Thursday, November 17, 2011
Top Chef TX gets rattled,Work of Art takes it to the street and TAR does the bunny hop
We finally got to the first Quickfire Challenge of Top Chef Texas,where Padma and special guest judge Johnny Hernandez revealed the secret main ingredient for the chefs to prepare.
Rattlesnake was on the menu and despite the scary looking boxes set before the contenders,the reptiles were already skinned and slaughtered.
The prize for this cook-off was immunity and five grand,which went to Dakota for her beer battered snake with zucchini and almond gazpacho. Since it's been a TC tradition that the person who wins the first QF is destined to become a front runner in the competition,great things will be expected of her.
After that,everyone divided into two teams for the Elimination Challenge,which was to make food for a young lady's quinceanera(a rite of passage/birthday party for fifteen year girls in Mexican culture).
Blanca,the girl whose celebration it was,asked the chefs to make mildly spicy dishes and wasn't too demanding in her food requests. She acted very ladylike at the party and gave some solid critical feedback about the food with the judges as well. She may have a future in this business,if that's something Blanca wants to pursue.
Team Green did the best work here,with tasty appetizers such as Paul's shrimp yuzu ceviche with salsa and yucca chips. Judge Tom declared it his favorite app,while Judge Hugh immensely enjoyed Ed's tomatillo gazpacho with jicama and watermelon.
It turns out that Heather has some pastry chef experience and she applied that to making the cake for dessert. Even though the tres leche cake had to have a few dowels set in to steady it,everyone liked it much better than the other team's overly frosted offering.
The star player on Team Green was Chuy,whose family background made him the to-go guy here. While the whole team won,his braised goat with red peanut salsa and home made quseo fresco was a stand out dish.
Judge Tom wasn't thrilled with the steamed cabbage added to the plate but otherwise,Chuy earned some strong distinction that will make him another one to watch.
Team Pink had a lot of misfires,starting with Ty-Lor's summer fritter with avocado mousse. Blanca felt that the avocado was pretty bland while Judge Hugh dismissed it as a hush puppy(and not a very good one at that).
Sarah and Lindsay worked together on several dishes and Lindsay in particular was planning on doing a shrimp ceviche. Unfortunately,she was not a member of the group that went to buy the meat and someone chose to pick up pre-cooked shrimp,which wouldn't work at all for the dish.
That forced Lindsay to switch gears and her food suffered for it. She and Sarah were in the Bottom Four,mainly for using store bought tortillas for the cochinita pibil.
Keith was asked to pack his knives and go,partly due to his soggy enchiladas. The flavors were good but he used a flour tortilla instead of corn,which made the whole thing a bit mushy.
He was also the guy who decided to buy the pre-cooked shrimp. Dude,why would you do that,especially since it wasn't for your dish and you work in a seafood restaurant,so you know how important it is to use fresh fish for certain dishes? We may not be seeing the last of him,since they're doing a Last Chance Kitchen online for eliminated contenders.
Next time, the gang goes to the rodeo and things heat up in more ways than one. Should be a real cowboy shindig indeed!
Street art was the subject of this week's Work of Art,as China Chow allowed the contenders(and mentor Simon)to pick which person to pair up with to make a piece that would cover a large space on outdoor walls by testing their spray paint on her dress.
Immunity is no longer available but the prize here was 30 grand,so everyone was motivated to win. That could explain some of the rude behavior that went on here but certainly not excuse it.
Dusty and Young wound up together and had trouble figuring out what to do at the beginning. Eventually,they did find common ground as their experiences in losing a parent and becoming a parent created a "Universal Conversation."
Thought bubbles were added for people to write on,which tied in nicely with the street art theme and that interaction seems to officially be Young's forte. They won the challenge and get to split the cash,which made them very happy for differing reasons. Dusty had been feeling a little jealous of Young from the last challenge but by collaborating with him,reached a new level of emotional maturity.
Kymia and Sara's "Reroot" was the runner-up for the win and I have to say that it was a truly striking piece. Just like the guys,both ladies had a shared experience that they combined to make a portrait of upheaval from their respected homelands and the feelings of displacement that those moves brought on.
I don't think the judges appreciated it as much as they did Young and Dusty's work and I know that Lola and Michelle certainly didn't,due to their efforts to sabotage the piece by putting the crappy stickers from their pathetic tableaux on it and encouraging observers to do the same.
Lola and Michelle's work(I won't even bother to write down the meandering Panic at the Disco song like title attached to it)was their version of peeking into stranger's windows and not only was the drawing poorly done,the whole thing resembled a juvenile attempt at shocking people with sex.
Putting aside this banal and derivative project for a moment,I was really offended by Lola and Michelle's attitude towards Kymia. The two of them went out of their way to upset her by not sharing the computer scanner(or even acknowledging the fact that she was speaking to them!)and making snide comments about her work.
Lola,especially,was clearly out to get Kymia and her claims of "I was just being devious,like you're supposed to in street art" is total bunk. While I may not always be a fan of Kymia's work,she is far and away a much more talented artist than Lola and a better person to boot.
There is no reason for Lola to be doing this other than her pathetic need to be the center of attention and Michelle is nothing more than a mean girl flunky. Listen up,you two-you ought to be ashamed of yourselves and if you're not,that shows just how small and petty you are. Kymia,I hope that you stand up for yourself and not let these inane twerps walk all over you. Stay strong,sweetheart!
For some even more sad news,The Sucklord was sent home for the "Sucklord and Sarah's Super Big Art Project." It's no surprise that Judge Jerry has been gunning for him to leave and even Judge Bill joined in to razz the Sucklord about the maze that he and Sarah set up.
While it wasn't all that it could have been,it was obvious that more thought and effort was put into this piece than the lame "tiger penis" playset by Lola and Michelle and even the guest judge acknowledged that Sarah's wooden attachments gave it some depth. The Sucklord also defended Sarah during the critique,not wanting her to take the fall for their piece,the mark of a real gentleman.
However,both Jerry and Bill insisted that the Sucklord wasn't using his toy art skills to enhance the work,something that both of them had complained about him doing in past challenges. Remember,Jerry,how you declared to get "medieval" on Sucklord if he chose to include Star Wars or anything like that again? Hello,mixed messages!
Anyway,The Sucklord came out of this competition with the style and honor befitting a true Jedi master and the world is better off knowing him that they are in knowing Jerry,that's for sure. Fare thee well,good sir:
The latest leg of The Amazing Race took everyone to Copenhagen,Denmark where another Double U-Turn was placed in their path.
Some teams were surprised at getting picked to double back but what surprised me was how many of them at the Detour chose to make butter by hand instead of the bunny race option.
Having rabbits run little obstacle courses is a favorite sport in Denmark and those critters were nimble and cute. I could understand being reluctant with larger animals or a big cluster of them but the bunnies were a no-brainer in my opinion. They were easier to deal than learning the three part dance at the Roadblock,which caused more than one team to lag behind. Laurence and Zac wound up going home but at least they got a chance to do the bunny hop:
A VERY GAGA THANKSGIVING: No,this is not a SNL skit,folks. Lady Gaga will be hosting a Turkey Day special next week and she'll be singing as well as deep frying a turkey. That last bit should amuse Sookie St. James quite nicely there:
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