Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Thursday, February 24, 2011

TC All-Stars have a fish fry,Worst Cook winner revealed and TAR begins it's Unfinished Business

Paula Deen was the special guest judge on Top Chef All-Stars this week and in the Quickfire challenge,she had the chefs make their best take on deep fried food. Antonia wowed Paula with a deep fried salad that included avocado,a favorite of Ms. Deen's.

Alas,Antonia forgot to make two servings which meant her dish had to be disqualified.A total bummer,considering the slight controversy over the plate that was granted the win along with five grand.

Mikey Isabella not only took that misplaced win due to Antonia's mistake but at Richard's expense as well. Seems that morning,Richard was sharing with Mikey and a couple of others some of the ideas he was working on in his chef's notebook. One of them was serving a chicken "oyster"(an in between part of the bird around the wing and breast)on an actual oyster shell.

Guess what Mikey decided to make for the QF? Yep,a chicken oyster for which he had no shame in his game about using. He even had the nerve to smirk over at Richard,who was fuming but kept himself in check. Afterward,upon hearing the real deal,most of Mikey's fellow competitors agreed that he violated "chef's law" there.

Meanwhile,Paula Deen was joined by TC Master contender John Besh for the Elimination challenge which was to cook enough fish for 300 people attending a Gulf Coast charity event.

Paula and John were the hosts of the event and since this was a big crowd,each chef had a former contender assigned to help them out. Each assistant came with a particular type of seafood native to the Gulf Coast area,making the selection that more tricky.

Antonia earned herself a bit of redemption as she chose Spike and his platter of blue crabs to work with. Her crab cake served with corn and jalapeno andouille relish in broth was light and tasty,plus good enough to land her in the Top Three.

Mikey also joined her,thanks to Season 1 Tiffany and the grit encrusted Gulf shrimp that they made. He seemed to rely on her rather heavily,which got him some props but not the win this time.

Richard worked with Fabio and took a risk by adding pulled pork to his crispy snapper with citrus grits that really paid off.

Not only did he win this round,Richard was awarded a six night stay in Barbados with an extra five grand for airfare thrown in. That's right,Mikey-in your face! Karmic debts have a very high interest rate,my friend,just keep that in mind.

On the down side,Carla and Tiffany Derry wound up in the Bottom Three due to tough dealings with their partners. Tiffany had Marcel,who didn't follow her recipe plans and Carla originally chose Tre because she thought he was familiar with Southern country cooking.

Tre let her know early on that he's a city boy,which threw Carla into a tizzy. Her grouper with collard greens and chow-chow pico was a major bust. Paula in particular was disappointed with how the greens turned out. I love Carla yet she does let her nerves get the best of her too many times here.

Packing his knives to go was Dale,who had Angelo and amperjack fish to work with. The amperjack stew they managed to prepare was undone by underdone potatoes and a heavy on the mustard crouton.

Since Dale wasn't as snarky about his fellow chefs this round and was mature about the errors of his dish,I do feel a tad sorry for him as he departs. At least Dale wouldn't stoop to swiping someone else's idea for a dish(not going to forget that any time soon,Mikey,okay?).

Next week, the remaining chefs hit the snack bar and tensions tighten up even further than before. All I can say is that I'm totally Team Antonia at this point.

The second season finale of Worst Cooks in America has come and gone,with some interestingly intense moments.

Each contender had to make a three course meal for the panel of culinary experts(Marc Murphy,Donatella Arpaia and Drew Nieporent)in order to win the cash prize and their mentors did a trial run with them but were not allowed to help during the official cooking time.

The best dish that Robert Irvine taught his recruit Georg to make was the lobster corn chowder that was her appetizer. The judges loved it,even though Chef Anne thought it was a little too old fashioned for her taste:

Speaking of Chef Anne,it was a bit touch and go for her recruit Joshie there but the dessert course gave him the extra bonus points that helped him win.

Despite the fact that his blueberry nectarine crisp came out of the oven somewhat sunken in the dish and needing a little more crumbled coating,the flavors rose to the occasion for Joshie. I was glad to see him win,mainly because I prefer Chef Anne's teaching style to Irvine's:

The best part about the win was the side bet that Irvine made with Chef Anne. If he had won,she would have had to undergo a "makeunder" by changing her hair and so-called "flashy skirts".

With Chef Anne's victory,Irvine had to keep his word and become a platinum blonde,a look that doesn't work for him at all. This series is fast becoming a favorite with me and I'm looking forward to what the next season will bring to the table as well as who:

The Amazing Race:Unfinished Business upped the stakes for it's returning contenders even higher before they received their first clue. They had to run over to a nearby field and find the right marker that named their airline for the first leg,with the first eight teams winning seats on the earliest flight.

The last team to get their clue was given a U-Turn for the first Detour in their path and that went to Amanda and Kris(who lost their race originally due to a U Turn-major irony alert!). Up for grabs on this leg was the Express Pass,which lets a team skip a difficult challenge. All the teams were sent to Australia,with such tasks as scuba diving into a live tank of fish and working out a secret message via flag code to deal with.

Surprisingly,father-daughter team Gary and Mallory snagged that advantage by coming in first to the Pit Stop(Mallory is just as perkily annoying as I remember)but they were still weren't safe as the leg was far from finished. Since they left this first episode as a cliffhanger,for some folks it'll be a choice between next Sunday's show and the beginning of the Oscars-unless you chose my option and ask someone to tape TAR for you:


THE INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARDS: Speaking of the Oscars,this arthouse honorarium event on IFC will be hosted this Saturday by The Soup's Joel McHale. That choice promises to provide some much needed liveliness to the proceedings and hopefully a funny taste that's not just in your mouth: