Top Chef New York episode five: Hot Night in the Hen House!
First, I'd just like to say that it is a travesty that Selma Blair was not nominated for a Golden Globe for her work on Kath & Kim. I'm serious! I could watch a half hour of nothing but Selma Blair rolling her eyes. And the opening credits to the show, set to the music of the Scissor Sisters, is the best music video I have ever seen!
Anyway, last week Alex was sent packing and Ariane won the chance to be on television. She's already been on television for the past four weeks but whatever.
We start this week with Melissa telling us she needs to do better. Duh. And we watch Ariane sweeping the floor:
Ariane: "I'm a 41 year old woman here with a bunch of younger people. I'm here to clean up after them."
We also learn that Stefan has the hots for Jamie:
Jamie: "Perhaps I was a little too subtle about the fact that I'm a LESBIAN!"
Stefan: "I don't believe there are lesbians. Just women who have not met Stefan yet."
The quickfire is a tasting challenge. Although we get this challenge every season, the producers somehow manage to get reaction shots of the chefs looking totally surprised and confused. The chefs are paired up for tongue to tongue combat:
Stefan: "That sounds sexy!"
This tasting challenge is a combination of Name That Tune and a ping-pong tournament. They have to name the ingredients in soups in three rounds that narrow the chefs down to Stefan and Hosea, with Hosea ultimately wining immunity for the elimination challenge. Congratulations, Hosea!
For the elimination challenge, Padma is hosting a bridal shower for Gail! Fun!
Gail: "My girlfriends like food. These are not girls who like their salad dressing on the side, if you know what I'm saying. Actually, what I'm saying is that I want every woman at this dinner to gain at least twenty pounds. If any of these bitches looks better than I do at my wedding there is going to be hell to pay. Padma, please use your stylist from season two. Thank you."
The theme for the dinner is "something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue." Surprisingly, Ariane is not on the old team.
Ariane: "I heard that!"
Team Borrowed is Ariane, Jamie, and Radhika. They will be "borrowing" from Radhika's culture. The concept for making Indian food is Jamie's. Radhika is naturally concerned that the judges will think she can only make Indian food but she goes along with it. Ariane will be responsible for the main part of the dish, the lamb chops, but Jamie is the team leader on this one.
Team Blue is Melissa, Leah, and Fabio. Tom helpfully points out that there is no blue food so they should just give up and go home.
OK, so yes, most "blue" fruits and vegetables, like blueberries, blue corn, and blue potatoes, are really closer to purple but so what? The veins in bleu cheese look pretty blue and there are edible flowers that are blue so I'm sure they could have done something blue. Smurfs are also pretty good if you cook them the right way. But Team Blue goes for an ocean theme, instead. It makes sense. The problem is that the dish is way boring and Gail thinks Chilean sea bass is offensive.
Team New is Eugene, Danny, and Carla. Danny suggest making pickles because Gail likes pickles:
Carla: "Are pickles new?"
Excellent question, Carla. No, they are not.
So then Eugene wants to do sushi, which also is not new. But at least the concept of sushi brings to mind really fresh ingredients. And fresh is kind of like new, right? Yeah, it's a stretch. Carla is not totally on board with this and she should have spoken up but her two teammates are very excited about it so I don't blame her for going along and trying to make the best of it. A team can't have three leaders.
Team Old is Josea, Stefan, and Jeff. They go with a trio of dishes based on heirloom tomatoes. The heirloom tomato concept is good but I'm worried that it's a lot of tomato dished for one plate.
The night before the dinner, Eugene has a "brainstorm" that will result in a shit storm. He decides that the "sushi" will be served with all the ingredients spread out all over the plate and the guests will be responsible for assembling their own food:
Stefan: "Those women will not want to assemble their own food."
For once, I am in total agreement with Stefan. Padma does not want to work for her food. If she could get someone to shovel food into her mouth for her, she would.
The "trio of tomato" course is pretty popular. The guests like Hosea's gazpacho and they love Jeff's savory tomato sorbet, both of which Stefan predicted would bomb.
The roll-your-own sushi dish is a disaster. Obviously. Danny accurately describes it as "sploodge" on a plate. Danny ruins Carla's salad with reconstituted mushrooms without telling her. Eugene forgets to mention to the guests what exactly they are supposed to do with the plate full of crap sitting in front of them. Danny tells them to eat the sorbet at the end of the course, when it will have melted. The dish makes Gail sad.
Fortunately, the next course makes Gail happy! Yay! Everyone loves Team Borrowed's lamb dish. Everything is perfect! Ariane almost screws up the lamb by starting it too late, leaving only a few minutes to plate the food, but all the chefs help out in an assembly-line and get it done just before the clock runs out.
Team Blue's fish course is really boring. But Fabio is charming:
Fabio: "You see, we have the greens and the yellow corn and green and yellow make blue."
uh . . . no.
Gail: "Shut up! Fabio's talking! Nobody cares if he makes sense! Plus, he said I'm pretty."
I've been saying you're pretty for years!
Gail: "Yeah, it's not the same."
Fine. Whatever. Anyway, the guests think the dish tastes good but it's mushy and boring.
Ariane wins the challenge because the lamb was so good. Jamie is pissed because she was leading the team and it was all her concept. I don't blame her.
Danny is out because his palate is completely hopeless. I think Eugene should have been out because he was clearly leading that disaster.
Gail: "Padma, thank you so much for hosting my bridal shower. I just have one question."
Padma: "Yes, Gail?"
Gail: "Where are the damn strippers?"