Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Top Chef New York episode three: Thanksgiving in July!

Happy Thanksgiving! And to those of you who don't celebrate Thanksgiving, happy holidays! What am I saying? Bill O'Reilly is right, as always; this War on Thanksgiving is getting out of control! It starts with a half-vegetarian meal for the Foo Fighters and the next thing you know some godless communist will put a Smurf balloon in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade! What?! That already happened?! It wasn't just a brining-induced nightmare?! Oh, my god, we're all doomed!

Anyway, last time Jill went home after the chefs ruined American cuisine for Tom Colicchio:

Tom: "I used to love American food but now it's dead to me."

Fortunately, Fabio saved the day by finally bringing Italian food to the New World:

Fabio: "The dish was financed by Queen Isabella of Spain because I saved the princess from a dragon."

This week Fabio is being financed by the Olive Garden and he will travel to China to steal the idea for pasta.

Before the challenge starts, the chefs have a few minutes of downtime. Richard takes this opportunity to talk to Alex about his favorite subject, being gay:

Richard: "Oh, my god, I totally missed Gay Pride to be here!"

Alex: [sound of crickets]

The guest judge for the quickfire is Grant Achatz. Someone mentions that he had cancer and I realize I've read about this guy in the New Yorker. He had tongue cancer and his doctors wanted to remove his entire tongue but he sought alternative treatments so he could save part of it because, obviously, his tongue is very important to him. He managed to keep cooking even though he had no sense of taste during much of his treatment. But you know the most inspirational part of the story? He's pretty cute! God, I'm shallow.

Padma: "Just in time for the holiday shopping season, we would like to remind you that there is a Top Chef cookbook. It's the perfect stocking stuffer for people who wear really big stockings, like Tom!"

Tom: "Padma, I keep asking you not to talk about what I do in my free time!"

Padma: "Sorry. Anyway, for this challenge you have to put your own spin on one of the recipes in the book. And by 'put your own spin on it,' I mean 'copy it exactly.'"

So the chefs start copying the recipes by former Top chef contestants. Then, halfway through cooking, Padma comes into the kitchen and makes an announcement:

Padma: "You know what? I changed my mind. I'm in the mood for Chinese."

So the chefs have to take their half-made dishes and turn them into Chinese food.

Tom: "Finally, everyone else gets to experience Padma's crazy mood swings that I have to live with every day."

Fortunately, the chefs will get to use Swanson's Chinese Broth in a Box.

Leah wins and she gets to pick her team for the elimination challenge.

Team Underpants is Leah, Jamie, Hosea, Stefan, Melissa, Radhika, and Fabio.

Team MILF is Richard, Alex, Ariane, Carla, Danny, Eugene, and Jeff.

The chefs will have to cook Thanksgiving dinner several months early for the Foo Fighters and twelve thousand fans at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, New York:

Foo Fighters: "The food needs to be vegetarian. But with lots of bacon."

The chefs go shopping. Why on earth would you use turkey bacon with turkey? That's a little redundant, isn't it? It doesn't make it vegetarian, if that's what they were thinking.

The chefs are taken outside to cook their food in the alley behind the stadium, next to the dumpsters. They are hit by a hail storm and then the locusts descend:

Chefs: "Oh, come on!"

Tom: "Stop your whining!"

Apparently the Foo Fighters like chocolate-covered frozen bananas so Richard has the brilliant idea of making chocolate-covered frozen bananas. Fortunately, he is unable to use that idea because they don't have a freezer. Unfortunately, he and Jeff come up with the even worse idea of making banana s'mores. Who would want a soggy, cold graham cracker at the end of a Thanksgiving meal? Nobody, that's who.

Team MILF is making turkey, stuffing, roasted potatoes, pork roast, macaroni and cheese, pumpkin parfaits, peach cobbler, and banana s'mores.

Team Underpants is making turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, gravy, side salads, pumpkin tiramisu, and fruit crisp.

