Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Top Chef: Chicago: Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh, Why?

So, to recap, last week Stephanie won and Nimma packed her knives and went:

Padma: "Nimma, at what point in the cooking process did you decide to murder us by sodium poisoning?"

We get scenes of the chefs getting ready at the house:

Jennifer and Zoi: "We have a huge advantage over the other chefs because we can wear each other's shoes."

For the quickfire, they go to the farmers market and they have to make a dish using only five ingredients:

Padma: "The only things not counted in the five ingredients are salt, pepper, sugar, and oil. Andrew? Are you listening? Look at me when I'm speaking to you."

Andrew: "I'm listening! Vinegar, flour, mayonnaise, and watermelon. Got it!"

Spike is enjoying the market:

Spike: "Well, you saw last week how far not having fun will get you. So I attended a concert in the park and got a shiatsu massage."

Richard is buying eucalyptus:

Padma: "Is eucalyptus edible?"

Richard: "Well, koala bears eat it."

Tom: "Do I look like a bear?"

America: "YES!"

Mark: "You Americans need to learn that the koala is not a bear. It's a marsupial."

Padma: "Whatever. Is it poisonous to humans or what?"

Richard: "In large doses, it can be fatal; but in small doses, it just causes diarrhea."

Padma: "Alright, then."

Mark left a bag at the market but he still ends up winning the quickfire and he has immunity in the elimination challenge.

For the elimination challenge, the chefs have to pick knives to divide into teams of three and determine which wild animal they get:

Padma: "Team Humpback Whale, your boat is out on Lake Michigan. Good luck! . . . Psych! Hahaha! You don't really have to catch a whale! You are so gullible!"

Padma is a laugh riot. The real challenge is to cater a party at the Chicago zoo for a couple hundred ladies wearing stupid leopard-print dresses:

Diablo Cody: "Ooh, am I invited?"

No. The chefs have to prepare menus based on the diet of the animal they were assigned:

Padma: "So, Team Humpback Whale, that means you can use krill, salt, pepper, sugar, and oil . . . again, I'm just kidding! There IS no Team Humpback Whale! Oh, I'm having so much fun!"

The chefs go shopping. Dale wants to do his own thing:

Dale: "I want to do my own thing."

I just said that. Nikki wants to buy flowers:

Nikki: "Look, I know the food is important but we need to put it all back so we can buy table decor."

Dale is not a fucking interior designer:

Dale: "I am not a fucking interior designer!"

What are you so fucking angry about?

Dale: "I wasn't accepted to design school and I don't like being reminded that I am not a fucking interior designer."

That's so sad.

Gay Dale from last season: "From one Dale to another, let me give you a hint on interior decorating: Don't use fucking scented candles. Madonna's brother hates that."

Valerie is screwing up one of the staples of the gorilla diet: blinis.

Stephanie is using my mom's banana bread recipe:

Stepahnie: "No, I'm using MY mom's recipe!"

I think it's everyone's mom's recipe:

1/2 cup Crisco or butter
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
2 eggs
3 mashed bananas
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Combine Crisco, sugar, and egg yolks.
Add sifted dry ingredients.
Add mashed bananas, beaten egg whites, vanilla, and nuts.
Bake at 375 for 40 minutes in greased pans.
Grandma uses 1 big loaf pan but I use two small ones.
Grandma is a little crazy so you shouldn't listen to her.
-- Love, Mom.

I found my mom's exact recipe in a cook book several years ago; right down to using one large or two small loaf pans. True story. It was traumatizing.

Back to the show:

We spend the next thirty minutes watching Jello solidify.

Time to go to the venue:

Tom: "I'll see you all in hell. Bwahahaha! Oh, sorry, I meant to say I'll see you at the zoo."

At the zoo, a few dishes aren't working: the blinis were bad because they were prepared hours ahead of time; the crab salad was watery and the chips that were supposed to go with it were soggy and couldn't be used; and the mushrooms stuffed with blueberries were not presentable:

Nikki: "They look like turds and they're ice cold."

She recommends putting some gerbil on them:

Nikki: "I said chervil, dumb-ass."

(I don't remember hearing about chervil until last week's New Adventures of Old Christine)

Dale: "Let's put cheese on them so they look like cheese covered turds."

Nikki: "They can't be served . . . but I'll just let people have a little taste of them."

That's the same as serving them!

There are also some hits:

Mark: "Cheer up, sleepy Jean. Oh, what can it mean. To an anchovy believer and a homecoming queen."

I don't even know how to punctuate those lyrics.

They like Andrew's "glacier":

Tom: "Cute. Now give me some damn food."

The Vultures and Penguins are on top.

Andrew wins with his glacier and whatever else he made. Something with squid? Congratulations, Andrew! As usual, I have no idea what he won.

Andrew has to announce the bottom two teams. He eases the pain by saying "da bears" in a funny accent. The only reason I knew it was a sports reference was because I remember John Goodman saying it on Saturday Night Live.

So, the Gorillas and Bears are on the bottom.

Valerie is out because of the blinis. She should have known they wouldn't work.

Important announcement: The Judges Table seems to have lost its apostrophe this week. If anyone finds it laying around, please contact Andy Cohen immediately at Thank you.

[note: if you happen to be watching the Bachelor, Other Eric is blogging about it again this season at Everything Eric]


wildflower38 said...

Tom: "Cute. Now give me some damn food."


Anonymous said...

Tom: Do I look like a bear?
America: Yes!



mumblesalot (Laura A) said...

"Grandma is a little crazy so you shouldn't listen to her.
-- Love, Mom.

I found my mom's exact recipe in a cook book several years ago; right down to using one large or two small loaf pans. True story. It was traumatizing"

Just priceless. And I mean priceless in the way my grandma used it, before American Express hijacked it.

mumblesalot (Laura A) said...

Eric that was the best ever!

Ms. Place said...

Ok, important things first: I will NOT be sucked into watching the Bachelor this season just because other Eric writes so well about it. The last bachelor didn't even choose a woman! Grrrrr.

Ok, so I didn't like episode two of TC as much as the first one. I don't know why, perhaps it was the notion of eating bear and penguin food. However, your post sure made it seem exciting!

Cliff O'Neill said...

LOVE you. Love your blog.

You make me laugh hysterically.

Calady said...

LMAO!! Better than the show, good buddy!

Anonymous said...

Did you notice that the 'cheftestants' kept pronouncing "blini" as "bellini," the name for the cocktail? Made me really question the culinary education of these spatula-wielders.

Chef Tom Colicchio finally was recorded pronouncing it correctly, but his accuracy wasn't absorbed by the others, and even he sort of was slipping that extra vowel + consonant in there, too.


All the best,


eric3000 said...

No, I missed the mispronunciation of blini, though other people caught it!

Laura A, glad you liked my recipe reference! Seriously, I was told this recipe was passed down over generations from mother to daughter to gay son and then it turns up in a cookbook! It's like Phoebe and her Nestle Toulehoosa cookies!

Thanks for your comments, everyone!

BigAssBelle said...

eric, this was magic. so much funny here, but this, i adore:

Padma: "Whatever. Is it poisonous to humans or what?"

Richard: "In large doses, it can be fatal; but in small doses, it just causes diarrhea."

Padma: "Alright, then."

and this week's episode? soggy corndogs? i thought he'd be the one to go, he has a kind of sad, tortured soul look to him. sigh.

BigAssBelle said...

by the way, my husband, who is not a huge fan of his mom, is a great fan of her christmas cookies. maxine is known for her magnificent, one-of-a-kind christmas cookies. i've not told a soul that they're all in Betty Crocker, all right there in a row, top to bottom.