Thursday, December 18, 2008

Top Chef New York Episode Six - How The Fridge Stole Christmas

Last week on Top Chef, the Cheftestants catered a bridal shower for Gail and her Boobies, Danny Da Dumbass went home, and Ariane continued her streak as the most unlikely dominant Cheftestant ever. Read my recap HERE.

Ariane the Invincible wakes up this week feeling great. She has decided to keep cooking her simple food, since it has worked for her thus far. Eugene, on the other hand, is cranky – but happy that he wasn’t sent home last week. He vows to continue doing what HE does best – “Pacific Rim” cuisine – which sounds like something dirty they do in Honolulu.

Fabio and Stefan of Finland continue their passionate love affair. They appear on-screen together, and Stefan says they are the “Dynamic Duo” – although Fabio looks at him and says “what dat mean?” It means he loves you. Stefan remarks that he found a shoe in his ass this morning, and doesn’t know which of the judges put it there. That happened to a friend of mine before – although it wasn’t a shoe... Ultimately, the European Lovebirds reveal their strategy for winning: beat everyone else first, and then beat each other. I would like to watch, if you don’t mind…

Quickfire Challenge:

The Cheftestants enter the Top Chef Kitchen, which has been decorated for “the holidays”. Yes, I said “the holidays” – and not “Christmas” – because I’m obviously a godless heretic. Or at least that’s what Bill O’Reilly and Fox News say.

Padma tells the Chefs that they will cook a holiday meal using one pot. I will let the other Recappers make the Padma/Pot jokes. She’s never passed me a joint, so I have no idea if she likes to blaze trees or not.

Anywhoo, Padma introduces the guest judge for the Quickfire – Martha Friggin’ Stewart! The Chefs almost pee themselves when she walks in, toting her latest book. Miss New Jersey – Ariane – REALLY plotzes when she sees the most famous daughter of Nutley, New Jersey walk in. Oh, and in case you don’t know: “plotz” is a Yiddish word which means “to lose control of one’s freakin’ mind”.

Martha gives them a tip – keep it simple, but not too simple. She attributes this advice to another New Jersey resident, Albert Einstein. Because when I think of the theory of relativity or quantum physics – I think “simple”.

They have 45 minutes to create a Martha-worthy dish. Ariane is doing a cauliflower puree, which she sometimes does for her kids instead of mashed potatoes. This is her way of “tricking” them into getting their vegetables. Note to “simple” Ariane: a potato IS a vegetable. Besides, I think Martha can probably tell the difference.

Fabio gives us a little insight into his childhood. When he was “seeks” (six), he was evil and “a bad boy”. So to keep his bad-ass occupied, his grandmother gave him a job to do. “She was make me stir da polenta on da fire for hour”. There are obviously no child labor laws in Italy.

Gene is doing a Korean stew, but has to use corn starch to thicken it, since he doesn’t have time to let the stew reduce naturally. And some blond chick named Melissa predicts that Martha Stewart will probably be a tough judge. Ya think?!?

Utensils down, hands up Bitches!

Martha and Padma make the rounds. Martha immediately notices that Eugene’s stew has been thickened. Just like Mother Nature – you can’t fool Martha Stewart.

Martha chats with Stefan about Chanterelles, with Hosea about Paella, and with Jamie about diving for Scallops. When she gets to Jeff, she pronounces his “Po-ta-to Ri-sot-to” so exactly that you just KNOW that she hates it. Martha then calls Jeff’s dish “pungent”, and he realizes he is doomed. Ice Queen Martha – no mere mortal woman – also doesn’t fall for Fabio’s charms. Be gone Paisano, you have no powers here!

Finally, Martha visits simple Jersey girl Ariane. And just like two Ho’s from Jersey, they bond over the fact that they both come from The Garden State. Why are people from New Jersey so PROUD of the fact that they come from the armpit of New York City? Anywhoo, Martha remarks about how much butter Ariane has used, and Ariane replies that she used absolutely no butter at all. I guess you CAN fool Martha Stewart after all.

