Sunday, April 27, 2008

Top Chef Chicago, episode seven: whose dish is it, anyway?

So, last week Ryan "pretty boy" Whatever went home and now the house is looking a lot uglier, according to some inside sources:

Andrew: "Wah."

Jen is still there, doing it for Zoi. She is tired of being in the middle and wants to try being on top:

Spike: "You're really turning me on. Yay, lesbians!"

Johnny Iuzzini, a foreplay specialist, is the guest judge this week. For the quickfire, the chefs have to live their worst nightmare. No, not the one involving Ryan Seacrest. The other one. The one where they have to make dessert:

The chefs crap in their pants. And not culinarily.

Padma: "I'd like to introduce you to Top Chef: the book."

I think I'll just wait for the movie.

Padma: "Hardy har har. Very funny. Seriously, this book contains recipes from all the seasons of Top Chef."

OK, I want it.

So the chefs are freaking, as usual, about making dessert. They're yammering on about how they aren't pastry chefs and how you actually have to measure things and it's so hard and they'd rather die and blah blah blah:

Lisa: "Baking is so different because if you forget an ingredient, like baking soda, you're fucked."

Here's a radical idea: DON'T FORGET THE BAKING SODA! See how easy that was?

OK, the desserts were very impressive. Most of them looked very good. I think I would have been happy to get almost any of those desserts in a restaurant (except for Mark's little blobs of meringue, or whatever they were).

Dale, Richard, and Lisa are the top three and Richard wins immunity and a spot in the Top Chef cookbook.

The chefs go to an improv show at Second City. I still have no idea why.

The audience calls out random words that will be the inspiration for the dishes the chefs will make in the elimination challenge. So it's a little like the movie inspiration challenge except not good.

Richard marinates tofu in rendered beef fat. He imitates Jerry Seinfeld and actually makes me laugh so I am not going to call him a douchebag this week.

Spike finally gets to make his precious squash soup:

Antonia: "If he wins for that, I swear I'm going to vomit in my mouth."

That's quite a threat.

Antonia: "No, really; I'll do it!"

The chefs realize there are no electrical appliances at all. No Vitapreps, no Robocops, nothing!

Dale: "There are no Robocops!"

Andrew: "What; no Robocops?"

Dale: "No, there are no Robocops!"

Andrew: "What are we going to do without a Robocop?"

Things are looking pretty bad for the chefs. Will they be able to cook without a Robocop? You'll have to wait to find out until after the Eric Three Thousand commercial break:

SoyJoy: it will make it stop raining on your head and possibly take care of all your lady problems or something like that; It's a little hard to tell. You should buy it.

Welcome back to the recap. So, will the chefs be able to cook without electrical equipment?

[dramatic pause]


The chefs get their second twist of the evening when they learn that they will have to finish and serve their dishes back at the house.

Spike and Andrew make "vanilla love," a squash soup with vanilla crème fraîche. The judges love it.

Stephanie and Jennifer make "orange turned-on asparagus," which was a completely awful looking dish with a small salad and orange vinaigrette, a piece of toast, some asparagus, and a gigantic revolting slab of cheese. In other words, it wasn't so much a dish as it was a bunch of completely unrelated items on a plate. The guests loved the performance that went with the service of the dish but they hated the actual dish. Jen says that the dish represents a ménage à trois. Ted Allen points out that there are too many elements on the plate to be a ménage à trois; that it's more like an orgy. Some other guest misses the point and states that an orgy should have too much going on. Ted slaps the woman and explains that the dish is not supposed to be an orgy; it's supposed to be a ménage à trois. The woman finally admits that she has never actually been to an orgy and everyone has a good laugh. Oh, and I made all that up. Ted didn't slap her. Obviously, he punched her in the face.

Richard and Dale made a perplexed tofu steak with green curry:

Spike: "I don't understand."

That's the point. The judges love it.

Antonia and Lisa made drunk sea bass with purple potato purée and chorizo. They were supposed to make Polish sausage. I don't actually know what Polish sausage is so I didn't mind that they used chorizo instead. But the judges were not happy. And they presented the dish by drinking tequila in front of the judges but not giving them any. It was supposed to be cute but it did not go over well.

Mark and Nikki make purple depressed pork with bacon. Wait, more purple? Yeah, I think Antonia and Lisa were really supposed to use magenta. Mark says the pork is depressed because it doesn't like brussels spouts. The judges ignore this and make up their own explanation, deciding that the dish is appropriate because it is comfort food that you would want to eat if you were depressed. They like it.

Bravo: "Was Jennifer and Stephanie's presentation a) sexylicious, b) funny, or c) leave it to the pros?

d) please shut up.

At judges' table, Dale, Richard, Spike, and Andrew were the favorites

Tom: "The best seasoned seasoning of the season."

Spike: "My mother always said that making a really good soup is the best test for a chef."

Ming Tsai: "I'm the one who said that."

Spike: "Mom, is that you?"

Ming Tsai: "Son? I can't believe I found you after all these years!"

That was touching.

Richard and Dale win. Yes, they both win. Yeah, both of them! They each win $2,500 worth of Calphalon cookwear, which comes to about one frying pan each. The guest judge has to model the product for them. I'm so embarrassed for him.

Stephanie, Jen, Antonia, and Lisa are the bottom four. Wow; the two women's teams are on the bottom, the two men's teams are on the top, and the bisexual team of Mark and Nikki is right in the middle. That's pretty weird.

Antonia and Lisa are pissed that they are on the bottom just because they didn't use Polish sausage:

Antonia: "The next time I'm given Polish sausage in an improv challenge, I promise I'll make Polish sausage. And don't eliminate me or I'll vomit in my mouth. I'm not kidding around; I'll really do it."

The judges talk about the rules of the challenge, although I don't remember hearing about any rules.

Jen is out because there wasn't enough orange. Orange you glad it wasn't Stephanie?

Congratulations, Bravo; this episode was perfectly in tune with its inspiration: it was almost as boring, annoying, and pointless as a real improv show. Tune in next week when the chefs are joined by a bunch of Oompa Loompas.


Anonymous said...

Love it! Totally worth the wait!

Tea said...

Spike: "My mother always said that making a really good soup is the best test for a chef."

Ming Tsai: "I'm the one who said that."

Spike: "Mom, is that you?"

Ming Tsai: "Son? I can't believe I found you after all these years!"

That was touching.

Eric, your recaps are so awesome!

mumblesalot (Laura A) said...

They each win $2,500 worth of Calphalon cookwear, which comes to about one frying pan each.

so true and funny! I agree with you Eric it was just as boring as a improv show. Your recaps are never boring!

a-nony-mouse said...

>>Tune in next week when the chefs are joined by a bunch of Oompa Loompas.<<

I really shouldn't laugh, darn you!!!

nanis said...

Thanks for making me laugh on this dreary Monday.

Thanks also for giving credit to Ming Tsai for that profound statement that Spike stole and none of the judges called him on it. Come on!

Cliff O'Neill said...

Yeah, so funny about the "great minds think alike" thing!

You are just too funny!

And who knew the purchase Cephalon cookware required one to sell a kidney or get a loan from the IMF?

Anonymous said...

Orange you glad it wasn't Stephanie?

that summed it up for me. nice recap, i enjoyed it more than the show.