Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Thursday, August 02, 2007

A Design Star Don't, Top Chef freezes out Joey and Hell's Kitchen selects the Final Two

The guest judge this week on Top Chef was Rocco DiSpirito,who (along with Padma)held a Quickfire "Culinary Bee" for the chefs to test their ability to recognize food by sight and taste. Some of the challenges were harder,some were easy(Hung had to identify dried oatmeal!)but in the end,Casey was declared the winner and the taste that gave her victory and immunity was roasted red bell peppers. I'm not big on peppers but my mother(who adores them)claimed that it wasn't a difficult flavor to recognize.

The Elimination Challenge had some pretty high stakes;the chefs had to draw knives and divide into teams of two to create their own frozen pasta dishes(the sponsor this week was Bertolli)to be served up to customers shopping at the Fresh Market. Each team had to make fifteen portions-one to demonstrate and the rest to give away to anyone who wanted to take the dish home to cook. The Bertolli people also threw in an extra bonus of two tickets to Italy for BOTH members of the winning team! That really got everyone excited and eager for the challenge.

Some pair-ups worked better than others. Dale and Casey were very much in synch and whipped up some turkey/pork meatballs with pesto and pasta. I was concerned about the meatballs,because sometimes thick meaty items like that falter in the middle. DiSpirito tried their dish and he tried to hint to them that his meatball was still frozen in the center. He was alittle too subtle,since neither of them picked up on his clue. Also,why do chefs seem to adore pesto? I'm sure it tastes good but green sauce makes me think of mold.

Even with the frozen meatball mishap,Casey and Dale were chosen as one of the Top Two teams,along with CJ and Tre who were the only ones to use "IQF"(Individually Quick Frozen) to keep their food fresh and flavorful. As Tre skillfully pointed out,the chefs were given two hours to cook and one hour to pack up their food for transport. Why would they need an hour to pack unless....?

CJ and Tre worked well together in creating their truffle & pasta plate and they were declared the winners. Judge Tom was real fussy about both of the top dishes-first,that the meatballs weren't "mediterrean" enough and then about the truffles for the same reason. DiSpirito challenged him on that,telling Judge Tom that he's gone truffle hunting in Italy,Spain,etc. What was his boggle that night,I'd like to know!

The Bottom Two teams were Howie and Sarah M,for their dried out shrimp and fennel pasta(I knew they were in trouble when they unpacked their food and it came out in a hard frozen clump) and Hung and Joey for a mushy tri color fusilli with garlic and chicken. Howie and Sarah M wound up exchanging verbal blows,with Sarah being all passive-agressive(she kept calling Howie a "bulldog")and Howie just being Howie.

The team who lost ultimately(and it was a hard choice for the judges since both dishes sucked equally) was Hung and Joey. Joey was told to pack his knives and go,which didn't seem fair to me. Hung totally threw him under the bus,shoving all the blame for the failure of the dish onto Joey.

Hung had early on declared that he understood the "science" of how to prep their dish for freezing(the IQF method) but in the end,he didn't do it and said that Joey didn't listen to him. Joey rightfully pointed out that if Hung was serious about doing that,he should've gotten in Joey's face and forced the issue. You can't just hope that someone will do things the way you think it should be done,you have to take charge there! Poor Joey,I was just starting to like him.

Here's a tip to future Design Star contestants;if your first challenge is to decorate your new living space,DO NOT be the wacky artist type who makes a sculpture as part of their design. That is the kiss of death,my friends. Like Ramona in Season one,Lisa was the first to have her show "cancelled"(I like that little send-off bit) for her mixed-up media look for the metal door entranceway.

She not only made a sculpture out of phone book pages,there was also backwards lettering around the door and other items that didn't seem inviting. She did have a good idea about setting up a small sitting area but it was completely overshadowed by all of the crazy clutter Lisa had whipped up.

