Monday, June 22, 2009

Top Chef Master - Lost in Confusion

The beginning of the Elimination round finds our Top Chef world turned upside down. The two rookies have a solid lead over our former judges. Still it's anyone's game as they head into the Elimination Round. What do they have to do for the elimination challenge? Well.....'s the most convoluted way to get to use an unusual protein (wild boar) and force the chefs to do a canned food challenge. It's the Lost Supper. Cooking a meal for some of the producers and writers of the ABC series Lost. I don't know if NBC and Andy Cohen have some future quid pro quo going on that some angle of Top Chef will be worked into the series finale of Lost but I wouldn't be shocked.
Filling in for the Dharma pantry is, of course, Whole Foods. Lists in hand, it's time to shop.Wylie is apparently having issues getting the Dharma Charms cereal from it bulk bin.Graham relies on his youth and cat-like reflexes to snatch product from beneath Wylie's nose before he even knows it's gone.
Back in the kitchen it's time for Product Pimping. Ready?

So in the span of roughly 45 seconds of airtime we had 4 visuals and 1 verbal (Wylie asks for PAM) product placements. Exquisite, is it not? Nobody does pimpage like Top Chef.
I'm not touching that with a ten foot pole......or plantain......except to say..........shouldn't that have been Faulkner's line?
I know, what was I thinking. Anyhoo....
The Guests are assembling.
No, not him.

The Hostess with a giant red fleurchon on her head. (Fleurchons are the new black)

And the judge who apparently snared a rare black island bird and covered a Dharma trashcan with it's feathers because nothing says style like a feathered bucket.

Service starts and again the clock bites one of our chefs in the ass.
A sauce that never makes it to the plate is no sauce at all.
First up is Faulkner's Boar two way, Ancho Beer braised and Coffee scented poached loin with Yam Papaya pudding. Someone at some point will have to explain to me why one of the best pastry chefs in the country elected not to do any sort of pastry at all. Anyone? Ferris? The judges seem ok with the boar but pine for sauce. Hardly anyone enjoys the pudding. Not good.

Graham one ups Faulkner's Boar Duo with his Tuna Trio. Maki roll with tuna & dehydrated pineapple, Tuna Ni├žoise and Tuna a la Plancha. No complaints from the guests, even the canned green beans get the green thumb of approval.

Wylie asks the eternal question: Which came out of the Immersion Circulator first, the chicken or the egg with his Roasted Chicken and Poached Egg with banana mustard, Beets & dried corn and Plantain Puree. In a bold move he tries to avoid judgment by not giving one of the judges a complete dish but at the last moment rethinks the strategy. Wylie gets sort of a mixed bag from the chefs, the Critics seem to like his poached egg mostly because it seems to be a Dufresne signature while some of the guests are not so enthralled.

They ended with Suzanne's very busy and full plate of Risotto with Uni, clams and prawns, Wild Boar strip with oyster beer sauce, a mango corn salad and baked yam. So busy is her plate that she forgets what's on it. I'm guessing the stuff that looks like pasta is the mango salad with some really nice knife work. Again, no complaints from the guests.

Judging is fairly harmless for 3 out of the 4 chefs. Faulkner gets pinged for both the pudding and the sauce-less plate. The one dish of all of them I would want to try (even combined with episode one) was Suzanne's risotto. Uni, clams and some of those huge prawns just seems really decadent and delicious. I also think we will see at least one chef do some version of risotto every single episode.

The quiet unshakable Suzanne Tract takes the win while our former judges feel the burn of being on the other side of the judge's table. Oh Karma, you are a harsh Mistress.

Next Week? The Church Lady stops by... give her long lost brother some TV tips.


LaDivaCucina said...

Sham the food piccies are such a great way to see up close failed and successful dishes. No wonder Faulkner bit it, my coffee rubbed pork from my last salad post looks succulent and hers looks d-r-y! heheh! (Agree about the pastry chef comment, btw!)

Wylie's looks like a dog's breakfast!

I'm finding the new hostess rather insipid, I still haven't registered her name in me head and I think she wears way too much black eye make up! That's my La Diva opinion anyway.

LOL church lady, too right!!!

Big Shamu said...

Yeah, Wylie's visual appeal is a bit lacking on that dish. I wonder if that's part of the judging criteria?

The Hostess job is thankless as ever. Eye candy for certain viewer segments, workhorse to relieve some judge from having to doing the QF and target of bloggers everywhere, it's a tough gig. However, it seems that this hostess found a way or perhaps convinced the producers that there was no need for her to taste all the Quickfire dishes. So far she's let the Girlscouts and former chefs take that role.

Apologies to Dana Carver whom I'm sure would like to see the Church Lady dead and buried.

Susan said...

I guess I gotta get me some Bravo - tout suite

Big Shamu said...

You know Project Runway I think had a Canadian version but I don't think Top Chef has gone that route. Could be interesting.

Buzz Kill said...

I have yet to see this show. For 2 reasons; 1, I never know the day and time it's on and 2, I can never find BRAVO on TV anymore. The Mrs. switched us to FIOS last month after having Comcast for the past 15 years. All the channels are different and I can never find anything because theres like 1000 channels. I can't find the Food Network either. One of these days I'm gonna sit down and look through every damn channel there is till I find them. Then I'm going to write them down and tape them to the TV controller.

Until that day comes, I will have to rely on your reviews, which are pretty entertaining.

Big Shamu said...

That's too bad Buzz. It's a nice change up from the regular Top Chef. I'm glad I can entertain you. Are you missing the Food Network?

CaptainObvious said...

It was funny to see them going to that particular Whole Foods....which is in Glendale.

Season 1, they went to Wild Oats in Santa Monica(which is now Whole Foods) on 5th and Wilshire.