Monday, September 14, 2009

Recap Roundup: Top Chef Las Vegas Episode 4

And finally...we say goodbye to someone with a Y chromosome. And also: French, French, and more French. And bloggers:

Cliffieland on Quickfire details: "Since each of the chefs made snails -- and I couldn’t tell you what’s in a Provençal over what’s in a McDLT -- I’ll skip the details of each snail dish."

Jordan Baker on this week's losers: "Jesse, despite seeming like a nice kid, didn’t exactly cover herself in glory during the competition. And Hector.. . I don’t know. Something about Hector made me uneasy. I think it was the sideburns, and the general feeling of physical massiveness."

Minx Eats on the Frawnch: "Here's where the Frenchitude gets cranked up to 11: this meal will be served to Hubert Keller, Laurent Tourondel, Daniel Boulud, Jean Joho, and the magnificent, the stupendous, the Frenchiest French Chef of them all--Joël Robuchon..."

Left Coast Catering (Laurine's blog) with really nice words about the judging chefs: "Famous chefs like Joel and Daniel no doubt continued to refine their knowlege in the kitchen long after they’d grown quite famous. There is no question. The humility they showed us during the classic French challenge seemed to me a true testament to their mastery of our craft–a reverence for the human energy embodied in the meal and the knowledge that such precise execution is never a simple task."

Reality Check (Baltimore Sun) on love in the air?: "Did it seem to anyone else like Jennifer and Michael were flirting! Will they be this season's Leah and Hosea?"

Parties that Cook on the Elimination Challenge: "Each knife has a classical French sauce or a classical French protein. Mike smiles happily, as he has no idea what is going on because he knows no French. Cheers!"

TV Watch (People) on Jesse's final statement: "Perennially in the bottom, Jesse looked genuinely gutted to be leaving so soon. 'I’m pissed, I’m disappointed [and] I’m embarrassed,' she said. 'I haven’t felt like myself since I got here. . . . . The thing I want people to know is that I don’t suck this bad.'"

Poptimal on the big talkers: "Mattin talks a big game – because, you know, he’s French – as does Mike I., who has an advantage because of his Greek heritage (though Eli reminds him he’s not from Greece, he’s from ******* Jersey)."

Gawker on the ramifications of traditional French training: "Say what you will about the abuses of the European stage system —amply illustrated by sadistic twat-for-brain Michael Chiarello—it does usefully turn one into a batonnet, Bearnaise, sauce Americaine making machine." on Frawnch superiority: "The whole thing was about how French people are better than you. It's true. They cook better and can taste things better and their language is prettier and they invented delicious foodstuffs like frozen French Bread Pizzas (in France they just call them frozen Bread Pizzas)."

LA Times on Bacongate: "It is why bacon, a once-humble cured and smoked pork product, rules on the flavor scale. It is why it's so 'in' right now. There's nothing bland about it. Lots of fat, lots of salt, a little meat, a winning ratio. But can there be too much of a good thing? Looks like it. "

Grub Street on Robin's "amuse": "Curiously, Robin makes a soup, but it seems the judges decided to be less rigorous about their definition of an amuse than in previous seasons."

Slashfood on cockiness: "But on Wednesday night's tribute to the art of French cooking, awe quickly gave way to a swaggering show of braggadocio the likes of which we haven't seen since Eminem was doing freestyle rap-offs on the streets of Detroit. Chalk it up to nerves -- or ironic editing -- if you want, but when the headstrong, "I'm better than my brother" Michael V. seems the most shy and unassuming of the bunch, you know something's out of whack."

Time Out Chicago with a Quickfire summary: "The usual suspects—Ice Queen, Big Red and Jersey Boy—won. And the usual suspects—Robin, Jesse, Ashley—lost. The three losers had to cook-to-the-death via an amuse-bouche, which is a little like death by chocolate, only cooler. Jesse left. Frankly, I’ll miss that hot little fry-mama."

Las Vegas Weekly on the stakes: "It was time, as Michael Voltaggio dramatically put it, to cook the 'most important plate I’ve ever cooked in my career.'"

Speakeasy (WSJ) on gender balance: "The gender balance for the show is now four women gone versus only one man, a ratio that seemed a little off to me until I read head judge Tom Colicchio’s explanation of the situation in a blog post on Bravo’s Web site."

