Christina wins Hell’s Kitchen

June 19, 2008

I really thought Petrozza had a chance until the two finalists had to work with former cast-chefs and prepare a dinner service. The less experienced Christina was not only more organized than Petrozza, but was able to negotiate her crew’s diverse personalities. For example–she asked Matt to make his award winning risotto. That kept Matt on task for awhile. The largest challenge for the finalists was getting the losing chefs to help them win, when most of them didn’t care. The funniest chef was Jenn, whose eyes were bulging out of her head with jealousy. She did try to help Petrozza, though, by trying to get him to organize a menu and dinner service plan. But Petrozza crashed and burned. I could tell it was all over when he was organizing asparagus pieces in “X” shapes around the plates while the entrees got cold. The turning point of the show was Ramsey talking quietly (for once) like a golf tournament announcer before Christina and Petrozza turned the handle to walk through the door to their future (gag). What a nightmare to not be able to open that door! In the end, Ramsey chose Christina because of her “potential.” I should have seen it coming when Christina started to refer to Ramsey as “Gordon.” I guess Ramsey thought he couldn’t mold Petrozza into executive chef material, and for that reason alone I am glad Petrozza will remain Petrozza and not a Ramsey clone.

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Chef Bobby sent home for lack of Beef Skills {Hell’s Kitchen}

June 16, 2008

Communication was key in Hell’s Kitchen last week, and it was Bobby who ultimately failed. The fact that Bobby “cremated” rather than cooked the Beef Wellington, according to Chef Ramsey, didn’t help him either. The final four chefs had an individual “cooking school” challenge–teaching a non-cooking, scantily clad housewives how to prepare homemade pasta with fresh lobster and sauce. Christina came out on top with Corey, a close second. Chrisitina, a Culinary School student, probably had an advantage here. Petrozza and Bobby were too distracted by their students’ large melons to focus on the tasks at hand, and Jen struggled with letting her student prepare the meal without interference.

Neither Jenn nor Corey were happy for Christina (surprise). Jenn said, “I just wanted to booty-bounce her across the room.” Again, cleaning Hell’s Kitchen was the punishment. Hell’s Kitchen is gross, and this week we got to see the black crusty bits in the fryer and the ice cream scoop stuck in chocolate. The chef’s made it through dinner service and Chef Ramsey targeted Bobby to harass, but Jenn also felt the heat. For once I felt that Jenn didn’t deserve the wrath of Ramsey, but she made the mistake of sticking up for herself–a big no-no because to Ramsey, sticking up for oneself means questioning King Gordon.

Both Christina and Corey would have liked to have seen Jen go home, but at least Jen can cook a decent Beef Wellington.

PJ


Stephanie wins Top Chef after lackluster finale {Top Chef Chicago}

June 12, 2008

Stephanie wins Top Chef Chicago and becomes the first female Top Chef, but aside from her victory, the rest of the show was BORING! I decided to post this in fancy “Vivaldi” style font because it suits the high brow foodie audience for which the finale was intended. I could not appreciate Stephanie’s daring pecan and olive ingredients that so impressed the judges. The producers keep forgetting that those of us at home can’t taste the food.. I could appreciate, however, that Lisa’s soup caused the renowned guest chefs to “slurp” and ask for seconds. Like I have said before, Lisa did her homework before arriving in Puerto Rico and performed better than she ever did in Chicago. She was uncharacteristically at ease during the finale due to the fact that there wasn’t anyone around to argue with her. If you have ever watched Hell’s Kitchen, you can easily imagine Chef Gordon Ramsey eating Lisa alive (and probably throw up afterwards). Richard’s tanks of exotic gasses didn’t set him apart from the others. As I watched him pour liquid nitrogen into his bacon flavored ice cream, I thought isn’t that the stuff doctor’s use to freeze warts off of people? (ick) I believe Richard’s downfall was that he thought he could pull it all together on the second day, but surprise—no sous chefs! They bring back the old format for the finale: 2 finalists cooking head to head with the help of former cast mates. Otherwise,Top Chef should move over to the FOOD network. I hope to see more of Stephanie! Maybe she will write a cookbook or get her own television show. She is a heck of a lot less annoying that Rachael Ray!

