Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Top Chef 4 Live Blogging!!!: Improv

What better way to critique an episode involving improv than to improv a review? To wit:

10:00 Did Ryan look like a sports fan? I agree - he did not. Not that there's anything wrong with that...

10:02 Goddamn, everything Jennifer does is to avenge Zoi!


10:04 The guest judge is the dashing pastry chef Johnny Iuzzini. His hair is kinda like Jennifer's and Rich's, at least in the front.

I do not know why people keep coming to this competition never expecting to make a dessert, when they know damn well they're gonna have to do that at some point!

To wit: Lisa. Ass. Like Eric and his "there's nothing haute cuisiney about Mexican food" schtick.

10:05 As y'all know, I kinda sorta despise Spike. But at least the boy brought a dessert with him: a "pineapple rum raisin souflée". Banana scallops and guac is a bit more original.

10:07 One thing I just think is so cool is how folks integrate savory things into desserts - basil, guacamole, ravioli, etc. Fun stuff.

Antonia's creme brulee thing sucked. And Spike? Ooooh, the chef didn't go for it either. Third: Marc's sparse plate of - what was that again?

10:08 But Dale (again) and Lisa (again) and Rich (again) are on the top. And AGAIN Richieboy wins, for his banana scallop/guacamole thing.

10:09 The gang is headin' to Second City. What was that about these folks hanging out as "friends", Steph? I don't buy it.

10:11 Hey, now people are supposed to throw foods (the names of foods I mean) to the folks onstage. Our happy contenders think these will probably be the ingredients.

10:13 And here are the recipes they have to come up with, in teams of two:

Yellow Love Vanilla
Green Perplexed Tofu
Orange Turned On Asparagus
Plus something with bananas (DPB?) and "Magenta Deranged" Something

Oh no! Purple Depressed BACON! Ohboyohoboyohboy it's BACOOON!
And Magenta Drunk Polish Sausage

This is one of the funniest challenges I have ever seen on this show.

10:17 That commercial came at just the right time. I ran out of Hoegaarden and went for a beer. I'm as perplexed by the flavor as Dale and Rich are with their Green Perplexed Tofu.

10:19 Marinating tofu steaks in beef. Oh my.

10:20 Oh go to hell, Lisa. Cooking with beer is apparently "beneath her". Not beneath me, and many people I know. Hopefully, so is winning this competition.

10:21 So Andy and Spike are making a vanilla squash soup. This piques my interest.

10:22 Dale and Rich are doing a Green Curry Grilled Tofu. It's just too funny to cook tofu with meat. On purpose.

10:23 Ooooh, they REALLY have to improv. There is no electric equipment with which to cook. Oh tonight they're gonna cook stuff like it's 1799. Andrew has to pound squash through a ricer while Dale has to make his own curry. Again - HILARIOUS!

10:25 Okay. How daring is "roasted pork loin", Mark? As for Jenn and Steph, they
have a ménage a trois: goat, cheese and asparagus! Or is it "goat cheese" and "asparagus"? Isn't that ménage a deux?

Finally we have Lisa and Antonia. Instead of the Polish sausage, they've gone for a Spanish (maybe even a Mexican) one: chorizo with sea bass and purple potatoes. Sounds tasty, but it's not visually working for them. Didn't they have this problem before with the movie challenge?

10:26 Top Chef house is the latest venue for our judges to eat at. And everybody has to get the hell over there in twenty minutes.

10:27 I hate Jeffrey from Project Runway. The guy is a prick. There, I said it.

10:29 BEER TIME!

Perfect for drinking whenever Spike says something dumb.

10:32 The soup looks good! They may have pulled it out without so much as a food processor. What do the judges think? Spicy heat. Creme fraiche. Bite. Delicious. Spike's not going home this week. Damn.

10:33 Jennifer and Stephanie's "orange turned-on asparagus" is phallic? Don't know many lesbians who go for that, but I know a gaggle of gay men who would! And it's ORANGE, goat cheese and asparagus.

But the bread is though to cut, and Ted puts it best: This is less of a ménage a trois and more of an orgy. Oh SNAP!

10:35 Rich-who-is-immune gives the cred to Dale. Am I tofu? Am I beef? Who cares? I taste FABULOUS, sweetie! The judges are quite impressed. Not perplexed at all. And they credited each other, which impresses one comedienne.

10:37 The only two color blind chefs in the competition. How the hell is this dish magenta? And when your judges want tequila, don't tell them they don't get any. The judges have problems. It's like the challenge was more of a burden than an inspiration. Plus: Where's the "drunkenness"? Where's the Polish sausage? And of course, the gratuitous "Don't be offended, Mr. Gay Man about my Polish sausage comment" comment. Silly breeder!

10:38 Mark and Nikki make purple bacon, something with sweet potatoes, grape sauce, brussel sprouts. Ted: "The glaze on that bacon is great." Y'all heard it first.

10:40 DAMMIT! Not that stupid hair cutting show again! You can't see it but I am so rolling my eyes.

10:42 More about this ale from up at 10:29: I saw it at Wells Discount Liquors and it looked interesting. Ebulum Elderberry Black Ale from Scotland. It's very much like Guinness but more bitter. It is smooth but with a bite at the same time. It took me by surprise at first.

10:45 It's reckonin' time! The winning teams are the green and yellow teams.

They credit their success to mucho planning ahead of time. And get this: that squash soup with vanilla creme fraiche was, according to Tom, the best thing they've eaten all season. Now THAT'S a compliment!

10:46 The winning team? Dale and Richard. The others don't look pleased. I think Dale and Richard are this season's big time golden boys. They can do no wrong.

