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


Hosea is seasoning his canned crabs. This will not end well. Jill doesn’t want Tom to have to wait for her. Carla’s crust does not seem to be perfect. The Nanny is running around asking everyone to taste her meringue. Richard honestly tells her it is too sweet, Carla says “it has all the flavors” which is really not telling her anything, and Radhika thinks that it is “tart enough.” The Nanny says that this is what she made and this is what she is going to serve. No matter how crappy it is.

The loser chefs arrive and sit down. One talks about not using any butter in his cooking. Another talks about the menu… oh, SHUT UP ALL OF YOU. Ok, folks. I refuse to transcribe what these losers are talking about. I’ll sum up: they hate everything and think they could have done a better job. Go home – you don’t even get 15 minutes of fame. You get a sound byte.

Tom tells the real chefs that he will be expediting with his restaurant’s head chef. Alex and his hat say that they are representing Tom so they better be on their game. Alex, don’t make me miss Spike. You are no Spike. Tom tells them all to not put the tasting spoon back in the food. My God, I hope none of them do that! Is that seriously a problem?

Padma, Donatella and Gail enter and hot ladies are in the house! Really, the three of them look really, really nice here. Something is overflowing on the stove as we start in with the dishes.

Elimination challenge dishes

Appetizer Group
Jamie – Sweet corn soup with chili oil and mint. This looks really good.
Padma thinks it is very light and Gail says it is smooth and rich.
Hosea – Chilled crab with citrus vanilla dressing, mango and avocado
Donatella tastes a “terrible slimy feeling on her tongue.” Gail says that something about the dish really turns her off.
Leah – Yukon potato, seared scallops with chives and green peppercorns. I thought it looked and sounded really good. Was Leah in this episode? Padma thinks the presentation is very 80s. So, basically it was starring Molly Ringwald, I guess.
Fabio – Beef carpaccio with arugula salad, parmesan and spherical olives
Donatella thinks it is the perfect lunch dish. Gail loves the olive yolks.
Melissa (Who?) – Grilled avocado, white peaches, nectarines and balsamic vinaigrette. Padma says it doesn’t stand out. Sort of like Melissa so far.

More assholery from the failed chefs.

Entrée Group
Jill
– Ostrich egg quiche with rice-pecan crust, asparagus and aged cheese. For what it’s worth, I thought Jill’s sounded and looked good. However, Donatella thinks it tastes like glue. Ouch.
Eugene – Open meatloaf sandwich with ciabatta bread, Gouda fondue and portabella ragout. He ruins it with mushrooms. As you know, mushrooms and I have a hate-hate relationship. Donatella thinks his presentation is poor.
Finn – Pan seared halibut with micro greens, ravioli, champagne sauce and dill oil. Donatella thinks that Finn did what Jill was trying to do, and I don’t understand. How are an egg and halibut dishes similar?
Jeff – Southern chicken, honey mustard and chorizo, corn spoon bread. Yummy! Tom has to wait on Jeff who is awfully slow. Maybe he thought that because it was Southern it should move more slowly? Donatella likes the seasoning, so the wait paid off! She says that if you make chorizo, she’s happy. That’s how you get to Donatella’s heart – chorizo. Donatella is pretty cool.
Alex – Pork tenderloin over potatoes with mushroom, tomato and red beet demi-glaze. Donatella doesn’t think it is good at all.

Dessert Group
Radhika
– Avocado mousse with chocolate wontons and chocolate milk kahlua shot. Gail says that you can tell that Radhika has immunity or else why would she make sweet guacamole. And Gail has a point with that one.
Daniel – Ricotta pound cake with toasted pistachios and strawberry lemon coulis. Donatella likes it and gives him credit because dessert is not his forte. Little does she know that he has actually never made it before. It looks good, but I don’t like ricotta-based cakes.
The Nanny – Lemon meringue martini with vanilla cookie crunch and cherry surprise. AWESOME ALERT: Padma takes one bite and makes a classic disgusted face and then… spits it into her napkin. Well, tell us how you really feel! Donatella is trying to get over the Sugar Shock. So are Ace, Marcus, Charlie and Randy (check out my Survivor commentary!).
Richard – Sandwich of banana nut bread, peanut butter and banana brulee with grape gelato. Perhaps my favorite one of the night, and not just because he works with Polomex’s friend. Gail thinks it is an afterschool snack. And I take that as a compliment. Donatella thinks her nieces and nephews would go crazy over it.
Carla – Rustic apple tart with ginger peach tea, apple cider reduction and random piece of cheddar cheese. This looks tasty, but that cheese is distracting me. Why couldn’t she just cook it into the crust or something? Donatella calls it a “deli counter, sweaty piece of cheddar.” Meanwhile, Padma calls it her favorite dessert. I assume of the five she tasted.

