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Top Chef New York, Episode 2 – 50 Rejected Reality Contestants Are Sure to be Impartial, Right?


Previously: Lauren and her tank top got the big screw, and over his head Patrick was mercifully sent home early.

Credits. A quick tidbit about Team Rainbow member Richard. Reality Shacker Polomex has a friend who works in a San Diego bar with Richard from time to time. Perhaps some help getting interviews for your friendly neighborhood recapper? Or at least free food?

New York City. GatsbyGirl asked about my reference to New York as The Boogie Down. That’s hip hop slang for the Bronx (yes, the whitest guy on the East Coast made a hip hop reference) and I found it to be a tad funnier than just going with the Big Apple. So, thanks for the question and there’s the answer in case anyone else was curious.

Anyway, Radio City Music Hall. Where I saw Steve Winwood in 1989. Back to the apartment and shirtless Jeff. Richard misses Patrick and Ariane found it to be nerve wracking in the bottom two. She says she is one of the oldest ones there and if you close your eyes you can hear Fran Drescher when she speaks. Ariane’s name is no more; she is now The Nanny.

Finn (Stefan) thinks Fabio is his main frenemy, although I am not sure if they have that word in Finland. Fabio in turn makes a strange reference to some Italian proverb or fairy tale, I can’t really tell, about how it doesn’t matter how many dragons you kill, it is who goes home with the princess that matters. He wants to go home with the princess. How romantic.

Quickfire

Padma Gorgeous Alert: today she is decked out in a lovely purple blouse and denim skirt. Oh Padma. With her is Donatella Arpaia, owner of Bellini, davidburke & Donatella, Anthos, and Mia Dona. And true to Bravo form, she’ll be headlining her own Bravo show. Hosea seems to like her. I had to look her name up online because stupid Bravo plastered a Real Housewives ad over the graphic with her name. Boy do I hate that.

Padma tells the chefs that they will be making something that New Yorkers eat 100 million of each year. My guess was tourists, but the answer is hot dogs. Out comes Angelina D’Angelo, owner of Dominick’s Hot Dog Truck, considered one of New York’s best hot dog proprietors, based out of Rego Park. Melissa (Who?) thought it would be cheesecake. How much cheesecake does she think New Yorkers eat? The challenge is to take 45 minutes to make a hot dog that can compete with Angelina.

I have two questions. First, where are the pig snouts, leather shoes, rat droppings and wood shavings that usually go into hot dogs? Second, why is Angelina even there? She eventually serves the Donatella and Padma a dog, but why? Is she competing to win? It just seemed odd having her in there.

Fabio doesn’t know how to make a hot dog, but he can make sausage. So he has that going for him, which is nice. Hosea can see the panic in everyone’s eyes. That must be his mutant power. The Nanny hasn’t made a hot dog since culinary school. They make hot dogs in culinary school? She doesn’t care what hers taste like, she just wants to put it on the plate. To quote Yoda, “and that is why you fail.”

Daniel yammers on about being from New York again. Wake me when he talks about something else. Fabio is trying something different because you can’t beat American hot dogs at their own game. Finn is doing some really crappy sounding “world dog.” World Dog sounds like a really lame comic book.

Jill is not making hot dogs from scratch, so you know hers will suck. Radhika is incorporating Indian flavors into hers. Glad she is proving that she can do more than Indian food. Hosea has never stuffed a sausage before and has in turn made “lumpy little short sausages.” I think that could be a Denny’s entrée.

Cooking montage. FIRE!! Carla’s crazy bug eyes. And judging.

Quickfire dishes:

Jill – Summer roll hot dogs, cooked in chili, soy sauce and rice wine vinegar.
Donatella calls her on not making her own dogs.
Radhika – Kabob-style sausage with caramelized onions, cucumbers and tomato jam. This looked really good. Donatella nods happily.
Daniel – Pork hot dogs with horseradish, mustard, fried onions and garlic powder. He made his own casing.
Eugene – Maki roll hot dogs with pita bread, boursin cheese and red onions.
Prompts a Donatella grimace.
Hosea – Pork hot dogs with roasted poblanos, jalapenos, smoked bacon and red vinegar. Donatella likes the smoky taste. This may have been my favorite one.
Finn – Italian sausage on French bread with Wisconsin cheese and Irish tartar sauce. Served with German beer. Donatella makes a crinkly face.
Carla – Lamb and pork sausage with sauerkraut and caramelized onions.
Donatella thinks it is really moist.
The Nanny – Chicken sausage with bacon, celery seed, garlic and white pepper. Donatella thinks the celery seed is pretty strong.
Fabio – Andouille sausage with goat cheese, roasted bell peppers, and sundried tomatoes. Donatella likes the Mediterranean feel.
Jamie – Pork and beef sausage with bacon, onions, and cayenne pepper. With paprika and lemon zest. Padma finds a ground bone in there, Jamie thinks that really sucks. I would imagine Padma did too. It’s a shame, because Jamie’s looked and sounded good. Before the bone.
Angelina – New York hot dog with mustard, sauerkraut and relish. That looked good.

