Thursday, December 9, 2010

Jurassic Snark: The Top Chef All-Stars recap

Before we start, a gripe: I’ve never met a Tiffany or a Dale in my entire life. They’re soap opera names. So how is it possible that among our 18 All-Stars, we have 2 Tiffanys and 2 Dales? Where did they cast these people? Pine Valley?

Anyway, Fabio is still all riled up about his run in with Anthony Bourdain.
“Next time you talk about my food?” he warns. “Be nice.”
Yeah, good luck with that.

Opening credits. . .and I just noticed that Angelo totally does Blue Steel . . .nice.

Time for the Quickfire Challenge and there’s . . .Joe Jonas! Squees! Faints! Flails! (Just kidding. I’m totally Team Nick.)

Spike immediately recognizes him (bonus points), but then refers to him as “rock star” (deduction of said bonus points.)

AngryDale ™ has no idea who Joe Jonas is and thinks he might be a pastry chef. Heh.

So the challenge is to make a midnight snack for a bunch of lucky kids who will be spending the night at the Museum of Natural History.
Lame New School Reference: Just like Ben Stiller in A Night at the Museum!
Awesome old school reference: Just like those kids from The Mixed Up Filed of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler! (Okay, that was actually the Met, but close enough. . .)

Immediately, everyone starts fretting about Joe Jonas’s palate.

“Who knows what he’s used to eating?” says AngryDale ™.
I’m not going to touch that one.

Apparently, in Season 1, Tiffani had to cook for little kids and was totally snobby about it and it was almost her undoing. So this time she’s going for a SuperDuperHappyGoodTimesFunBar—a combination rice krispy treat, snowball, and moonpie.

Many other gross things are made, but there are only two other pertinent facts:
One, Richard Blais was a “husky” kid. (Discuss its relevance to his current manorexia among yourselves.)
Two, Spike has decided to make potato chips with marshmallow dip.

And yes, the two winners are Spike and Tiffani.

(If the grossest thing ever prepared on Top Chef —and the correct answer is Sam’s watermelon-gorgonzola-barf surprise in Season 2—was a 10 on the ick-factor scale, Spike’s potato chips in marshmallow dip is a solid 7. I, too, now question Joe Jonas’s palate.)

Now, to complete the Quickfire Challenge, they have to pick teams and create 150 of these snacks for the kiddos.
(So the Quickfire isn't over? This has officially become a Longfire Challenge.)

Tiffani picks Jen, Jamie, Dale, Tiffany, Tre, Casey, and Antonia.

Spike picks Richard, Mike, AngryDale ™, Carla, Stephen, Marcel, and Angelo.

Fabio, fresh off last episode’s culinary Chernobyl, is the last man standing. Padma tells him he can go to whichever team he wants. He skulks over to team Spike.

As Dale later points out, his team is the Spice Girls and their bodyguard (that would be Tre.)
And Spike’s team is the Cool Guys and their babysitter (that would be Carla.)

The snacks are assembled and, onto the museum they go. The kids come charging in, already kind of spazzed out with the excitement and newness of spending a night away from home in a totally cool museum with ginormous dinosaur skeletons and stuff.
THEN, they add sugar to the mix.
THEN, they add Joe Jonas to the mix.
Suffice it to say, you could mainline 5-Hour Energy for a month and you wouldn’t be this hopped up.

So the kids, not shockingly, choose Tiffani’s SuperDuperHappyGoodTimesFunBar. Was there ever even a question?

The cheftestants are pooped and just want to go home and have a brew and call it a night and then. . .Tom Colicchio moseys in.

Yup, they’ll be staying the night and making breakfast for the little ankle-biters.

Because Tiffani won the Longfire Challenge she gets to choose if she wants to be Team T Rex (meat and animal products) or Team Brontosaurus (fruit, grains, and veggies).

She chooses Team T Rex, assuming that she’d get meat, animal products, and. . .every other food group under the sun. (Cause yeah, that’s the way these challenges always work).

They have to sleep in cots in the Hall of North American Mammals, which doesn’t please Stephen.