PJ


“You wanna see scary?” Matt leaves Hell’s Kitchen

June 4, 2008

As I expected, Matt left Hell’s Kitchen this week. Ramsey made it clear that Matty was just a “fraction” worse than Corey and Christina . Matt and Christina had traded “shut ups” the entire day after losing the individual challenge. It was a close call between Christina and Matt and for a minute it looked like Ramsey was leaning towards sending Christina home, telling her that she needs more experience. But Christina stood her ground, stating that she is only getting better each week of the competition. Matt’s exit was memorable; there were flashbacks of his victories (the best Risotto in Hell’s Kitchen) and defeats (making Ramsey throw-up during the first episode) and then Ramsey waxed poetic with the following limerick:

There once was a boy named Matt,

whose kitchen performance fell flat.

He was far from neat.

He was miserable on meat.

So I kicked him out

and that’s that.

The other chefs offered their opinions about Matt this as well :

Christina : Matty, you’re driving me f***ing up the wall, bro. You’ve got to close that mouth sometime.

Bobby: Matt is like Full Metal Jacket. I’m worried about Matt.

Petrozza: I am relieved Matt’s gone. You know what? I’ll be relieved when Matt’s in a different state. Make sure you lock the door behind that guy.

The chef’s became one team (Black) instead of two (just like Survivor when the tribes merge). Ramsey paraded out two big bald guys dressed in Blues Brothers get-ups and carrying a quarter of a million dollars in cash in tow suitcases to get the chefs motivated to win. Jen won the first individual challenge (a Top Chef Quickfire) with her thinly sliced rib-eye. However, this challenge proved that this group had culinary skills. Jen chose Corey to accompany her to Vegas to have dinner with Chef Rock, last season’s winner. The rest of the group had to bring in the restaurants deliveries. Christina took charge which annoyed Matt. By the time, Jen and Corey returned, Matt had a migraine. The chefs still couldn’t communicate, so it was business as usual during dinner service: Cory burned her hand, blew oil on his face, Chef Ramsey yelled,”Raw Meat!” and made everyone come over and feel the difference between raw and overcooked meat. Then Ramsey threw a steak across the kitchen (yummy). Jen made an excellent batch of Risotto and then over-salted the next batch. Christina and Bobby seemed to share a brain when each of them cooked a combination of meat, chicken, or fish in the same skillet. Petrozza reminds me of Pigpen of the Peanuts characters. Ramsey said, “You work like a pig, yet you produce such amazing food.” It looks like the chefs won’t get a chance to team, start uniting as a team,” according to Ramsey, because next week they will be running a “cooking school” for scantily dressed models.

PJ


Chef Spike could not revive his frozen scallops {Top Chef}

May 30, 2008

The Quickfire Challenge this week was a vegetarian’s nightmare. The chefs had to show their “butchery skills” at Allen Brother’s meat plant and cut seven chops with a “frenched bone” from an American raised long-boned rib-eye, USDA Dry Aged Prime Rib rack in 20 minutes. After returning to the Top Chef Kitchen, each of the five remaining chefs had to cook a tomahawk chop in thirty minutes. Spike, a grandson of two butchers, soared through both parts of this challenge, and as a reward he was able to have first pick of ingredients from Rick Tramonto’s kitchen in Rick Tramonto’s Steak and Seafood restaurant. For the elimination challenge, each chef had to create an original appetizer and entree. Chef Tom Collicico took on the role of “Expediter” for the dinner service. Tom’s quiet demeanor was quite a switch from Chef Ramsey’s famous freak-outs in Hell’s Kitchen. Previous Top Chef winners Harold Dieterle (Season One), Ilan Hall (Season Two), and Hung Hynh (Season Three) were invited as the judges’ VIP guests. (I must say that Ilan looked a little out of place wearing a brown tee-shirt)

Stephanie won the challenge with her Sweetbreads with Golden Raisins & Pine Nuts appetizer (she was proud that she could make sweetbreads taste like Chicken McNuggets) and her Beef Tenderloin with Wild Mushrooms & Apple Sauce entree . Richard’s Hamachi with Crispy Sweatbreads, Radish, Avocado & Yuzu appetizer was the favorite dish of the evening, and Lisa’s Peanut Butter Mashed Potatoes was the best side dish. Chef Tom thought that Antonio’s entree tasted best out of all the steak dishes.

