“Flipit, there’s a starving child in India who would kill for that pile of peas.”
“Then do us all a favor and mail them to him, mother!”
I didn’t want them when they were fresh, I hellaain’t gonna eat ‘em the next day all gussied (drowning in plastic-y cheese) up. Get those peas out of my face, woman. They are Left. Over. Ok?
This week on Top Chef, we learn that you can make truly beautiful art with food you didn’t have the stomach for last night, but sometimes it’s ok to just feed the unwanted filler to the dogs. As it is Season 3′s tradition, Marcel has to ring in each new episode by annoying the hell out of someone first thing in the morning. Since there’s no unconscious, defenseless fat guy sleeping on the couch today, we’re force fed a face to face with him.
He’s really, like, all sorts of distraught and disappointed that his first win on a team (first win period, yo) was marred by the Black Betty Fat Camp Scandal of 2006. I looked up the winning three course meal from last week on bravotv.com. Frank was in charge of the pizza (that was Betty’s suggestion), Betty was in charge of the cursed cookies, and that left only one dish for Marcel to be responsible for. Cut up fruit on a kabob stick. I swear to God. I wish I was one of the Chefs at the breakfast table just so I could raise a glass to Marcel and toast “That fruit stick was bold, Marcel. Congrats, buddy.” Puh. Leeze.
The mood in the loft this morning is decidedly chilly.
Betty, who has obviously taken the allotted sleep hours to build back some of her resolve (go girl), insists that she didn’t cheat. Her “error was a mistake”. Cut to Betty with braided pig-tails using her electric toothbrush a little too intensely. This morning Betty doesn’t run around giving everyone a personal kiss on the cheek and an over-enthusiastic smile, and the room suffers for it. There’s a new girl in town.
Josie’s still on her soapbox about betrayal and lack of camaraderie among the chefs. She says that the only one she trusts is Marisa. They have become very close, and prove it at the breakfast table by slurping on the same plumb. GROSS.
Today’s Guest Judge is Michelle Bernstein, owner of Michy in Miami and consulting chef at both Miami and LA’s Social. Michelle looks sexy and fun in her tight black denim dress and big curly ‘do. Now it’s Carlos’ turn to fawn over a guest judge. No simple and rustic for him. Gay guys like their women difficult and post-modern, IE drama queens. Yay!
Today’s Quickfire Challenge is centered around left-overs, which immediately made me hope the remaining twelve Chefs would have to go dumpster diving in downtown LA. That would be a good punishment for all of last week’s bad behavior. Top Chef hasn’t had a homeless challenge yet.
It was actually worse. Michelle smiled and motioned to large tables covered in animal guts. I was waiting for the guy from “Saw” to get up off the floor missing half his head to lecture the Chefs about being better people, or else. In fancy foodie talk, the left-over animal parts are called “offal”, fittingly pronounced “awful”. Last week douche, this week awful, I can’t wait for PimplePuss: the Fine Dining Pudding Stir-off. Michelle says that she serves a lot of offal in her restaurants. Way to self-promote, Michelle.
The goal was to take this smorgasboard of fish heads, pig blood, chicken feet, and beef hearts and turn them into dishes that don’t make people want to vomit.
Sam says that he’s psyched about this challenge because he knows lots of different flavor profiles for these ingredients. My mind is poisoned with the image of hot diabetic Sam sitting around in his tighty whities gnawing on chicken feet. Just because you can’t have candy doesn’t mean you can’t snack!
Josie tells us even though offal consists of left-over animal parts no one wants to use, it somehow manages to show up on every fine dining menu. I don’t doubt that, as rich people insist on having ridiculous tastes just to show us it’s not just the money that sets them apart, it’s a molecular thing. When poor people eat random animal parts, they’re thrown into a blender with bread crumbs, shaped into discs, and flavored with chemicals that taste like Whopper. We insist that our nasty food looks good and has a catchy name. We have pride. Driving up to McDonald’s and asking for an awful sandwich doesn’t make us feel like we’re getting our money’s worth, but asking for a Big Mac does.
rich offal / poor offal
Finally Marcel has a snotty ass assignment and some snotty ass ingredients, He went straight for the carafes of blood, and Betty went straight for the obvious Marcel looks like a vampire barb. I’d watch my smart mouth, beef cheeks. I was actually rooting for Marcel to show he’s really a decent chef under that wanker exterior, but his veal sweetbread schnitzel with pork blood and kidney sauce came off like a satanic sliced corn dog with pig’s blood ketchup. Michelle said she liked the crispy breading. On a protein challenge. Ouch. That’s like telling a fat girl she has a pretty face.
