ELIMINATION – Cook a meal for actress Zooey Deschanel, who is vegan and has allergies to gluten and soy. Chaos is visibly shaken by the restrictions.
Theoden – White Gazpacho with rice milk, grapes and vanilla oil, Timbale of avocado and asparagus, roasted beet salad. Thankfully, Theoden made extra as the waiters had more drops than the Detroit Lions’ receiving corps. Zooey loved it; one of her buddies thought he was eating dip.
The Lo – Spicy Grilled Eggplant with lentil salad and cashew sauce, crispy fried shallots. Zooey found it too oily and others found it to be over-seasoned.
Winky – Quinoa Pasta with Salsa Verde and Gremolata, Tomatoes and Crispy Basil Leaf. Brilliant move by Winky to find a gluten-free pasta, as Zooey loved it so much she wanted to hug him. She and her mom cutely make the same “tastes like home” joke.
Doobie – Corn Tamales with Chili-braised beans, braised greens and glazed mushrooms. Zooey call these the best tamales she’s ever had, says you’d have to pry them from her hands, and that the stew beneath the tamales were smoky and savory. Seriously, someone write a chef movie for her and Neil Patrick Harris to star.
Chaos – Strawberry Champagne Soup, strawberry rice ice cream, and almond brittle. Zooey isn’t a fan; she thinks a coconut-based ice cream would have been better. Jay suggests a sorbet as a better option.
JUDGING – snore. The only interesting part was Jay called out Winky and Chaos for purchasing rather than making their main ingredient. Winky claims that in Italian cooking you honor the various artisans who make the individual dishes. Chaos explains that he wasn’t able to make rice ice cream and wanted it done right. That doomed him.
Winky is universally loved in this episode and takes 22 stars for the win; Theoden and Doobie each earn 19. Meanwhile, The Lo gets mediocre grades across the board and earns only 13 stars. Jay’s 1.5 stars for Chaos – presumably for the response to his ice cream question– is the difference as he falls a half-star short. Chaos realizes this as he says he lost on a “decision unfathomable with the judges.” Considering the guests gave him three stars, but the best he could muster up was 2.5 from Bert…I think he’s correct.
• Chaos about his burger – “Jesus must have made this, because I would have run out of time.” Thus leading to a whole line of bumper stickers – WWJC (What Would Jesus Cook).
• Did Winky squeeze a lemon with his mouth? That just gave me the willies!
• Bert asked Chaos about how he made brittle without butter. I was wondering the same thing!
• Winky does perhaps the worst French accent since Steve Martin’s Pink Panther. It is to French accents what Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood is to British. Somewhere Maurice Chevalier is thinking – man, that was a bit stereotypical.
• Did The Lo drop some F-bombs? It seems Spike’s presence was inspiring.
• Winky after tying with Doobie on the Quickfire Burger Challenge – “Do we have a burger-off now?” That would have been awesome!
• Winky (he did have some good lines this week, I must admit) after Chaos chose dessert – “Are you trying to go home?” Winky knows his Top Chef history!
• Winky (AGAIN!) while describing the things you cannot cook – “Everything you love to make, just say no.” It’s the Party of No. Zooey Deschanel is the Republican Party! I bet that would be news to her. That leads to a question – how many Republican vegans are there? Discuss.
• I find it mesmerizing watching Theoden chop things. He barely moves. It’s almost like he’s a ninja.
• NotPadma smelled her dessert – considering we have yet to see her eat anything and she seems to be dwindling away before our eyes, I wonder if she just judges on smell.
• The Extra Scene is Winky describing Doobie as the Professor from Gilligan’s Island. Anyone want to guess which one of these folks is Ginger?
• Gael found The Lo’s dish to be sad-looking. No one likes a sad clown or a sad piece of eggplant.
• I do like hearing the masters explain things – Doobie wanted his salad to be lost in the other flavors. The Lo thought the cashew sauce was enough of a transition of flavors. Winky turns Jay’s question about homemade pasta back at him by explaining how hard it was to cook.
• Lastly, did anyone else get the feeling like the judges were really condescending to vegans? They also talked about them as if they were an oppressed class of being – as if it was the District 9 of culinary tastes.
Next week – Old Top Chefers return and Winky gets into it with Chicago Dale. I may start liking Winky next week.
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