Last week, on Top Chef: Stephanie won and Patty is gone. Don’t cry for her, she wasn’t very good.
This week, on Top Chef: The chefstestants are making their own hot sauce and breaking down a 300 lb. pig. Hot sauce and porcine butchery? This is the episode I was born to watch. What follows are the random thoughts that came to mind last night as I watched the show.
-Dr. John is in the Top Chef kitchen. That’s back-to-back weeks with legendary New Orleans musicians. Hopefully he doesn’t make anyone microwave tofu like the last one.
-Everyone has to make Dr. John’s favorite condiment, hot sauce. Man, Dr. John is so cool he’s barely even real. One day we’re going to find out that he was an elaborate Gary Oldman character.
-Dr. John is making up lots of funny words, unless flavornacity was recently added to the dictionary with twerk and selfie. He is the Darryl Dawkins of hot sauce.
-The chefs make a mad dash for the pantry as they try to figure out what kind of hot sauce will please Dr. John’s palate. Mexican? Tropical Caribbean style? Or maybe just make Louisiana hot sauce. Because you’re in Louisiana. And it’s Dr. John. These people don’t get yelled at nearly enough. Get Anthony Bourdain back on this show immediately.
-Carrie has her Trinidadian mother-in-law’s recipe to fall back on. But I’m sure if she loses her mother-in-law will be cool about it and not use it to undermine her.
-Brian is up first with a jalapeno and serrano hot sauce with lime and yuzu. It has a thick consistency, and Dr. John may or may not like it. No one actually knows. Basically whoever puts acid in their sauce is going to win.
-Shirley made a Chinese/Mexican sauce with habaneros, serranos, ginger and pineapple. No mistaking the reaction this time, Dr. John is a fan.
-Carrie’s totally non-passive aggressive mother-in-law’s recipe is made from habaneros and green mango. When they pour it out on a plate it looks like an egg yolk. It’s hot up front, but doesn’t do much for Dr. John on the back end.
-Nicholas had no idea what he was doing, because he used to get ulcers so he doesn’t eat spicy food. And that’s why he made a sweet and sour hot sauce with smoked apricots, vinegar and coffee. It looks like stage blood.
-Louis’s Fresno chili hot sauce is sweetened with maple syrup, and heated up by some chili powder. That sounds terrible. I think Dr. John hates it too. Don’t put ground up dried chili peppers in your hot sauce, people. And definitely don’t use maple anything. Even Canadians know that’s a bad idea.
Padma was shocked to discover that there was no food on her toothpick.
-Stephanie’s peach vinegar and habanero hot sauce actually sounds like a hot sauce. Dr. John “kind of liked” it. I think that’s a 10 on his compliment scale.
-Carlos made a Yucatan style sauce with mango, passion fruit, and habanero. It kind of looks like melted passion fruit. Dr. John approves.
-Nina is next, and between being from the Caribbean, and doing that thing where she wins all of the challenges, the other cheftestants probably consider her a favorite. I’m surprised nobody lit her smock on fire. It’s thick and crazy hot, which is a phrase you should Google at work sometime.
-Local chef Jusin made a pepper hot sauce with fermented anchovies. And if that doesn’t sound good to you, then you are probably put off by the idea of fermented anchovies. No judgement, but Dr. John digs it, and I want a bottle.
-Nina, Carrie and Nicholas are on the bottom. The first two for making sauces that were way over the top with Caribbean heat, and the last because made that stuff you get with moo shu pork and pancakes.
-Brian, Justin and Carlos are in contention for the win. Dr. John ultimately goes with Brian. That’s two straight immunity wins for him. He can sleep through the rest of the episode.
-Donald Link is the guest judge, and he brought a 300 lb friend. The pig, not Emeril. The elimination challenge will be a boucherie. That’s where you take a whole pig, cut it into pieces, and cook every part of it in every way imaginable. Everyone is responsible for serving one dish to 250 people.
-“That’s the great thing about using a pig, is that every culture has some variable of how they cook with a pig.” You know, except for Jews, Muslims, most Hindus, and you know, vegetarians.
-But first, everyone gets to argue over who gets what and who gets to cut what off. Justin steps right up and RIPS THE F*CKING HEAD OFF. Man, I hope some squeamish vegetarians were watching that, almost as much as I wish I could make a gif of that.
-A few of the chefs have lots of experiencing butchering pigs this size. That doesn’t stop Sara from telling them what to do every few seconds.
-Nick and Nina both want to work with the head. But how can they both use one intact part of the same animal?
-Any vegetarians still with us? No? Good.
-Travis is going a bit bolder with a tonkatsu ramen. And he’s using dehydrated noodles. What could possibly go right?
-The cheftestants arrive back at the house, and a bunch of other chefs are whipping up a boucherie. I am disgusted by how delicious everything looks.
-Ahhhh! Bravo played the alarm clock noise. What the hell is the point of the FCC if they aren’t going to prevent television networks from broadcasting alarm clock noises?
-The cheftestants roll out of bed, do their hair and head off to the cook site. They’ll be cooking outdoors, with access to burners, grills, smokers, a rotisserie and a device called a China box that is pretty much perfect for roasting a pig.
-Justin took the time to build up a fire on one of the grills, and now he’s pissed because Nina and Brian have moved in to cook over his flame. Nina tells him to “suck a dick,” which, surprisingly, doesn’t diffuse the tension.
-Tom comes around to see what everyone is making. And if he has time he’ll shatter somebody’s confidence.
-Right on cue, he asks Nina if she’s going for a Caribbean flavor profile with her ragu. She answers that she’s going away from spice, and making something that’s more sticky and sweet. Tom’s “uh-huh” response couldn’t have been more withering if it was delivered by Carrie’s mother-in-law. She is immediately second-guessing herself.
-With 30 minutes left to go in their prep cook, Justin’s precious hand-crafted fire turns on him.
This grill is on FIAYAAAAAH.
-This is where you present your tacos as “al carbon” and try to convince Tom that you were going for a strong charred flavor.
-Nina decides that her dish is bland, so with three minutes left she chucks a bunch of cayenne pepper in there. Why is Tom wasting his time on Bravo? He should be in Geneva trying to get Iran to give up their nuclear program.
“You’re making uranium? You sure that’s going to be stable? OK, just remember that it’s an elimination challenge.”
-It just occurred to me that I’ve gotten a glimpse of what everyone is making, and nobody has even mentioned sausage. What the f*ck kind of boucherie doesn’t have sausage? Grind up some organ meat with some fatback, season it and shove it into some intestines. Then sit back and relax. Because nobody gets eliminated for making sausage.