Michael impressed me on this task, as he finally put in some effort. He made a sort of eggs-benedict dish, but instead of hollandaise, there was veal tongue sauce. Who wouldn’t order that at brunch? Oooh can I have that with pickled lamb testicles instead of the hash browns? To top it off, he didn’t burp or fart once. Sniffle. Our boy sure is getting big.
The Chefs did a pretty amazing job overall for this challenge. Some of the dishes were gorgeous. Frank’s veal sweet bread and arugala tart with catfish head basil soup was lovely. The fish heads actually looked happy to be there. Marisa’s papardelle with greek style beef cheek Bolognese sounded confusing, but was very pretty. Greek Bolognese? If it was served in a taco shell it would be just regionally confused enough for me to order it at a restaurant.
Michelle called out Josie and Elia as the worst plates. Josie knew her oxtail was like rubber so no surprise there; but when a Floridian, especially one of the aerobicsized, dirty blonde in a-tight-denim-rack -accentuating dress variety, challenges a French woman’s instinct for preparing disgusting animal parts, sparks fly. Michelle remarks that the kidney tastes like kidney, which apparently is what Elia was going for. “Is zis woman out uff her mind? I cook my productz to bring ze best flavor of zem out. I don’t hide zem viss a sauce!” Come on, Elia. There is no “best flavor” to bring out in left-over kidney. You’re in America now. At least put a bottle of A-1 on the table.
When Michelle chooses Ilan as one of her top 3 faves, I start to feel a little guilty for making fun of Michael last week. Ilan’s almond dusted sweetbread dish looks suspiciously like Michael’s poopy cheeto stick, sans the cheeto. I told you a cheeto could make or break a dish! Michelle loves the flavor, and we’ll just have to trust her. But come on, could it be better than Snickers and Cheetos? It’s veal glands! Rich people food seriously sucks.
What a difference a Cheeto makes!
Michelle also liked Cliff’s artful sweetbreads and perfectly braised oxtail, but she awarded the sweetbread and scallion beignets. Sam agreed wholeheartedly with her decision as he feels he hit the nail on the head with that one. Ah, hot, humble Sam. Sucks for Ilan though, because he often gets close to winning but doesn’t. He needs to kick it up a notch, but how?
Off to Social Hollywood, where today’s Elimination Challenge takes place. Padma is dressed like she just arrived from opening a briefcase on Deal or No Deal. My fears that the producers were toning down the tacky are officially quashed. Michelle, not to be outdone, has put her boobies on a shelf and is showcasing a huge turquoise neck piece that accentuates the girls, just in case you missed them the first time. What’s with the boobs today? Could it be that the ladies are a bit insecure about lunching with some of the biggest boobs of our generation? That’s right, Jennifer Coolige is throwing a lunch for 60 of her closest friends and the Challenge is to make her happy.
No diet food today.
As you would expect, Michael has a hard-on for Jennifer’s character in “American Pie”, but I love J. Coolige because she is a brilliant comedienne, and she makes a living playing sexy women even though she’s like fifty pounds overweight. The first time I saw one of her movies, it dawned on me that anything was possible. I started wearing clothes that were too tight for me and hitting on guys far out of my league, until my best friend had an intervention and told me I was way too fat to rock the baby tees. I was mortified and changed my myspace pics immediately, but it was too late. My friends call me Baby Flipit Phat to this day.
Wait. Should I love Jennifer Coolige or hate her?
Baby Flipit Phat
Everyone’s smiling and happy with the challenge. Aw, a nice, peaceful episode of Top Chef!
Come on guys, don’t be suckas.
For Jennifer and friends, the Chefs will be using anything they can find in the kitchen at Social (sticking with the left-over theme), and to sweeten the whole deal, they are going to be working in teams of two.
The chefs looked shocked and awed at this bit of info, and for once I didn’t feel inferior to them. There are six courses and twelve of you. Do the math, Rosies on a bus.
They got to choose their partners, which was a blessing if you were Cliff or Sam. The cream that’s so far risen to the top floated together. But what about Ilan? Odd man out again! What’s his strategy? How is he going to kick it up a notch?
By choosing the biggest douche-bag on the face of Top Chef‘s planet, Michael. Brilliant move!
For the camera’s sake, Ilan shrugs the decision off. He tells us that Mike has really grown in this competition, really refined his work. Poor Ilan. He smiles, but I’d bet you money that his inner dialogue went something like this:
Michael hasn’t even heard the challenge yet. He’s still psyched that he gets to meet Stifler’s mom. The editors inserted some hilarious cartoony horns and did a close up on Michael’s big pasty blank face. Note to editors: I have a crush on you.
