Always Be Covering: Just Top Chef

02.08.13 5 years ago 16 Comments

It is a bit early to start placing prop bets on next year’s Super Bowl winner, so there isn’t anything to gamble on until the Combine. But hey, we still have Top Chef. You like that, right? Yeah, you like it. It’s the NFL of reality cooking shows. I guess that makes Chopped like college football (lots of restrictions) and The Taste the CFL (because nobody in America wants to watch it). OK, let’s dive in to this week’s play-by-play. They’re in Alaska which means anything can happen. Padma could save Tom and Emeril from a bear attack!

Sheldon felt that Stefan was the front-runner. If only the cheftestants had real-time access to my power rankings.

Brooke and Josh wish they could call their spouses to talk about what’s going on (Josh’s wife is very pregnant after all). Wait, why the hell aren’t they allowed to call their spouses. Are they on a cruise ship or locked deep inside the dreaded Lubyanka?

Welcome to Alaska! It’s cold and raining. Sheldon never dreamed he’d make it to the final frontier of Alaska. Weird. Hawaii and Alaska are right next to each other on my US map placemat. Placemats are the source of 75% of my worldly knowledge. Sheldon game-plans on how to keep his package warm. Everyone in the Bravo office just fanned themselves.

Josh’s mustache is struggling in the Alaskan climate.

Somebody get him some styling cream before it turns into a frownstache.

Quickfire: Sean Brock is the guest chef. He’s wearing a pageboy cap and a scarf. I’m not sure if he’s a hipster, or if it’s a weather-related outfit. He’s standing in front of Juneau’s number one food destination. Uh…it’s a shack.

However, it’s a shack that’s nestled in among the water and mountains and all of that other pretty Alaskan stuff. Also, it’s overflowing with beautiful king crab, which the chefs will utilize for this quickfire. Now king crab may be bullshit compared to blue crab, but it’s still crab, and crab is awesome.

Welp, they pan out and Sean is rocking some cuffed jeans. Hipster it is.

Lizzie is making a frittata, which is a word I always misspell. It’s also the thing I make for breakfast lunch or dinner when I have a lot of random crap in the fridge and I’m feeling lazy.

Josh is making crab succotash (with bacon). By the time this is all over Alaska will be out of pig.

Sheldon is doing something with the crab innards (yellow stuff), along with asparagus tips smoked over pine needles a la Noma. O AN HE FANCY.

Brooke’s crab toast with crab, leeks and a crab butter sauce looks positively fuckable right now.

Lizzie overcooked her frittata, and her flavors were muddled. Josh’s bacon was deemed “unnecessary” (WOMP WOMP). His mood mustache droops a little bit further.

Sheldon gets the win. His dish was pretty ballsy. Hooray, Sheldon.

Elimination challenge: Padma explains the importance of bread to the early settlers. Apparently they carried sourdough starter in their packs. Whatever. Call me when you’re baking unleavened bread on your way out of Egypt.

The chefs will be cooking salmon and sourdough for a bunch of Alaskans who take these things seriously. They head back to the house where they can sit around a table acting naturally around a table while not furiously googling “sourdough bread recipe” because culinary school was a long time ago, man.

Josh announces that he’s done with bacon. NOOOOO! Even money says he makes himself a bowl of lardons for dinner.

The chefs have tubs of thirty year-old sourdough starter to work with. I had some really old starter but I didn’t know I was supposed to feed it. It’s now in heaven with the pet turtle that couldn’t figure out how to tell me it was hungry.

Sheldon works some ground green tea into his dough. “Of course,” says Brooke. She uses the terms “tae kwon do” and “ninja” to describe his kneading technique. This is not offensive because she is very pretty and it’s all in good fun. Friendship!

Josh still has a diagram of a pig tattooed on his forearm. If he were serious about being done with bacon he would put an “X” through the belly portion.

Everyone makes their dough and sits down while they wait for it to rise. They’re just sitting there. We are literally watching them watch dough rise. Why don’t more people watch this show???

Cut to the next morning (thank god). Sheldon is playing the ukulele, and yes, it’s every bit as sexy as it sounds.

Josh’s wife still hasn’t given birth. He’s probably a wreck.

The chefs head down to the water where a boat meets them with a load of fresh salmon. Cleaning the fish makes Lizzie think of her recently deceased father, who taught her how to fish. It’s very moving, even if there are fish guts all over the screen.