Judging Team MILF:

The judges like Ariane's turkey and decide that she has redeemed herself and is, in fact, a MILF. They also like Eugene's ham, which he made on a homemade charcoal grill:

Eugene: "I asked myself, 'What would MacGyver do if he were cooking Thanksgiving for the Foo Fighters in a parking lot?' The answer was obvious."

The judges didn't like the undercooked potatoes made by Howie, er, I mean Danny. They also didn't like the stupid s'mores and the pumpkin mousse parfaits:

Foo Fighters: "More like barf-faits! Ha ha!"

Hey, I happen to like parfaits! I know I didn't taste them but I thought they looked pretty good.

Judging Team Underpants:

The judges liked Jamie's vegan cornbread stuffing and they also liked the sweet potatoes. They didn't like the turkey as much as the other team's. They liked the fruit crisp, which looked revolting, and they loved Fabio's pumpkin tiramisu.

Team Underpants wins and they get to attend the concert! Congratulations, Undies!

Team MILF has to clean up the stadium after the concert:

Team MILF: "Oh, my god, is that a used condom?"

The losing team has to go in and be judged:

Richard: "I just hope we don't resort to cannibalism."

OK, so it comes down to Jeff, Richard, and Howie, um, I mean Danny. Why do I keep doing that?

Jeff emerged as the unofficial team leader so, in a way, he was responsible for the meal. And his stuffing and dessert were bad. But I really think he contributed so much to that meal I would hate to see him go. I think it should come down to Danny and Richard. I'm sure they were doing plenty of other things for the team but, when you are being judged as part of a team, you have to make sure you have very specific, major contributions that can be judged individually. Those s'mores were not only terrible but they didn't seem like much work.

Richard is out. Sorry, Richard!

Tom: "For a band traveling on tour, July is a very important time of year when they are all thinking of their families. Richard, I hate to send you home on fake Thanksgiving, but someone has to go."

Jamie: "Hey, Stefan, remember in the previews when we were arguing about whether vegetarians eat fish? I totally thought that was going to be in this episode!"

Stefan: "Yeah, me too! Since the Foo Fighters wanted vegetarian food and we were on the same team, I was sure we were arguing about this meal. But as it turned out, both teams almost completely ignored the need for vegetarian food."

Jamie: "Seriously! I'm glad nobody noticed."


shirlsd said...

(chuckle!) enjoyed your recap lots. will visit again after epi4. (your monikers and dialogue, needless to say, are VERY entertaining!)

Sewing Siren said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sewing Siren said...

To have mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes in the same meal does not seem right to me. I know they are two different vegetables, but still. Not right.

mizelana said...

Loved it as usual! Thanks Eric...

Eric said...

Well this Thanksgiving, other-Eric combined the sweet potatoes with the regular potatoes. Or were they yams with regular potatoes? Either way, they tasted like mashed potatoes that happened to be orange. Very festive though!

Sewing Siren said...

Sorry Eric, I was just kidding. Sometimes I make stuff like that up just because *I* don't want to do it.

Cliff O'Neill said...

Hilarious as usual! Loved the team names!

I thought I'd break the damn set if I saw one more thinly disguised commercial though! K-rist, I would see less shilling for products on overnight informercial TV!

Oh, and I'm just killing myself over the loss of my beloved Richard.

eric3000 said...

Sewing Siren, I completely agree with you about the redundancy of having mashed potatoes and mashed sweet potatoes on the same plate. But it's just one of the many compromises we have to make on thanksgiving. This year, however, I was just too lazy to make both so we mixed them together. As Other Eric said, we ended up with light-orange mashed potatoes. They were pretty good but I don't know if I will do that next year.

wildflower38 said...

So what is your meaning of "MILF" hmmmmmm?

eric3000 said...

I'll give you a hint: the F stands for Flambé

mumblesalot (Laura A) said...

I just choked on a piece of cheese reading this. Thank goodness for Queen Isabella. Happy belated Thanksgiving. d