Thursday, August 13, 2009

Top Chef Masters Ep. 9: "What's My Name?... B-U-T-T-M-U-N-C-H"

Last week on Top Chef Masters, the chef’s cooked a lunch for actress/vegan/gluten-allergic/pain-in-the-ass Zooey Deschanel and her friends. And Art “Food is Love” Smith was sent home after learning that cooking for Vegans is even harder than keeping up with Oprah’s insatiable appetite for Macaroni & Cheese.

Four chefs remain – Hubert Keller, Anita Lo, Rick Bayless, and Michael “David Has Been Saying For Weeks That I’m An Ass” Chiarello. They enter the kitchen and are greeted by Kelly Choi.

Kelly announces that this will be the last Quckfire before the Championship Round. And they’ve saved “the best for last” – the blindfolded taste test. Each chef will taste 20 ingredients – the chef who identifies the most will get 5 Stars.

The chefs wait in the dining room to be called individually. Chef Anita Lo mentions that the charity she is playing for is “Cher” ("Share??”). I had no idea my favorite Gypsy, Tramp & Thief was having money problems…

Michael Chiarello is up first, and he’s all like “Italian, Italian, Italian” – and I’m all like “Puke, Puke, Barf”. FYI: The “Italian” missed mascarpone.

The other chefs follow. Hubert’s favorite part was when Kelly blindfolded him (za French, zey are so kinky, no?), and Rick and Anita both identified something called poppadom correctly. That’s funny, I dated a guy named Dominic once, and he liked it when I called him “BIG Poppa Dom”…

The results of the Quickfire are: Michael Suckmyassiarello wins, followed by Rick and Anita. Hubert comes in last.

Kelly announces this week’s Elimination Challenge. The chefs will be preparing a buffet lunch for 200 people rounded up off Los Angeles streets (AKA “Hollywood Insiders”). Each chef must “hire” three sous chefs to help him or her.

The potential sous chefs enter, and they are all former Top Cheftestants. These include winner Ilan, Asshats Spike and Dale, GENUINE Italian Fabio, and Alex Eusebio – the Dominican cutie who was about to be married when he appeared on Season 5. I know, I’m the only one who remembers him – but you know how I am with the Papis. And you know what they say about Dominican men…

Trust me – it’s true. Anywhore, the Masters will have a few minutes to “interview” each former Cheftestants – and then they’ll pick teams.

Immediately, Michael Chiarello cranks up the douchiness to DoucheWarp 17. The first thing he does is tell LesbiJamie to go find some carrots and a knife and start chopping. And then he wants her to iron his shirts and make him a sandwich. Michael is so douchy, that the douchiest douchebag in Doucheville (AKA “Spike”) thinks Chiarello is simply ridiculous.

Even Richard Blais, the mild-mannered “Molecular Gastronomist” runner-up from Season 4, thought Chiarello was an ass – especially when he started asking everyone “What’s my name?”. Blais answered “Key-A-Rell-ee??” and said that anyone who asks “what’s my name?” should NEVER get their name pronounced correctly. Score one for the Molecular Geekstonomist.

Meanwhile, the non-douchy Masters are actually asking questions and discussing the Cheftestant’s backgrounds. You know, like in a normal interview. CJ said it was like “speed dating for chefs”. If that was the case, Michael Chiarello would have ended up with absolutely NO potential matches and wouldn’t have been invited back.

Slimeiarello gets to pick first – and he picks Fabio. Fabio looks devastated because he, like everyone else, wants to work with the legendary Hubert Keller – not the legendarily asinine Michael Chiarello – Italian or not.

The teams end up as follows:

Team What’s My Name?: Fabio, Brian Malarky, and CJ

Team Bayless: Richard Blais, Papi Alex, Betty

Team Anita Lo: Jamie, Dale, Ilan. Jamie (who worked with Anita years ago) actually suggested she pick Dale. And Ilan – who WON his season of Top Chef – was picked third-to-last (just ahead of Betty and Spike). Ouch.

Team Hubert Keller: Antonia, Elia, and Spike. Spike said that it was a “compliment” to be picked last, because the Masters didn’t want Spike to “outshine” them. And that’s why Spike was the douchiest douchebag in Doucheville … until Michael Chiarello stole his douchy crown.

The chefs meet with their sous chefs. Bayless and Keller really seem to want input, Anita mumbles something about “Asian” and “Raw Bar” and “playing it safe”, and Michael Chiarello demands that his sous chefs go out and wash his car.

Everyone splits up for shopping at Restaurant Depot and Whole Foods to spend their $2,000 budgets – and then they all return to the Top Chef kitchen for 3 ½ hours of prep.

Right off the bat, the former Cheftestant sous chefs know that being nice and cordial to your “colleagues” just doesn’t cut it in this game. Dale and the others start claiming fridge and freezer space immediate. Chiarello was too busy worrying about the fact that his sous chefs didn’t polish his hub caps correctly to immediately claim fridge space. When Chiarello figures out what has happened, he tries to intimidate Dale into giving up his refrigerator.

Wrong move. First of all, Dale has a bit of a temper. Secondly, Dale suffers from a condition known as “Short Man’s Disease”. Smaller men sometimes make up for their stature by being combative little wombats. So when Michael stars referring to Dale as “young man”, he might have well have called him “Half-Pint”, “Little Fella” or “Shorty McShrimperstein”.

Dale wasn’t haven’t it and started yelling “Whaddya Gonna DO about it?!?”. Now I realize that violence isn’t usually the answer, but if there was ever a time when it was called for, it was now. I was PRAYING for Dale to smack Chiarello. But Dale didn’t swing, and Michael mumbled something about “Italian Macho” and slithered away. I think if Dale would have thrown the first punch, the rest of the Cheftestants would have probably joined in and piled on. I can just picture Antonia and Betty wailing on Chiarello and screaming “What’s MY name, you little BITCH?!?!”.

