Thursday, February 10, 2011
TC All-Star's Fallon feast,Worst Cooks face their fears and Idol audtions reach the end of the road
This week's Quickfire challenge on Top Chef All-Stars didn't have a special guest judge. That was due to the other chefs being made to vote on each other's dishes via secret ballot. No one was allowed to vote for themselves,naturally,and while immunity is no longer available as a prize,the winner of this round was awarded a trip to Napa Valley.
Making fondues was the task assigned,with creativity strongly encouraged. Dale won for his Pho fondue served with beef and bread,which caused a little grumbling in some quarters(Richard,I like you but calm down with the ego fits,seriously!).
Next,everyone headed off to the set of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon to learn about the Elimination challenge. The chefs were brought on stage during a taping of the show and had to play a game of Cellphone Shootout to find out what dish they would be making for Jimmy's birthday lunch with family and friends(not to mention the judges).
Bourdain took a break here and Judge Gail sat in on this round,which was nice to see. As much as I enjoyed her on TC:Just Desserts,it was good to have her back in the regular Top Chef game.
Antonia wound up with beef tongue,a meat she's not familiar with,and there was the expected tension about how well the dish would work. Turns out that she hit a home run,thanks to a suggestion from Richard on the cooking technique. It was served with pumpernickel rye and a dill slaw that delighted all assembled.
Angelo joined her in the winner's circle,for a pulled pork sandwich with a rather tangy sauce. He made a rub out of coffee,allspice and chipotle that could've been a hot mess but adding some dill to the mix seemed to balance that combo out tastily.
Victory was granted to Carla for her chicken pot pie that she was incredibly enthused about making. Not only did she win a special guest cooking spot on Jimmy's show,Carla was given a trip to Tokyo as well. Nice going,Carla-hootie hoo!
On the bad news side of the menu,Dale thought it was a good idea to serve his Philly style cheese steaks on a pretzel roll. Unfortunately,that decision provided a platform for the "salt monster" to attack the palate of all who dared to eat it.
Sharing that sad spot on the bottom with him was Tiffany,who made a less than traditional version of chicken and dumplings. Jimmy wanted something more like his grandmother would have served,not a "this isn't your mother's" type of spiced up watery plate.
Being handed his knives and asked to go was Fabio for,believe it or not,screwing up a burger and fries. Granted,melting some cheese for an optional sauce on the side was a decent idea but you have to do it right!
Another not wholly bad concept was mixing more than ground beef into the burger yet Fabio put so many different cuts in that the result was more of a meatloaf sandwich. Plus,he planned to make it like a meatball,which is a culinary cousin of a hamburger but a different beast altogether.
Next time, some of the Muppets from Sesame Street stop by (yes,Elmo,too)and tensions rise at a Target themed challenge. Tune in for the tasty,folks!
The theme of the latest round of Worst Cooks In America was dealing with food fears and that started off with the recruits learning how to make sausage. Chef Anne and Robert Irvine did another duo demo for their teams and then had their groups make and cook their end results.
They did well for the most part,yet Ty on the blue team added way too much salt to his meat mix and endless joke making opportunities about sausage being made as cleanly as possible for a family friendly show:
The Main Dish challenge had each team work with a seafood item to prep and cook,plus a side dish featuring their least favorite ingredient. Some of those dreaded foods included cauliflower,brussel sprouts,eggs and okra. In other words,the usual suspects on the "Do I hate to eat that?" list.
Chef Anne had her crew make stuffed,braised calamari but one of them got a off putting surprise as she cleaned her fish. Kat found a partly digested sardine in one of the calamari and dropped that nasty sucker onto her carving board in shock. However,she didn't think to clean off her workspace and the fish funk worked it's way into her dish,which earned her a ticket home:
Irvine's crew had to sear sea bass,which went well for the most part. The side dishes are what tripped up a few people,namely Ty. He's a nice enough guy but had trouble in remembering to follow the recipes and use the right pans.
His okra ratatouille was prepared in a pan that was too small and the okra came out raw. That and the fact that his sauce was far from being reduced properly also took him out of the running.
Both teams are now down to two on either side,so the finale is getting close at hand,folks. Too soon to call it,but I am rooting for Chef Anne's team to take the win again:
American Idol wrapped up their auditions in San Francisco last night and Hollywood Week begins tonight. Steven Tyler is really overachieving in his role as the male Paula on the panel with his horndog antics but he has given some pretty strong critiques to the potentials here. That sort of balances things out,for me at least.
In the Bad Singer Follies,we have both boys and girls being represented. First up is Inessa,a pretty perky in pink gal who's a superstar in her own mind. Her ambitions do her some credit but cutesy only gets you so far,sweetheart:
For the fellas,we have Drew who showed in his homemade Transformers costume. The outfit really did morph and the guy even carried around a set of front wheels for the car mode. He may not be a hit at AI but Drew should certainly wow the crowds at the next Comic Con there:
CHOPPED ALL STARS: Starting in March,many of the judges and a few FN headliners will be faced with mystery baskets to win money for their favorite charities. For a few of them,the phrase "eating your words" may come back to haunt them-so looking forward to this!:
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