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


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