Saturday, February 2, 2013

Top Chef - Chefs at Sea

Previously on Top Chef we were able to bid farewell to Toothsie as she screwed the pooch on the fried chicken challenge. Stefan got called out for ignoring the real challenge and doing whatever the hell he "interpreted" it to be, and Stache added a tally to the smug column as he won with his dearly departed grandfather's fried chicken recipie.

The remaining 5 chef congratulate themselves on making it this far. At what point is it too early for the chefs to say, "final ___"? I feel like final four is really where that phrase needs to start happening, and no earlier. Badma comes in with Tommy C to tell the chefs they have to pack their bags, because they're going on a cruise to Alaska. Jealous! My dad always wanted to take us on an Alaskan cruise, but sadly, he didn't ever get the chance to before he passed away. Some day. I'll get there. Apparently Brooke has a real fear of boats.

The next day the chefs talk about their favorite moments over the course of the season. We learn that Stefan got dropped off a a military school by his mom with no real former warning. Ha! What a fun joke to play on your kid.

Product placement/sponsor placement warning! Celebrity Cruises is playing host. The boat does look pretty amazing. It makes me want to go even more. Brooke really needs to calm down about the whole fear of boats. Cruise ships are not like a row boat. It's a moving city, they're huge. You don't even know you're on the ship unless you're out on the top deck.

Badma meets the chefs in the kitchen with our guest judge, Curtis Stone, the host for Top Chef Masters. Quick fire! They have 2 hours to prepare their dishes. That's an extremely long time for a quickfire. They have to create 200 portions though. There's the other shoe dropping. And their "secret ingredient?" Iceberg lettuce. All the chefs groan and complain because iceberg lettuce is so bland and boring. I think it's a pretty interesting idea. After Badma has been such a royal bitch this season, the mere sight of her pisses me off.

Apparently everything in the ship's kitchen is electric, no flames or gas of any kind. I think it's kind of ridiculous that they don't get an opportunity to figure out how to use the devices before they cook, but hey, it's Top Chef, not the Apprentice as Wolfgang told us last time.

Stefan claims he's a big fan of lettuce and that he wants to make something warm and comforting because it's cold outside. "Padma should have something warm in her mouth." I quote.

Badma and Curtis are up on the lido deck discussing about what he would make with lettuce. Clearly Badma doesn't offer any of her own suggestions because she is good for nothing. Lizzie shows she's her own baddie when Stefan gets a little bit in her territory. I think after getting pushed around so much by John she's learned to stand up for herself. I can't blame her.

Everyone, I think for maybe one person, is putting bacon in their dish. WTF? Am I missing something? I don't think of bacon when I think of lettuce. Then again, I pretty much exclusively think of salad when I think of lettuce, so that's why I'm not a chef.

Seriously, look how beautiful that scenery is!

First up is Stefan.

Curtis says it's an intense flavor. Badma says it's beautiful.


Badma says it has a lot of flavor. Curtis asks if he was afraid the sizing of the portion was a concern. He says not really.


Curtis asks if she would serve it in a restaurant, and she says maybe.


The inspiration was the wedge salad. All they have to say about it? "He walks like a chef. " "He does." That's it.


Badma asks if she is supposed to eat it one bite or two? She struggles to get it all in her mouth and looks ridiculous. I love it.

Curtis thinks all the dishes were really great. The winner is Sheldon. The chefs are released to go do as they please until dinner, which they get to eat rather than make for a difference. Lizzie and Sheldon go get manicures. I wonder if they had to pay for it. I doubt it. Sheldon tells us he loves getting manicures. Stache is a douche and says, "Where I come from, men don't get manicures" and gives an awful wink. Stefan tells the story of losing his virginity on a cruise. Yuck. One of the manicurists is also from South Africa, so she and Lizzie swap stories. Lizzie says that her father was an avid fisherman and that he recently passed away. She's happy to be on a ship going to Alaska. Today is the due date for Stache's baby. The thought of Stache sex is enough to put me off sex for life. That mustache all over your face? I threw up a little bit, just now.

They have dinner at a restaurant on the ship called Qsine. It's very playful and unique. The ceiling lights are lamps that are hung upside down. Their menus are iPads. The chefs start dishing some serious shit. Stache throws some shade at Brooke about the fried chicken. Brooke asks how many challenges he's one, and then he counters asking about Stefan. It's kind of mean, and I don't think they're kidding. The plating at this place is half the fun of eating here.

I would have so much fun there. And then the axe drops. Curtis and Badma come sit at their table. Their challenge tomorrow night is to run dinner service at Qsine. Like they have to make the same food? Cause that's not really interesting. Apparently not. They have to reinvent surf and turf. Apparently putting shrimp on top of steak is a bad idea. I guess it's kind of an old idea, but if it tastes good...then again I could live off fried cheese. Sheldon's advantage for winning is he gets to pick his proteins first, and whatever he picks, no one else gets to use.

The chefs get 30 minutes to pick their ingredients. Sheldon takes his time, and picks a beef tenderloin and lobster tail. Stefan thinks this is a safe option since that's what surf and turf traditionally is. Brooke picks frog legs and mussels. Crazy! The chefs walk through the pantry, which is like the whole bottom of the ship. It's gigantic. Because the ship is out to sea for 10-15 days at a time, they have to bring enough food for the whole durations. So the chefs are a little overwhelmed and kind of have to plan based on their walk and what they find. That would be a fun job, for probably a minute, to be the person in charge of running to get ingredients. The chefs get to pick a crazy plating vessel.

Stache is going to blend scallops to make them into noodles. That's pretty crazy, but I hate to admit it, cool as well. Stefan talks about how close he was to winning on his previous season, so he can't settle for top 5. he setting himself up?

Sheldon is regretting his decision to pick steak of lobster. He's trying to get some redemption from the roller derby challenge where he screwed up the tempura. He says he doesn't want to be the Asian guy who only makes Asian food. Brooke, as I would, bluntly says, "Then stop making Asian food!" He says he's not, and she calls out "bullshit". Finally! Someone else sees it too!

Stefan takes out his pork belly, and it looks burnt to hell. He's apparently super happy with this though. Apparently he really enjoys his pork extra crispie. I think he's having residual fried chicken regrets. Stache's noodles don't set up the way he wants, so he has to try and come up with a plan b. He comes up with making "scrambled scallops". Once again, he's making breakfast. WITH bacon, of course. But once you've blended your protein, your options are limited.

So are they making food for everyone in the restaurant, or just the judges? I can't tell. I think maybe just the judges? Our judges are Hugh Acheson, Hughnibrow,  Tommy C, two of the cruise directors, and the head chef for the ship.

Brooke's offering.

The chefs give her credit for how inventive she was. Hughnibrow says it's very modern and creative. The only negative is one of the parts of her dish was apparently very greasy. She'll be in the top.

Stefan delivers his dish.

They already hate how greasy the sauce is. Tom puts the pork in his mouth and let's out an "Oh my God!" Curtis says this is a cultural thing. He says he loves how crunchy it is, because this is how you would get it in Australia or England. Everyone else is crunching while worrying about how good their dental plan is. Badma gives him credit for the eel and parsnip ravioli.


Tommy C is really impressed. Badma doesn't get enough of the scallop taste. Hughnibrow is impressed that because Stache is a traditionalist chef, that this is a great step forward for him.

Sheldon is frustrated because his tempura didn't set up like he wanted, again. This is looking bad for Sheldon.

They like the plating, but that's about it. Hughnibrow is confused why people continue to think tempura is a good idea. Because when it's done right, it's delicious. That's why. They like the flavor of the beef, but they think it's not a pair that's married well. There's lots of cheesy jokes about how they're not even dating yet.

Lizzie is struggling with the devices in the kitchen. I hope she doesn't go home because she is unfamiliar with how the machines work.

The cabbage doesn't hold up. Everything falls right out of it the minute the fork touches it. They like the flavors, but there were some execution errors. But, judges! It's not her fault!

Judges table. Brooke's up first. They tell her she definitely pushed the boundaries for surf and turf. Tommy C knocks her for the greasy chip thing she served.

Sheldon says he was uninspired by the ingredients and so he didn't like the challenge. Tommy C says, "but you picked the ingredients yourself. You actually got to have first pick!" Sheldon says he picked what he did because he felt he could execute it. Curtis tells him the tempura was almost inedible. Hughnibrow says he didn't reinvent anything.

Stache gets praise for the scrambled scallops as well as his pork belly. Tommy C says he may have been the first person to scramble scallops.

Curtis tells Stefan he couldn't taste the eel at all in his dish. He defends himself that he didn't have enough time to make the sauce not as greasy. Stefan stands behind his extra crunchy concrete known as pork. Curtis tries to say he knew what he was thinking, but no one else liked it.

Lizzie doesn't make any excuses for her cabbage roll. In fact, she doesn't say anything but thank you. The judges don't really have much to say to her, other than they liked the flavors.

The winner is...

Celebrity Cruises is giving her a carribbean cruise. Ha, the one who hates ships is getting a cruise."Maybe this fear of boats thing was all in my head." Isn't that where all fears are? In your head?

Stache and Lizzie are called safe, so it's between Sheldon and Stefan. Who saw this coming!? I would be pretty surprised if they send Sheldon home after all his quickfire and elimination challenges.

Loser is...

HA! So that's all of the previous Top Chef contestants, GONE. I still think it was completely stupid and pointless to bring back these three random players. I'm glad their all dead. Oh, I mean, eliminated.

In case you didn't watch, all you really need to know about Last Chance Kitchen, is that Kristen beat Stefan. I don't know at what point they bring her back into the competition, but she'll be there soon!

Til next time!

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