Thursday, February 5, 2009

Top Chef Episode Eleven - It's All Good

Last time on Top Chef, a group of former Cheftestant losers competed with this season’s Cheftestants in the Top Chef Stupidbowl. Jeff with the Hair went home and Carla won. Hootie Hoo!!

This week’s episode opens, as always, in the Top Chef apartment. Fabio whips out his T-Mobile sidekick to call his wife, and immediately my heart sinks. As I’ve said before, calling home at the beginning of an episode usually means you will be going home at the end of the episode. Please don’t deprive me of my Italian Stallion.

Fabio asks his wife how their restaurant is doing – and she replies “good”. Fabio is concerned because no matter what, Wifey always says “good”. She also describes Orange Sherbet, Rhianna’s music, and sex with her husband as being “good”. Fabio would prefer it if she was more specific, if possible. After he hangs up, Fabio tells us he “has to win” this competition for his wife. Because she will think it is "good".

Hosea gives us his best Dick Cheney imitation. Since The Hose is the last heterosexual American male on Top Chef (and indeed in all of New York City) he vows to win on behalf of the Republican Party and Straight White Men everywhere. It's what Ronald Reagan and Jesse Helms would have wanted.

They enter the Top Chef Kitchen and find Padma standing with legendary Chef Eric Ripert – owner of Le Bernadin restaurant here in NYC. Some of the Cheftestants remark about how incredible Chef Ripert is, and how nervous they are to be in his presence.

The Quickfire Challenge this week will be a three-round fish filleting tournament – in honor of seafood master Ripert. When Padma said “fish fillet”, I thought she meant Filet-O-Fish – which I used to make as a young "crew person" at McDonald's. You deep fry the frozen fish pattie for 3 ½ minutes in oil that’s at 330 degrees. Steam the bun; add a ½ slice of cheese and a squirt of tarter sauce – and Voila! Does this mean I just won the Quickfire Challenge?

Actually, the Quickfire is much more complicated than that. Round One requires the Cheftestants to clean and butterfly sardines. Carla, all of a sudden, turns into a Cockney Eliza Doolittle – describing sardines as “Wee li-il fish, Governor!”. WTF??

Fish Chef Hosea is having a little trouble, but explains he “doesn’t do small fish” at his restaurant. Please insert Hosea/Leah hookup joke [HERE].

After they finish, Chef Ripert judges the results. This time Carla speaks in a Scarlett O’Hara southern drawl – saying she realizes her sardines look horrible. I had no idea Carla and her Spirit Guides did impressions. She could be the next Rich Little.

Fabio makes sure to tell Chef Eric that he is Italian and has been slicing up sardines since he was young little meatball. What kind of childhood did poor Fabio have? – he stirred polenta, chopped onions and filleted sardines all day. Don’t they have coloring books in Italy? Haven’t they heard of Tonka Trucks? Whatsamattayou?!?

Based on their crappy sardines – Crazy Eliza Carlittle O’Hara and Jamie are both out.

Round Two is Arctic Char. They must make two lovely fillets – which The Hose and Stefan do well. Fabio and Leah do the worst, and are out.

Finally, we get to Round Three – Eels – which are still writhing around. Arch enemies Hosea and Stefan will go head-to-head for the Quickfire win.

Confident Stefan immediately puts a smirk on his face. “Skinning eel is what we do in Germany!” (or Finland, or the Czech Republic, or Chefganistan) – and Stefan has been doing it since he was a kid. I have three words of advice for Europe: Toys R Us. Seriously – look into it.

Now I must admit, I turned away from the television during this segment. Dust Bunny Kayce (Chef The City) warned us last week that the proper way to fillet an eel was to first nail it to the cutting board – which Stefan promptly did. Here is what I imagine the process looked like…

The Hose complains that they don’t have eels in Colorado – and he has no idea how to fillet one. Note to Hosea: they don’t have a sea in Colorado either, but you claim to be a seafood chef – so deal with it. They also don’t have toys in Europe, but they do OK - don’t they?

Dominant Stefan wins the Quickfire, leaving his arch rival Hosea in the dust. Stefan and Hosea are the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote of reality television. When will Hose E. Coyote realize that he will NEVER win?...

With the Quickfire Challenge complete, Chef Ripert invites the Cheftestants to Le Bernadin for lunch the following day.