Lisa and Spike wound up as the bottom two, Lisa was at the bottom for the fifth time. I think Padma saved her because she thought Lisa had “an amazing pallet.” The frozen scallops turned out to be Spike’s downfall. Spike tried for a long time to drain the water out of them with paper towels, but he still could not turn them into fresh scallops. Moreover, at the Judge’s Table Spike told Rick that he shouldn’t have had scallops in his walk-in that “weren’t high quality.” (Ouch) Rick rebounded with, “I’ll take that shot, bro. I had frozen scallops in my cooler, but you got to take the shot that you used them.” On the positive side, working in Rick’s hot kitchen made Spike remove his signature silly hat. I really hope he tossed it into the wood burning oven. Next week the four remaining chefs head off to Puerto Rico. Will there be an all women final three?

PJ


Matt, Louross, and Jenn crash and burn in Hell’s Kitchen

May 28, 2008

Chef Jenn looks so sweet in this photograph, but her teammates saw a different side this week. Jenn managed to lose the first challenge by not putting sauce on two of the dishes. For their punishment, the Blue Team had to become a maintenance crew and scrub the outside of the restaurant. Lourross tried to lighten the mood by pulling his work outfit over his head to which Jenn said, “You’re stupid and you got a wedgie.” Bobby thought Jenn was being bossy and said the quote of the week: “I come in peace, but if you break my sanctuary, you will feel it.”

Both teams completed dinner service (barely) this week, but still managed to gross-out Chef Ramsey and his guests. Petrozza was busted for putting dirty lettuce leaves in a shrimp cocktail. Louross sent out raw steak, prompting Chef Ramsey to cry, “Raw Steak!!!” and round up the Blue Team to come over and “feel the meat.” Is this what really goes on in a restaurant kitchen, or just a TV kitchen?

Matt wins the gross-out award for letting sweat from his forehead drip into pasta water (Ramsey said that was the reason the customers were sending the appetizers back for being too salty). Matt tied a dinner napkin around his head to try to fix the problem, but Ramsey just made fun of him for wearing a diaper around his head and acting like a baby. “This is not The Simpsons, Homer,” he said to Matt after the dinner service. Cory begged Matt to “cook like a normal person,” but nothing helped.

Meanwhile, Jenn undercooked her first dessert which prompted Ramsey to tell her to “F*** Off!”

Ramsey let Petrozza pick two teammates for elimination as well as choose which one of them should go home. Petrozza chose Louross for his lack of skills. Then Ramsey called Matt and Jenn forward and told them to take off their jackets and switch teams because he was “unconvinced by the both of them.”

To Jenn: “you may be able to manipulate your team, you can’t manipulate me.”

To Matt: “You’re lucky to be here. Look around. You’re out of your depth.”

Needless to say, neither team was happy about this switch.

But as usual, Gordon had the last word: “Louross was never short on energy. He was just short…(pause)…on cooking skills.”

From the previews it looks like Matt becomes even crazier next week. I predict Ramsey will eliminate Matt or Jenn (or both) next week.

PJ


E Coli is alive and well in Hell’s Kitchen

May 21, 2008

This is the second time this season where I have been distracted by the unsanitary practices in Hell’s Kitchen. Chef Ramsey is the culprit. The good news is that none of the fondled food (overcooked, raw, or otherwise) went out into the dining room. The worst were Matt’s tenderloins; the three tenderloins were different sizes and all were cut too small. Apparently, Matt did not allow for “shrinkage.” Ramsey shuffled these pieces of meat around like hockey pucks, then slapped each one for good measure. Poor Matt, earlier he sliced the tip of a finger (or thumb) off. Ramsey called a medic right away, and then returned to the kitchen and asked if anyone had seen Matt’s missing finger tip. The Red Team was afraid they had cooked it (seriously). (I’m still wondering if they ever found it) When Matt returned, Ramsey pointed out to Matt that he still had nine fingers left and to keep his wounded hand away from the food. All in all, this week’s episode did not make the culinary arts very appetizing.

PJ


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