Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Recap Roundup: Top Chef Texas Episode 2

Jordan Baker on wardrobe: "They’re faced with Padma in a new muumuu – so is it a new day, or did they just have Padma change muumuus halfway through Day One to signify that it would be a new episode? Or did she spill something on the previous muumuu while she was tasting the food from the first rounds?"

Grub Street on mercy: "The producers were kind enough to make up for this cluster…fudge of people by actually giving us another decent twist: Only after the chefs fought over normal ingredients did they find out that they'd only have 20, 40, or 60 minutes to cook what they chose."

David Dust on semantics: "This week, 10 chefs remain for Round #3, and 4 chefs are on the bubble. BTW – shouldn’t it be 'on the cusp' or 'IN the bubble' or 'I’m on the edge of glory and I’m hanging on a moment of truth'?? 'On the bubble' just sounds weird."

Minxeats on BubbleJanine: "I feel for Janine, who tells us about her broken relationship. Dude - her girlfriend dumped her because she didn't like the vows Janine made during their commitment ceremony! That's even lamer than Kim Kardashian's reasons for divorcing after only 72 days of marriage. ('I asked Kris if a skirt made my butt look big and he paused before he said, "yes."')"

Entertainment Weekly on stewing: "So in the stew room, which is bubbling over with frazzled nerves and anticipation, the four on-the-bubble chefs from last week are joined by Andrew and Laurent. Edward Lee, who last week explained that he wanted to show his disapproving Korean parents that cooking was a respectable profession, definitely seems the most intent on winning. It’s so inappropriate yet funny how he just laughs when Molly tells him she cooks on a cruise ship; I think Ed’s just happy to find someone his parents would consider even lower-status than him."

Hugh Acheson for PopWatch on risotto: "Risotto is this trap door for Top Chef contestants. It’s hilarious. When I was on Top Chef Masters, John Currence went out with risotto. It’s just amazingly tricky, and yet such a simple dish to put forward really well. I don’t know if Chaz just misread his time, but that must be what happened, because it looked to me like he could really get it done. I caught somebody telling him he had a minute left. The risotto was still in the pot at that point and then he transferred it to a sheet and then it never made it. Also, the other thing was: Why on earth did he make so much risotto for three judges? It was enough to feed an army. We didn’t get to taste the risotto. If it doesn’t make it to the plate, we don’t taste it."

AV Club on timing: "For some, that seemed fair enough: Mushrooms or Brussel sprouts can definitely be done well in twenty minutes. But the forty minute risotto and short-rib seemed pretty killer, and it seemed like no surprise that the contestants who gravitated towards more difficult ingredients (oxtail, octopus) and thus slightly longer times also ended with the most spots in the Top Chef house."

Max the Girl on Chaz: "As for Chaz, well, Houston we have a problem: You see, he never got his risotto on the plates. He’s serving the judges. . .nothing. (Talk about a diet plate! Ba-dum-dum!) Tom and Hugh look at Padma beseechingly. You can see that Tom is trying to decide if they should all just hover around Chaz’s risotto, trough style. Padma will have none of it: 'Chaz, please Pack your knives and go,' she says firmly. 'It kinda feels like she’s breaking up with me,' Chaz says. “I want my CDs back, we have to split up our friends. . . You cut me deep Padma.'"

Houston Press on the final two preliminary challenges: "So the structure of the show will be a predictable two rounds: the remaining 10 chefs compete against one another, then those left on the bubble from the entire affair will compete in a Gladiator-style bloodsport with maces, and then Padma's left breast will give a thumbs up or thumbs down to the survivors."

A Just Recompense on that French guy: "Laurent is from France, and he was brought to the US in chains, then decided LA wasn’t so bad and now wants to stay forever. 'In France, you have to become a cook, a priest, or an army guy.' Really? France really has gone downhill, hasn’t it. The oven isn’t hot enough so his duck isn’t crispy. It’s official, he’s a prick. He’s Stefan Lite without the humor. I don’t even know what he serves. Duck. Hugh says he brought a gazillion things to the plate but it needed to make sense; bubble. Tom acknowledges his experience, but gives it a no. Padma gives him the bubble. Damn."

Carol Blymire on Emeril: "Padma summons the 'on the bubble' chefs from the Stew Room to the Top Chef kitchen, where Emeril is among the judges waiting for them. I’m pleased that Emeril is two for two so far this season, but what I find fascinating is that in Emeril’s on-screen description, he is not listed as chef, restaurateur, rock star, Friend of Martha or anything like that. In all fairness, you could just list him as 'Emeril,' and everyone would know who he is. But sadly, no. He’s listed as 'Emeril Lagasse, author of Sizzling Skillets and Other One-Pot Wonders.' Um, okay. Sure."

CultureMob on the bubble challenge: "Grayson, Molly, Edward, Janine, Andrew and Laurent file back into the kitchen to be greeted by the judges (now including BAM!, but sadly no Gail) for the final cook-off. The chefs are given 45 minutes to cook a dish using any ingredient in the kitchen; this is the kind of challenge where the lack of boundaries might trip people up. They have a lot of leeway for this show, and having to streamline their thoughts and ideas that quickly under this kind of pressure isn’t going to go well."

Cliffieland on blood and guts: "Quickly, the stampede begins and, moments later, we see that one chef has sliced his hand open and is bleeding like Dan Akroyd-as-Julia Child all over the kitchen. But this shall not stop our intrepid chef, who actually continues cooking with one hand while the medics scamper alongside him and tend to his wound."

Eater on accidents will happen: "Edward slices his hand bad, and even gloving it up doesn't stop the blood from pouring out. He gets some first aid while still struggling to cook. I learned yesterday that Axe makes a spray called 'Recovery.' I don't know what it does, but it's probably for spraying on wounds. Try that. He says, 'He can cut off my arm and take it. I'll cook one-handed. He can cut off my torso and I'll cook with my feet.' No you won't. Also, unless you are making peanut butter or wine, I don't want your foot-food, and even if you are I still don't."

Starr Raving on contrasts: "At the Top Chef house, everyone's drinking champagne -- and checking out the competition. Which is also what they're doing in the stew room, but without champagne. Or joy. Or anything. Somebody give these guys some crackers or something; it feels like chef jail in there."

My Monkey Could Do That offers a non sequitur: "You guys, I watched a special with the Voltaggio brothers making Thanksgiving. It was like, non-stop hot boys and delicious food for a whole hour. Of course, Michael had to sous vide his turkey for some reason, but then he made sticky toffee pudding with braised pineapple so who cares about the turkey anyway."

Food & More on but wait - there's more!: "Oh, yes! Just when you thought they were done, Bravo unveils yet ANOTHER twist in the form of the weekly webisodes Last Chance Kitchen. Each week, the chef sent home will compete in this loser’s bracket in which winning out can earn them a spot to compete in the finale. And since Janine and Andrew were the last to go this week, they are the first gladiators thrown into this alternate revenue stream to fight for their lives."

Not a recap, but Foodie Buddha helpfully offers up definitions to foodie terms heard in this week's episode.

...and finally, this week's Top Chef Refire podcast!

Posted on AllTopChef.com

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