Friday, April 25, 2008

Top Chef Chicago- episode 7- Sayonara San Francisco

Words I promise not to use in the following paragraphs: cheftestant (gag), chopping block.

Words that I have to use because I am so impressionable: Toyota Highlander, GladWare, Evian Water, Kenmore Kitchen, Whole Foods
Bravo really should keep me on their payroll.

So, it is adios to San Francisco. Arrivederci, adieu, auf wiedersehen, salam aleikum. Ok, that’s “may God be with you,” but you get the gist. Jen “I’m doing it for Zoi” Coco500 got the boot. I am actually surprised considering that Nikki “I talk like I’m in Goodfellas” is still around and she is completely talentless and annoying. But she keeps riding slightly above the wave of mediocrity and remains. Oh well, she’ll be gone soon and then we can all rejoice. Richard that cheeky Fauxhawk won, again, and Lisa still hasn’t washed her hair, so all is well in Top Chef land.

The chefs got a real challenge for the Quickfire this time around… dessert! All chefs hate making dessert, at least that has been a recurring theme on Top Chef for its 4 season duration. That and the “I’m not going to dumb down/be inauthentic/I’m really an arrogant jerk” attitude that the majority of cheftestants (damn, it slipped out) inhabit. But the chefs had to pull that one dessert recipe they have memorized out of their toque and attempt to use it, in the small time allotted. I can hear Tom in the back room going “Muahahahaha” like the evil genius he is. Richard “I think I am more amusing than I actually am” won the Quickfire as well with his banana scallops and guacamole. Um, okay. I was surprised that Antonia lost though. Her lemon curd crème brulee and lemon cake looked delicious. But I am a sucker, get it, sucker, for lemon, so I thought it looked tasty. Lisa’s fried wontons looked mildly disgusting but she got a positive reaction from “random NYC pastry chef I had never heard of” guest judge. Perhaps the sour look on her face and the amazing amount of grease resting on her head doesn’t turn him off as much as it does me.

So then our assembly of foul mouthed chefs got to “have the night off” and go see the Second City Improv group. (Plug, plug. It’s really too bad that Season One of Top Chef was already in San Francisco because I don’t remember them so brazenly selling out that first season. Well, they had that awful host, remember Billy Joel’s child bride was Padma, and she had one of the worst speaking voices. Tom was there, oh Tom, I remember when we first met. I didn’t know of you and then you came into my household. Too bad it wasn’t more recently because I would definitely stalk the Top Chef set if they were filming in San Francisco right now). Or so they thought. C’mon my little cheffies, don’t you know by now there’s always a trick up the Bravo sleeves?

So the audience yelled out random words and our poor, downtrodden group of cooks had to create dishes with these themes. Interesting. And wait, the tricks keep coming though. As the theme is improv Tom keeps changing things for the chefs. Oh no, there are no machines! What, we have to pack everything up in our GladWare and get in our Highlanders and drive back to the Top Chef house to finish cooking? You tricky tricky producers!

The chefs were in teams of two, two groups of men, two of women, and then the mediocre pairing of Nikki and Mark who straddled the middle line once again. The chefs had to make courses such as yellow love squash or something ludicrous like that. Richard and Dale, the alpha team, went and “perplexed” up their green tofu assignment by marinating the tofu in beef fat. This scared me a bit but they went on to win, so who am I to judge? The losers Jen and Stephanie mucked up their “turned on” version of an orange asparagus. Why the enormous disk of goat cheese dare I ask? Now, I love cheese, but goat is a particularly strong flavor and will mask all the other flavors on the plate. And why was there tapenade there? But, did you notice the incredible foreshadowing done by the Bravo producers? Jen was putting her knives away and said it was an omen. Oh, Jen, how you failed in your mission to “win it for Zoi.” Too bad. I do think that Jen was robbed a bit.

Lisa and Antonia’s dish completely fell outside the guidelines so I think that one of them (ahem, Lisa) should have gotten the heave ho. Their attitudes were despicable as well. I love how Lisa said that the judges would have called a real polish sausage “bar food” and dismissed it. Um, Lees, haven’t you ever heard of Daniel Bouloud and his uber-famous burgers? They cost about $500 each and are stuffed with truffles, foie grois, lobster, and a bar of gold. They even come with their own leprechaun, to accompany the gold of course. If burgers aren’t bar food I don’t know what is. But all you really have to do to “elevate” it is to call some french fries “pomme frites” or marinate your silly purple drunken polish sausage in some red wine. Hello, they had the most obvious dish to make. But oh no, Lisa was too good for polish sausage. She really does have a bad attitude and I think that she was bringing Antonia down. I guess today is my bash Lisa blog. And if I will continue on that theme then I will say that while I understand that this is the kitchen and this is an authentic cooking show blah blah blah, Lisa, I will reiterate, please wash your hair. No one wants to eat food that has been cooked by someone who looks as though they don’t shower. And while you’re at it, just a little mascara maybe. It would make you look less, I don’t know, tragique. I’m not asking you to adopt the tranny eyebrows that Nikki has been sporting, just something that makes you look a little cleaner and more awake.

Attitude is part of the game. I think that the reason that Andrew and Spike’s soup was so well liked was the three extra hours they had nothing to do but season it, and the obvious enjoyment they took in creating the dish. Spike got his revenge on Antonia by making his squash soup (her comment about if he wins she’ll vomit in her mouth was priceless) and Andrew got to do what he does best, swear and make funny faces. That kooky little man, what will he come up with next?

So in the end the boys were on top and the girls were on bottom. Was it deserved, well, I must say, yes. Am I disappointed in my fellow females? Yeah, I want a woman to be a contender (thanks Rocky). We’ll see how they do next week when the kiddies come into the kitchen. I can already see Dale having a really short fuse with a little kid. And Lisa, oh boy, that will be fun!

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