Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Thursday, September 05, 2013

Top Chef Masters deal with a fishy situation,power plays Under The Dome and the dangers of Cutthroat Kitchen

First things first on Top Chef Masters this week,as it was announced that the two eliminated chefs from last time went up against each other during The Battle of the Sous Chefs and the winner was Jennifer.

She returned to the competition in time to get a Quickfire Challenge from Ali Larter(loved her in Heroes). Everyone had to make their own version of nachos and since the closest that I've come to that is Doritos,I was interested to see an elevated take on the well known snack food.

Ali and Curtis Stone were most delighted with Douglas Keane's "deconstructed" rendition,which included a salsa consumme served in a shot glass.

Douglas won the round and earned his immunity(since that option wasn't up for grabs during the sous chef battle,it had to be won here). No penalties were handed out to the others this time but obstacles still await them for the Elimination Challenge.

The six remaining chefs were then tasked with making hot and cold fish entrees(to be served on the same plate) at a local seafood restaurant called Duke's. They broke up into teams of two and had to shop for supplies without knowing which protein they would be working with the following day.

The fish choices were made the next morning and the infamous TC knife pull determined in what order each team would be able to select either John Dory,sea bass or sable.

Douglas and Jennifer had first choice and they went with the John Dory,that they prepared two ways.one kimchi style and the other crispy.

The judges adored the texture of both portions and even commented that it felt as if one chef was behind the wheel here. They won the challenge,each receiving five grand for their charities(Doug,Green Dog Rescue,Jennifer Work Options for Women).

 Sang and Bryan wound up with sable fish and their two part plate was one of the teams on the Bottom this time. Sang's fish was dashi cured and it  tasted so unpleasant Curtis actually spat it out(so not good!). Part of the trouble with Sang's fish was that he originally intended to use wood chips to create a smoky flavor but couldn't find any at the store.

His substitution of charred cucumber did enhance the emulsion but the protein was lukewarm and mushy,two things you don't desire in a fish plate.

Bryan's BBQ fish with pine nuts and soy bubbles went over much better yet the real problem was the obvious disconnect between the two offerings of fish. Bryan acknowledged that he and Sang have very different styles of cooking,which is fine but the point of this exercise was to blend the best of each together for a great plate.

Fortunately for them,David and Neal's sea bass duet was a major dud and Neal was the one who had to pack his knives and go. His crudo cut was packed with sinew and he should have gone for a tartare instead.

David's couscous served on the side of his Mediterranean glazed bass was oily and while his fish was well cooked,a tad over spiced as well. Sorry,Neal-better luck next time!  Speaking of next time,Lucha wrestlers will be on deck for another big themed challenge and there will be a switch up for the sous. Should be fun!

More strange happenings Under The Dome occurred as a mysterious funnel cloud in the sky was unleashed,threatening the limited landscape below.

 That weather wonder was due either to Junior having another break up snit with Angie(who should realize by now that a psycho ex-boyfriend is not going to be a reliable ally in an unexplained phenomenon situation) or Julia being shot by Maxine,take your pick!

As soon as Julia was stabilized,Barbie teamed up with Big Jim to deal with Maxine once and for all. She was ready and waiting for them(with a hench man on hand),not to mention being in a bad mood after finding her mom drowned,thanks to Big Jim. A couple of throw downs later and Team Barbie had the upper hand. However,our potential hero made the classic mistake of trusting in his less than trustworthy ally and was quickly framed for murder. Come on,Dale,show a little more sense!:

Meanwhile,Junior and Angie managed to call a truce and teamed back up with Joe and Norrie to confront the mega Dome. When the four of them touched it together,a vision of a bloody Big Jim appeared before them,which upset Junior of course.

Since the kids also saw bloody knives in their hand,the obvious conclusion was that they were intended to take down Big Jim,whose plan to rule over Chester's Mill is now getting started. With the finale a couple of episodes away, my best guess is that Big Jim won't be given the Julius Caesar treatment just yet(unless it's a cliffhanger for next year):

The newest cooking competition show on Food Network is Cutthroat Kitchen,hosted by foodie favorite Alton Brown. This show is a bit more down and dirty than the likes of Chopped,as the four chefs called forth are given 25 grand apiece in order to bid on sabotages to their fellow players.

The last chef standing is able to keep what cash she/he has left and these "auctions" are no joke.

  A standard one is for a basket which allows the winner to take an item away from someone and some of the others include switching out the main ingredient for an inferior product(cottage cheese for a cheese steak,for example) or making one of your opponents do without cooking materials such as cutlery or a proper stove.

 One episode that I saw had a chef being allowed to only use tin foil for her utensils and pans! This is not your typical FN fare and while I know that many people find it too mean spirited, do keep in mind that the name of the show is Cutthroat Kitchen,not Cuddlebear Kitchen,seriously. Give it a shot,that's all I'm saying:


TOTALLY BIASED WITH W. KAMAU BELL: Last season's fresh new late night comedy series is now on five nights a week at FXX and still as sharp as it ever was. Bell might be able to give Stewart and Colbert a run for their satirical money here and it will be more fun to watch that the VMA's were,no doubt about it:

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