches.  Casey’s all WTF play through it.  Jamie rejoins them as they’re setting up their stations outside.  She informs her team that she got 2 stitches.  Everyone is like, huh?  TWO?  That’s the type of injury you ignore.  (Truf.)

This is actually an apatosaurus, not a brontosaurus. Sue me.

Team Brontosaurus, using veggies and grains, takes the day.  Angelo, Marcel, and Richard win the challenge for their banana parfait.  (It looked incredibly good, despite its simplicity.)  Fabio also made gnocchi, which the judges liked.

So, team T-Rex is in the bottom.  Tiffany whines about how T-Rexes eat more than meat and the challenge wasn’t fair.  The judges are all like, ‘STFU your fritatas were inconsistent.’  (SNAAAAAP.)  Some were cooked, and some were raw.  Tre’s steak was way too salty.  Jen really goes after the judges.  She is piiissed that she’s in the bottom.  Antonia throws Jamie under the bus for leaving.  Tom doesn’t really care that the chefs are talking smack.  He says whoever’s going home is going home for a bad dish, not for being a jerk.  (This is a massive counterpoint to Tyra’s ‘it’s all about attitude’ mantra.)  The judges aren’t really sure what to do with Jamie.  She didn’t make a crappy dish, but it’s not a good thing that everyone agrees that it made no difference whether she was there or not.

So which dinosaur is packing their knives?  Jen.  And she’s shocked.  She stands by her dish until the end.  (Jen: The judges got it wrong.)  Bold claims.

Indignation seems a poor strategy.

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Unpack your Knives: Top Chef-All Stars (S8: E1)

Posted by CJ Cregg on December 1, 2010

Fabio reunites with his archnemesis

Lot of egos are packing into one Top Chef house for the first-ever Top Chef-All Stars competition.  18 non-winners are back in the kitchen seeking redemption.  See who’s back for more here.

Interesting twist for the quickfire.  The cheftestants have to work with other all star chefs from their season to make a dish inspired by the city their season was located in.  This is effectively an epic battle for bragging rights as to which season was the best.  Jen is the only one representing the Vegas season, so she’s on her own.  Angelo’s fish falls on the floor with 2 minutes left.  Oops.

Season four wins the quickfire, and all of them are granted immunity.  This Chicago team made a deconstructed hot dog that looked awesome.

For the elimination challenge, each chef has the ingredients that sent them home the first time.  They have to make the dish that sent them packing into a winner and not a flop.  This really is redemption.  (Holy schnikes, Bravo.  This is intense.  To be eliminated twice for the SAME DISH???  Quit your job.)  Spike has to use frozen scallops again!  This is also insane because some of these chefs insist that their dishes were good and they shouldn’t have been sent home!

When not serving, the chefs get to taste each other’s food while dining with the judges.  Gail Simmons and Anthony Bourdain join Padma for the judging.  Bravo seems to be worried that there won’t be enough drama this season, so they let the serving cooks watch, via big screen TV, the other chefs talk trash about their dishes with the judges.

Padma and Anthony Bourdain deliberate

Padma and Anthony Bourdain deliberate

The big controversy is that Richard continued plating after his time ran out.

Spike, Jamie, Richard, and Angelo are called to Judges’ Table first.  They have the top dishes.  Tom acknowledges Richard’s great dish, but says he can’t win because he went over time.  He seems surprised by this revelation.  The winner is Angelo.  Once again, he starts off strong.  He also wins $10k.

Fabio, Steven, and Elia land in the bottom.  Steven had a special challenge because he was sent home during a challenge when he was working front of the house, so didn’t know much about the dish.  Elia’s fish was practically raw.  Fabio gets up in arms, accusing Bourdain of making fun of him instead of offering constructive criticism.  I’d forgotten about his aggressive tendencies.  Elia makes one last plea to not be eliminated.

Elia’s plea didn’t work, as she is sent packing her knives.  She’s very sad.  I don’t really care, as she was from one of the first seasons which I didn’t watch.  I’m glad Fabio eked it out.

My reaction to Top Chef-All Stars?







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Top Chef All-Stars

Posted by CJ Cregg on October 27, 2010

Bravo has apparently decided that the world can never be without Top Chef.  Not even for a week.  This is why they foisted Just Desserts upon us the same day that Top Chef DC ended.  And, immediately upon the end of Just Desserts, they will be serving us Top Chef All-Stars.

Now, unlike Top Chef Masters, their summer filler show which is a Top Chef competition for famous chefs, Top Chef All-Stars will bring back fan favorite contestants to try to get vindication.   Cheftestants include Spike, Dale, and Richard from season 4, Fabio and Carla from season 5, Michael and Jennifer from season 6, and Tiffany and Angelo from season 7.

Top Chef All-Stars premieres on Bravo on December 1st.

What do you think, will it be better than Top Chef Masters?

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