Tom tastes everything in the back as they all look on anxiously. He comes back out and says that they all did fine, except the food was not so good. That’s a really big “except,” Tom! He says they set New American cuisine back 20 years. So, I guess Leah’s presentation is contemporary now.

Commercials. Is it wrong that I have no desire to see Twilight? Although I am happy Cedric Diggory seems to have recovered nicely.

Tom is clearly pissed because he has taken Padma’s duty of going back to the Stew Room to get the chefs. He repeats his insults from five minutes ago. He brings out Jamie, The Nanny, Fabio, Carla, Jill and Hosea. The rest of you… are safe.

Judging
Carla
– Tom says the pastry was excellent, but wanted the cheddar cheese to be worked in better. Padma repeats her praise from earlier
Fabio – Ok, I made sure to transcribe this properly. Fabio gives this little exchange with the judges:

Fabio: “Honestly, I don’t know. I did, you know, some filet mignon, best quality meat ever, best Parmesan cheese, five years aged, six years aged balsamic vinegar. Every week I sell hundred of those exact plate in my restaurant in California. And it’s a big success. I don’t know. You tell me why I’m here.”
Padma: “You’re here because we liked your dish!”
Gail: “We hadn’t told you that we didn’t like it yet!”
Fabio: “Oh. That’s good. I’m glad you liked it. That’s why I made it.”

That was pretty awesome. Fabio seems to be a bit sensitive, no? That may be interesting in later weeks.

Jamie – Padma says they all liked her dish. Tom thought it was not overpowering and that the chili added some nice heat at the end. Gail thought it had surprising texture and tasted like “nice, pure, fresh corn.”

Donatella gives the win to Fabio who confesses later in Italian that he won. Whatever. He is tied with Finn now. Whatever times two.

Hosea is asked what he was thinking. He wanted to make a “light, refreshing dish.” He thought it was a winner. Padma said that the Bitter Brigade all seemed to comment on his. It was too sweet; it was missing a lot of salt, etc. Gail just thought it was “off.” Tom said it wasn’t seasoned well and that all of the ingredients should have worked. But it didn’t.

The Nanny – Gail said it didn’t stand out. The Nanny thinks that she was playing it safe. Padma tells her about the spitting. Really, nothing more needs to be said there.

Jill thinks she took on too much with the giant egg. Tom thinks that she didn’t do enough with it. Gail said it didn’t taste well and didn’t go together. Jill thinks the pressure is getting to her. In Week 2. Then she uncorks this Paula Abdul/George W. Bush level of babbling to defend her work:

“Um, I think I understand the mistakes that I made today, but just the pressure, the time, had the idea and tried to execute it the best I could, with it.”

Tom has a great reaction shot to that one.

In the Stew Room, they grill each other for insight. Leah wants to know if they thought everything sucked. Pretty much. Richard says they didn’t really do modern American.

Tom found it odd that Hosea thought he was winning. Gail again can’t figure out what she didn’t like. Padma says that we know what she thinks about The Nanny, who in turn is whining back in the Stew Room. Gail thinks that Jill’s Bushian speech was the “lamest defense of a dish in five seasons.” Jill thinks she actually defended it, but admits to not thinking straight. Not quick on her feet, that one. Tom reiterates that the ingredient wasn’t the problem, it was Jill that was the problem. They come to a decision, one that I think was split due to Padma’s spitting.

Commercials. Poll results: 65% thought is was a bad choice for Jill.

Tom tells the Bottom Three that they must stand out better. Hosea was complacent and that would make him yesterday’s news in New York. The Nanny was so-so and that is never enough. Jill had a good idea but didn’t follow through.

Padma knifes Jill and they all seem slightly surprised. I think they all thought The Nanny was gone. Jill again misses the point and thinks the egg was the problem. The Nanny is in tears and thinks she doesn’t deserve to be there. She’s right. But neither does Jill. Crazy Carla comforts her.

Next week: Thanksgiving for the Foo Fighters. Seriously. That’s happening.


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