Sheldon is making pea soup, something he’s never done before. Josh is also making a soup that he’ll thicken with sourdough.

Everyone’s fish looks beautiful, but they’re all filleting them and leaving the skin behind. If none of them incorporate crispy skin in to their dishes I will lose my fucking mind.

Sheldon tells Tom about his dish, and Tom thinks it’s funny because Tom was just talking about how he was in the mood for pea soup and salmon. Weird craving. I think Tom is with child too.

Tom gives Brooke a bit of shit when she says she’s going to poach her salmon. Jeez, Tom. I know your hormones are running wild, but that’s no reason for psychological sabotage.

Lizzie has a grilled salmon with a beet and something glaze. I am taking copious notes.

They’re serving the dishes at an outdoor salmon bake, which is basically a big picnic area in the woods. Emeril asks if they have beers. Oh, Emeril, always with the drinking.

Huh. They just showed a bunch of shots of bears. I’m now thinking that he didn’t say “beers” at all. Damn you and your Masshole/Bayou accent.

Brooke has a nice broth with her poached salmon along with mustard seed caviar and dill sourdough.

Padma hates Sheldon’s green tea and chive sourdough. His soup looks pretty good, but Hugh calls it baby food. The guest judge doesn’t appreciate the way he tears up the salmon with tongs. THAT’S DISRESPECT. Come on, though. The fish is already dead. Cutting it neatly with a knife is going to change anything? All of the locals make fun of him for using chum salmon. Apparently that’s what they use to feed the dogs. Well if that’s the case, then why did they give it such a delicious sounding name like chum?

Josh has a roasted garlic and sourdough soup with sockeye salmon (the kind humans eat) with black olive croutons. It looks pretty fantastic. The salmon is well-cooked, but it’s overpowered by the garlic.

Lizzie makes a sourdough salmon slider. Nobody is picking up the beet and citrus glaze on the salmon, but everyone loves her crust. Still, seems like a pretty simple dish. I mean come on, it’s a sandwich. A SANDWICH, Lizzie. Not a slider. When did all miniature burgers and sandwiches become White Castle food?

It turns out that the locals liked Sheldon’s use of the chum. Ugh. It’s now hipster salmon. Whole Foods is going to put a scarf on it and sell it for $28 a pound next week.

Brooke takes the win. The judges liked her dish best, and the judges really enjoyed dunking her bread into her broth (not a euphemism but it should be).

Ugh, the judges are really coming down on Sheldon’s spongy flavorless bread and his overly-smoked dog food salmon. I’m worried for my man. But no, it’s Lizzie. Her awesomely crusty bread wasn’t enough to overcome the fact that she made a pretty average sandwich. Still, that feels like a cumulative elimination. Fine by me. A final without Sheldon could have cost Bravo half of its 750 viewers.

Last Chance Kitchen: Haven’t watched yet, but Kristen won. Obviously.

Anyway, is next week the final? I guess not because the Last Chance Kitchen Winner hasn’t entered the Thunderdome to battle the Save A Chef winner for the right to make Tom an egg salad sandwich that could maybe possibly get them back in the competition.

Top Chef Top Three

Eliminated: Lizzie (Last week: 4)– Everyone will miss Lizzie because she’s a good cook, she’s really sweet and she talks real purty. And the way she cuts up a pig gives me certain feelings.

Lurking: 2. Kristen/CJ– One of them is getting back in this thing (I think), and they immediately jump into the top-two when that happens.

3. Josh (3)- Nobody wound up using crispy salmon skin, not even Josh. Come on, man, it’s the ocean’s answer to bacon. FRY THAT SHIT UP.

2. Brooke (2)- She needs to bust out something remarkable. She’s due for one of those dishes.

1. Sheldon (1)- Stick with what you do best. Don’t let anyone shame you into making comfort food. You’ve been nominated for two Beard awards because you make badass HawAsian food.

Next week on Top Chef: I have no idea, because they showed some dogs pulling a sled and all three dogs in my house started barking maniacally. I was able to hear something about Josh’s wife going into labor, and the governor of Alaska. Is it possible that the two storylines are related? Could Josh’s unborn child be the governor of a whole state? I mean, it’s still just a fetus until it pops out, but it is the state that elected Sarah Palin. Ohhhhhhhhh!

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