Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Top Chef 5 Live-Blogging: Focus Group

The live-blog is back tonight! And thankfully, tonight's episode appears to be a mere 60 minutes. Will Jamie still be the bridesmaid and not the bride? Will Stefan still be a prick? And will anyone other than the judges ever agree that Ariane deserves to win challenge after challenge? That includes most viewers at home and, most of all, Ariane. Who knows? I've forgotten who the f*#k half of these people are.

The drinking game rules are to the side. One or two new suggestions have been made. I'm sorry that I have missed putting them up. But the beer of choice for tonight: Sierra Nevada's Celebration Ale, simply because I'm trying to clean out the beers from my fridge, and this one was as good as any. It's got some nice hoppiness goin' on.

Oh, and if anyone cares, an ad for Ghost Whisperer was on in the background for the last beer I photographed for the live-blog.

10:00 Ah, for a minute I thought they'd air the Maaaahtha ep again. As y'all recall, nobody got sent home last week. So this week, as the ads say, two of these goobers are headin' home.

10:02 Aaaaaand Eugene is this season's perpetual "I'm better than these people, the chefs are stupid!" whineyboy. New drinking game rule: whine about how stupid the judges are, drain your glass. BOTTOMS UP!

10:03 Ah, the obligatory pastry challenge. But there's a sweet twist: DO NOT USE ANY SUGAR TO SWEETEN YOUR FOOD!!! HA!

10:04 Diet Dr. Pepper plug: DRINK!!!

10:04 They have 45 minutes to do this. DRINK again: Ariane says, and I quote: "How about a Diet Dr. Pepper?" A guarantee that Diet Dr. Pepper will not cross my lips for a week. :)

10:05 Ooooh, I like that filo dough thingy that Jamie is doing. But how is Carla going to do a sugar-free baklava? It's possible.

10:06 TWO gratuitous Diet Dr. Pepper refs. DRINK DRINK!!!

When he was visiting, Gil lamented the lack of Filipino restaurants in the DC area. Thanks for the banana lumpia, Eugene!

10:07 Gratuitous "I am Italiano" reference, DRINK!!! Extra reference for Italia whuppin' France's butt in the World Cup '06 - DRINK AGAIN!!!

Any bets that Ariane does well, only cuz she mentioned Diet Dr. Pepper so much?

10:08 Leah's is interesting. But am I the only one getting annoyed by Stefan?

10:09 Ariane's whining about how the guest judge is picking apart everybody's dessert. Um, you think that's because he's, like, a judge?

Jean-Christophe Novelli was the judge in question, and he was not a fan of Jamie's or Carla's. The latter had problems. Leah and Jeff and Radhika had the best dishes - all those wasted plugs for Diet Dr. Pepper (Padma said it - DRINK!) on Ariane's behalf.

10:11 Tomorrow's the next challenge, and it's got a doozy of a judge: hated English food critic Toby Young!!! Heheheheh

DDP = Diet Dr. Pepper. I'm tired of typing it and there are so many references. DRINK! Extra DRINK for the T-Mobile thing.

10:13 Nice to see TC4 winner Steph again. Who was that fool next to her? She had that look of "I really, really hate this dessert, but they're not paying me to say that, and they own me anyway."

10:14 BTW: GO SEE MILK!!! It's a damn good, very important movie.

10:17 Oh shit, it's on. Did I miss any shameless product placement?

Why are they so freaked by Tom?

Here's why: they;'re cooking a family-style meal for a blind tasting. That is, the foodies are clueless as to who cooked their food - and they can't even see it!

10:18 Two groups: Radhika gets to choose her group. No particular reason why Radhika chose the group Stefan wasn't on!

Whole Foods plug: DRINK!

10:20 Eugene - cuz nuthin' says "family-style" like daikon fettucine. I like his fried red snapper idea though.

10:21 Mmmm, spicy crab bits. You hear that Nipa from Next Food Network Star 4? You're alone on this "seafood eww eww eww" thing.

10:22 Carla is, like, soooooooooooo zen. Anyone for yoga?

10:23 Oooh, Jamie, please don't do the scallops again! Hey, even Fabio agrees.

10:24 And with five minutes on the clock, Fabio is screwed with his undercooked rack of lamb.

Toby Young? I told y'all they were upping the bald guy quotient on this show!

10:26 Anyone else seeing Revolutionary Road? Oh wait, the People's Choice Awards are on, like, right now!

Oh who cares?

10:28 Ah, another
30-second break between commercials, and already two references to Fabio's Italian-ness. DOUBLE DRINK!!!

10:30 And we've finally seen it: TV Guide Network's Golden Globe Awards Pre-Show special is already infinitely more interesting than the actual Golden Globes or the Pre-Show special being advertised.

10:32 Oh dear, the cheftestants are the ones tasting the other team's food. That is soooo first episode of the first season of Top Chef.

And now the dishes, which the cheftestants get to watch.

Radhika: Stefan finds the soup disgusting, but so does Toby. They are weapons of mass destruction! Ouchie. At least he's fun in his hatred.

