Thursday, July 01, 2010
Top Chef goes on a picnic,The Next Food Network Star has a triple chef showdown and werewolves have a taste of True Blood
As a tie-in to the upcoming Top Chef spin-off Just Desserts,the Quickfire Challenge on Top Chef D.C. last night was for the contenders to make a pie from scratch. Joining Padma in judging this round was Johnny Iuzzini and regular TC judge Gail Simmons,the future hosts of TC:JD.
Kenny won this round,due to his Bananas Foster pie with currant and Chinese Five Spice,not a common pie ingredient but one that worked out well here.
For the Elimination Challenge, two time TC Masters alumnus Jonathan Waxman(who also showed up on The Next Food Network Star this week;that guy is really making the cooking competition rounds here!)joined the Judges Panel to add his two cents on the grill items that the chefs had to make for 150 Capitol Hill interns to enjoy at a picnic held at Washington's Mount Vernon estate.
Amanda made up for her sherry chicken mistake by whipping up a tasty plate of dry rubbed baby back ribs with grilled asparagus and a smoked bacon hazelnut vinaigrette. While other chefs did make ribs(and express strong doubts about her cooking technique),Amanda's ribs ruled over all of them.
The big winner,however,was Arnold due to his skewered lamb meatballs accompanied by a tabouli salad being the ultimate crowd pleaser. His last name is Myint,as in "mint" flavor so Arnold tries to slip in a taste of his namesake herb in most of his dishes.
Kind of a clever culinary catchphrase,I guess,but hopefully his level of cooking stays at a high enough level that it becomes a tasteless cliche.
In the Bottom Four was Kevin,whose flank steak was decent but his rice and beans had two big flaws;the rice was overcooked and the beans were underdone. He was going for a Puerto Rican style of savory but the judges told him that regardless of cultural cuisine,the food had to be well prepared and flavorful,period.
Tracey was asked to pack her knives and go for her botched sausage sliders. She intended to make sausage and peppers at first but the trouble that the meat grinder was giving her had her switch over to patties instead. The burgers were too big to be sliders and the fennel seed flavoring was overpowering.
Jonathan Waxman hated those patties,saying that he would have expected his ten year old son to make such a crude looking burger,not a professional chef-ouch! Fortunately,Tracey wasn't in the room when he said that,otherwise she might not have held it together as well as she did on her way out.
A double elimination is up next for the chefs and a cooking challenge with another kid theme as well. Should be food frenzy for all there.
While I'm not a big fan of Brianna on The Next Food Network Star,it's only fair to give her props for acing the camera challenge this week and having her pepper themed plate as a featured appetizer at Bobby Flay's restaurants. Nice job,Brianna but lose the diva vibe you're giving off,seriously.
The main challenge had everyone form teams of three and face off against each other to make their own spin on the childhood favorites of renowned chefs Jonathan Waxman,Susan Feniger(another TC Masters player)and Eric Greenspan.
Brad received a much needed ego boost by winning the fried chicken and salad round(Susan Feniger's menu choice). Aarti took top honors with her lamb and potatoes offering to Waxman and Aria won by default in the mac and cheese with steak division for Greenspan(none of those plates turned out too good). Paul took a risk in that round by making a pork tenderloin instead of steak,one that landed him in the bottom here.
Sadly,Das was sent home due to his lack of flavor both in his food and on camera performances. It's a real shame,the guy has tons of potential. Guess he needs a little more seasoning before he can take the food world by storm:
The next episode will be on July 11,a ninety minute showcase that has Paula Deen as the celebrity guest star who will be encouraging the chefs to keep on trucking their way to the top-mark your calendars,folks!:
Finally,we get to meet Alcide,Sookie's appointed werewolf companion on True Blood this season. So far,he and Sookie are getting along good as the two of them are on the hunt for Bill in Jackson and while it's too early for sexual tensions to arise,Alcide's broodiness about his exe Debbie(a real nasty piece of work,from what I remember from the books)is bound to lead them down the path to lover's lane before long.
True Blood is also taking a break for the July 4th weekend but there should be plenty of plot boiling ready to serve up by the time it comes back on the air:
DESIGN STAR: A triple player in the no new episodes for Independence Day sweepstakes,there was a lack of harmony in both teams for the latest challenge,which was to use music as an inspiration for decorating a rooftop patio.
Unlike the judges,I was less than impressed with Nina's paint squiggles and glad to see that Alex didn't pay the price for building a replacement daybed for the space with Tom. Trent's going home seemed to be a mutual decision since he didn't like the argumentative energy going on in his team. Pull it together,guys!:
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