Thursday, February 26, 2009
American Idol sends us not so Norman Gentle-ly thru the night,Top Chef's Finale winner and a tribute to The Middleman
Part two of the Top Chef Finale had one last knife pull,to help Hosea,Carla and Stefan decide who would get first pick of the special guest sous chefs from TC seasons past.
Hosea drew knife no. one and selected Richard from S4 while Stefan decided to work with Marcel(S2). That left Carla with Casey(S3). The chef were then given their final challenge;to make the best three course meal of their lives.
But,of course,like a M. Night Shyamalan movie,there had to be a last minute twist thrown into the mix:
The chefs were given an appetizer to add to their menu,using one of the fishy ingredients provided by Judge Tom. The privilege of first selection(with the additional bonus of doling out the meat to the other two)was again won by Hosea,who found the tiny baby doll in his piece of king cake(a New Orleans tradition). He took the red fish and gleefully made Stefan have the alligator to work with. Carla took the crab and was pinched by one of them.
All of the appetizers went over well with the gang of twelve who were at the Finale dinner(including Toby Young,Rocco DiSpirito and Fabio!). Carla made a spoonful of shiso soup with crab that was considered to be very flavorful.
Hosea blackened the red fish and served it on a corn cake placed on an upside down shot glass(which looked kind of cool). It had quite the amuse bouche vibe there.
Stefan really pulled one out of his hat with the alligator;he used the tail meat to make a soup with parsley and a bit of puff pastry. Unfortunately,that was his second best highlight of the night.
Stefan's top dish was his pan seared squab with red cabbage,a highly praised dish by all at the dinner table and at Judges' Table. Rocco DiSpirito was particularly taken with it and Judge Gail enjoyed it immensely.
On the other side,Stefan's salmon and halibut carpaccio was bland tasting,due to a frozen fish method that diluted the flavor and his dessert came across as less than desirable. It was basically chocolate ice cream and banana pops,which may have been tasty but very Food 101 in style and substance. Judge Tom really didn't like it at all.
Carla did well with her red snapper with saffron but her meat and potatoes entree crashed and burned(not as badly as her souffle,but we'll get to that in a moment). She went along with Casey's suggestion to sous vide the meat,something Carla out and out said she's not too familiar with,and the strip steak was tough to cut and chew.
She originally intended to make a cheese tart,but yet again,Carla let herself be talked into making a cheese souffle by Casey that wound up being overcooked. Carla forgot to adjust the oven temperature and in the end,sent out a pitiful pear coin with cheese. While she made the right decision in not sending the spoiled souffles out,Carla's lack of confidence and control of her kitchen lead to her loss. A real shame.
Even with a so-so serving of sashimi,Hosea did very well for himself. His scallops with foie gras was the hit of the evening and beloved by everyone.
Hosea ended the meal with a serving of venison with blackberry demi glaze and celery root,which was allowable by the rules(desserts were not mandatory),plus it showed a steady progression of light to heavy in his proteins.
Some people(Toby Young,in particular)insisted that a meal should end with a dessert and by not doing one,Hosea was avoiding doing something he's not good at. In my opinion,it's better to have a deliciously made meat top off a good meal than a half hearted dessert(and I love sweets,folks).
Also,since he wasn't required to make a dessert as his last course,that shouldn't be held against Hosea(Toby Young was getting very anal on that point). Not to mention that venison looked amazing-made me wish I had one of those Wonka Vision machines to teleport that plate to me. I've never eaten venison but this seriously had my mouth watering.
So,Hosea won Top Chef and congrats to him. The guy earned his win fair and square,even with the bickering over ingredients with Stefan during the prep. Next week is the reunion show,which should be fun. Oh,and Hosea? Congrats again but please have the good sense to stay away from Leah. Like the song says,that girl is poison!
American Idol had their second group of twelve sing for the Top Twelve triple slots last night(a bit of a tongue twister there),still using the Billboard Top 100 to select their songs from.
Most of the singers in this round were blander than beige,except for Nick Mitchell. Nick,aka "Norman Gentle",does a bizarre lounge lizard act that is a picture perfect definition of show stopper and not in the best sense of the word. I won't be a bit surprised if he goes thru to the Top Twelve,this guy truly has to be seen to be believed:
As I said,most of the other performances were nothing to write home about,yet I was able to hand out a Sanjaya award this week to Jesse Langseth for her one note version of Bette Davis Eyes. She tried,but such a stylized song is not a good pick for a up and coming singer to showcase her voice(sorry about this being another audio clip,but that's how YouTube rolls these days):
BLINK AND YOU'LL FORGET THIS ONE
SHE KNOWS JUST WHAT IT TAKES TO MAKE THIS SONG WORK
Sad news to report,folks-ABC Family will not be renewing The Middleman for a second season(preferring to make more shows about glossy college students and suburban soap operas about middle class pregnant teenagers instead). There are plans to release the first season on DVD,with a special edition comic book included to tie up the loose ends remaining from the storyline.
This was a fun and funky little sci-fi superheroed theme show with a strong and smart female lead and it's a true loss to TV viewers that another season was denied to us. I'm sorry to see it go and hope that others will discover the many delights that it offered and check out the comic book series that first brought the Middleverse to life:
TREKKIES WELCOME HERE
SEE WHAT YOU'VE BEEN MISSING
THE AMAZING RACE: More food themed challenges this week,as one of the Detours had the teams toss pies at one another until they found one with cherry filling. One of the coolest moments,however,was when Mel did the paragliding Road Block. No one else had the patience to wait for the winds to be right but Mel and it paid off well for him and Mike in the end:
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