Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Recap Roundup - Top Chef Texas Finale Part One

Jordan Baker on the chefs' chatter about Bev: "That night, Sarah and Paul have a confab in one of the bedrooms, and talk about how much it would suck to end up in the last competition, and how they can’t underestimate Beverly. 'Beverly has already been eliminated once,' Sarah tells us. 'She has nothing to lose at this point. Now, Beverly is ready, she’s focused, she is that silent horse. She wants to be meek and timid and people don’t see her. And then she likes to attack like a tiger.'

"That is like a festival of mixed metaphors right there."

A Just Recompense took notes: "I have notes about everyone playing Sharon Stone and chopping through ice blocks FOR A HALF HOUR FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE to get at ingredients frozen therein; about Padma teasing Beverly about who she’s envisioning when she rips into that ice; about Paul beating Beverly to the ice block containing the crab legs, but helping the two women by smashing the ice blocks on the ground for them (which did little good, but it was still a nice gesture); about Sarah using frozen cream that separated but was rescued by blending her soup; about Paul winning, thank God, leaving the final match-up the producers were going to get no matter what anyone cooked: Beverly and Sarah."

Minxeats on the "Culinary" Games: "Paul, Sarah, and Bev must then compete in what might be the stupidest and most dangerous event in Top Chef history. All of their raw ingredients are frozen into giant blocks of ice which they must remove with the aid of ice picks. Tom provides the soundbite,"flash-frozen food is the next best thing to fresh," and I'm surprised that he doesn't add a plug for Healthy Choice or Schwann's or maybe his own brand of pre-packaged comestibles. (I'm thinking that a kid-friendly dish of hoop-shaped pasta--ColicchiOs--with either mini meatballs or chunks of hot dog, could be a big hit.) The chefs have one hour to retrieve their food and cook, outdoors, in the cold. Presumably medics are standing nearby with such necessities as frostbite medication and bourbon."

Max the Girl on bad dreams: "They meet Padma at the top of another mountain. 'Oh my God, she has a gun,' Sarah says when she sees Padma. (I had a nightmare like this once—except it was both Heidi Klum and Padma with guns and for some reason I was dressed in bearskins)."

Eater on cooking in gondolas: "All four chefs are nauseous: Paul because of motion sickness, Beverly because of her fear of heights, and Sarah and Lindsay because of their new haircuts. Do these gondola lifts normally have mini-kitchens in them? Is that very popular in Whistler, British Columbia? I will be honest: I have never skied, so maybe people love deglazing chorizo with prune juice on their way back up the slopes. 'What's the salmon belly situation in our gondola lift?' That is a question skiers frequently ask before booking their lift tickets."

Entertainment Weekly on bias: "Beverly didn't find many of the Asian ingredients she needed in the Whistler Conference Center kitchen, while Sarah found plenty of the 'Germanic' and Italian ingredients that suited her style of cooking. After a season full of racial undertones, in which Heather and Sarah repeatedly implied that rustic Western food is more creative and worthy than Asian food, I couldn't help but think that the lack of Asian ingredients available in this crucial challenge created a cultural bias that favored Sarah. Beverly has been forced to cook Western food several times in this competition, which is totally fair as most of the season took place in Texas; but for all her bellyaching, Sarah was never once forced to cook Asian food. Sorry to make it an ethnic issue, but Sarah and Heather are the ones who made it an issue first. I can't get rid of the image of Heather patronizing Beverly by spitting at her, "I said rustic American food, not Asian." I hope this gets addressed at the Reunion."

Gail Simmons for PopWatch on Bev's gondola dish: "I thought it was very smart of Beverly [to do a cold dish]. There was nowhere in the rules where we said they couldn’t. They’re in the middle of winter [and] doing something cold is just one less thing to worry about, but just because it was cold doesn’t mean it was easy. [To make] a really great tartar, you have to take a lot of things into account. There’s a lot of really serious knife work that needs to happen to make a good tartar. Every piece needs to be the perfect little brunoise, and on a moving gondola, that’s not an easy thing to do. You also have to season very differently when things are cold, because things taste differently at different temperatures, and when things are warm, the flavor comes out much more. When they’re cold, you need to season more aggressively and carefully so that you can actually really taste the flavor of the food, and Beverly did that really, really well."

My Monkey Could Do That on ice breakers: "One hour to chip your stuff out. Paul beats Beverly to the crab legs. Then he gets lucky and throws his block on the ground to bust it all open. Beverly is using a frying pan, which I don’t think is going to work. Also I think she broke the pan. Paul eventually tells Beverly to be careful. Then, because Paul is awesome, he starts helping the girls break the other ice blocks open. I guess they’re not strong enough to lift the blocks high enough to dash them on the ground? Paul says it’s about the food, not about how many ice blocks you can chip. ARE YOU LISTENING PRODUCERS?"

Posted on AllTopChef.com

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