Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Fantasy Top Chef Update Week 6: Higher, Faster, Stronger

Oh, we're almost there. Will we see the final four be the same chefs identified from about week 2? Or will the Dark Horse Eli gate-crash the party? At least Robin got the boot, after dodging the axe for almost the entire season.

Quick Fire Challenge

The guest chef this week is Gavin Kaysen, who represented the USA in the "Culinary Olympics" aka the Bocuse D'Or. I have never heard of such a thing, but apparently it's a "pretty big deal". Apparently in the competition Kaysen made a ballotine: a protein-in-a-protein-in-a-protein-in-a-protein-in-a-protein-in-a-protein, or something like that. Yes, the obvious thought is of a turducken, the turkey/duck/chicken creation that John Madden used to talk about every Thanksgiving (aside: I wonder if the pre-Thanksgiving timing of this episode was coincidental? Yeah, I'm pretty sure it's coincidental).

QF Losers

Note: since there are only four chefs left, there is one winner, and all the rest are losers by default.

Michael (-0.5, Garthmeister J.): Arrogant as ever, Michael decided he would do a terrine (basically layered pressed meat), rather than a ballotine. Apparently Chef Kaysen is not going to let any other chef out-arrogant him, and shoots down Michael instantly for not making the correct dish. Face!

Kevin (-0.5, Garthmeister J.): Kevin's dish featured catfish, shrimp, and scallop. Did you pick out Kevin's failing? That's right, he used seafood. FAIL. Apparently his catfish was also a little dry.

Eli (-0.5, Saunter): Eli's dish was a bit out of left field for me: bacon-crusted breakfast sausage with a six-minute egg. At first blush this seemed a bit like the odd-dish-out, but apparently Kaysen liked the concept... just not enough to make Eli the winner.

Bryan (-0.5, Daddy): Pop quiz: would you like a rack of lamb and some Merguez sausage wrapped in caul fat? I dunno, I wouldn't want to commit to it before tasting some. Apparently it was well executed, but still ends up with a big L for Bryan and Daddy.

QF Winner

Jen (+3, Saunter): Again bemoaning her recent crapitude, Jen decided to make a command decision to return to her roots: seafood. Upon tasting the calamari, scallops, and salmon dish Padma says "Welcome back,", and Kaysen welcomes Jen back to the winner's circle.

Elimination Challenge

For the Elimination Challenge the chefs are informed they will be competing in a cut-down version of the Bocuse D'Or. They will have to produce something called a "regal presentation platter", with a protein and two garnishes. I only wish I knew what that was. The judges? A bunch of Bocuse D'Or related folks, including the son of the founder... and also Thomas Keller. No pressure!

EC Winner

Kevin (Garthmeister J., +6): In a bit of a shock, Kevin takes home the prize in a contest you thought would favour the more fancy-pantsed chefs. Not so! The K-man does this thing, cooking great food, and even decides to experiment with sous vide to up the difficulty rating. Kevin obtains $30k(!), a chance to compete to represent the US in the real Bocuse D'or, and nabs Garth another 6 points.

EC Losers

As there is only one winner, everyone else is a loser.

Bryan (Daddy, -1): Daddy loses points, which is the last thing he needs. Frustrating, as Bryan probably would have taken home the prize if he had time to properly finish his dish. The elder Volt definitely did seem flustered, but even in defeat he showed the class that could cause him to loom in the finals.

Michael (Garthmeister J., -1): Probably the odds-on favourite to take this EC out, Michael managed to flounder by going for a Mediterranean theme that did not quite match the components. Making a dish that doesn't come together is rare for Michael, and he certainly didn't seem happy about the outcome. No need for Garth to worry at this stage; Michael is sure to punching on going forward.

Jen (Saunter, -1): Jen had an extra half hour to cook, the reward for winning the Quick Fire, but it wasn't enough to allow her to win the challenge. She continues to go the fish route, being smart and playing to her strengths, but it still wasn't enough. Nonetheless, encouraging signs for Saunter.

Eliminated: Eli (Saunter, -1): The valiant Eli finally goes down. He seemed a little overmatched in this challenge, and his concerns about being sloppy were not unfounded. Saunter 's hopes of having a second chef sneak into the top four are dashed, and she is left to pin all her hopes on Jen... a dicey proposition at best.

League Table

Garthmeister J. : 40.0 (+4.0)
Saunter: 13.0 (+0.5)
Daddy: 8.0 (-1.5)

After the dust settles and the final four is announced Garth has pretty much locked up the trophy, depending on whether the final episode has three chefs (as expected) or goes heads up, but it looks over at this point.


  • "Kevin's dish featured catfish, shrimp, and scallop. Did you pick out Kevin's failing? That's right, he used seafood. FAIL. Apparently his catfish was also a little dry."

    I am confused.. Jen used 3x Seafood (calamari, scallops, and salmon) also but she won?

    I actually watched a top Chef episode. Was aight.

    By Blogger SirFWALGMan, at 11:41 AM  

  • It's all to do with your strengths as a chef. What do you cook well?

    In short: Kevin cooked food that he is not the strongest at. Jen DID cook food that is strong at. Jen won.

    By Blogger Garthmeister J., at 12:29 PM  

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