Thursday, December 4, 2008

Not Amused: The Top Chef recap

Fresh off his decided non-triumph on Dancing With the Stars, there’s Rocco DiSpirito, extolling the virtues of bacon and explaining the concept behind the breakfast amuse bouche Quickfire challenge. The funny thing is, a few seasons ago, they didn’t explain what an amuse bouche was, and many of the contestants created full appetizers. This year, they did explain the concept, but the contestants still managed to bungle it, much to Leah’s bus-throwing delight.

So Leah wins the amuse bouche breakfast challenge, cause she and Jamie pretty much made the same thing (a little mini BLT), but as Leah was quick to point out, Leah’s was both smaller and more amusing.

As for Jeff, he made two non-related amuse bouches and then seemed surprised when Rocco called him on it. He is such a Dilido.

Oooh, kids, grab your grappa—new drinking game: Drink every time Fabio mentions that he’s from Italy. (e.g., In Italy, where Fabio comes from, they don’t eat bacon for breakfast! Rocco DiSpirito cooks Italian food, which happens to be Fabio’s country of origin! It’ll be hard to cook and talk English, because Fabio’s first language is Italian! And so on.) Small sips, people.

The big challenge: Create a dish you can prepare in 2 minutes on the Today show. The contestants are all surprisingly flummoxed by this challenge. Leah pretty much says she has no personality and will suck on TV. Fabio has one of his “I’m Italian” freakouts. Alex says “I’m a chef, not a . . . public servant.” (No, Alex., that wasn’t the phrase you were looking for) Carla’s eyes completely bug out of her head . . .I kid, I kid. . .

But fear not, Danny is brimming with confidence! You see, he has a TV show back at home. Can you say New Jersey Cable Access? (Later, when he gives a “bababooey” Howard Stern shoutout during his segment I actually wrote in my notes: Could this guy be a bigger cliché?)

Off they go to Whole Foods, where everyone feels compelled to cut their own tuna. No, this is not a euphemism. They actually go behind the fish counter and cut their own tuna.

So they set up a little makeshift set in the studio, with Padma and Tom Colicchio playing the roles of Matt and Meredith. (They apparently think Matt and Meredith are extremely dumb, as they keep saying things like, “Duck egg? What’s that?” and “Is a habanera pepper hot?”)

In the end, Jeff, Fabio, and Ariane are the Top 3 while Jamie (who served a raw egg and seemed pissed about it), Alex (who didn’t realize it takes more than an hour to make crème brulee) and Melissa (who tried to kill Tom Colicchio with her peppers) were in the bottom.

But first, determining a winner! Tom Colicchio came into the girl’s room at 2 am and gently woke up Ariane (hey, I had a dream like this once!). Then he grabbed Fabio and Jeff and they all went down to Rockefeller Plaza, where, according to Jeff, three unsophisticated rubes—namely, Meredith Vierra, Kathy Lee Gifford, and Natalie Morales—would be picking the winner. (Cut to Kathy Lee Gifford spitting out Jeff’s dish. Har.)

In the end, the winner was Ariane with her watermelon and basil salad. Yes! I’m kvelling! (I even taped her appearance on today’s Today show which I ‘m going to watch when I get home.)

Now the bottom three:

Jamie had a bad attitude and totally could’ve given Matt Lauer salmonella, but she’s safe.

Melissa’s taste buds have been destroyed from eating too many peppers, but she really, really, really, really wants to be here—so she’s safe.

Alex is about to get married, which somehow, according to Melissa, makes him less worthy of being on the show—and he’s packing his knives and going home. (To a life of wedded bliss, I'm sure.)

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