Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Top Chef Seattle dishes out some derby delights,a peek at The Paradise and The Next Iron Chef is...

For the Quickfire Challenge on Top Chef Seattle this week,a field trip was taken by the chefs to a shellfish farm where they harvested oysters. After gathering up their encased goodies,they headed back to the kitchen where Padma and Emeril were waiting for them.

They had to make either a hot or a cold plate of oysters,with the winner getting five grand(no mention of immunity).

Red and blue aprons were up for grabs for everyone to get a shot at the temperature they wanted their dish to be. Brooke wound up winning yet another QF,due to her fried oysters with lemon and arugula.

The chefs were then introduced to their clients and inspirations for the Elimination Challenge,a top roller derby team. Teams of two were formed and each one had to base their dish on the name of one of the roller girls.

Emeril joined in for the judging,along with Hugh Acheson,Padma and Judge Tom. Padma took a couple of turns on the roller rink floor,which made way too many people happy there for all the wrong reasons.

Only two teams made it to the winner's circle and one of them was Lizzie and Micah. Their namesake was Jalapeno Business and it certainly lived up to it's moniker.

They served a jalapeno stuffed with crab meat,onion and pepper relish. The judges adored the crispy tang of it,although Josh kept grumbling about how it was just a "jalapeno popper" and even asked Judge Tom about that(more on that in a moment).

The winning team was John and Brooke(another back to back victory!)for their take on Kutta Rump. It was Thai beef on top of lobster jasmine rice with slaw.

John added a slight sour note to the proceedings when,in an aside,he said that it was great to win but he would have rather done it alone. Not cool,man. I know you like being "the most hated" and all of that,but is that rep really necessary to maintain here?

In the Bottom were Josh and Sheldon for their Tempura Tantrum that failed on the plate. The sides of sweet potato and Fresno chili worked but the tempura batter was a complete mess.

Josh then had a bit of a tantrum as he asked the judges why a "jalapeno popper" would get better consideration. Not only did Judge Tom have to waste time by slowing spelling out the difference between what Micah and Lizzie did vs. your standard popper,Josh even knew he was wrong in the beginning by saying he didn't want this to be a "CJ question."

To recap,CJ had attempted to badmouth another team's dish during the judging round that sent him home in an earlier episode. If you don't want to be that guy,Josh,why did you even bother to bring this up in the first place? I really hope this isn't becoming a trend with TC contenders because all this does is make you look bad and your cooking even worse.

Speaking of worse,it was between Josie and Bart for the elim. Their Teriyaki Terror was truly terrible as the forbidden rice was undercooked and the whole dish lacked seasoning.

Josie mentioned that Bart's skewered steak seemed bland yet she thought the beet blood and green papaya salad would make up for that. Judge Tom got annoyed for the second time that night,telling all of them that mixing bland with seasoned food just highlights the lack of flavor. Tom's patience is really being tried this season,I swear.

Bart was sent off to pack his knives and head over to Last Chance Kitchen,where he went up against CJ,interestingly enough. Still rooting for Kuniko,who you can vote for to be saved at the Bravo website.

It was down to three on The Next Iron Chef but that number quickly became two as they each had to make a "Last Supper" for the judges. Alex did well enough with her sea urchin while Amanda's chicken was a hands down crowd pleaser.

Nate Appleman was the odd man out,for his haddock with clam chowder. Since haddock was supposed to be the star here,the chowder just got in the way. That left Alex Guarnachelli and Amanda Freitag left to battle it out in Kitchen Stadium for the ultimate win.

Their secret ingredients were a variety of items meant to represent the culinary styles of three current Iron Chefs-Bobby Flay,Michael Symon and Masaharu Morimoto.

The ladies were pretty much neck in neck with their courses,with Amanda receiving kudos for a charred eggplant with yogurt while Alex's dessert of chili cherry tart with sour cream ice cream was quite a hit.

In the end,it was Alex who made it to glory as the new Iron Chef. Her first battle will be aired this weekend and I'm sure we'll still see her on Chopped.Congrats,Alex and looking forward to cheering you on in Kitchen Stadium.

Amanda did a wonderful job as well and also look forward to seeing her again on Chopped and perhaps another shot at NIC in the future. Good job all around,ladies:

As we eagerly await the S3 premiere of Downton Abbey,there is another promising BBC series soon to arrive on Masterpiece Classic next year.

The Paradise stars Joanna Vanderham as Denise,the newest clerk at London's first big department store during the Victorian era.

Workplace struggles go hand in hand with romantic intrigue as Denise does her best to get along with her co-workers while the owner of the store attempts to balance his love life with his career ambitions. Plus,Denise happens to be the niece of a small business owner whose livelihood is threatened by The Paradise and there's a young man in love with her who considers him only as a friend.

The Paradise had a strong first season in England and a second one is underway. The series is due to air in late February(right after Downton)and into March. It may not catch on as fiercely as DA has with the viewing public over here but it looks like my cup of drama tea indeed:


RACHAEL VS. GUY: A second season of this celebrity cook-off is due to begin soon and I must confess that the main reason I'll be watching is to see far Johnny Weir will go in this competition.

Nothing against the other celebs lined up here(especially Kathy Najimy,who is awesome)but Weir is the rock star of the bunch and it will be fun to see how well he can make a brunch:

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