The next morning the Cheftestants get all gussied up to eat at Le Bernadin – which Hosea pronounces “Lay Burn Uh Dan”. Apparently they don’t have French pronunciation in Colorado either.

They arrive at the restaurant and sit down with Chefs Tom Colicchio and Eric Ripert for a six-course seafood lunch. Items include snapper, monkfish, black bass and lobster. Jamie, the petulant lesbian, disses a couple of the dishes – including the black bass with braised celery. Slutty Leah, on the other hand, can only talk about how “cute” Eric Ripert is. I bet Leah was REALLY popular in Culinary School – with the boys, at least.

Fish dish after fish dish comes out for everyone to taste. It’s all very fancy – but made to look not so fancy – but tastes very complicated. That’s all just a little too much for me. If I was doing a fish tasting menu, here would be my six courses…

And every course would come with Onion Rings – ‘cause that’s how I roll.

At the end of lunch, the knife block comes out. Chef Tom says the Elimination Challenge will be for them to recreate the dishes they just ate. Stefan, as the winner of the Quickfire, gets to choose his dish. They rest will draw knives. Stefan chooses the lobster dish – which Hosea claims is “the easiest”. Because if Hosea won the Quickfire, he would have selected the most difficult dish. Right.

They have two hours to prep and practice – and will then cook their dishes for the judges. The Cheftestant with the dish that is LEAST like the original will go home.

Jamie ends up with the Black Bass/Braised Celery dish she didn’t like – and seems to have trouble. In addition to braised celery, she must make a ham sauce – which she has never done. The more I think about “ham sauce”, the more I think it should be put on everything. Fish Sticks dipped in Ham Sauce sounds like a perfect meal to me.

Leah and Hosea also seem to have trouble. Hosea must use za’atar – a spice he has never used before. They don’t have it in Colorado. Leah – who claims to have been the “Lead Fish Cook” at her last restaurant, can’t seem to get her Mahi-Mahi dish right either.

Chef Ripert comes in to visit the Cheftestants and give them some guidance. He tastes everyone's dishes, except Jamie's -who didn’t have her dish prepared on time. After giving them some helpful hints, Chef Eric wishes everyone luck and goes into the dining room to await the results.

First up, we have Fabio and the Red Snapper. He adorably tells us how he “sear-ed da bread”. I love how Fabio makes a one syllable word like "seared" into two syllables (“sear-ed”, “age-ed”). They obviously don’t have one syllable words in Europe. Anywhoo, the judges seem to think Fabio’s Snapper is “good”. Or “go-od”.

Second is Leah and the Mahi Mahi. Tom thinks it’s overcooked, and Toby Young continues to be the most annoying person in the history of television. I didn’t write down what Toby said, but there is some stray saliva in my notebook from me spitting out curse words while Toby was on the screen. I wish Stefan would just give Toby the eel treatment…

Speaking of Stefan – he is up next with his Lobster and Asparagus dish. Other than a thick sauce, the judges seem to really likee. In fact, Chef Ripert seems to be sweating the fact that Stefan came so close. Either that or Ripert still remembers what Stefan did to that poor eel.

Next up is Carla – who is cooking a fish called Escolar. As soon as I hear “escolar”, I think of Columbian drug lord Pablo Escobar – and make a note to use this somewhere in my recap. Because murderous cocaine kingpins are funny! I am SO proud of myself for thinking of such a witty thing – surely no one else would ever think of it. What a funny person I am! Anywhoo – the judges likee Carla’s dish.

Hosea tells us for the millionth time that he is “the seafood guy”, and then proceeds to completely underwhelm the judges with his Monkfish. Beep beep!

Finally, we have Jamie and her Black Bass. Jamie tells us she feels confident because “I know how to cook fish”. That’s like putting me on Project Runway because I threaded a sewing machine in 8th Grade Home Economics. Good luck with that. The judges make faces at Jamie’s extremely salty celery. They no likee.

Back at the Judge’s Table, Fabio, Stefan and Carla are called in. They are the top three. The judges discus their dishes, and AssHat Toby Young calls Carla’s dish “Pablo Escolar”! I thought of that shit first – I SWEAR! Attention Top Chef Producers: if Gail and her Boobies are not back next season I will gut you like Stefan does a fresh-water eel. Make a note of it, bitches.

Eric Ripert announces that Stefan is the winner and will receive the opportunity to spend a week working with him at Le Bernadin. Stefan also wins a romantic trip for two somewhere with Chef Ripert. I bet Leah (and Fabio) will be jealous.

