Thursday, March 24, 2011
TC All-Stars Final Three throwdown,TAR's twists on a Double U-Turn and a mega Motown Moment on Idol
The Quickfire for the Final Three on Top Chef All-Stars was quite the doozy. The chefs were given several classic QF challenges to choose for one another,with Mikey getting first pick due to winning the last round. He gave Antonia Canned Foods and she had Richard do the Hot Dog one while Richard in return thought One Pot Dish would trip Mikey up(no such luck,my friend!).
As an extra twist,midway through their cooking time,each one of them had to assign a classic TC Challenge twist with the choices being Cooking with One Hand,No Utensils or Double Apron Buddy(Carla made a surprise appearance for that one). Antonia worked with Carla and Richard went one handed,leaving Mikey with the no tools option that didn't affect him much since most of his cutting work was already done.
When time was up,guest judge Wolfgang Puck tasted all of the dishes and while he liked most of what was made,Mikey was declared the winner. His take on pork and beans,using a pork shoulder and black beans,was good enough to earn him another five grand and a small advantage for the Elimination round.
For that challenge,Wolfgang Puck joined Michelle Bernstein and Iron Chef alumnus Morimoto as one of the three masters for each TC contender to make a Last Supper for. Mikey not only got to choose who he was to cook for but he was allowed to select for his competition as well.
For himself,Mikey picked Michelle Bernstein whose last meal would be fried chicken and biscuits with gravy. She did tell Mike that he could use some creative license here,so he made an egg yolk filled empanada instead of a biscuit and served that with mustard gravy.
The empanada went over fine,but the chicken received mixed reviews. Mikey cooked the chicken first in a sous vide(water bath)and then fried it,which made the coating not as crispy and falling off the meat.
Antonia had to cook for Morimoto and she set out to make a Bento box like his mother used to prepare for him as a kid. She originally planned to serve hamachi sashimi but the fish tasted like it was going bad so Antonia switched to tuna at the last minute.
The tuna wasn't a real problem as it turned out. The dilemma was that while some of the items in the box were great,all of them together didn't click as a whole. Morimoto found the miso soup to be too salty while Judge Gail thought the spices on the fish were much too powerful for the plate.
Richard was left with Wolfgang Puck,who wanted a goulash and spaetzle,with an apple strudel for dessert. He was a nervous wreck about this,particularly since he had never made a strudel before. The goulash was excellent,with the only complaint from Wolfgang being that the spaetzle was a little tough.
The apple strudel was a home run for Richard,with everyone agreeing that the dish showcased the best of his modern techniques without compromising the traditional flavors that Wolfgang was hoping for.
Once the meal was over,Richard was quickly told that he was going to the finale. That made him breathe a well earned sigh of relief but only for a moment there.
Meanwhile,Antonia and Mikey were given one last TC twist to get that spot next to Richard in the Final Two. They had forty five minutes to make a "one bite" dish,as a final last impression.
Antonia made seared grouper in a coconut curry sauce that many of the judges thought was too spicy. Some liked the bold punch of flavor,such as Padma and Morimoto,but others like Judge Tom and Michelle Bernstein felt it was too much for one small plate.
Therefore,it will be a Mikey vs. Richard culinary throwdown next week, His surf and turf serving of tempura lobster with beef tartare and olive caramel won him enough technical points as the voting came down to a tie.
*SIGH* I felt so bad for Antonia,again she came this close to victory and was shown the door for a second time. On the other hand,we did get a Mikey/Antonia head to head match-up but not the one that counted for the big win. Sorry to see you go,Antonia but you did your very best and no one could ask for more than that.
For the finale,it looks like a Restaurant Wars set-up,with many of their former competitors returning as sous chefs. Guess I'll root for Richard but my heart still belongs to Team Antonia,which means that I don't want Mikey to win,cousin or not. He made sure to throw a few extra curve balls in her way in order to go one on one with Richard and you know what they say-be careful what you wish for!
Kent and Vysin managed to catch up to the other teams on The Amazing Race:Unfinished Business but were informed that a thirty minute penalty would be waiting for them at the end of this leg. That made them more anxious to reach the Double U-Turn,which would send two teams back to complete the other side of the Detour Challenge.
Since the Cheerleaders Jamie and Cara were literally right behind them,Team Goth choose to give them the U-Turn. The gals insisted on them making the Globetrotters go back instead but Kent and Vysin apologized and U Turned them right in their face.
The ladies then gave the Globetrotters the other U Turn,which didn't slow them down much at all. Since Lara and Jamie seemed to have some leftover bad karma from their last time on the race(sniping at cab drivers and such),that last Road Block was what really did those gals in. They went home instead of Team Goth,who I'm still rooting for even if they didn't disclose all of their troubles right away(get over it,Ron!):
It was Motown Week on American Idol and there were a lot of good performances,including an unexpected delight in country twang toned Scotty pulling off Stevie Wonder's "For Once in My Life" quite nicely.
The weakest numbers came from Stephano,who did a very bland rendition of Lionel Ritchie's "Hello" and Haley,who was at vocal war with her back-up singers at times during "You Really Got a Hold On Me"-hon,it's tricky to stand out with a group song like that but it can be done and done well,trust me on this one.
A real stand out last night was Naima,who not only sang "Dancing in the Street" but choreographed her own dance number to it as well. Those billowing pant legs of hers made me wonder if she would have trouble on stage but Naima was in fine form and voice there:
MILDRED PIERCE: This five part miniseries has it's two hour debut this Sunday night on HBO and so far,the advance word has been good. For those familiar with the celebrated Joan Crawford version,be prepared for an altogether different take on the story,which is closer to the original James M. Cain novel than it's earlier Hollywood incarnation:
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