After the tasting, Martha announces that some listened to her “keep it simple” advice, but some did not. She was not impressed with Jeff’s Pot-ta-to Ri-sot-to, Eugene’s starchy stew, and Fabio’s “grayish” polenta. Fabio is flabbergasted, and vows to get his Italian Grandma to beat Martha’s New Jersey ass one of these days.

Martha does likee Hosea’s paella, Jamie’s scallop dish, and Ariane’s simple beef and no-butter cauliflower puree.

Before Martha announces the winner, she plugs her new book – Martha Stewart’s Cooking School – and notes that the winner will receive his or her very own copy.

True to their corrupt New Jersey roots, New Jersey Martha gives the win to New Jersey Ariane – “from one Jersey girl to another”. Carmela Soprano would be so proud.

But then my heart is broken when Martha leaves and we learn that she isn’t sticking around for the Elimination Challenge. What?!? So she was only here to chat about Jersey and sell some books?!? Typical Jersey shady dealings…

Elimination Challenge

After Martha leaves, the Harlem Gospel Choir strolls in, singing the Twelve Days of Christmas. Now that’s a long song anyway, but they are doing the Christina Aguilera/Mariah Carey hold-every-note-for-at-least-three-minutes extended version. The Cheftestants look confused and uncomfortable. You’d be confused and uncomfortable too if the Harlem Gospel Choir walked into your kitchen and sang one song for three hours, nonstop.

After the Choir (finally) finishes – Padma tells the Chefs to draw knives. Each knife reveals a number – one of the Twelve Days of Christmas. After each knife is drawn, one the of Choir members sings … again. Considering this was taped over the summer, I would bet this whole process got old FAST.

Their challenge will be to cater an AMFAR benefit for 250 guests – using one of the Twelve Days of Christmas as their inspiration. Natasha Richardson, actress and AMFAR board member, will be the guest judge, and “Top Chef regular” Michelle Bernstein will be filling in for Gail. But not for her boobies. No one could fill in for those puppies.

Time for Whole Foods shopping – they have 45 minutes, and $800 dollars each. The Hose has pulled “Eleven Pipers Piping”, so he has decided to do smoked pork. Yeah, I don’t get it either. Something about pipe-smoking. Insert joke HERE.

Jeff has “Ten Lords-A-Leaping” – but can’t find frogs legs. He decides to do some “island leaping” theme instead. Again – pretty lame.

I’m not sure what number Stefan got, but he decides to do Chicken Pot Pie – because that was the first Christmas meal he had in the United States. So basically the Cheftestants each got one of the Twelve Days of Christmas to use as their inspiration, but they are just making up anything they want.

Back in the Top Chef Kitchen they have 3 hours to prep. Jamie is doing scallops again, and some blond girl (I think her name is “Melissa” or “Michelle” or “Matilda”) is doing a cheesy “Eight Maids-A-Milking” dish. Gene has “Five Golden Rings” – so he’s putting some crap on a pineapple ring. “Pacific Rim” in da house!

Everyone packs their food into the refrigerators and freezers and goes home for the night.

The next morning they return to the kitchen, only to find that one of the fridge doors was left open, and The Hose’s pork is hot (he could KILL people with that hot pork), and Radhika’s breasts are “garbage”. Don’t be so hard on yourself girl. You're no Gail, but they're not so bad. They also show some blond girl talking about bad cheese – but blondie finds some new cheese, so all is well. Wait, who IS she again??

Hosea and Radhika are stressed – and fear doom. But at that moment, a Christmas MIRACLE happens:

Well … in Top-Chefsville they say, that the Cheftestant’s hearts grew three sizes that day. All the Chefs down in Chefsville, then gathered around, the Christmas prep table and began singing aloud:

Fa – Who – For – Aze
Da – Who – Dor – Aze
Welcome Christmas
Christmas Day

They even found some Roast Beast for Hosea and Radhika to use, and all the Chefs in TopChefsville pitched in to make sure Hosea and Radhika have something to serve. The fridge HADN’T stopped Christmas from coming. It Came! Somehow or other, it came just the same.

