Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Kings and Commadores

The Bahamas. If Top Chef All Stars wanted to present their finale episodes as a travelogue of what the Bahamas are like, the last two episodes couldn't have presented it any better than black and white. Our chefs discover that they will be dropped off at a deserted island to prepare a meal for members of the Nassau Yacht Club.

But first they must rest and trash talk. The guys talk about how they both practiced making conch dishes. The gals? Tiffany talks about small towns and Antonia gets no face time whatsoever. The next morning finds Padma hanging out at the docks.

padma 2

Answering the question that Yes, yes indeed, it is better in the Bahamas.

Mike definitely thinks so. Blais? Let's just say Blais has more important issues on his mind.

After a short boat ride, the chefs hit the beach of their deserted Kitchen Island. Lots of proteins and produce but no conch.

That's because they have to harvest their own conch. This is problematic. You see, I love most of my little TC Crack Monkey readers (actually some of you scare me but mostly it's love ) and I know most of you come here for the food, some for the drama and some come for the pretty lady Padma. I have nothing against men (mostly true), or Mike (hold on, swerving into Liesville) and find Richard the most awesome guy ever (no one out there believes for a second you didn't just puke all over your keyboard after typing that...) but when given the choice between looking at either one of their manboobs or gazing upon Padma in her Bahamian Glory....well I decided drastic measures were needed. I give you Padma-Vision.

(....and the Emmy for making Reality TV More Watchable goes to.....Big Shamu!!)

The chefs have now procured their carefully placed conch, thinking the hard part was over. HA! Now they have to remove the conch meat from the shell.

(I hope they let Antonia keep her black hammer.)

The one thing the guys couldn't practice because why would you want to buy and clean your own conch? Finally after much smacking, pounding and whacking, all four chefs move onto actually cooking. The food looks fantastic. Lots of spiny lobster, tons of different fish. Despite the fact that they are cooking on wood fired heat sources they all seem to be making beautiful food happen. Now I know they mentioned that the cooking supplies were rather thin so I'm guessing Richard brought this gadget with him.

Now, I haven't seen this at my local Williams Sonoma or any of the other kitchen gadget places. But I believe it's this -

A Paderno World Cuisine - 49823-99 - Dual Ribbon and Spiral Slicer. If you'd like to make ribbon noodles from sweet potatoes just like Richard and have a little over seven hundred dollars burning a hole in your wallet, it can be YOURS! Richard doing a little product pimping himself. But will it win him the challenge? I know his babbling about the added pressure of not winning his season won't.

The guests arrive and suddenly I need my sunglasses because we have entered White World.

White curtains, white clothing, white sand, white flowers and Tom's shiny bright white head. Just curious....no Nassua Yacht Club members of African descent?

Back at Richard's Station of Hate, he's getting nervous looking at the other chef's dishes. He's up first with his Hampton's style dish.

Doesn't do much for me but the judges seem to like it except for the guest judge's undercooked lobster....witnessed by Gail. Gail, who also corrected Tom that Richard did not make pasta but instead made sweet potato ribbons. You go Gail!

Antonia's up next.

This is more my alley, a nicely cooked piece of fish with a conch cerviche. The flavors seem to be good but she gets pinged for her conch dice being too small and some fish temperature issues.

Someone else with temperature issues is Tiffany.

I don't really get Tiffany's choice here, it's the top four competing, I don't think a bowl of chowder is going to cut it. Plus it doesn't help that she mistimed plating her dish and it ends up not being hot and comforting when it gets to the diners.

Mike's up last. He takes the time to reach back and smack talk yet another woman chef, this time Elia who was eliminated in the very first episode for banana leaf wrapped fish. Save me Padma-Vision from this pompous idiot.

Another nice dish that I'd be happy to eat. The only thing Tom picks at is the over-abundance of butter in the dish, his thinking the fish doesn't need it.

In the stew lobby, Antonia is making me love her with her sarcastic attitude to Richard....

...who is not amused. Judge's Table pretty much goes as expected with the dish with the least issues, Mike, winning and the dish with the most issues, Tiffany, heading home.

Now if you didn't watch or listen closely to the previews of the upcoming week, you missed the fact that there are two MORE finale episodes and then a reunion show. Apparently one more chef will be eliminated leaving the final two to battle it out. What it really means someone's head will explode, either Mike or Richard for being eliminated or mine for another finale without a female chef if Antonia is auffed. Stay Tuned...


froggy said...

Mike has been on a roll and I'm worried! We know Mike is still standing and not in a deep funk (I follow him on Twitter - real crack monkeys do). Antonia has to stay the course!

PS - even I find Padma/Vision refreshing!

Big Shamu said...

Ah yes, the healing powers of Padma-Vision.

MakingSpace said...

I've said elsewhere what I thought of this episode, and once again I say I like your recap better than the episode. In this case, MUCH better, and not just because of PadmaVision.

Buzz Kill said...

"I haven't made any food yet and already hate it." - Bwahahaha Blais is a wreck isn't he. I liked how the conchs were strewn around the shallow ocean floor like a kid's Easter egg hunt. I didn't see anyone come up with a gold one.

Honestly, the way this was edited, I had Antonia or Blais winning this challenge. I was very surprised Mike won and not surprised Tiffany went home for a hot soup with cold cerviche on top.

My prediction for tonight - Mike and Blais. And keep the Padma-Vission coming.

Big Shamu said...

I see Buzz. You WANT my head to explode. I'm hoping it's Antonia and Mike with Antonia winning it all. That would be sweet Karmic justice. I think it's interesting how they are setting up Antonia as someone who always cooks her food, maybe a bit predictable but usually well executed. Blais has no joy or passion in his food which is sad because he does have skill. Though it kills me to say it, Mike at least has passion. He's not cooking to lose, like Blais seems to be doing.

Noxy said...

Why does Blais keep repeating "there is more pressure on me because I lost my season"?


Sorry for the capslocksplosion. I feel he deserves it.

Big Shamu said...

Oh Noxy, you're right. I'm so sick of his blathering.