This episode prompted me to get a hot dog for lunch today. My waistline does not enjoy Top Chef Season.

Bottom Two:
Jill – She gets penalized for using store bought dogs. Didn’t see that coming. One of the rules of Top Chef: make your own friggin’ food.
Finn – Donatella wouldn’t “go around the world” for this World Dog. Finn is “boiling.” Perhaps that’s how he should have made his dog.

Top Three:
Radhika – moist and satisfying and great Indian theme
Fabio – As stated, she liked the Mediterranean theme
Hosea – Had all the components of a good hot dog.

Radhika wins the challenge and thus gets immunity. She has a very cute reaction to it and has a very infectious smile. Very Steph-like.

Commercials. Hey, a Glad commercial. As opposed to half the show….

Elimination challenge. They are serving lunch at a top restaurant in Manhattan for 50 hungry guests. Fabio has already opened seven restaurants. Why is he even on this show? Does he need a big break? It will be a three course New American lunch menu, each serving one dish. In case you are wondering, Wikipedia helps out here:

“New American cuisine a term for upscale, contemporary cooking served primarily in restaurants in the United States. Combining flavors from America’s melting pot with traditional techniques, New American cuisine includes ethnic twists on old standbys, Old World peasant dishes made from luxury American ingredients and molecular gastronomy.”

Everyone goes apesh*t when they start the challenge with Jeff hanging back. He tells us that he was letting the “children scream for a while” before he stepped up and used his hotel management skills to get everyone organized. The chefs divide up into three groups: Appetizer (Jamie, Hosea, Leah, Fabio and Melissa), Entrée (Jill, Eugene, Finn, Jeff and Alex) and Dessert (Radhika, Daniel, The Nanny, Richard and Carla).

Whole Foods
Eugene thinks they scared the soccer moms. It turns out the chefs are John Kerry! He said they ran in and looked they were robbing the place. With their camera crews. Yeah, just like a robbery.

Hosea says he was the “seafood guy” and since he couldn’t find the crab he wanted he instead went for crab in a can. Top Chef Rule Number Two: don’t serve meats out of a can. Fabio is making Beef Carpaccio because it is “light, easy and refreshing.” My question is, is it New American? Because it sure sounds like Italian food.

Then the saga of Jill and the ostrich egg begins. She and her sparkly shirt find a batch of ostrich eggs and decide that it would be a good way to stand out. You know what? I agree. It was a good idea. She just mangles it. I kept thinking about Colin from Amazing Race 5 badly cooking his ostrich egg and Chip and Charla wolfing theirs down. If I remember correctly, Phil said one is worth 22 chicken eggs.

Jamie is making simple corn soup and that sounds very smart. If you make things correctly, keeping it simple often goes over well. In fact, that would be Top Chef Rule Number Three: don’t cook too far over your head.

Jill is now failing to open the egg. You know, if you can’t access your ingredient, maybe you made a poor choice. Fabio comes over and opens it with a knife for her. Wow, a knife? He’s like MacGyver. She’s like McGrubber. Jamie thinks she’s just ridiculous.

The Nanny is on the dessert team and she says that she is not much of a baker. That sentence should give you a good idea where this is going. Finn agrees and says that Top Chefs should be able to cook everything. As we have learned in the past, this is not the case when it comes to baking.

Tom enters and tells everyone that the restaurant they are opening is his restaurant, Craft. Oh Boy! No pressure there. Carla is nervous, and she is from DC, maybe I can stop by! Tom also lets them know that the diners will be 50 New York chefs that applied and failed to make the show. BOO! I despise this idea. There is no way that failed reality show contestants will be anything but bitter. Heck, chefs that make it on the show are sometimes petty and bitter. These 50 are going to be too much to take. Carla says it right, “can you really get it right with them?” No, Carla. You can’t. Bad idea.

Night in the apartment. Fabio rambles about the princess again. Jeez, get a room. Or maybe get one with Finn as he kisses him on the head. I could care less about these scenes. One question though, how do they decide who cooks?

Commercials. Crazy Bravo Poll Question: was Jill’s egg choice too risky or egg-cellent? I wonder if Padma always surfs the internet standing up in those sexy boots.

Have you noticed the extra random scene Bravo is throwing in during the commercials? This one about Hosea and Leah flirting? How utterly random.

Carla is going crazy about learning a new kitchen. Eugene gives us some colorful exposition about what’s going on. Fabio wants to be like Tom in his career. He then jabbers on about what he is doing to his olives. Seriously, I watched it three times through and I still have no idea what he said. Whatever it is, it looks like he used some sort of Blaisian technique to make the olives look like egg yolks.


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