Chefs scurried off to lock arms, leaving poor Frank with the guy who throws paper wads at his face while he’s sleeping. Marcel relates the whole experience to prom. You’re asked by someone you’re not really into but you don’t want to show up alone and look like a loser monkey so you accept the date even though you’d probably be better off staying home and jerking off to the David Schwimmer poster you have hanging above your bed.
Betty latches onto Mia, who happened to be standing next to her. They hug and act like they were born to cook one sixth of Jennifer Coolige’s lunch together.
Marisa can’t believe Mia has the balls to team up and be buddy buddy with Betty right after she “threw her under the bus” with the judges and didn’t admit it to Betty’s face. I agree with the slutty pastry chef to a degree. But I know people like Betty. They look at you with those puppy dog eyes and pout their lips and get all emotional like you’ve shared some major history and they just grab onto you and you’re completely powerless. What was Mia gonna say? Betty will eventually find out Mia is a liar and be devastated, but we’ll deal with that on the reunion show.
Marisa is judging Mia, and Josie is judging everyone, so they’re a perfect team. I think we all collectively prayed there wouldn’t be a bowl of fruit lying around somewhere at Social.
After the teams pulled numbered knives that determined course order, Michelle announced to the Chefs the winner will get join her at the Sagamore Hotel in Miami to “work with” her at the South Beach Food and Wine Festival. Marcel’s fruit kabob would actually be understood in South Beach. He is chomping at the bit. Not because he gets to go to a hotel with Guest Judge Boobies, but because he would be able to “do networking”. Oy.
Daddy Tom tells them that they have three hours to prepare their courses and each team will have twenty minutes exactly to plate their dishes. If it’s not done in time, it can’t leave the kitchen. And since they acted like a bunch of brats last week, he was going to stay for this challenge so he could baby sit them. This should be fun.
The Chefs run like mad around the kitchen and rampage the walk-in. Betty is yelling “Guys! Are we gonna talk about the menu?” over and over again to no one in particular. Before last week, someone would have listened to her, but after crying about Splenda, she just doesn’t have the same authority. Everyone dismisses her as a lunatic and grabs for food like a storm’s a comin’.
Marcel ridicules and henpecks Frank into a heavier than usual sweat. Frank finally takes a stand on his sauce, and Marcel demands a cook off, with Cliff as the judge. When Marcel “wins” he snickers to the camera and tells us Frank just lost his last opportunity to put his name on the dish. Yeah, I’m sure Frank’s really upset about not getting to claim ownership on the oh so original and ground-breaking Salmon Tartare, you dildo. What is this? A nursing home soiree?
Cliff and Sam are doing “a scallop and a fois”. When I don’t know what they hell the Chefs are talking about, I deem them brilliant and assume they will win. My money’s on Cliff.
Trouble over at Camp Betty. When Michael has something half intelligent sounding to say about how sucky your dish is, you’re in trouble. No one seems too enthused over the whole puff pastry savory napolean idea, but Betty is determined to prove them all wrong. Craaaaaaaacccckkk…..
Josie and Marisa are going all out to prove themselves, too. They are attempting one of the most difficult recipes in all the fine dining cookbooks ever….drum roll….FRUIT SALAD. Call it palette cleansing apple and citrus all you want, girls. Fruit salad is fruit salad. Cliff explains to us that the fifth course is traditionally a protein, and the girls are preparing an Intermezzo, which is “unsuitable”. To make things worse, they’re planning on making a basil drink on the side, but hear that Elia and Carlos are making a basil shot for their dessert trio, which means there will be two basil drinks going out in a row. Luckily these girls thought on their feet and changed their drink to a pink goopy liquid served in a big plastic spoon. After eating their plate of fruit acid following the other four courses, the Judges might actually appreciate a shot of Pepto Bismol.
Judge Tom is flabbergasted that the teams didn’t discuss the menu before they planned, but he doesn’t offer any guidance. There’s no Tom spin on “make it work”. Instead, he walks around with this look on his face that says “what the f*** are you thinking!?!”. It’s priceless.
After last week’s calorie counting nightmare, it’s refreshing to see that Jennifer Coolige packed Social with people who love to eat. It looked like the Camp Glucose thirty year reunion in there.
Happy 30th Anniversary, Camp Glucose kid!
As is typical on this show, all of the Chefs felt they did an excellent job. You have no idea how great or terrible you are until someone tells you. I dreamt of being a model until I walked into Ford Modeling Agency and had a ham sandwich thrown in my face. Who knew?