Leah, Jamie and Hosea are the bottom three, and stand before the judges. Hosea and Jamie own up to their mistakes and realize exactly what they did wrong. Leah, on the other hand, sounds like a she drank a six pack and smoked a blunt before she spoke to the judges. Either that, or she is just really stupid. Which, again, probably added to her popularity with the boys.

“Um … blah blah … greasy … um … blah blah … lemon … um … ok … blah blah … butter … um …ok”. Thanks for explaining yourself, Leah. Toby declares that he still has the taste of her fish in his mouth, and it’s not pleasant. Insert Hosea/Leah hookup joke [HERE]. Chef Tom really seems to have hated her dish – and wonders if Leah has just given up on the competition.

At this point, it looks to me like Leah will be going home – which she deserves to do. But the judges also hated Jamie’s dish. Padma claims she would have sent it back and it wasn’t pleasing to eat or even look at (which, coincidentally, also describes the men Padma dates). Toby described Jamie’s dish as having a “metallic” and “toxic” flavor – similar to Toby Young’s personality.

The judges deliberate and come to a decision. Leah will be go…

Wait. What? Leah is staying?? Are you serious??!!?? OK, who did Leah “just kiss” under the Judge’s Table to stick around another week?

Jamie is actually going home – which is ridiculous. Team Rainbow is no more, and that skank Leah is still here. I call SHENANIGANS.

Next week. Fabio gets hurt?!? That’s not “good”.


mikeinbama said...

Great Recap. You had a couple of doozies in there that made me laugh out loud.

Leah is this years...angry lesbian from last season.(I don't remember her name because lesbians ruin everything) She will get to the finals even though she should have been gone 3 weeks ago.

Hosea is a douchebag and hopefully he will get drop kicked off next week.

I'm still loving listening to Fabio talk, he's so funny.

My highlights that made me laugh from your recap:

You deep fry the frozen fish pattie for 3 ½ minutes in oil that’s at 330 degrees. Steam the bun; add a ½ slice of cheese and a squirt of tarter sauce – and Voila! Does this mean I just won the Quickfire Challenge?

“Skinning eel is what we do in Germany!” (or Finland, or the Czech Republic, or Chefganistan) – and Stefan has been doing it since he was a kid. I have three words of advice for Europe: Toys R Us. Seriously – look into it.

That’s like putting me on Project Runway because I threaded a sewing machine in 8th Grade Home Economics.


Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but I am laughing my ass off about "skinning the eel." Because I am 12.

Anonymous said...

Loved the recap... hated that Jamie lost, and LeHO will infest my tv yet another week.

Bob said...

Jaime? Really?
Leah who has schtupped, wants to schtup, every man woman and child on the show, near the show or watching the show, and to top it off the Head Fish cook--as she dubbed herself--canNOT cook fish is still there!
It's all about ratings!
Shame on you Bravo.

Sidenote: Leah is the Head Fish Cook because her knees are dirty.

MCWolfe said...

David, I think you are the funniest person on the planet, maybe even in the universe. I haven't laughed this hard since, well, last week's recap.

As for the skanque, she is the beneficiary of the fact that someone else's food has sucked more every week. It got Lisa to the final last season but I hope it doesn't work this time around.

So who do you think the surprise cheftestant in the final will be? I'm rooting for Carla.

i love unagi said...

Nooo! not Jamie. a bummer of a mistake. I'd take a little salt over apathy any day.

Can I just say, Daaamn that's an enormous bit of wood Stefan is gettin all lumberjacky with... whats it like 3 ft long.... sorry got mesmerized a little there.

Miss Apathy gets another week to squeak by. She can only articulate when she's talking about guys. ughh

chef_the_city said...

fucking leah?!? really?!? jaime was 534453984x better than her (even though she steadfastly cooked shellfish)... i second the shenanigans.

i am sooo sad and devastated that i missed chef eric!!! you know i don't usually heart the white meat, but ripert is one *HAWT* daddy... the lips, the accent, the swagger ~ works for me! he is like a hot biscuit w/ butter and honey ~ in other words: ALL. GOOD.

i would've liked to see the eel fabrication, too... it's so deliciously brutal. on my myspace page, i have a yt vid of chef morimoto ~ *bows head* the master ~ working an eel out on japanese iron chef. also, i would have liked the opportunity to critique stefan's bone-cutting skillz. *reserving snarky comment b/c i heart david*

mr. dust, you must promise me one thing... if i ever come to nyc to see you, i don't want to go to a bar or a club or even arbys. i want to sit w/ you and oscar on your couch w/ some bacardi limon and curse the hell out of some reality tv "stars"! deal?


