Friday, November 10, 2006

Top Chef Recap: Camp Glucose: the Splenda Table.

Padma: "Welcome to the Kenmore Pro kitchen!"

Chefs: "Yeah, we were just here yesterday, Padma. Remember?"

Padma: "OK, welcome back to the Kenmore Pro kitchen!"

Chefs: "Thanks." (rolling their eyes)

The quickfire is to create an amuse-bouche from vending machine junk. What, they couldn't make it to a gas station convenience store?

Marcel is appalled, appalled, that there are no fresh oysters in the vending machines. The other chefs empty out all the "good" ingredients, leaving nothing for Mike:

Mike: "Damn, someone took the last roll of lifesavers! I was going to string them together into a bikini. Oh, wait, wrong show. Well, then, who cares about this stupid challenge."

Cut to Mike trying to convince the judges how much he really does care about this stupid challenge.

Mike (still holding his wife's panties): "I just miss my wife so much. Especially her vagina."

Carlos wins with what looks like a cross between an Almond Rocca and a small turd. I'm sure it tasted great but I think amuse-bouche should also be visually appealing and I didn't think that was. I would have been afraid to touch it.

But the guest judge is fearless. She looks like a younger Carole Bouquet and we really like her as a judge. She's blunt but has very intelligent comments about each dish.

Now on to the sucralose scandal:

The challenge is to create a seven course meal for children, including appetizer, palate cleanser, and cheese plate, that is under 500 calories. OK, not really; just a main dish, side dish, and desert. But this still seems almost impossible when we are informed that a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil (that's EVOO to us in the know) has over 11 million calories! Who knew?

At the store Marcel has suggestions for the menu:

Frank: "What would children like to eat?"

Marcel: "What about prosciutto-wrapped asparagus?"

Betty: "Are you fucking insane?"

Back in the kitchen Betty is busy screwing up the cookies. Splenda promotes itself as baking just like sugar but even a terrible pastry chef like Marisa knows this is not true.

Marcel: "If my teammates disappoint me I will be very disappointed. Because there is nothing more disappointing than being disappointed by your teammates."

Sam is able to count every calorie but still comes up 50 calories short, with a meal no child would be interested in. Why not add a few more calories? You don't get extra points for being under budget! Meanwhile, wouldn't that smoothie send a diabetic into a coma?

Another team uses Mike to represent the benefits of healthy eating.

So the kids at the camp are really good sports. Tom says it has probably been a really long time since they have had chocolate cake but can this be true? If Kirstie Alley is allowed chocolate cake I don't see why these kids can't have some every once in a while. Tom acts like they've been getting nothing but spinach and herbal tea since they've been there but the camp must have nutritionists who put a lot of thought into making delicious, low calorie meals.

Marcel hits Ilan in the face with a soccer ball.

Elia: "It was heelaareoose!"

Betty, Marcel, and Frank win the challenge. Frank wins a signed copy of the judge's book. Oh, yeah, and the opportunity to work with her.

Then the bottom two teams are brought before the judges' table. They suddenly bring up allegations of cheating.

Sam: "People were squirting olive oil all over the place in there. It was like a Girls Gone Wild video."

Josie: "Ooh, I know Miss Thing is not talking about me!"

Mia: "The quality of Betty's cookies is so much higher than it was before. I think she received outside help."

Laura Bennett: "Yeah, you don't just pull quality like that out of your ass!"

Tim Gunn: "Well, these are very serious allegations. Wait, what the hell am I doing here?"

Betty admits she added sugar. For some reason, she keeps drawing big circles in the air to demonstrate that they were still under 500 calories. In her defense, while the other chefs seem to have understod they couldn't make any changes to the recipe, we never hear this rule specifically stated. But they must have been told this as some point. So I think it is pretty clear she broke the rules, even if she didn't do it intentionally. But the questions is, why didn't anyone say anything in the kitchen? As annoying as it was that Marisa didn't mention the lychees when they were at the store, at least she didn't wait to mention it at the judges' table. It really seems too late to bring it up at that point.

