Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Man for No Seasoning: The Top Chef D.C. recap

Hey, it's Deuce Bigalow, Top Chef Gigolo.

Yes, Angelo was in full mack mode in the apartment with Tamesha. Invading her personal space, talking about wanting to "extract her inner passion" (ewww), clearly wanting to be the Spencer Pratt to her Heidi Montag.

Meanwhile, innocuous Ed Cottontail, aka the guy Top Chef fans would be least able to pick out of a police lineup, was making his own quiet moves on Tiffany. (He loves her laugh! They just understand each other!) You go, Peter Rabbit.

Off to the Quickfire Challenge, where Patrick O'Connell from the Inn at Little Washington is the guest judge and they are practically begging Tim to win a challenge. You see, the challenge involves blue crabs, something Tim, who's from Maryland, knows a thing or two about.

As Amanda aptly puts it: "Crabs are a religion in Maryland." Amen, sister. Praise Obrycki's.

Angelo turns to the camera and says, "Well, I had crabs. So it just brought back bad memories."
I kept waiting for a wink, a laugh, a tiny smile forming at the corner of his lips to let me know he was joking, but it never came. It never came.

Tamesha, run for your life!!!!

Andrea is dead to me, because she prefers stone crabs to blue ones. But what does she know? She's from Florida.

Ed Cottontail decides to take a page out of Angelo's book and make crabs with Thai seasoning. Angelo takes note of this warily.

For his part, Tim decides to let the natural flavor of the crabs come through and pretty much does . . . nothing to them.
"That's the star," he explains of the crab. "Give it the mic and let it sing." (But maybe you could, I dunno. . . suggest a song?)

It's Crab Fest 2010 over at Kenny's work station, where he's making a three-course crab meal. Show off.

Back at Amanda's station, Padma tastes the crab salad.

"Wow," says Padma.
"Is that a wow, yes, yummy?" asks Amanda. You've got to admire her optimism.
"It's . . . pungeant," says Padma.
So that would be a no.

Bottom 3 are Amanda, plus "I'd Rather Be Eating Stone Crabs" Andrea, and Kevin, who is beginning to lose his mojo.

Top 3: Ed Cottontail, Kenny, and Angelo.

Tim wears the look on his face that has truly come to characterize him this competition: Mild anger and bewilderment. "I guess I should've put some soy sauce in there," he grumbles.

And the winner is. . .Ed Cottontail! Gets the girl and he gets immunity.
What a stud.

The Elimination Challenge is to make a family style meal at an organic farm in Virginia. And as far as I can recall, it's a Top Chef first: The cheftestants are working all as one team. This is really unnecessary, because they all end up breaking into pairs anyway. But it does make for an awesomely train-wrecky planning session in the house.

Angelo and Kenny are clearly vying for top dog status and they start fighting over truly inane things, like whether they're drawing names from a hat to determine partners or food groups.

It's total chaos, with everyone shouting at once and picking sides. As moist-eyed Stephen notes: "It's too many cooks in the kitchen." (And really, how often does one get to use that cliche literally?)

In the end, it's no contest between Kenny and Angelo, considering the fact that Kenny has acquired such nicknames as Big Daddy, Black Magic, Black Lightning, Black Angus, and The Beast and Angelo has acquired the nickname: "That creepy guy who's always hitting on Tamesha."  Less catchy.

"Kenny is a natural leader," gushes Kelly.

It's decided that they will retain the same teams form the previous Elimination Challenge.
Everyone is okay with that, except for Ed Cottontail, who says: "I'm happy to work with someone else." Then he looks apologetically at Deconstructed Borscht's Alex and says, "It's not that I don't want to work with you." (His little ruse of pretending that he wasn't trying to dump Alex would've worked a lot better if everyone else wasn't totally cool with the previous pairings.)

Of course, Ed would prefer to work with Tiffany, with her great laugh and total understanding of him as a man, but she's saddled with Tim again.

"It's like I don't even have a partner," she says. I believe that's what the kids call a "dis."

On the farm, everyone is grabbing meats and veggies from the back of a truck. Tim hoards all of the turnips, which gets Kelly mad at him.

