Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Top Chef TX prepares a queenly feast,more doings at Downton Abbey and SyFy's second season of FaceOff

Eric Ripert joined Padma for the Quickfire Challenge on Top Chef Texas this week and they revealed a brand new gimmick to the proceedings.

The chefs had to grab three ingredients off of a conveyor belt to make a tasting dish. They were allowed to wait for something good to be sent out but that would cut into their cooking time.

That strategy wasn't much of a help,as Chris kept an eye for lobster but his dish turned out to be a dud. Beverly had a good amount of ingredients but forgot to plate one of them before time ran out,which was a shame since her dish would've won if not for that fatal flaw.

Lindsay won by default,with her bouillabaisse of grouper,fennel and Pernod. She received immunity and probably a sense of vindication from the last challenge. She wasn't thrilled completely with her win(since it was sort of a runner-up deal due to Beverly's error) but sometimes,you have to take what you can get there,hon.

The Elimination Challenge was wicked good,with the chefs tasked to make a seven course goth feast for Charlize Theron,in honor of her role as the Evil Queen in Snow White and the Huntsman.

Charlize described her character as a serial killer and encouraged the chefs to go all out in creating thematic edible goodness. She also appeared at the Judges' Table with Judge Tom,Padma and Emeril.

When it came to gorgeous Goth presentation,Chris was all aces here. He made a "poison" apple that was frozen with liquid nitro and filled with cherry pie to make it look beautifully gruesome when sliced open.

Gummi worms and rice krispies(a stand in for maggots)were added as Grimm garnishes and the flavors were wickedly wonderful. Judge Tom praised Chris for properly using molecular gastronomy here and all of them were enchanted by this terrifying treat.

Despite Chris' grand execution of his sinister sweet,Paul won this round for his "enchanted forest" salad with foie gras,bacon,pumpernickel and pickled cherries.

What put him over the top was the beet juice hand print that he made on each plate(yes,he wore gloves). That simple touch was the piece de resistance for the judges.

With everyone on their A game here,picking a loser was extra hard but the judges did manage to find what fault was there.Grayson's black chicken did look as slaughterhouse as she had hoped for but the quail eggs didn't quite gel with the overall dish.

The pickled beets on the bottom did make for a great bloody presentation and the flavors worked but her insistence that the egg was supposed to represent the dead baby bird cut out of the chicken was a bit much.

Beverly was the one to be banished and sent off to Last Chance Kitchen(good luck there,since Nyesha is really cleaning house in that neck of the woods!). Her halibut was meant to represent Snow White triumphing over the evil of red curry and black forbidden rice.

Although her fish was well cooked,the sauce was too sticky and her presentation was too mild to match up to the fierceness of her competitors. Perhaps a fairy godmother will send her a savory spell that will bring her back to the competition.

Tensions and temperatures should rise next week,as the chefs have to pair off and play beat the clock to prep their food within the allotted time before making their dish for tasting. That's only the beginning of their troubles this round but it'll be tasty to watch:

The war comes even closer to home on Downton Abbey,as the estate is opened up for wounded enlisted men to recover from their battle ground injuries. While Cora and Isobel played power games over who would be in charge of DA,Lady Edith made her own quiet contributions to the care of the soldiers that won her praise from a visiting general.

Glad to see her blossom like this and hopefully this will signal a positive turning point for Lady Edith in future story lines. She's not the only young lady whose horizons are expanding due to the new arrivals. New maid Ethel is a little too interested in checking out the officers and mark my words,that is going to lead to a whole lot of trouble:

Meanwhile,Bates may not be at Downton but he's closer than anyone thinks to the neighborhood. Anna spotted him in the village during one of her outings and after some helpful detective work(courtesy of Lady Mary's connections with her newspaper magnate beau),she finds him working at a pub nearby.

Bates is still trying to get a divorce from his vicious wife and hopes that by taking the time to gather enough evidence against her,the end of that marriage can come without certain sordid details about the Crawley family from being exposed.*Sigh*the devotion between these two is so sincere that it's total torture to see them on the brink of true happiness yet cruelly delayed:

SyFy channel has been showing their second season of their competition series,Face Off,which has make-up artists vie for top honors and prize money. I didn't watch the first season but so far,I'm hooked into this display of movie/TV make-up magic and the promising folk who are devoted to keeping that tradition going.

The first episode had a Wizard of Oz challenge,that let the artists do their own take on four of the classic characters(Scarecrow,Cowardly Lion,Tin Man and Wicked Witch of the West). Many of the looks were hit or miss but some of them really rocked the house.

For this week,the challenge was to make fish creatures that would hold up underwater. That requirement threw a couple of the teams off,especially the one that had a "shark lawyer" whose three piece suit got soggy really fast.

The team that won chose a lyretail fairy basslet as their fish person and it came across rather strikingly when the model went in the tank. She had a bit of a space alien aura to her appearance as well,an unintentional bonus.

Watching how costumes like these are made is one of the best things about Face Off but naturally,there is some infighting amongst the contestants. You really can't get away from that on a competition series,I suppose,yet it's far better to focus on the work than the worry,in my opinion:


WORST COOKS IN AMERICA: Season three will debut in February,with reigning champ Chef Anne squaring off with Iron Chef Bobby Flay and their teams of culinary misfits. Should be some fabulous food frenzy to watch and I hope that Flay can roll with the punches:

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