‘Top Chef: D.C.’ Recap: “Room Service”


S7:E4: After the disheartening mediocrity of the grilling challenge, last night’s episode started off rather slowly. The cheftestants were all demoralized, shuffling robotically around the mansion in pajamas and hair curlers. Except Arnold of course who won the last challenge and had the bright, sunny energy to actually use a curling iron this morning!

The rest of us are growing weary of the Angelo-Kenny showdown. Timmy Dean glowers in the corner. “Soon.”

Quick Fire

This Quick Fire was quite fun! Tom and Padma both have newborn babes! They want the chefs to create meals that are tasty to the buds of a real person but that can also be blended into a puree for the feeding of baby-blobs. Somewhere Jaqueline’s ghost pipes up “I HAVE JUST THE THING.” Chickens everywhere shiver and pull their blankets up around their necks.

This challenge is High Stakes meaning ten grand is on the line for the two winners.  Arnold wants to use the money to help children living with AIDs in Thailand. Alex chimes in he’d use the money for something nice, maybe a hooker and an eight ball. He is so Russian. He is like a character out of Vin Diesel’s XXX. “I practice making baby, not baby food”.

After a few stomach-churning montages of food being blended into meat smoothies, judgment begins! There were many dishes Tom and Padma did not care for at all, including K-Sbrags’, who had some plating problems and served an undercooked pan-seared duck over a pool of blood.

The judges did like Kenny’s curry chicken dish, as well as Angelo’s fenugreek dish and parfait-style baby jar. Fenugreek stimulates milk production. What a cheeky bastard. Tamesha impressed Tom with her vegetable chowder with homemade licorice oil. She ended up taking home the prize along with Kenny! They’ll be rich! Filthy rich!

We’re starting to see the trendy foods of this season. Looks like we can expect a lot of lamb, ribs, and chicken, ginger, and root vegetables.  Chef Eric Ripert may be scaring these guys off of seafood. They are toeing the line with heavier meats like pork and steak that they can cook off solidly instead of a fish which may take more finesse.

Elimination Challenge

The elimination challenge was a team activity – groups of two chefs were asked to create a signature dish for the Hilton Hotel to be served on the Hilton menu across the world. (The Hilton has restaurants?) The idea here was to not make the dishes too complicated or expensive or intellectual. The challenge was set up tournament style, with each team cooking breakfast, lunch and dinner. After breakfast, winning teams would be safe from elimination; same after lunch, until the losers of dinner would be sent home and winners would be given fantastic Hilton prizes.

The challenge begins and Arnold dreams that one day people will see him as more than just a Louis Vuitton bag.

At the start we meet the judges for this round and oh my god Brian Voltaggioooooo! Aieeeee!! Panties fly from all directions. He frowns. Spike is also back, no surprise. He is perpetually just off-screen, waiting to scuttle back onto television at the drop of his stupid fedora hat. For FAME!

I love breakfast so much that most of my meals usually involve egg and sausage. This is no exaggeration, so I was enthused for the first breakfast challenge of the seasooon! Firstly though, Alex is making pancakes, which for some reason is really grossing me out. Prostitutes and pancakes. They had some plating problems once again but that’s boring.

Most every team made a poached egg for this challenge. I’m not sure what it is about the poaching that makes it a choice for foodies but as far as I’m concerned poaching involves no frying and no butter so what good is it?

Angelo and Tamesha made a simple egg with bacon and bread. Tamesha assures http://media.hollywood.com/images/l/top_chef_padma.jpgeveryone that she has been to Brian’s restaurant before and knows that her egg texture was perfect! Cut to Brian making a P.U. face, “this yolk is over”. 

Kenny and K-Sbrags poached an egg with herb brioche, prociutto and olive tapenade. Drooool.

Amanda and Stephen made more poached eggs with pancetta, and more hollandaise.

Andrea and Kelley made a McGriddle type concoction of bacon, cheddar and whole wheat waffle with poached eggs and some kind of mango mint smoothie, which all looked so good.

Tiffany and Timmy Dean (master of disgusting frozen breakfasts!) made a crab cake with bacon etc. Trust me, hollandaise was involved.

Amanda’s team and Timmy Dean’s team won the breakfast round with their poached egg and crab cake!

The lunch round consisted mostly of Kenny and Angelo reiterating that they were both so mad that they didn’t win breakfast as they fumed and sulked and made thin slices of beef and a weird hummus salad. Other interesting dishes were Arnold’s tuna sushi roll and Andrea and Kelly’s overcooked shitty fish. Angelo’s team (beef bits) and Alex’s team (scallops) won lunch!

The final round rolls around and Kenny can barely keep his pants on. He must cook for his life? Kenny? Kenny? He furiously glazes his beef short ribs, meanwhile Kelly and Andrea braise their short ribs with Polenta and goat-cheese which looks so delicious. Arnold and Lynne fall apart somewhat and are putting together a mussel and squid-ink pasta dish.

Judges Table

After hours of cooking, the exhausted chefs are informed of the outcomes. Kelly and Andrea, most forgettable pair of women in the competition, have won it all! They win dream vacations from Hilton.

Kenny and K-Sbrags had to defend their short-ribs and lack of glaze. Kenny is infuriating and overbearing when discussing food. He used the words textures and temperatures about ten times. He said sodium instead of salt. Tom has no patience for this. He is the resident intensely bald man on this show. And there is only room for one. However, very unfortunately, Arnold and Lynne were sent home for undercooked pasta and for being too lively and too boring, respectively.