At some point, Kenny knocks over Kevin's cauliflower. Angelo thinks the 5-second rule is in effect, but it's probably just because he wanted Kevin to give people mad cow disease.
Kevin smartly throws his cauliflower away.

Angelo can't get over how "luscious" Tamesha's cherry. . .composte is. "It's super sexy," he says. Okay, just stop.

As for his own duck, "I basically made love to that duck." So now the duck has crabs.

Tim had some idea to do a vegetable mousseline, but then decided that, in keeping with his winning crab strategy, he would just let the flavors of the chopped veggies speak for themselves. (Oh but wait. . .his crab strategy actually lost.)

Amanda, still the soul of optimism, thinks her minestrone soup is delicious.

Kelly had extra time after making her eggplant dish and actually had the guts to make a strawberry rhubarb crisp. Impressive.

At the judge's table, where Eric Ripert is wearing a truly adorable scarf, the eating begins.

Amanda's soup had no pasta, so it's a failure as a minestrone, plus the veggies weren't cooked uniformly, so it's a failure as a soup.

Stephen's salad, "Left me cold," says Padma. Not sure if she was making a salad joke there or not, but I'll give her the benefit of the doubt.

Kevin and Kenny nailed their cous-cous and curry, even if the curry was a little strong. "I like my beer cold and my curry hot," says Tom. Love that man. 

Tim's diced turnips, asparagus, and potatoes, possibly the least impressive Top Chef offering since Angelo smeared some peanut butter on a celery stalk, left "no impression" on the judges.

Tiffany's collard greens are undercooked.

Andrea's pork loin is scrumptuous, as is Kelly's eggplant accompaniment AND her rhubarb pie. "She gets extra credit," says Tom.

Angelo and Tanesha's duck is perfectly respectable, as is Ed and Alex's ratatouille stuffed beef.

The Top Two teams are Kevin (mojo rising!) and Kenny and Andrea and Kelly. And Kelly wins! Good on her. And, yes, I noticed that Andrea and Kelly have now essentially won two challenges in a row. That partnership is en fuego!

Bottom 3:
Tim, Amanda, and Stephen.

Tim, as usual, is incredulous about being in the bottom. (Of course, the fact that I used the phrase "as usual" in that sentence pretty much tells you all you need to know.)

Padma essentially tells the group, "We had a lovely meal in a beautiful setting ... and you RUINED it!" Everyone is appropriately chagrined.

Stephen's salad dressing is referred to as a "concrete truck." He looks, if possible, even more moist-eyed than usual.

Tim's diced veggies just sat there.

Amanda's minestrone was "amateurish."

And the loser is . . .Tim.

Time to be put out of his misery. He was a gentleman in defeat, offering some advice that perhaps he should've taken himself: "Make sure you season your food, guys." See ya back in Charm City, pal.


BrownBalto said...

As much as I love Top Chef and Project Runway, I think I love your commentary more. Thanks and keep it up!

maxthegirl said...

Thanks, Karen!

MoHub said...

Kelly did not win the Elimination; Kenny did.

Also, if you take a look at the Bravo boards, you'll find we're now calling Angelo "Uncle Creepy."

Jennifer Mendelsohn said...

I'm kind of hoping I'm the matchmaker here. But maybe you guys just know each other?? Smalltimore and all?

I was two epis behind; and find myself rushing throgh them just so I can get to your recaps, Max.

Jennifer Mendelsohn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BrownBalto said...

Jennifer, if you're referring to being the matchmaker between me and maxthegirl, yes, you are the matchmaker. Thank you!

Cliff O'Neill said...

Oh, I've noticed Ed since day one. He's such a cutie!

Also, I was waiting for Timothy go hit the road for weeks, just so I could refer to the Buoy's cannibalistic-themed '70s hit, "Timothy."

I mean, he's supposed to be a cook, righT?

Anonymous said...


Brandi said...

You're blog is the greatest! I love your sense of humor... it's like getting a recap from a good friend rather than a dry so and so won and so and so got the boot! Thanks for keeping up!