Monday, June 28, 2010

Top Chef DC Recap 2: Getting Schooled

This week was the last episode before the Fantasy Top Chef Draft, giving us all one last glimpse at our potential team members. Would someone rise up to take the number one spot from Angelo? Could we see something that could tip us off to potential sleepers, or a dark horse that could make a deep run?


Quickfire Challenge

For the Quickfire Challenge we are introduced to the week's guest chef, Assistant White House Chef Sam Kass (which makes me wonder how many staff there are actually in the White House Kitchen). The challenge? The chefs are forced to pair up to make a sandwich within half an hour. Sound easy? Not so fast, tubby. In this challenge the chefs are forced to don a Siamese-Twin Apron (meant to symbolise bi-partisanship in Washington), which only allows each chef to use a single arm. The winning pair obtain Immunity, so it's definitely worth winning (if perhaps not work $20k). The chef pairs are organised by knife-pull, and off we go!

We are then treated to a little montage of chefs struggling for control of the direction of the sandwich, and struggling for control of the apron. Good luck for those pairing chefs who have one left-handed and one right-handed chef. We are also treated to Alex fearing for his fingers, as opposed to Arnold showing complete confidence in his partner.

Quick Fire Losers

Stephen and Jacqueline: Once again we find Stephen and Jacqueline on the bottom, this time for showing lack of creativity. Perhaps both of the chefs were chastened for their "out-there" choices in last week's Elimination Challenge, but that only back-fired. Not good signs for these two early.

Lynne and Tiffany: It appears the sin for Lynne and Tiffany was presenting a sandwich with a lack-lustre texture. I guess they can take solace that their sandwich at least tasted OK?

Quick Fire Finalists

Ed and Kenny: The boys produce an Ahi tuna sandwich with asian slaw, which nets them a runner-up. Once again Kenny shows he has some chops, if falling just short of a win. This is the first rumblings we have heard from Ed, though we can't be sure if he is taking advantage of Kenny's skills.

Quick Fire Winners

Tracey and Angelo: During the challenge we were treated to Angelo mentioning he owns a sandwich shop, so if he doesn't win he should just give up. Naturally, he wins the challenge, with his flounder sandwich with spicy sriracha mayonnaise. Obviously this dude does not look like he needs immunity, but he gets it anyway.

You may notice that I didn't mention Tracey - that's because she cleverly kept the fuck out of Angelo's way. Bonus points to her for admitting she has a crush on Captain Douche, and enjoyed the opportunity to be crammed into the same apron. The immunity may do her some good, and let her get her sea legs in this competition.

Elimination Challenge

This week's Elimination Challenge is an entertaining one; break into teams of four, being responsible for creating a tasty and healthy school lunch for 50 school kids. The hitch? Each team gets the school budget of $2.60 per kid, for a grand total of $130.

The Quick Fire winners get to choose their partners, and Angelo picks Kenny and Ed to be on their team. Given that Angelo and Tracey have immunity, this does seem to be a transparent ploy to put Kenny in the potential firing line if their team's lunch sucks.

Predictably each team seems completely unable to meet their budget, and immediately have to begin compromising. There is also a time constraint for shopping which adds extra pressure, and we see the strong-willed/stubborn/arsehole chefs running rampant over their weaker-willed/simpering/loser team-mates.

Elimination Finalists

Andrea, Alex, Tim, and Kevin: this team managed to produce picnic coleslaw with yoghurt (replacing most of the mayo), grilled apple cider BBQ chicken, mac and cheese with whole wheat crust, skim milk, and low-fat cheese, and fresh melon kebab and orange Chantilly dipped in whipped yoghurt. All of these chefs look somewhat competent, and kudos to them for pulling together a lunch that really seemed to come together as a theme as well. Allegedly the mac and cheese was the weak link, though that seemed to be nit-picking. Right now I could believe that any of these chefs could go deep and do some damage in this competition.

Lynne, Arnold, and Tiffany: this team spent a lot of time bitching, mostly about the eventual winner, which was somewhat amusing. But give them credit for putting the drama aside and creating tasty dishes of black bean cake with crispy sweet potatoes, roasted corn salad with cilantro-lime vinaigrette, and caramelised sweet potatoes with sherbet. Arnold in particular seemed intent on letting the judge's know that their team was all in it together, helping each other out. Tom, on the other hand, was vocal about his desire to see each chef take ownership for his or her dish.

Overall EC Winner

Kelly: Let's get this straight: Kelly wanted to do her dish, and fuck everyone else in her way. She was also determined to let Tom and the other judges know that she was responsible for her dish. Her reward: taking it down with her pork carnitas tacos (using oats for her home made tortillas). She definitely may have made an enemy or two from her team, but I think Kelly is comfortable being the villain. Let's see if her will-to-win is enough to get her further in the competition.

Elimination Challenge Losers

Tracey, Angelo, Kenny, and Ed: That's right, Angelo didn't win this one. However, Tom out and out says that he thinks Angelo tried to sabotage his own team. Unfortunately for the douchemeister his evil plan is foiled when Kenny and Ed show themselves to not be crap enough to fail. To be fair, Angelo wasn't able to find a whipping gun do to finish his celery stick/peanut butter... thing, but that was a pretty shoddy dish. The major issue seems to be that the whole lunch isn't healthy enough, lacking in vegetables - something that Kenny and Ed should have highlighted since they knew Angelo and Tracey had immunity. Ed seems to be the one in the firing line for his sweet potato puree, but the issue seems to be that the judges thought that it might be too spicy for children; this appears to be code for the fact that they kind of liked it. Fortunately for Ed, the other team is full of fail, and he is in the clear.

Amanda, Stephen, and Tamesha: First let me say that Amanda is fucking lucky to still be here. As soon as she said that she wanted to make sherry-braised chicken, her team was DOOMED. Not only did the sherry crush the team's budget (forcing a number of compromises) but as it was the cornerstone of her dish you knew she wouldn't give it up. Add that to the fact that she was serving a dish featuring sherry to children, and then managed to make it look like ass, and it is a minor miracle that she is still here. Stephen's rice looked dodgy as well, though more incompetent than anything, and I fear he is not long for this show. Tamesha made a bean and tomato salad and just looked angry the whole time. No one on this team impressed me, and to be honest, only Tamesha looks like doing anything at all, and that might be a reach.


Jacqueline: Let's get one thing clear: Jacqueline got hosed. Having said that, let's get this second thing clear: she deserved it. From the first two episodes it seemed she was out of her element. Given her performances running up to this Elimination Challenge, you would have thought she would have fought tooth and nail for her dish. Instead she was steam-rolled by Amanda and her sherry chicken, forcing her to produce a chocolate and banana pudding that didn't feature any chocolate since they ran out of money. To make up for the bland and starchy pudding Jacqueline decided to add a shit-ton of sugar, which flies in the face of the whole "healthy food for children" angle.

Good riddance to her - if she wasn't gone this week she was gone shortly thereafter. But Amanda should be thanking her lucky stars.


So, with two episodes in the books how will our Fantasy Top Chef Draft go down?! All I know is that it's fortunate that no one will be saddled with Jacqueline. But I'm sure as hell not going out of my way to cook sherry-braised chicken any time soon.


  • yeah man wtf kid is gonna eat any of that shit. Cmon. I would have won the challenge with my tasty microwaved hotdog meal for 2.99/8 kids! WOOT!

    By Blogger SirFWALGMan, at 11:28 AM  

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