Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Thursday, February 09, 2012

Top Chef TX honors their mentors,Downton Abbey vs. the Super Bowl and a third serving of Worst Cooks in America

The first order of business on Top Chef Texas this week was seeing who would be returning to the competition,thanks to Last Chance Kitchen. Emerging triumphantly was Beverly,which seemed to peeve a few of the remaining chefs(namely Sarah).

They then went on to the Quickfire Challenge,which was to pick items out of the TC pantry while blindfolded and make a dish using each one. The winner would get their choice of prizes;a new car or a guaranteed spot in the Final Four.

Sarah won this round with a corn soup that had peaches and mushrooms in it,yet it was deemed more favorable than Ed's soup with pork casing stock(he thought it was pancetta). She immediately went for the Final Four spot,which let her off the hook for cooking in the Elimination Challenge.

For the Elimination,the chefs had to make a dish that showcased the type of cooking that their mentors enjoyed and taught them to do. Since Sarah didn't have to take part in this challenge,she got to hang out with her mentor Tony Mantueno instead.

Joining the judges were the other four mentors,which included former Top Chef Masters contender Michelle Bernstein(Lindsay),Tyson Cole(Paul),Sarah Stegner(Beverly)and Frank Crispo(Ed) and this reunion of teacher and student brought plenty of tears as well as joyful memories.

Bev took a real risk in preparing her food wok style,which has to be timed precisely or the whole meal is a loss. It's particularly difficult to cook this way for a large number of people and she received major props for pulling it off.

Her Singapore noodles with barbecue pork and shrimp were delicious,not to mention very pleasing to her mentor. This dish placed Bev in the Top Two for this round and showed why her return from Last Chance Kitchen was well earned.

Paul was next to her in the winner's circle and won this challenge with a seemingly simple soup.

He used chilled sunchoke with summer veggies and a dashi broth that felt out of place when tasted on it's own yet when poured over the veg ,and eaten over time,came together in flavorful harmony.As his reward,Paul won the car that Sarah passed on. Between this and the close to forty grand that he's gotten already during the course of the competition,he's miles ahead of everyone here.

Let's face it,folks-Paul winning the whole shooting match would be great but if he doesn't,it is not like he would be walking away empty handed here, unlike some of his competitors.

Meanwhile,Lindsay was on the chopping block due to the amount of dry herbs in her seafood stew. She did a twist on the usual stew recipe,with couscous and a creamy broth that didn't gel as well as the one Paul used on his dish.

Sent off to pack his knives,however,was Ed. As much as the judges loved the braised pork belly and out and out adored the pickled vegetables on his plate,the flavor of the oyster cream was way off.

Ed's decision to use canned smoked oysters when he couldn't find fresh was his downfall here. Too bad,because even with his occasionally snarky attitude,the guy had his moments there. No Last Chance Kitchen for you,pal,sorry!

Next week,the Final Four leave the warm climate for the chill of British Columbia but the heat is still on high for the competition. Personally,I'm rooting for Beverly all the way now and hope that she buries mean girls Lindsay and Sarah in the snow.

Downton Abbey faced it's worst enemy this past weekend,in terms of time slot that is. The show did rather well up against the Super Bowl,coming in second place in the ratings that night.

Some of the PBS stations were wise enough to replay Downton at ten,giving those who love sports and British melodramas a proper chance to indulge in both:

Plot line wise,there was much to celebrate as WWI came to an end but poor Lady Edith's heart was broken yet again by a badly burned officer claiming to be Patrick, the former heir of Downton who was reported as a casualty of the Titanic.More than likely,he was an impostor on the make yet you can't help but feel sorry for Edith in this situation.

She may have been conned but,other than her father,she was the only one who took the time to talk to this guy about his back story(which was a tad far-fetched there). Not to mention that Edith did have strong feelings for him all along, which must have been known to the "real" Patrick in order to be a ploy for the fake fellow. When it comes to love,this girl just can't catch a break.

More post war hijinks are on the way,as some of the Crawleys look forward to reclaiming their former way of life and others find the new fashions appealing. Mr. Bates,meanwhile,has a mixed blessing as his troublesome wife dies under circumstances that could divide him from Anna for good:

Season three of Worst Cooks In America debuts this upcoming Sunday,with Chef Anne Burrell going up against famed Iron Chef Bobby Flay to see which one of them is best at whipping a raw foodie into culinary shape.

Chef Anne has so far beaten two guys,which puts some pressure on Flay there. However,he does strike me as a fairly relaxed man and moderately easy going when it comes to instructing others,unlike former team captains Irvine and Macmillan. Yet,the daunting task of dealing with kitchen misfits might be harder than facing the Chairman in Kitchen Stadium for Flay:


GAME OF THRONES: Season two is set to begin on April 1(not a joke,I swear)and the wait is true torture indeed:

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