Top Chef Masters: Finale Round 2
I’m sorry to report that I will be calling off my pre-pre engagement to Zooey Deschanel. She’s handling the news very well actually, thanks largely to the fact she has no idea who I am. But if she did, and maybe, just maybe one day she will, I’d like to think she would at least be mildly disappointed.
The thing is, we’ve just been struggling with these imaginary problems for a while now and it’s really taken a toll on our long term future. The final straw was the realization that the only source of nutrients Zooey is allowed to consume is grass. I was crushed when I found out. All these years you think you know someone and then a bomb like this drops on your head and shakes your imaginary relationship to the core.
Find out how the remaining Top Chef Masters handle cooking for a group of people that hate choose not to enjoy everything on this planet worth eating, after the jump.
Let me just say, I can appreciate dietary restrictions — I can understand when people choose alternatives to meat products, and I can even see the merit in Top Chef Masters making a challenge out of extremely limited ingredients…but then again.. come the fuck on! Elimination Challange Vegan Fuck-Off Fest is what that episode should have been called. Do vegans even watch Top Chef?! I can’t see how they would since most chefs rarely serve tree bark as an entree. Needless to say, I wasn’t thrilled with Wednesday night’s episode. I don’t hate vegans, but Top Chef is nothing if not an orgy of Food Porn, and the dairy/cheese/eggs-free demographic are the Catholic nuns at the party.
It would seem the producers understood how many fans would react to the joyless food episode so Quickfire challenge was a burger cookoff. No real rules, just do your best burger. And who is that fedora rocking, smirk wearing judge sitting at the table? Could it be? DC’s very own burger aficionado and frequent ES subject, Spike Mendelsohn, proprietor of Good Stuff and previous contestant on TC season 4. [insert cheers/annoyance here]
We got a good idea of where the chefs’ heads were in this challenge. Bayless delivers a predictable and very tasty looking Queso Fondito with 3 different types of guac. Personally, I really enjoyed his outrage at how the judges, “can’t even perceive” the subtle and unique guacamole he included. Anito Lo shows a little genius but lacks the execution with her completely outside the box Cheddar Soup with Grilled Burger and Ketchup Crouton. Art puts together a southern style Cornmeal Hoecake Burger. Keller delivers a solid Roquefort burger, but given that he owns Burger Bar in Las Vegas, this shouldn’t be a surprise. And Chiarello does a DIY big ass burger that tied with Bayless at 4 stars for the win.
Then Elimination rolls around [sigh]. It’s fine I guess, but my issue is that it was pretty obvious some chefs were much more in their comfort zone on this one. I was feeling for Lo, who I imagine was thinking, “fuck this.” I must say though that despite her retarded food restrictions, Zooey was quick to give feedback and praise. Basically filling the void Kelly Choi provides merely by sitting at the head of the table.
Bayless easily assembles Corn Tamales with Chile-Braised Beans, making it clear he’s comfortable with the challenge.
Keller decides to take the appetizer route and puts together a beautiful trio of White Gazpacho with Grapes and Vanilla Oil, Timbale of Avocado & Asparagus, and Roasted Beet Salad.
Chiarello’s wisdom shines through by just cooking some Quinoa Pasta with Salsa Verde and Gremolata. He wins this week overall and adds $10,000 to his charity kitty.
Anito Lo struggles to shine with her Spicy Grilled Eggplant with Lentil Salad. I’ve loved everything she’s cooked so far, but I have to say this dish looked like shit. Literally. Not to mention I was ready to throw the remote at the TV if she got the boot for this one.
Thankfully Art Smith made some profoundly dumb choices and serves up rice ice cream to get himself kicked off this week by a narrow 1/2 star margin below Lo. Sucks for Art, but it’s the second time he’s been on the bottom. Time to go home and cook for Obama buddy.
Round 3 promises to be interesting. Looks like Dale comes back and is as much a pissy, little bitch as ever. With any luck, someone is going to punch him in the face.