After this Christmas Miracle, the Cheftestants head over to the event space to set up for the party. We meet Gail’s replacement – Michelle Bernstein – who I don’t remember from before, but she seems like kind of a bitch. We also meet the gorgeous Natasha Richardson, who is a tireless fighter on behalf of AIDS causes (her father died of the disease). Natasha is also married to that hot hunk of Irish Roast Beast, Liam Neeson. Stefan of Finland seems especially smitten with her – I wonder if that makes Natasha a lesbian?

Anywhoo, Natasha gives a moving speech – and instructs the party-goers to pin their red AIDS ribbon next to their favorite dish.

Crazy Carla can’t concentrate on service, because she’s trying to scam free shoes from Kenneth Cole. “Hootie – Hoo!!”. Gene is telling some bullshit story about his grandmother and sailing around some islands – but no one is buying it. Even Fabio’s charming tale of dancing crab ladies doesn’t impress –the judges think his crab cakes are too dense. And hottie Cheyenne Jackson is totally grossed out by Jamie’s slimy scallops.

Judge Michelle Bernstein tastes Melissa’s Eight Maid’s A Milking dish and remarks “I taste cheese”. I bet that’s not the first time she’s said that. Ariane’s decided to go REALLY simple and do deviled eggs for her “Six Geese-a-laying” theme. This prompts the philosophical discussion – “are you going to win Top Chef with a Deviled Egg?”. To make a long story short: No.

The two standouts seem to be Hosea and Jeff. The ladies seem to like both of them, and Leah is getting a little jealous of the biatches who are getting all up on her man. That is HER Hose! Jeff is also working the Ho’s (NOT the Hose). What I want to know is: where are all the gay men? I don’t care how dense his crab cakes were, all Fabio has to do is talk about his grandma and dancing crab ladies, and he’s got my red ribbon.

After the party, the Chefs head back to the Not-So-Glad Storage Room. Padma calls in Hosea, Jeff, Stefan, and Radhika – these are the top four. Note that two of the four (Hosea and Radhika) were the two that would have lost had it not been for the other Chefs down in Chefsville. Hosea and Radhika definitely give credit to their fellow chefs for their success.

Natasha announces that Hosea is the winner of the challenge – he got the most ribbons, and was also the judges’ favorite.

Judge Michelle, perhaps jealous that Martha Stewart got to plug her book, announces that all the Cheftestants will get a copy of HER book – “Cuisina Latina”. Because when I think “Latina”, I don’t think of J-Lo or Penelope Cruz – I think of someone named “Michelle Bernstein”.

On the bottom we have Eugene, Melissa, and Jamie. Oh, I remember Melissa now – she’s the one who sucks every week!

Everyone defends their dishes and goes back to the Not-So-Glad Room of Doom, while the judges discuss.

The judges bitch and moan and whine about how the food just wasn’t that impressive – even the winners. Chef Tom decides that he needs to talk to everyone – so he sits down in the back room with the Cheftestants.

Uh oh, this could be serious. Tom (and the others) are NOT happy. The food was NOT inspiring. Wait, could they be sending home MULTIPLE people this week?!? After all: YOU DON’T WIN WITH A DEVILED EGG!! Watch out people – Tom is pissed!!!

But then there is another Christmas Miracle: no one is going home. Never mind about that whole pissed off thing. Everyone is safe.

Huh??? Um, I thought that was the whole idea behind each challenge - to get rid of the people that sucked.

So, basically, EVERYONE sucked this week – but everyone stays. Bah Humbug!!! Merry Friggin’ Christmas.

Next week: “Dis is Top Chefs, no Top Scallops”…


frogponder said...

You did it! Not even noon PST!
Always hard to pick my favorite line but I'll go with this one - 'The fridge HADN’T stopped Christmas from coming. It Came! Somehow or other, it came just the same.' snortle!
(a cross between a snort and a chortle).