10:47 And Antonia, Lisa, Stephanie and Jennifer are on the chopping block. They don't look as surprised this time, just annoyed. Lisa is all like attitude, again. My God, she's a snob. Despite her protests, Tom and Johnny are not impressed that they didn't use Polish sausage and beer. But I think Jenn and Steph are the ones who need to worry.

10:49 Train wreck. Phallic. Not two concepts that most men like to think of together (Yikes!) Jenn did the bread and cheese, Steph did the orange vinaigrette and pretty much everything else.

10:50 Which was worse? Lisa and Antonia are snobbish about some good Polish sausage. And no, Lisa, they would not have said "What the fuck is this bar food?" had y'all done that. Sometimes bar food is what you need!

10:53 Coming up, it's lightning fill in the blanks! Sorry, an NPR's Wait Wait Don't Tell Me flashback.

The first time I saw that Hidden Valley ad with the Ranch dressing dispenser, and those folks just gushing it on their food, it made me sick. Second time around? Yep, still sick.

10:57 Jenn and Steph impressed less'd. Uhoh.

And Jenn gets to see Zoi again! And, like most of the competitors this season, she complains about the judges' decision. What is it with these people this season? One thing's for sure: she's taking it with a bit more grace than her reaction suggested she would.

And this makes sense, Rich: "There's no room for error. Not anymore." Too true.

Next week: Top Chef with kiddie helpers! And one child cuts himself! Adorable and scary all at the same time.

So to sum up: Rich is right. NO room for error. Apparently, a lot of these people on here this season can't spot an error when they see one. That alone is a problem. And now I have no clue who will go home next week. We can only wait and see!

UPDATE: 11:06 - I still have it on in the background, and just realized: I want something with nutella in it. Right. Now.


Kathy aka the Minx said...

Mark's dessert was mini Pavlovas, aka meringues.

I still think Nikki has to go really soon.

John said...

So THAT'S what those things were. As for Nikki: she's more of a non-entity to me yet. Yeah, I think she will be gone at some point. Not spectacular, occasionally fails to please at all. Yup, she's gone, I'd say, in two or three episodes.

Kathy aka the Minx said...

Oh, you know Johnny has seen a the shower at the gym at the very least. :)

Holly said...

Nikki does have to go soon and Lisa too...they both drive me nuts! I read your poll but I don't miss any of those that have left already. This season is full of annoying chefs...The pastry chef who I never heard of before was young and good looking that was a bonus I am getting sick of looking at all those ugly old chefs.

John said...

Holly: Too true on all counts. These people are irritating. And yet this is still a much better season, I think, than the last one. And yes, I'm also getting tired of all the ugly old chefs. Did you know that More Johnny Iuzzini was voted New York's sexiest chef? Not making this up - it's on the guy's website.

Anonymous said...

I just love Richard.

John said...

I have to say that out of all the people on TC4, Richard is one of the less irritating. Heck, he's even slightly endearing. All the other nonirritating people are gone though. It's mostly just the dumbasses :(

rone NY said...

Lisa and Antonia should have been kicked off for their stunt. Good food or not, they did not participate in the contest and should be disqualified. As a former chef here is what I would have served -

Dunken Polish Sausage

2lb Polish Sausage
4 strips of bacon
3 large purple /sweet onion
2 package of Sauerkraut
1 tsp Fresh Black Pepper
I/2 Tsp coarse seasalt
4 TBSP brown sugar
4oz Polish Vodka
1cup of water
1 bottle of Sleamans brown beer or any brown beer
5 med Tomatoes
1 Tbs white sugar
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Basil Dried
1/4 tsp Thyme; Dried
1/2 c Vegetable Oil
6 Tbsp Vinegar
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 head of lettuce

Polish Sausage

1. Cut Polish sausage in half
2. Boil water for 2 minutes
3. Add vodka, dash of pepper & salt and mustard
4. Reduce heat to med High
5. Put in Polish sausage cook for 2 minutes
6. Put in sautee pan brown for 1 minute

1. Sautee thick cut bacon – cook medium not hard( limp)
2. Drain of 2/3 off fat. Chop bacon into 1" squares
3. Stir in Fresh sauerkraut, ¼ tsp coarse sea salt ground, 1/3 tsp fresh black pepper fresh, ground coarse
4. Sautee for 10 minutes low heat
5. Cut 1lb browned sausage in half put in pan, cover and sautee for 5 minutes


1. Peel and slice Onions into 1/8” slices
2. 1 stick butter melt in sautee pan do not brown
3. Stir in Onions, dash of pepper & salt – sautee for 5 minutes
4. Pour in 4 oz of brown beer and sautee for 3 minutes
5. Add sugar
6. Cut 1lb browned sausage in half put in pan, cover and sautee for 5 minutes (do not open unless adding a little beer)

Tomato Salad
5 Tomatoes- Chopped med
1 Tbsp Sugar
1 tsp Salt
1 tbsp Basil- Dried
1/4 tsp Thyme- Dried
1/4 tsp Pepper - Freshly Ground
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
6 Tsbp Vinegar
1 Tsbp Worcestershire Sauce
1/8 tsp of dried ground mustard
1 Onion – Diced large

Blend all ingredients together and chill for 20 minutes before serving. Serve
on lettuce leaves.


3 oz Polish Sausage in Sauerkraut Rt side plate
3 oz Polish Sausage in Onions Lft side of Plate
2 spoonfuls of Tomato Salad on lettuce in center of plate
1 Tbsp of reduce beer sauce from onions on lft side of plate
1 Tbsp of Hot Honey Dijon mustard on rt side of plate

As you can see in both dishes the sausage is drunk