Hosea: the veggies are great, but upstage the bacon-wrapped fish. Maybe he should've wrapped the veggies in bacon?

Jamie: well-chosen ingredients. So far so good for her!

Fabio's lamb: yes, everyone knows it's undercooked, Fabio. Oh, and I'm Italian.

Eugene: the fish was beautiful, but overcooked. Same too for the bland veggies.

Melissa = bland fish taco. Incompetent, cat food. That's the second chef from Baltimore whose food has been compared to pet food. Well, we love our animals, hon!

10:37 And now the second group cooks (UPDATE - Just corrected a very bad misspelling I did not even catch. My humblest apologies!!!):

Sausage, sorbet, and seafood - ummm, Jeff, sweetie, how do these go together?

10:38 I'm thinking Ariane could goo poopie on the plate and the judges would say hers was the best. Are you thinking that?

But she wouldn't believe them anyway.

10:39 Group two is up!

Carla's scallops? Padma makes a face: DRINK!!!

Stefan: dense dumplings but okay duck. Heh. But Tom is about to have a duck-gasm.

Jeff: remember what I asked him above? The judges also want to know. Unexpected Tropic Thunder plug.

Ariane: Skate with cloves: JC loves it

Leah's fried beans: Jamie hated 'em, but Toby loves it.

Carla: Hosea finds it way too garlicky. RAW garlicky.

In general, group two was the better group. Are they learning from their mistakes?

10:44 Question: if any of the chefs had used milk, would that have been a plug for Milk the movie? Discuss.

10:45 Mmmm. Beer. Melissa feels that tonight is her night to go home. I kind of agree.

And the winners are: Ariane, Stefan and Jamie!

Stefan: The duck was perfect. Stefan is so smug!!!

Jamie: Beautifully redeems herself with these scallops, and the fennel-orange brings out the caramel of the scallops.

Ariane: JC loves it.

And Jean Christophe chooses as his winner...

JAMIE!?!? OMG! And here I was about to type something bitchy, like, "So, to whom is Jamie paying second fiddle tonight, Ariane or Stefan?"

I totally agree with the choice: score one for the decimated Team Rainbow!

10:49 And so Carla, Eugene and Melissa are on the bottom:

Carla - is not surprised she is there, as she's not proud of her dish (I'm surprised Fabio isn't there.) But here she's dissecting why it was a sucky dish. Maybe she's staying since she shows she's learning from her mistakes?

Melissa: Cat food. That says it all. She's definitely going back to Colorado. Oooooh, Toby said it smelled horrible. Yikes! I've never heard that one before.

Eugene: I guess I'm not the only one who thought daikon does not go with tomato and basil. But here's the thing: Toby says it's too mild - it fails for its mildness.

10:52 My money's on Melissa and, probably, Eugene going home.

10:53 Toby thinks Eugene deserves to stick around, but Tom is pretty disappointed. Tom argues for Melissa to stay, and Toby wants her out. As for Carla? Well...

Toby: "I don't think Carla has the confidence to be a successful chef..."

Carla: "I lack confidence."

Okay then!

I'm not sure about #2, but Melissa is definitely going home. My money's still on her and Eugene. What he did to that fish was pretty cruel.

10:57 Aha, I was right for once. Melissa and Eugene head back west. Melissa is crying just a weeee bit: DRINK! Eugene is a bit more graceful.

11:59 And Hung is back next week! What the hell are they cooking next week? Farm animals, apparently. Kick his ass, Jamie!

POST-GAME ANALYSIS - Oh, I didn't realize Toby Young is now a permanent fixture on this program, er, programme!

I'm kind of ambivalent about tonight's knife-packing cheftestants. They didn't really grab me like some of the others.

I guess America's ready for only one Hawaiian winner, but he's moving to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue soon, and he's not on this show. Eugene seemed to have a chip on his shoulder, but in the end he turned out to be pretty damn mellow.

As for Melissa, TC5's final link to Maryland, I really never got the feeling that Melissa really belonged there. I still regret that Jill had to go home. Ah well, good luck to these two in Hawaii and Colorado. Till next week!


Nanc Twop said...

Undercooked Lamb?
Fabio's going home!

(why not microwave, dude?)

John said...

Good question. I'm sure they have microwaves in Italy, where he's from, as he often points out! :)

Nanc Twop said...

(Maybe F did a micro 'touch-up' that we didn't see w/'5 minutes left' when he discovered it?)

BTW, loved all your driknin' moments...

And still can't believe that diet DrP thing - eww - sounded more like the ''it the tastes like diet P'' challenge. ;-)

At any rate, you called it!

Carla will get a chance to make her veges as Gene & Melissa pack their fish and go.

theminx said...

I don't think not being able to use table sugar should have been such a impediment, considering they had honey, agave syrup, etc. The requirement should have been to make a dessert with artificial sweetener, as is found in Diet Dr Pepper.

And that "fool" next to TC4 winner Stephanie is Brian Malarky from an earlier season (3?) The original hat-wearing dude.