Beth said...

HOOTIE HOO!!!! Carla needs to quit Hootie-ing...she drives me nuts with that grap. And I have a horrible crush on Fabio...sorry, but his charm is SO working on me. And CHEF TOM! I want him!!!!!


MCWolfe said...

Another fantastic recap. I too was crushed that Martha didn't stay on for the elimination challenge. I had such visions of her walking around looking as if someone was holding something small and stinky under her nose.

But please don't crack on my girl Carla too much. She and my husband went to the same culinary school and I can definitely tell you she is getting the whackadoodle edit (except for the eye thing - that isn't the magic of television).

Kailyn said...

I loved that whole Dynamic Duo conversation at the beginning. So much hotness going on in that chat I almost had to get up to get a beverage so that I could cool off.

And I figured that Ariane would win the quickfire once it became obvious that Martha liked her dish. You know those Jersey chicks stick together.

And what is with Beth always trying to take my men? Tom is so mine.

Howard said...

Wow, faster than the average bear, my hero!

Great recap, and the homage to Theodore Geisel & Boris Karloff had me in need of a Depends coupon. And I was also in a Grinch-like state, for I was truly disappointed no one was banished from Whoville.

Fabio's charm still isn't working on me, but Jeff's is. Must be the hair.

Bob said...

I love Top Chef!
Love it.
And every episode I see, I think, Hey, I'll do a recap on my blog.
Then I remember how truly hysterical, and right on, your recap is, so I step away from the computer.
Keyboard down.
Hands up!

Funny funny funny stuff there, David.

Thanks for the giggles.

Live from Chefsville.

mikeinbama said...

Great Recap.... Fabio is offically my favorite cheftestant this year.

Tivo Mom said...

I needed that laugh but for the rest of the afternoon I will be singing the damn who song. Hilarious as always but I just knew that when Hosea said "I have this in the bag" he was going home. Boy was I wrong. Anyway so impressed with how quickly you finished today. Later tater.

Zombie Mom said...

You are my hero... I am also all about Tom...

Kisses to you

mischa said...

I'm wonder if we knew each other in a former life?........once again hilarious perfection. And who cares if Fabio makes gray polenta, pink polenta or can cook at all for that matter. All he has to do is read the directions for making a frozen tv dinner aloud. Hubba, hubba, and then some.

The Jerc said...

LOVE the recap - but lay off those Jersey girls :) we may be from the armpit of the country, but we've got awesome stuff here, like Martha, The Sopranos, Wawa... the Turnpike? hmm...

Anyway. Awesome write up! Keep up the good work and happy holidays!

Wonder Man said...

I'm glad no one left, but I was worried about Jamie for a minute there

Joy said...

Love you! Love your title! Love the Whoville parts!

Fabio can get my ribbons anytime! It's all in the accent! Italian and English accents really do it for me!!! (Hey, Beth, Seal!)

I thought Martha would stay on, too, but Natasha Richardson should have filled your loss of boobies with Gail. The camera angle was spectacular when she was talking there to the crowd. And what about her dress later at the judge's table? Totally different top. What's with that? She's beautiful and looks so much like her mother at that age. Oh and yes about Liam Neeson.

Jeff is cute and resembles the Australian actor on House who occasionally appears now but was a regular.

I thought Hosea would win the Quickfire until the Sopranos stepped in. Great comparison there, DD!!

Excellent once again, m'dear!!


theminx said...

Thank you for allowing me to make a Padma/Pot joke in my recap.

And Michelle Bernstein is Latina - who knew?


Berry Blog said...

