Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Thursday, July 09, 2009

TC Masters make magic,The Next Food Network Star meet Rachel Ray and some sips of The Soup

Top Chef Masters returned this week,with Douglas Rodriquez,Anita Lo,Mark Peel and John Besh up at the plate,so to speak. Their Quickfire challenge was to cook an egg dish with one hand behind their back(oven mitts were worn on the "forbidden" hand)and only John Besh failed to make four servings of his slow cooked egg.

Besh's egg was half done,to boot,which made it all the easier for Anita Lo to win here for her scrambled eggs with shiitake and oyster sauce,served up in the shell. One of the folks who chose the winner for this round was Gail Collins,one of the regular TC judges,and she also took a seat for the Elimination challenge,which was to cook a meal for Neil Patrick Harris and friends at the Magic House in L.A..

The chefs had to use an element of magic as their inspiration for their dish and Douglas Rodriguez had "spectacle" as his. He served up duck three ways,with his big showpiece being the coconut that he had the duck soup in being lit on fire. Fortunately,the flames weren't too dangerous and the food was good,but not great.

Mark Peel was a big contender for the win,with his "mystery" course being tai snapper cooked in a parchment and served with sake and lime glaze on the side. The whole mystery bag concept was pretty cool and everyone at the table seemed to really enjoy the flavors of the foods combined here.

Anita Lo took the top honors,however,for her "illusion" entree. She made what looked like a giant scallop,but was actually a daikon stuffed with steak tartare. Her plate had other surf and turf trimmings,such as rice krispies crushed up to resemble beach sand and a shellfish broth to suggest the seashore. Nice work,Anita,and congrats to you!

Next week should be rather tricky,with a main challenge of preparing a three course meal for a hundred people solo and a classic Quickfire that demands a more down to earth take on familiar food:

While there wasn't an official winner on The Next Food Network Star this week,there were plenty of folks who did well. Unfortunately,Jamika wasn't one of them.

She took too long with her cooking demo for kids and then froze up for most of the main challenge,which was to present a grown-up version of a kid favorite on Rachel Ray's talk show. Part of the problem was Jeffrey,who didn't click with her during the food prep and then hogged the spotlight for as long as he could. Not cool,Jeffrey!

Jamika wound up on the chopping block,along with Michael,who sees the cameras as "very judgey" and speaks to them as if he was approaching "the depths of hell." I like them both,so I hope they do better soon. As I predicted last week,Katie was sent home for her lackluster performance skills and a bone dry chicken made for the Rachel Ray demo.

Every time someone on a cooking competition show who is either a dietitian or a healthy food advocate comes on board,he or she never makes it to the final round. The reason for that,in my opinion,is due to those folks focusing too much on pushing the health benefits of eating properly instead of making healthy food taste good. You catch more flies with honey,that's all I'm saying:

To round things off,let's watch a few choice clips from The Soup on E!,which never fails to score major points on the pop culture comedy scale. Their well placed hits on the silliness of social trends,reality show madness and celebrity hijinks are a much needed relief for these troubled times. Host Joel McHale will be getting a sitcom next fall(The Community)but hopefully,he'll still be bringing us the laughs every Friday night:





IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA: As part of the promotion for the return of the show this September,F/X put together a ad with clips of fans doing their own versions of the cult classic tune "Dayman" created by two of the characters. Congratulations to everyone who got their bit of business chosen for this commercial and props to the Sunny crew for acknowledging their audience this way:


Robin Brande said...

Aren't you just loving Top Chef Masters? I was reluctant at first (it's like preferring college basketball over the NBA--amateurs are so much more spirited to watch), but I'm totally hooked now.

Plus the chefs all come across as so nice. I'm sure they can yell with the best of them in their own kitchens, but on the show they're so gracious to each other. It's really a pleasure to watch.

lady t said...

You're right,Robin-it is refreshing to see friendly competition amongst professionals for once.

Plus,some of these chefs have either been TC guest judges or made appearances on the Food Network,which makes it extra fun to spot folks on each episode. John Besh,for example,competed on the last The Next Iron Chef America(he lost out to Michael Symon) and his folksy style is still the same.