Over at Team Anita, Chef Lo is remembering things about Jamie. Like how it takes her forever to prepare seafood. Chef Anita mumbles something diplomatic about Jamie getting “overwhelmed by details”, which is just code for “Damn, that girl is SLOW”.

Prep Day is over – and it’s now Elimination Day. Everyone re-enters the kitchen for what they think will be 2 ½ hours to prepare their buffets. But Kelly walks in and announces a “twist” – the location will now be at a hotel, and they must pack everything up and move to the new site.

Everything is neatly put into the Glad family of products (natch) and shipped over to the hotel. When they get over there, the chefs realize that the buffets will be set up outside in the blazing sun. Kelly then announces the final twist – one sous chef must be cut from each team immediately.

Malarky, Betty, Jamie, and Spike get cut (I’m sure Spike was sent home because he was outshining Hubert Keller). Fabio was glad not to be sent home, since he had worked so hard and was “sweateeng like a mountain-a goat at da bitch!”. Goodness, I miss Fabio…

The well-dressed homeless Hollywood Insiders arrive, as do the judges. They visit Anita Lo’s Asian Buffet first, then Michael Chiarello’s “Rustic Italian Buffet” (which Blais said looked like “a wedding from 1987”), followed by Chef Hubert’s table. Finally, they end up at Rick Bayless’ Mexican Buffet – complete with Richard Blais making tableside sorbet with liquid nitrogen.

The chefs serve and the judges and guests eat. When it’s all over, the four remaining Masters head back to the Judges Table.

While the judges speak to the chefs it becomes very apparent that they really likee Chefs Keller and Bayless, and no likee Chefs Lo and Chiarello. They weren’t thrilled with the sun-cooked “raw” bar from Anita Lo, and the judges had problems with some of Chiarello’s 1987 Wedding items – especially the raggedy swordfish.

Time for the results. Hubert wins, and he and Rick Bayless move on to the final round. This leaves Anita Lo and Michael Chiarello. You can imagine who I wanted to stay.

But NOOOOOOOOOOOOO, Anita Lo is sent home with no money for Cher. And Michael Chiarello is still the douchiest douchebag in Doucheville. AND we have to suffer through another week of his douchiosity.

What’s MY name: "P-I-S-S-E-D".


Cliff O'Neill said...

Michael C is my personal hero. I only wish he would have fricasseed Dale.

Carry on.

Amber LeMay said...

Oh D.D.
We disagree
For in my book
My favorite cook
Is your douchebag "C"

Wonder Man said...

I remember Alex, so hot.

And I kinda like Michael C and I still have my crush on Dale

Meeg said...

Lo had to go.

And I had a hard time picking sides in the Dale/Chiarello douche off.

Kailyn said...

Poppadom is an Indian appetizer made from lentils. Love them.

Also still loving Hubert especially since he pulled off a win even though he started with the lowest score. He is a genius.

frogponder said...

First off - Michael Chiarello - David was right, David was right, David was right!

So many lines so little space so I'll just say stellar job, as always!

Brandon-Cristion said...

I def won't be able to watch Michael's show on food network any time soon. He came off so... ugly. "Young man?" "What's my name?" "Who am I to you?" Really? They may not be as well known as the Master's contestants, but they were definitely chefs before they got there and should be treated as such. I guess that just hit a nerve in me since I am one and have so many chefs in my family.

I usually would shake my head or roll my eyes when Dale would go off the handle, but he was so justified. He actually got a little cuter in my eyes after that, haha.

Gail Carriger said...

I'm sad in Peru missing TCM - but I must say your reviews are quite probably about a thousand times better anyway. Thank you thank you.

Anonymous said...

I'm done watching the show. I personally felt Anita should have stayed for the finals. What Michael C made didn't look appetizing and the judges said so themselves. So, I don't understand why Anita was sent home after making that great tasting meat dish and she it's not her fault they changed venues on her. She just got bad luck that it was changed to an outside venue and it was hot and sunny. And what's us with making fun of Share- a breast and ovarian cancer charity?

Joy said...

Excellent! I swear you get better all the time! How is it possible?

Yep, Michael was an extreme douche tonight.

I LOVE Hubert and am so glad he won! (za French, zey are so kinky, no?) Oui!

I also love Rick and am glad he was in the top two.

So many hilarious lines and so so wonderful!

Love you! Love your recaps!!!

Thank you for that fabulous comment on my blog! You rock!!!

theminx said...

I always knew Chiarello had it in him to be SuperDouche, and I was not disappointed.

So...ready to do two TC recaps next week? :)


Berry Blog said...

Oh my, I so loved Anita Lo- she is so conscientious and doesn't blow her horn. but the situation destroyed her this time.
we are certianly in the same boat, on the same page, of the same mind with these contestants.
Love you David.( although agreeing with each other is not a condition)

SilvestriWoman said...

For all your righteous piling on Chiarello, you didn't mention his comment, which pretty much proved why he was on the line. Upon hearing that both Bayless and Keller had presented dishes created by their sous-chefs, he seeemed surprised, mentioning that took real balls. Well, I'd say it takes supreme self-confidence and a realization that the world is not all about you!

My only disappointment was that - at least from the editing - Keller did not credit Antonia with her beet dish, even as the judge's raved about it. Bayless openly credited Blais, even though it would have an idiot not to figure that one out.

What I want to see in the final? Bayless stepping away from his Mexian niche. Right now, I want to see Keller take it - not only due to his style and technique but, more than the other chefs, he's proven versatility. He's adapted to every challenge, seemingly without effort.

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