Ha ha..when you think latina.... you think Bernstein. I guess a batch of us have been mulling this show over while waiting for your final word which we all accept as gospel.
Winners have gotten such good prizes...the books just seem to suck. As chefs back at home, do they frame a book and put it on the dining room wall? "Martha ate, burped, and farted our cuisine. We paid "29.95 for her autograph but the book was a prize."
Among the men this round, I find no heartthrobs, but there is no lack of idiocy. The Hawaiian dude is burying himself in arrogance and the judges obviously do not appreciate his rise from dishwashing to know it all.
Ennywayz, you sure did get me chuckling over your take on it all.
and tonight is one of your big events...ready, set...go for it.
Love ya-Charlie

Anonymous said...

Easy on the Jersey hatin... My thoughts available at

Otherwise, solid recap! I don't think people are respecting the quality of food that Ariane is producing. Honestly, I will take a solid cut of meat or main course over some fancy ceviche anyday...

Also, I attended the AMFAR event... the food was much better than they gave credit too... I gave my ribbon to Hosea... the pork and sides were out of this world. Jamie's food tasted good, but the temp was def off... and I hate deviled eggs...but those crab eggs were really, really good.

ClaireWalter said...

A-MAZING summary. Your recap must have taken as long to write as the episode took to air -- endless commercials and all. So happy to have DVR to fast-forward through them all.

Alpha Omega said...


“I just tried the Seven Swans A-Swimming, um, and it was good, surprisingly. I’m not usually a scallops person. A little too slimy.”

This is what Cheyenne Jackson said about the scallops. He like them but in general thinks they are slimy.

Shady editing...They are trying to kill off team rainbow.

Renee said...

How The Fridge Stole Christmas

I was disappointed that Martha wasn't around for the elimination challenge too. I adore Martha.

I like Carla- she cracks me up. I would have tried to scam some free shoes from Kenneth Cole too. Carla, Ariane, and Fabio are my favorite cheftestants.

I loved how all the chefs helped Hosea and Radhika . Very classy.

Anonymous said...

Fab post I was laughing out loud hahaha -
Thank you for being a bright spot in the dark winter of Finland :)

Anonymous said...

Great job on the review! I gotta tell ya, I suspect that 2 people will be going home in the next episode. Think about it. There are no limits, and nobody went home for the "holidays".

Can we please just call it christmas and hannukah and get the PC garbage over with? If somebody is going to get offended that we aren't recognizing their satanic/ringknocker/day of sacrificing pigeons, then maybe they should move to new jersey and learn to deal with it! :)

But yeah, I think 2 people go home next episode. And while I hope it is Melissa & Arianne, I'm already thrown off with Jamie constantly making soup & scallops. I mean come on.

Anonymous said...

PS- Maybe Martha Stewart had to leave because her house arrest bracelet was buzzing. Nice job Collichio, Top Chef's first convicted felon judge!

miss alaineus said...

someone needs to remind martha that they thicken lots of sauces in prison with cornstarch....

i live for this recap now. it's oh so much better then the show.


Anonymous said...

Don't know if anyone else has noticed this too, but when the episode aired on Wednesday and Padma and Martha went to see Jamie - Padma commented that scallops weren't "very winter" well Jamie defends herself and then Martha goes on to say "oh yeah, those January scallops up in Maine." Well, I just caught part of re-run today and they had edited out Padma's comment! Did she ask them to because it made her look dumb because she didn't know scallops were in season in winter? Interesting. Also I think that once Arianne "fooled" Martha with the butter thing it was in the bag! But seriously Jamie needs to win - she has been so close so many times. The downfall seems to be that Arianne knows how to prepare meat well - and that impresses everyone. Great post1

Kwana said...

Who's that blond girl again? Loved it!

Sacto Floyd said...

The Ariane Motherhood strikes once again! Another win (albeit only a QF) for her. Can the Apocalypse be far behind?

Cliff O'Neill said...

For the life of me, I don't know how you can do this so damn fast!

You're brilliant, as ever.

But, as a 'Rican, I gotta say, my name hardly connotes Latino either.

Hootie hoo!

toni said...

This is the best recap of Episode 6 I've read. Love your writing!!! I was laughing the whole time. :D I'm off to read you previous recaps!

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