Atleast she put more effort into her design than Neeraja,who set up a bar in the foyer with no barstools. You had three days to do this,woman,and you couldn't get a couple of lousy stools? Also,her paint job was half assed and she used black cocktail glasses to decorate a black topped bar! I had a feeling that Judge Vern really wanted to send her packing but was overuled. I also don't like Christina,who did some passive agressive bullying on Adriana while they worked on the small bedroom( she seemed to be looking down on Adriana the whole time).

The winning design went to Will and "Sparkle" Josh(there are two Joshs here and the other is referred to as Organic Josh)for their great teamwork on the big bedroom. I thought those three beds were way too close together but otherwise,the room looked excellant and this may be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

The Final Two were selected in Hell's Kitchen and it wasn't an easy fight to the finish there. The opening challenge had some special guests,as Gordon's own "mum" came out with her version of mac and cheese to showcase the idea of turning old school comfort food into an upscale gourmet version of itself. The chefs had to select dishes by uncovering plates and Bonnie got all confused by franks and beans.

She said that it was an "english" dish(NOT!)and whimpered about how she didn't know anything about how franks and beans were made. Are you kidding me? You're a former nanny and you never had to cook franks and beans?

Rock had spaghetti and meatballs,which is really American since traditional Italian cusine doesn't pair those two together(I learned that from the movie Big Night) and Jen had fried chicken. The food was judged by the mothers of each chef(who were not told whose dish was who's,to be fair)and Jen won a lunch out with her mom and Ramsey with his mother:

Rock had made up with Jen before the challenge but his real punishment was having to clean the dorm up with Bonnie,who kept on whimpering and whining like a spoiled brat. She barely did any cleaning and actually complained about being hungry at one point! Good gravy,girl,what show do you think you're on,My Super Sweet Sixteen?! I had to feel sorry for Rock after awhile there.

The big elimination challenge was at dinner service,where each chef would get a chance to take over the kitchen. Ramsey gave each one a little prep talk and encouraged them to yell at him. Bonnie had no trouble getting her yell on,I can tell you! Rock and Jen were abit more subdued. The sous chefs stepped in to help when the contestants had to run the pass and were instructed to make quality control errors to further test the chefs. Jen missed the missing crab in the crab spaghetti(she has bad luck with pasta) but managed to catch up with the risotto. Rock did better but Bonnie's calling out orders was hella confusing:

In the end,Jen's spaghetti space-out sent her home and the evil Bonnie will be in the finals with Rock. I really wish Julia was here to kick Bonnie to the curb but I guess Rock will have to do:

Random Notes

Rescue Me: Oh,man. After last night's literal cliffhanger of Tommy about to throw his unnamed baby son/nephew in the river,I don't know if I can stand to wait until next week to find out what happens. The opening segment with the unsucessful fire rescues was bad enough but this plot line is too hard to handle.

Perhaps the baby will survive,the show has done fake outs before,but this one is a real doozy. I can't even think about the other subplots going on,with the baby in jep one hanging over my head-ARRGGH!

The 4400: Jordan Collier's Promise City is a bold move there,along with Maia's determination to warn Jordan about the hit squad sent to take him out. The Maia/Isabelle moment of amends for last season's hostage crisis was nicely done and I really wish Kyle would be a tad more skeptical of Cassie's agenda there. He keeps thinking that the list of people who are "meant" to take Promicin is a guarantee that they'll live but the actual prophecy said that those folks will change the world and that doesn't necessarily mean that they have to live to do that!:

Who Wants To Be A Superhero: Braid was the first one to leave the lair but I would've stripped Ms. Limelight of her powers instead. She was a total ditz and looks like her skin is perminantly coated with Insta-Tan. Mr. Mitzvah was on the chopping block as well,for being pretty abrupt with the "crime victim" he was supposed to being interviewing and gathering clues from:

1 comment:

Pop Culture Diva said...

I'm surprised Hung wasn't more aggressive. He's been such a pain in the ass. Why be quiet now? The final two on Hell's Kitchen are a bit of a let down. Rock hasn't done anything outstanding besides stay under the radar. I wish Julia were still around but it was clear how much Ramsey liked her and wanted to support her.