Thursday, January 22, 2009

Mmmmmm. . .arm hair. The Top Chef recap

Give credit to Jamie. She was the only cheftestant smart enough to realize that this episode’s Quickfire Challenge—make a signature dish that best represents your Restaurant War theme—was a trap. A trap, I say!

“I’m not sure I want to win this Quickfire,” she said, promptly putting the finishing touches on her raw scallop in a reduction of scallop sauce. (Okay, it was some sort of half-hearted Chilean sea bass.)

Stefan also seemed to intuitively know, as he made a trio of asparagus dishes. (Nothing says “I don’t want to win this challenge” quite like an asparagus medley.)

As for Fabio’s “cheesesteak,” guest judge Steven Starr was not impressed.
“It’s not a cheesesteak,” Fabio countered huffily. “It’s a fillet mignon sandwich

Starr did take a liking to Radhika’s Indian/Middle Eastern concoction and Leah’s dish, which was inspired by her Philippine mother. (Who knew?)

So there you have it folks. Our two fearless leaders for Restaurant Wars: Leah and Radhika. God help the diners.

Radhika’s team, Restaurant Sahana, is Carla, Jeff, and Jamie.

The team for Leah’s restaurant, Sunset Lounge (sounds like a bar at a Ramada Inn, right?) is Hosea, Fabio, and Stefan.

Stefan, needless to say, was picked last.

“I could give a shit,” he said grumpily. (Having just watched Tim Roth in Lie to Me, I can now use my newfound lie detecting skills to deduce that Stefan does, in fact, give a shit.)

Later, as the teams planned their menus, Stefan did his usual, “I’m going to do what I want and not listen to anyone” routine while biting his arm hair. Which is gross.

Leah was so upset about this that she made sexy time with Hosea, not quite off-camera, but seriously to the lower left corner of the camera.

The next morning both Leah and Hosea were distraught over their canoodling.
“I absolutely regret it,” declared Hosea. Adding an over the top, “Dammit!” for good measure.

Leah was grumpier than usual. “I have a boyfriend. . . at least I did,” she sighed.
Wow. I really feel sorry for those two. (Ha! Just kidding.)

Anyway, I learned a few things about Radhika today:
1. Her voice sounds like Padma’s. (I realize that it’s a little late in the season to be making such an observation, but this let’s face it, she’s usually borderline mute.)
2. Her leadership skills suck donkey balls.

I mean, why on earth did she volunteer to be in the front of the house? Because her personality is so effervescent and winning?

And why didn’t she get her ass in the kitchen? Isn’t that where the executive chef should be? Instead, she made Jamie her chef de cuisine—i.e, put her in charge—and skulked around the restaurant looking confused.

Carla, usually the Betty Crocker of Top Chef, was having a heck of a time with her spiced chocolate cake and yogurt. (Carla may have loved her desserts but they, apparently, did not love her back.)

Anyway, the Sahana dinner went surprisingly well, all things considered. The judges more or less liked Jeff's scallop appetizer and Ariane's—I mean Jamie's (sorry, old habit)—braised lamb shank. But after Carla’s filled-with-love-but-tastes-like-crap desserts, Radhika was nowhere in sight to say goodnight (she was hiding in—er, overseeing—the kitchen) so the judges just got up and left.

Toby Young, who never met a metaphor he couldn’t torture, equated the experience of eating at Sahana to the life of Elvis Presley. (Starting strong, gradually going down hill and ending up dead on a toilet, or somethin’ like that.)

Anyway, Team Sunset Lounge put Fabio in the front of the house, a brilliant move. Let’s face it, the guy could charm dirt.

As for the food, it was a mixed bag.

Leah was so upset about her accidental face sucking with Hosea, she made undercooked fish.

But Stefan saved the day with his lemongrass panna cotta. I hate when that happens.

In the end, Team Sunset Lounge won, by a hair. And Stefan took home the grand prize, an arm comb. No, just kidding. . .a whole lot of restaurant-quality kitchen appliances.

Carla and Radhika were the Bottom 2. I really thought Carla was going home, not only because her desserts stank (for the second week in a row, no less), but because, as she explained her philosophy of cooking with love, Tom looked like he had just thrown up a little in his mouth.

But no, it was Radhika’s time to go. She made the mistake of winning the Quickfire, being named leader, and then having no idea what the heck she was doing. (Insert your own George Bush joke here.)

Foiled by the oldest reality show trap in the book.

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