She Wired speaking for snail-haters everywhere: "Unsurprisingly, chefs Jennifer, Mike I. and Kevin manage to shine once again with their escargot dishes -- all of which I'd rather flush than even look at. Yes, I have a thing against eating things that produce their own slime."

Food and More (Atlanta Journal Constitution) on hangovers: "So we begin in the early morning in the kitchen of the suburban McMansion, and the feeling around the house is very Tony Soprano in his bathrobe scrounging for coffee and yelling at A.J. The chefs are dragging despite Hector’s cups of muddy Puerto Rican rocket fuel."

Rochester City Newspaper on mixups in the kitchen: "Ashley seemed to have another freakout in the kitchen - that happens to her a lot - and there was another inadvertent pan swap between Ron and Robin. That's two in two weeks; we've never seen that before this season."

Mama Pop echoing my thoughts on snails: "Listen, I'm a foodie and I am happy to eat a lot of weird shit. I have eaten my share of escargot, but it just makes me uncomfortable. There - I said it. Snails are creepy and you all know it."

Clean Plate Charlie on the big challenge: Tthey were informed they would be creating a six course meal for a few famous chefs who would be joining the judges table this week, namely Hubert Keller, Laurent Tourondel, Jean Joho, and chef of the century Joel Robuchon. Everyone had heart attacks and ran to the kitchen."

Whip Smarter with a handy acronym: "Almost all sauces, French or otherwise, can be derived from the “mothers.” The way to remember the basic sauces used to produce almost all others is to remember everyone’s good friend BETH and her V.D.–Bechemel, Espagnole, Tomato, Hollandaise, Veloute and Demi Glace."

Best Week Ever with a good life-rule: "Anyone who plans to go on Top Chef should be sure to specifically practice two or three go-to Amuse-bouches, cause they always come up. Memorize presidents before you go on Jeopardy, amuse-bouches before you go on Top Chef — that’s what I’m gonna tell my kids."

Meal Ticket on the winners: "Bryan and Mike I., who took a big risk — that paid dividends — by desconstructing a bernaise to go with trout. Bryan is selected as the individual champ, his second Elimination W. I still think they look like lifeguards, but it’s clear the Voltaggio brothers are serious, serious business."

Fancast on the teams: "It’s amazing that the teams seem to be relatively conflict free, with the exception of Ron and Robin, who are less full of conflict, and more full of crazy Robin. Hasn’t poor Ron endured enough discomfort in his lifetime?"

TV Squad on predictions (and everyone has the same predictions): "I don't know how it's happened this go-round, but the ladies have been just dreadful with the exception of Jennifer. She seems to be the only one who can keep up with the men. She's likely to be the only one in the final four, and if I were predicting now, I'd say the other candidates would be Kevin and the two brothers, Bryan and Mike."

Cultural Learnings on cutting dead weight: "There is some amazing talent in this year’s cast, and I think that’s the problem: the sheer gulf between those individuals and the rest of the field is so large that I want to be able to watch the next episode not because I’m desperate for more Top Chef but because I want them to cull the herd as quickly as possible so we can see that core group go head to head in what could be one of the most competitive Top Chef finales ever."

Procrastiblog on Mike I at Judge's Table: "Mike obviously learned his lesson last week. He didn’t go so far as to steal credit from Bryan for his 'deconstructed Bearnaise,' but he made damn sure the judges knew it was a collaborative effort to which he and Bryan contributed just about equally. The judges weren’t buying it—the top prize went to Bryan without much ado—but this time they let his coat-tail riding slide. (Aside: You know that sauce was damn good, because there’s nothing the judges would like better than to roll their eyes and sneer at a “deconstructed” anything.)"

Max the Girl on Mattin the Frawnch: "So Mattin was all in his element, because he’s French you know—even though I have secretly suspected that he is just faking it. I mean, if I were some kid from Ohio pretending to be French, I’d slap on a red neckerchief and say things like, 'Isn’t French cooking ze best?' But I digress. . ."

Limecrete with the Crete joke everyone makes: "Snail murder ensues. Mike is going for a Greek feel to his dish, because snail is a delicacy in Crete. I'm certainly not surprised that he wants to emulate a Cretan. Ba-zing!"

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