“I’m not used to this," he sniffs. "I live in a loft in downtown Manhattan.”
(He really is straight out of Central Casting, isn’t he?)

Tre is concerned, because he likes to sleep naked. Please don’t let us get in your way, there, buddy. . .
(He gives us a semi-thrill and sleeps topless.)

5 am wakeup call and it’s cookin’ time.
But shortly after everyone starts cooking, Jamie slices her finger open.
It’s bleeding pretty bad and the medic recommends stitches.
Jamie’s all for it—as any SANE person would be.
Now, apparently, there’s some honor among chefs, not completely unlike the honor among athletes.
You’re an athlete and you’re injured, you rub some dirt in it and keep playing.
You’re a chef and you’re gushing blood, you slap some duct tape on that sucker and keep cookin’. (Reason #148 why I’ll never be a chef.) (5 am wakeup call was Reason #147, by the way)
So Jamie has lost all her cred with the other chefs. (She does come back later to help Jen. But is it too late?) (Spoiler alert: Yes.)

Feeding time.
At the last minute, Angelo decides to cut Marcel’s plums.
Marcel doesn’t take kindly to this.
“Really dude? You don’t f*ck with somebody else’s mise en place.”
(Which now ties with Justin Bieber’s “your stache is the jam”—said to John Waters—as my favorite sentence of the week.)
Everyone eats. Fabio flirts with every female who doesn’t watch the Disney Network.

No Anthony Bourdain. (Frowny face.) But the guest judge is Season 1 host Katie Lee Joel. This would the equivalent of Brian Dunkelman coming back to judge an episode of American Idol. Awkward. Padma wisely avoids eye contact.

So Team Brontasaurus wins! And Fabio’s gnocchi was good! But it’s Marcel, Richard, and Angelo’s banana parfait that takes home the top prize. (Pop quiz: How many elite chefs does it take to make a good banana parfait? Answer: 3!)
Marcel claims that he made the most “elements” on the plate and probably should have won. Whatever, bro.

So Team T Rex is the bottom.
And Jen, who made some sort of mushy pork belly “bacon” and tasteless eggs, comes in wearing her angry eyes.

I mean, you know how in the preview they showed a scene of Jen saying to the judges: “You’re the judges: Aren’t you smart enough to do that?” and you figured it was some sort of out of context, producer manipulation? Like, there was no way Jen was actually that rude and snotty to the judges, right?
And that was just the half of it. She sneered, she snickered, she snarked. She rolled her eyes. She did everything short of pulling out a weapon.
I have no idea why Jen snapped. And I also have no idea if it was her lousy pork belly or her lousy attitude that led to her elimination.
But, in something of a shock, Jen is out.
As her dad might say: Second place is first loser. Second to last place? You’re out of the will.


KLB said...

This episode was a HUGE letdown after last week. The challenge was pretty lame--I want to see these chefs whip up gourmet food not scrambled eggs (I did think Team TRex had a fair point that making gazpacho and gnocchi for kids was rando.)

Jen went off the deep end this episode and soon as Casey said "Wet Bacon" I knew she was a goner.
Jamie is so unlikeable I'm not sure why they cast her. We already have Marcel to hate on, non?

As an aside I remembered that you said you hadn't watched Season 1 and didn't understand Tiffany's bitchiness, etc. I did watch season 1 and had forgotten that Katie Lee Joel was the first host. OMG was she awful. Awful. I'm not sure why they brought her back to guest judge but let's hope this is a one-off. I think I had blocked her presence from my memory.

MoHub said...

That would be Katie Lee (formerly) Joel.

Cliff O'Neill said...

OK, I guess I'm putting all my chips on Tiffani. I was a fan from the first season, even though she was something of a pill then. The new, more mature Tiffani-with-an-I, Not Tiffany-With-A-Y is aces.

As for Blais' manorexia, I don't see it that way. He just lost much of that extra weight. Looks good on him. Now he just needs to lose the ridiculous haircut.

He can go to the barber's with Marcel. Unless that brings back scary memories for the little stinker.

MoHub said...

I was really hoping Tiffani's change of attitude would lead her to do the Monkfish Interpretive Dance.

But no such luck.