Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Thursday, June 03, 2010

TC Masters whip up some Groundling grub,Hell's Kitchen starts a new fire and strange sweet treats served up on Chopped

We have an all Foodie TV round-up this week,folks and the best place to begin as always is with Top Chef Masters,which was down to the Final Four. For their Quickfire challenges,the remaining chefs were paired off and asked to cook a recipe from their partner's cookbook.

In typical Top Chef fashion,a last minute change of pace had the fellas turning their nearly completed dishes into a soup that echoed the flavors of the original dish. Marcus Samuelsson finally got a win here for his chicken soup with crispy tortilla chip slices and an avocado goat cheese guacamole. He was pleased to no end for getting five grand for his charity,UNICEF Tap project,thanks to having a Jonathan Waxman recipe to work from.

The guys were then treated to an improv show performed by the Groundlings,a classic comedy troop which has the likes of Kathy Griffin and Conan O'Brien as alumni. However,if you recall one of the Elimination challenges from Top Chef Chicago,you soon realized(along with the chefs)that this was the set-up for their showdown.

Each chef had a three word combination upon which they were to base their meal on to be served to the Groundlings and the judges. It was a word medley menu of color,emotion and a ingredient.

Marcus had first choice and he went with "violet pleasure salmon",which was interpreted as a comfit of salmon with caviar,shrimp and a sake sauce. Despite the messiness of the plate and some of the shrimp that didn't fully pass muster,everyone at the table enjoyed his dish tremendously. Marcus was declared the winner of the challenge and will be in the finale round next week.

Joining him there will be Susur Lee,who had "peanut butter chocolate lust,"a rather easy combo there. He does have a flair for desserts,as we saw during the wedding wars challenge,and his chocolate mousse with coriander and caramel peanut butter chocolate crumb went over like gangbusters.

The only off putting thing about this dish was the plating. Susur insisted upon arranging everything in a suggestive manner and gleefully admitted it to all and sundry. Dude,it is one thing to loose up a little but completely another to resort to the attitude of a leering twelve year old boy. Subtlety is more in line with the idea of a Top Chef Master,in my opinion.

Making the next to last cut was Rick Moonen,with his "red anger bacon" entree of pork loin roulade with poached oysters and bacon with a spicy cream. The pork was slightly undercooked,due to trouble with Rick's sous vide,and a few of the diners wanted more of a spice punch to the seasonings.

Nonetheless,the oysters saved the day for Rick and he'll be going for the glory in the final round. Good luck to him and the other guys as well.

However,I do think it's a shame that Jonathan Waxman was eliminated here for doing a classic chicken dish. His words were "burnt sienna depression avocado",so he thought that making comfort food like roast chicken breast with fries and avocado with yams and pink grapefruit was the best way to present that as a meal.

Everyone agreed that the food he served was great but once again,it wasn't "sophisticated" enough. *SIGH* Enough with the food snobbery,honestly! Nothing against Rick,but when undercooked pork beats out well cooked chicken,something sinks to high heaven here. Even some of the best chefs in the world will tell you that roasted chicken is one of the trickiest things to cook to perfection and for Jonathan to be counted out for that is ridiculous,that's all I'm saying.

Oh,well,the finale is set for next week and may the best man win,especially for his charity. If I had to choose someone to root for,my pick is for Rick. He's a cool guy with a good sense of humor about himself,a trait worth admiring in anyone in any profession.

Speaking of sense of humor,Gordon Ramsey loves to show his off during the opening round of Hell's Kitchen,as a decoy contestant was planted amongst the contestants and saucily exposed during the signature dish section of the show. He razzed the first woman who brought him a plate and then proceed to make out with her(it was his wife),which many of the onlookers seemed to like quite a bit there:

The rest of the signature dishes were nothing to write home about(someone did leave a toothpick in their food,that was the worst of it)and even tho Ramsey promised that the first dinner service would be completed for once,there were the usual screw-ups that lead to scream fests and cooks being banished from the kitchen.

The first one to go was Stacey from the women's team and while it's too soon to tell the true chefs from the troublemakers,I do see that Maria and Autumn look like potential instigators. There are plenty of the guys who also fit that bill,like Salvatore with his overblown accent("for the women") and Mikey with the Johnny Suede hair and Hell's Kitchen tattoo on his stomach. Most of the fun in this show is the fury and we are certainly going to see that on a steady basis this season,no doubt about it:

The mystery baskets that chefs on Chopped are made to work with are truly a mixed blessing at times,particularly when it comes to the dessert round. On the latest episode,the two chefs left standing were given for the last course of the day polenta,a whole pineapple,lambic beer(raspberry infused)and hot dogs.

You read that last word right,folks;hot dogs! Plus,it was a grilling challenge to boot. Of course,sometimes it looks like your typical batch of sugary goodness in the basket but not without one or two culinary curve balls tossed in. To salute the daring dessert follies that Chopped contenders face,here are a few of the weird meal enders that were tasty puzzlers indeed:

Chocolate Cherry Tomatoes,Anyone?

Care for Canadian bacon candy canes?

Sugar cookies with miso paste,my favorite!


THE NEXT FOOD NETWORK STAR: To cap off our Foodie follies,here's another reminder about the start of season 6 for this race to find a new host or hostess to entertain and educate us about food. The main delight of this series is the focus on TV savvy along with culinary prowess,which the judges and newly added mentoress Giada will be looking for in these hapless hopefuls:

1 comment:

Ladytink_534 said...

I haven't gotten around to watching more than the first couple of episodes on TC Masters but I may set aside some time tonight. I really like Rick too and he's who I'm rooting for. I love Gordon Ramsey! It's his contestants that bother me so I usually wait until near the end of the season to watch. Chopped looks like fun! I'm not sure I would want to eat any of that though....