Welcome to the new season of Top Chef! To start off the season on Eric Three Thousand, Marcel Vigneron has graciously offered to perform a rap for us. Take it away, Marcel:
"F. R. E. E. that spells free
Credit Report dot com, baby!"
Thank you Marcel, that was really special!
Let's meet this season's lesbians . . . er, I mean, chefs:
Andrew swears a lot.
Antonia is a contestant on the show.
Dale is Asian.
Erik is bald.
Jennifer has a faux-hawk.
Lisa has short hair.
Manuel is another guy on the show.
Mark is from New Zealand.
Nikki has long brown hair.
Nimma is not here to have fun.
Richard also has a faux-hawk.
Ryan is kind of annoying.
Spike is also on the show.
Stephanie has brown hair.
Valerie has brown hair.
Zoi has brown hair.
OK, so far, I hate all of them. I think I can tell most of the guys apart but there are always too many women with long brown hair and I get them confused.
Padma: "Welcome to the show! These chefs are going to have to use all their skill, talent, and hairstyles to make it this season! The chefs will be competing for a feature in Food and Wine magazine, A vacation to the beautiful city of Evian, Colorado, probably some sort of car, a million dollars, and I just lied about that last one! I'd love to introduce you to our judges, but I guess those bitches Ted and Gail are just too busy with their exciting lives to join us for this challenge. Of course Tom is here. Where else would he be? Hi, Tom!"
Tom: "Hello, Padma. I'm very busy, too. Making sandwiches."
Padma: "Of course you are, dear."
The chefs meet at world-famous Numero Uno pizza in Chicago. Jennifer and Zoi have an announcement:
Jennifer and Zoi: "We wanted to tell everyone that we just met five minutes ago and we've fallen madly in love and we're getting married and we want you all to come to the wedding!"Other Chefs: "Whatever."
For the quickfire challenge, the chefs have to do it Chicago style, which apparently means they have to make a deep dish pizza.
In the kitchen, the chefs get lockers to hold all their Marmite:
Mark: "Marmite is the best! It tastes like really salty feet!"
God, you kiwis think you're so cool with your Marmite and your "throw another shrimp on the barbie" crap.
Mark: "No, you're thinking of Australians."
Oh, right. Never mind.
Mark: "By the way, dummy, those Aussie freaks eat Vegemite, not Marmite."
So, the chefs are putting dough in the pizza pans. I've never made a deep dish pizza before, but even I know that is way too much dough!
Richard makes a very traditional peach and sweet tea pizza. Oh, by the way, he also steals Andrew's pizza pan:
OK, there's no need for that kind of language, Andrew. But seriously, who knew part of the challenge was going to be to fight for pizza pans? Why couldn't they just give him another stupid pan? How hard is that? Does Bravo need me to come down there and run their challenges for them?
The guest judge is everyone's favorite plastic-surgery patient, Rocco DiSpirito!
The chefs deliver their pizzas in their fleet of Toyota Highlanders.
Padma: "Oh, yeah, a Toyota Highlander. That's probably the kind of car they'll win."
They deliver the pizzas to Rocco's house:
Rocco: "Welcome to my house. You'll all be living here. Fortunately all my bedrooms are outfitted with bunk beds. Don't ask why."
Rocco smells something funky. I'm not going there.
Rocco makes half the chefs stand in the corner as punishment. The other half won the challenge and will supposedly get an advantage in the elimination challenge but really they won't.
Nimma and Dale are being unsociable:
Nimma: "I'm not here to have fun."
Nimma: "No, really. I refuse to have fun. I won't have fun until I get eliminated, which I hope won't be for a long time."
OK, good luck!
For the elimination challenge, the chefs that won the quickfire choose one of the losing chefs to compete against, making the same dish. The losing chefs get to choose the dish. So basically this gives absolutely no advantage to the winning chefs. Supposedly, the advantage is picking a chef they think they can beat but in reality picking the dish is the more important part of the challenge.
Nobody wants to pick the soufflé:
Chefs: "Ooh, soufflés are sooooo hard. Making a soufflé is like performing brain surgery. If you just look cross-eyed at a soufflé it will collapse. If I have to make a soufflé my life will be over."
For crying out loud, it's just a fucking soufflé! Quit your whining. Sure it takes a little practice but it's not that difficult. The question is why the chefs don't practice making something as basic as a soufflé before going on the show. It's the same with deserts; learn to make a few deserts before going on Top Chef. And, yes, if you don't get the ingredients right and you don't prepare the pan properly, the soufflé won't rise as much as it should but it's a myth that they collapse so easily in the oven if you make too much noise or vibrations.Anyway, they go shopping and then they have 90 minutes to prepare their dishes:
Ryan: "Since we had 90 minutes, I decided to go out and butcher my own animals so I could make a really fresh, flavorful stock. If we'd had a little more time I would have preferred raising the animals myself so I could control their feed."
Andrew and Richard are making crab cakes. Andrew didn't buy mayonnaise at the store because he assumed (correctly, in my opinion) that mayonnaise is a basic condiment that should be stocked in the kitchen:
Please watch your mouth, Andrew! There could be nuns watching the show! It's not a big deal; you can make it yourself; mayonnaise is just egg yolks and oil.
Andrew: "Really? I didn't know that."
During the commercial break, Bravo asks a very important question:
Bravo: "Do Jennifer and Zoi have an advantage because they are a couple?"
Well, That depends; will they have the opportunity to form an alliance and vote other chefs out of the kitchen? That's what I thought.
At the judges' table this evening are Anthony Bourdaine, Rocco DiSpirito, Tom, and Padma.
Stephanie beats Mark with duck a l'orange.Richard beats Andrew with crab cakes.
Nicky beats Jennifer with lasagna.
Antonia beats Nimma with shrimp scampi.
Lisa beats Spike with eggs Benedict (though the judges loved both).
Dale beats Manuel with steak au poivre.
Valerie beats Ryan with chicken piccata. (though the judges hated both)
Zoi beats Erik with a souffle.
Stephanie wins! Congratulations, Stephanie!
There were several dishes the judges hated. Ryan seemed to have trouble with the concept of chicken piccata:
Tom: "Chicken piccata is dredged in egg and flour."
Ryan: "Right. Egg and flour and breadcrumbs."
Tom: "No, it's just egg and flour."
Ryan: "I know. I dredged it in egg and flour before I added the breadcrumbs."
Tom: "NO, NO, NO! Jesus Christ! There are no fucking breadcrumbs in piccata! If you use breadcrumbs it's parmigiana! Oh, my god! I think I'm going to blow my brains out!"
Rocco: "It wasn't only his gnocchi that was dense."
Oh, Rocco, that was cold. And you're not exactly the lightest gnocchi in the pot, if you know what I'm saying.
Anyway, Nimma is out with her inedibly salty shrimp. Damn, she was one of the few women I could distinguish from the others. Oh, well, hopefully now she'll have time to have fun.