The only hitch in the service came when one of Carlos and Elia’s dishes was returned to the kitchen with two shot glasses on it instead of one. The editors tried to make a big drama out of this. Close up on clock at 00:00. Tom says “time’s up! It can’t go out!” He has the “WTF” look. We cut to Carlos saying he will take the blame and go home if he must because it was his mistake. He won’t be able to deal if Elia gets sent home. The telenovela music swells and they hug and….yawn. Otherwise, everyone got fed and Jennifer gave a gracious thank you speech.
When the Judges convene in chambers, they look pretty pissed.
Michelle and Tom don’t understand how twelve chefs can walk into a fine dining kitchen and NOT use so many delectable ingredients. Michelle says that they ignored food featured heavily in her Social menu, and she’s upset. Then Padma pipes in and I realize what her schtick is. She’s one of those people who takes what’s already been said and restructures the sentences. “This should have been a Chef’s paradise!” Oh Padma. You’d be in clearer context if you were under the table.
Tom says it was evident that there was no teamwork on this challenge and most of the plates confused him. Michelle said much of the presentation was decent, but some of the dishes made her angry. We are less than a minute into the judging and Michelle is upset and angry. Hope they get to Betty’s puff pastry soon, so Judge Boobies can have a full on nervous breakdown and be done with it in under ninety seconds.
Tom wants them to name one good thing they tasted, and they all did him one better and named two. It was between Michael and Ilan’s soft-shell crab paella and Sam and Cliff’s scallop and seared fois. At this point, it comes down to one question. Who does Michelle want to hole up with in a hotel for a “work with me” weekend? Michael? Ew. Ilan? Gay. Cliff? Possibly, but let’s face it. The chick’s from South Beach and she’s gonna choose the six foot foor sugar free beefcake she’s been eye f***ing the whole episode. And….drumroll….I’m wrong! Michael and Ilan’s dish takes the prize! And Ilan is going to South Beach!
And just like that, thirty-one years of cynicism is washed away. I instantly believe that it’s what’s inside that counts! A person’s talent can matter in a culture that rewards beauty over brains! I believe it doesn’t matter that I’m not six foot four and built! It doesn’t matter that my stretch marks spell different words when I roll my tummy, or that I get sweaty from walking my dog around the block! I’m gonna be a super model! Thank you, Michelle!
PS – I’m sorry for suggesting you were a bitchy slut. It was my insecurity talking.
When the bottom three dishes were announced, the judges were not so sweet. First off, Betty and Mia. The duck was over cooked and the pastry was ridiculous. Mia said she was so proud of their dish that after it was presented she went into the walk-in and cried “Emily! I wish you were here to share this with me!” Betty’s frowny face was so damned intense as her puff pastry was dissed I had to turn away.
Carlos gets a little defensive when the Judges bring up the sour pomegranite and basil shot, but Elia, admits that “it didn’t work. The desserts never got married”. She didn’t seem too eager to defend herself against Judge Boobies. What’s the point? This is the same American idiot who told her to use sauce on kidney. Elia just nods her head and takes it like a man. Make note of that, Carlos.
And then the Judges move on to Josie and Marisa. What the hell were they thinking? Josie does politic talk here, where she says a lot of words, but no one gets any answers. When Tom asks flat out who’s idea the Pepto shot was, they say it was both of theirs. They will not give an inch or deviate from this answer, which really pisses Daddy Tom off. He wasn’t happy with any of the bottom three dishes, but the fact that Josie and Marisa had three hours and didn’t even cook anything sealed their fate. They were asked to pack their knives and go.
Both gave nice little speeches and held their heads up high. But as the cameras rolled on and on, Josie did what no reality show contestant should ever do. She started crying and defending herself. She brought up the fact that this was the first time she was on the chopping block at an Elimination Challenge, which is true, but she chose to omit the fact that it was the second time she was on the chopping block in one episode. Then, crying harder now, she tells us she’s so talented. How can they get rid of someone with so much talent? She knows she is gonna be ok, because she has so much talent and she doesn’t understand how they could just say “pack your knives and go” when she has so much (that’s right) TALENT (Do you hear me, Ford Modeling Agency?!?) !!
Aw, sweetie. Buh-bye. Maybe you and Marisa can share an apple on the plane ride home.
“But I’ve got so much TALENT!!!”
On the coming next week clips, Frank threatens to beat Marcel so badly his mother won’t recognize him and Elia goes all “Wild at Heart” on us. I’m there.
So what do you think, dear reader? Will Michael continue on the path of non-douchedom? Will Padma ever form a sentence based on her own thoughts? Will Frank break Marcel in two and become the most popular “Top Chef” contestant ever? Do you have the guts to find out?