Filed Under: Food TV
| Top Chef
Sorry for the lateness with this recap, y'all ï¿½ case of the Garces Fever
commanded the attention ofï¿½ all my food-TV antibodies. Mostly out of my system now.
Since we all kinda knew how this episode was going to play out, I felt like this one was kinda dull, right?
Quickfire: The remaining five Las Vegas cheftestants meet Gavin Kaysen
of NYC's Cafï¿½ Boulud
, who shows up with the transcendently beautiful Padma
. Kaysen's a big deal ï¿½ he represented America in the 2007 Bocuse d'Or, the cooking competition that's basically the cheffy Olympics. They conveniently failed to mention, however, that Kaysen came in 14th in the competition because a French dishwasher accidentally scarfed an integral component
of his submission dish. Before he was screwed over by said famished plate jockey (unfortunate, yes, but as a former restaurant dishwasher I can attest that it's hungry-ass work), he put out a ballotine, the classically overcomplicated French preparation that involves stuffing multiple stuffs inside of other stuffs. The chefs are instructed to make their own meaty version of a Russian nested doll.
preaches from the book of home-style cooking he and Eli
read from each week ("We believe in the food that we grew up eating"), Mike
gets his surly-chef bitchfest on, hating a bit on Jen
("There's not a whole lot left for her to do"). But all the hateration doesn't even matter, as our girl takes home the QF win for tasty-sounding (but admittedly kinda-weird-looking) calamari steak stuffed with scallops and salmon. "Welcome back," says Padma. Jen smiles big ï¿½ she's been faltering as of late, so this represents a return to form (she wins an extra 30 minutes of cooking time in the Elimination). Since the transcendently beautiful cockles of Padma's heart can be warmed only by Natalie Portman,
she was probably like, "The fuck is Jen doing with her face right there?"
Elimination: The fivesome are stuck with the grand task of preparing a Boscuse d'Or-style presentation for a panel of judges, including Bocuse Team America coach/biggest-deal-chef-ever Thomas Keller
, who would most definitely be played by Sam Neill
in a biopic. Or, since this is the Internet, we could just cast Thomas Keller in memorable Sam Neill roles:
Ah, that feels real nice.
The cheftestants can choose between lamb or salmon to cook; they have to flawlessly present their main protein, as well as several "garnishes" (side dishes), on a giant oval-shaped mirror plate that people like Alex Rodriguez probably use to look at themselves while eating. The Bocuse d'Or judges are super particular on technique, presentation and just about everything else, so the panel here ï¿½ Keller, Kaysen, Daniel Boulud
, Alex Stratta
and other bigwigs ï¿½ vows to be just as brutal. "It takes an enormous amount of courage to cook for us," verifies Keller. File that shit under "Things Only Thomas Keller Can Rightfully Say."
Despite Keller echoing Mike's earlier-in-the-ep declaration that Kevin's food is overly simple for his skill level, the judges praise his lamb dish. Kevin's not shown mentioning that the benevolent Bryan
, who puts out a so-so-received plate, is the one who teaches him how to cook the meat sous-vide to keep it consistent. Speaking of that Voltaggio brother, the judges refer to him as "coachable," which has to be the most patronizing thing to hear about yourself ever. (That's kinda like when they tell the average-height Asian kid with the unreliable jumper that his "great basketball IQ" just wasn't enough to earn him a spot on JV. What do you mean, am I speaking from personal experience? Why would you ever think that?)
Eli undercooks his lamb, causing an unpleasant texture. Jen's salmon is on-point, but the judges can't grasp the creative context of the dish. (But they can
grasp at straws!) Mike puts out a gorgeous plate of salmon with a cauliflower chickpea tart and zucchini tzatziki, but the flavors aren't there and Stratta finds a bone in his fish, which would apparently necessitate your hands being chopped the eff off if it happened in the heat of a real Bocuse d'Or battle.
The judges have plenty of criticisms to level at each chef, but in the end, Kevin comes out with the cleanest nose, winning $30 grand. Eli's sent home, producing what I consider to be the strongest final four in the show's history. So what do y'all think, Top Chef
fans? Between Jen, Kevin, Mike and Bryan, who's taking it? Who has no chance? Who used to do porn under the literary psuedonym "Jean Val Jean"? Wait, that's Chef Academy.