David Dust said...

Kayce - that's a deal.


BTW - you may resume emailing me :)

>P, b.

theminx said...

OMG - if I wasn't at work right now, I'd be howling with laughter. As it is, I had to keep it to a few somewhat subtle snorts here and there.

Rich Little? Does anyone else know who he is? And I think your Toys R Us suggestion for Europe is spot on. :)

Don't forget to read my recap!

Lesley Robin said...

very nice recap. toby young and his clever quips need to pack their knives and go ASAP.

Beth said...

I SOOOOO wanted Leah to go home. I really don't like she's set her sights on that french chef guy...sheesh.

But I am lovin me some Fabio and Stafan! I think those two will really go at it in the final! and how freakin CUTE is Stefan??!!! OMG!!!! I would so do him.

Mark in DE said...

Fabulous recap, David Darling! It was better than actually watching the show!

Like you, I was surprised that Jamie was sent home instead of Leah, who ALWAYS appears to be drunk and high, (lucky for Hosea).

Howard said...

Another excellent job - again surpassing the actual show! Frankly, this 'reality' program has got to start getting better writers, because I am with you, it was either shenanigans or BJs that were the call of the day.

Again, I am convinced no one has anything that can challenge Stefan, and they seem to eliminate anyone who can. I fully expect Carla to Hootie-Hoo her way to the final at this point. Or will it be the rather loosely defined European, Wiley Coyote, and and the duller version of Jessica Rabbit?

And I, too, despise Toby and hope Gail and her traveling funbags return next season. He seems more intent on being some self-aggrandizing form of bitchy than actually being useful or pertinent. I'd rather eat Jamie's celery than watch him for much longer.

JenM said...

"Attention Top Chef Producers: if Gail and her Boobies are not back next season I will gut you like Stefan does a fresh-water eel. Make a note of it, bitches."

During last night's show I Toby had me soooo annoyed I was thinking the same thing. I couldn't have said it better. Except maybe, Make a note of it, bitches!


Anonymous said...

chef the city,
From your comments, (nice by the way haha) i take it that you missed this episode??
I don't have tv but i gots a link to the Uz Tubez with the episode if you can't wait for the reruns.

still chuckling over "don't they have coloring books in Italy??" hahhahha

Anonymous said...

bwaaaahahahahaha! You are the best. Just popped over after reading minx's recap. I've laughed to much my tummy hurts. This season has been so whacky. I guess now I'm rooting for Carla, & Fabio, but I feel sure that based on skill, it will be Stephan all the way.

C'est moi, c'est moi Lola said...

When are Carla's spirit guides going to tell her to lock Leah in the walk-in freezer?

I don't watch the show very often, but I have to admit that I miss Gail's boobies, 'cause they're better than Toby's moobs.

And Eric Riepert can be my culinary daddy any damn day of the week...

mischa said...

As always, I lov-ah da recap. I was SO pissed they sent jamie home. It's obvious to me it was a producer decision to the slut and ho around a while longer. Ok, gotta go catch my bus. love ya, bye

frogponder said...


I think one of my nieces was an exchange student there!

Loverly as always and the thought that I would be coming home to this got me through 2 looooong hours with my student who winks in and out of alternative galaxies.

c. said...

Shananigans indeed! Though, I think they may have kept adorable Fabio around an extra week for ratings as well. Platinum blonde Jeff appeared to have a better dish in the last challenge. Did you hear how he dissed the show after he was kicked off? Shut your ungrateful mouth, bitch.

and I loved Jamie. Best lesbian they ever had on the show. I will miss Stefan's "break the lesbian" advances.

Bittybis said...

Toby Young cannot leave fast enough for me. I had no problem watching the eel skinning, but I wanted to turn away every time Toby opened his mouth. Maybe it's wishful thinking, but I could swear Eric Ripert thinks Toby is the world's biggest douche. Seriously. Watch the judges table part again. And there's a moment where Eric Ripert's face says "What the fuck is this turd doing here?" and Tom Colicchio face says "I'm sorry, Eric, we didn't realize until it was too late." and TY is completely oblivious.