Anyway, Tom wusses out and doesn't send anyone home. The chefs spend the rest of the night fighting.


Anonymous said...

"Mike (still holding his wife's panties): "I just miss my wife so much. Especially her vagina."

I'm still on the floor laughing. In fact I was holding my sides when I posted my first comment in the wrong spot.

I WISH Tim Gunn had made an appearance: Those judges might have shown some balls and rescinded the winning team's win.

Rules are rules, Tom, no matter how likeable you find Betty, and the team should not have been rewarded.

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ghettoylattey said...

didn't cheatery betty suggest the pizza to frank "who's the cheater now" bull???? not pointing my pepperoni, jsut saying that if cheatery betty was cheatery for not steppin' up, maybe bully frank was fulla bull for not saying the pizza twernt his ideer..yaknow???

bungle said...

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Meanwhile, in On Topic Land, I really liked the last episode. I found out what the hell an Amused Butch [sic] is and I kinda wanted the producers to kick Tom away from the judges table, replace him with Elia for a bit, so's I could just sit and watch Elia, Padma, Gail and Suzanne Goin (the guest judge) talk food or...whatever else. Four servings of unmitigated YUM.

The elimination challenge... hey I agree with ms. place. If there wasn't gonna be a loser, there shouldn't have been a winner either especially since the winning team was implicated (sorry Frank, not your fault, you're still aces in my book. And I think you should still at least have kept Suzanne's book).
Sorta like the NFL, when there are offsetting penalties, replay the down.

eric3000 said...

I don't know what they should have done. I really think the allegations should have been brought up earlier and I don't think it would have been fair to change the ruling after the fact.

I also wondered about Frank taking the credit for suggesting the pizza but we could have missed something in the editing. Also he seemed completely responsible for executing it so I guess he deserved the credit.

Anonymous said...

Ah, Eric, the voice of reason. The judges were in a quandary, weren't they? And Frank did step up to the plate.

I absolutely love our Betty doll. She is a life giver, not sucker, as so many dour reality t.v. contestants are. However, the rules were absolutely clear. When I saw her substituting sugar for the splenda, I asked myself: Is this kosher?

In my line of business we work with subtleties and gradations of distinction. Ms. Betty, like Otto, should've auf'd herself, even knowing that she is one of the most colorful and talented chefs amongst the bunch.

So many folks have expressed their disappointment with this episode. And I believe it is because the ending was off. The persons at fault were the judges for coming across as wusses.

I await the next TC2 episode with baited breath.

Anonymous said...

"Padma: "Welcome to the Kenmore Pro kitchen!"

Chefs: "Yeah, we were just here yesterday, Padma. Remember?"


BigAssBelle said...

"Mike (still holding his wife's panties): "I just miss my wife so much. Especially her vagina."

I am ROLLING!!! that is so funny :-) :-)

I am happy that Tim and Laura dropped by in your version. Top Chef needs a Tim Gunn. Chef's just a little scary, though a sexy thang with those eyes and the serious persona.

Do you have any idea why I, a married, straight woman, would think Josie's hot hot hot? She is somethin, that woman.

eric3000 said...

Yeah, Josie's kinda hot! I love seeing a woman boss the guys around!

Anonymous said...

Betty should've been booted. Sorry, but early or late, she broke the rules that everyone else seem to understand. There was something in her eyes in her solo interview when she admitted the sugar switch that didn't sit well w/ me. Reminded me of the crazy eyes that that runaway bride had.

Mike is such a train wreck. He couldn't get it together even if he tried. I want to gag every time I see his wife's thong. EEWW!!!

Me likey Ilan and Cliff. Even Marcel is less annoying. I think he has an inability to self-reflect and I think it's sad and funny at the same time.

Eric, always a pleasure reading your recap,


Anonymous said...

It broke my poor heart to see Josie pack her knives in the latest episode. She PAID for the previous mishap for which Betty was partially responsible (I am a huge Betty fan as you can see on my blog.) The judges were most likely pressured to auf two chefs.

Unfair! I demand a recount in the voting booths.