Bittybis said...

Also, thanks for your always hilarious recaps. I check your site obsessively all day on Thursdays with giddy anticipation.

Berry Blog said...

so many new words created- where to begin praise. When you did your six fish dishes I just fell out of my chair.
Hosea is such a little boy who just never made varsity but is an expert on the sport.
Jamie grew on me...and although at times abrasive...she deserves a break. She is one who really got involved on many levels with the show.
Leah is such a goldbricker I have no words for my disgust.
I just love karla...I keep saying that don't I. She is so multifacted, bug eyed, and space cadet...but somehow she is always central to what's going on.
The eel scene was almost shocking...Stefan really knew what he was doing and watching the jerk in back learning by watching stephan while he stagbs Stefan in the back during his solo interviews...annoyed me.
/the recap was just wonderful...definitely once again the blogging highlight of the week.

Anonymous said...

Hello Everybody:

Duster man im back. Sorry was traveling quiet a bit and just read your recap. You are the man i like the chopping pictures ;-). Ha Ha. You are the master of blogging ;-) and im happy to be a part of it. I will write more tomorrow


And all of you bloggers you are the best even TIVO MOM ;-) miss your words of wisdom

Miss Ginger Grant said...

I think that apparently Fabio and Stefan have enough to play with that they don't need Toys R Us! That's my fantasy and i'm sticking too it. Oh, and Chef Ripert. He's my fantasy, too! I've seen him on the show before, but he never got me all moist like he did last night! He's a smoothie! Me Likee!

Anonymous said...

Loved the recap and loved the whooping Stefan gave Hosea by skinning that eel like nobody's business!! I admit it, he has won me over.

Sadly I fell asleep on my couch during the judging room part (pitiful, I know) and woke up to find out Leah wasn't kicked off! WTF is that? Are the producers hoping for another hook-up? Possibly a Top Chef baby?? Personally, I will take Jaime and her scallops any day over another Leah-Hosea snog-fest!

Eric Ripert = Yummy :)

Renee said...

Awesome recap. I could not watch the eel segment either. Yikes!

Where do I sign up for the David Dust fish tasting menu? MMMMM Filet O' Fish.

Padma claims she would have sent it back and it wasn’t pleasing to eat or even look at (which, coincidentally, also describes the men Padma dates). LMAO!

Leah and the Hose need to go, right now. Who do I have to pay off to make this happen? She is a simpering fool and I am so tired of the Hose bitching about Stefan. The Hose is either so completely jealous of Stefan or he has a secret crush on him. RUN STEFAN RUN!

I was hoping Carla would win.

Joy said...

I want ham sauce on my food, too. So many fabulous lines and hilarity!! That about Padma's men is so right!

As you know, I wanted Carla to win because the judges said hers was spot on. Even though I believe Stefan will win the whole thing, I'm tired of his winning so many challenges on the way there when others might have been better.

I am disgusted that Leah is still there. I hate it. She should have been sent packing weeks ago. It's wrong.

I have a question for Stefan. Do the other Top Cheftestants read David's blog? Did you hear about it from past participants?

My dear darling David!! Love you! LOVE your recaps! xoxoxoxoxo

Anonymous said...

DD, I laughed out loud , esp. at the Toys R Us comment for 'us' Europeans :) Thanks for the funniest, wittiest blogging, Call you next week XOXO Vavi

elfman said...

I just wanted to say I enjoy your blog. I am a regular blogger on
Kim's ON THE SET BLOG and we love
Top Chef and Project Runway.
I was bummed about Jaime.
I hope Carla goes to the finals.
She never throws anyone under the bus when many times she could have.
Eric Rippert is my favorite judge.
Like a French Elvis.

Cliff O'Neill said...

Still howling over the Hosea/Stefan Wile E. Coyote comparison!!

And I think everyone at this stage would like to see Toby Young get the eel treatment!

Kwana said...

Chiming in so late to say thinks for the laugh. Gave this a good read when I was feeling meh. You brought me right back up. I laughed out loud. The image of you and Toby locked in a room together is stuck in my mind. Gail had better come back for his sake!

Margo said...

Loved your recap!! Especially the Padma comments at the end. Can't believe they didn't send Leah home. I can't stand how she speaks and how she pouts for everything. Maybe you could get away with that when you were 5, but that is not cute on a 20-something.

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