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Top Chef Masters 4 – Episode 2 – Lady Gaga’s Sad Pineapple Cake

Elimination Challenge – Let’s hit the reception! I’ll have a martini – it can be stirred.

The Hat – Grandma’s Blood Soup – Hat worries that grandma would be critical of her recipe. Stone and Ruth praise it, while some guests wonder if there was actual blood in there. I sure hope not.

Clark – Barbeque Duck with Sirloin Szechuan Sauce in Lettuce – Bert found it to be underwhelming.

Kerry – Corn Panna Cotta with Grilled Okra, Crab and Marjoram – Bert thought it was delicious, and the bride was a fan too.

Yeo – Pickled Mackerel with Young Coconut & Chilies – Might I add this, Young Coconut was my favorite rapper in the late 80s. Bert said it was delicious and some random guest found it spicy and crunchy.

Takashi – Braised Pork Belly with Pickled Daikon and Steamed Something That Begins with B (seriously, no friggin idea what I wrote there. But it was steamed). Regardless Bert thought it was fabulous.

Debbie – Grilled Green Napa Cabbage Salad – Bert thought it was one of the weirder things he has eaten. And that’s strong TC Masters criticism.

Mark – Sesame Coated Baked Atlantic Salmon with Egg Noodle Cake – He had some cooking issues as the critics all have raw fish. Bert even dramatically emphasized “raw” as he said it in such a way that small children may have to avert their eyes. However, the bride and groom wind up with well-cooked fish. This fact may have saved him. Katniss’ fish was just recently swimming upstream.

CC – Banana Lea Braised Pork with Aioli and Adobo Sauces The critics think it s pretty darn good, and pay very close attention to the adobo sauce.

Meanwhile, Art’s cake is collapsing on itself. CC and Yeo tear off to the other kitchen to bring him extra icing to try and hide the problems. This part was one of the rare action hero moments in Top Chef history.

Lorena – Vanilla Leche Flan Topped with Toasted Coconut. – One of the bride’s many brothers thought it was overcooked.

Art – Inside Out Upside Down Pineapple Cake with Rum Vanilla Sauce – And it is sad. Katniss calls it the Leaning Tower of Pisa and Bert thinks it was expressionist art. Katniss added that it was almost an actual upside down cake as it was really lacking structural integrity. Ruth called it a one-note cake. But Lady Gaga loved it! Art totally choked on this – Ch-ch-ch-choker cake, ch-ch-ch choker cake.

Takashi, Yeo and CC make the Top 3. Ruth found Takashi’s to be a satisfying mini sandwich, while Stone said so many guests liked it. Bert said Yeo’s “spoonful was a revelation.” I think food critics just like using words like “spoonful.” Ruth said that CC’s adobo was a brilliant addition. But it was Yeo whose spoonful took home the win.

Debbie, Mark and Art take the brunt of the criticism. Bert said that Art’s clearly had structural problems and Katniss points out how important a nice cake is to the bride. Bert liked the sauce, but there’s only so much the sauce can do. Stone says the obvious – if you were the customer, you’d want a refund for that cake.

Bert tells Mark about the raw fish, but Ruth says that if it was cooked, it probably would have been good. Well, yeah. Katniss wonders how you can serve this to a party if it is completely uncooked. Bert thinks it lacked the “oomph” of the dish description.

Debbie explains how she grilled the cabbage to release the acid and make up for the lack of fruit. Bert thinks there was too much of a char quality as a result. He adds that it was not a Thai papaya salad. None of the elements were there. Stone is the only one not to dislike it.

But it was not enough to keep Debbie in the competition. She goes for making a bad salad. Art’s degree of difficulty saved him, and the fact that the bride and groom had perfectly cooked fish probably saved Mark. That’s three gone this season, all women. Debbie realizes that she’s not cut out for the insanity of the Top Chef kitchen. That’s probably a complement, Debbie!

Quickfire Hits
• Art questions who ever thought of coming to a “dumb desert” to make a city. Warren Beatty made a movie out of that very question. And found his lady in the process. It’s a heartwarming story.
• Art mocking the man jogging in the Vegas heat is more of a question I can get behind. I was sweating just watching that.
• CC did his own food for his wedding – which is insane to me. That’s a nervous breakdown in a bucket right there.
• Art snuck a drink during prep time. That should be a foul, and it should also be repeated by all the chefs. Drunken Top Chef would be infinitely more fun.
• In my notes, I wrote Art and Jesus – and for the life of me I couldn’t remember why. I thought perhaps he was one of the lost disciples or that the Church had gotten very progressive while pineapple was served. But no, it was Art’s own marriage on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. They ran there and got married in exercise clothes – which is a wedding ceremony you would have to pay me to attend.
• Now, Ruth’s home cooked, blues band wedding? I’m there.
• Yeo did her serving from the Angelo Sosa School of Spoons.
• Speaking of Angelo, I wonder if Kerry’s help of Debbie was an Angelo-like kiss of death for the poor woman. We will have to watch Kerry very carefully to see if he is, in fact, the latest Angel of Death in the kitchen.
• Man, Jay married his way into a family with seven brothers. Can you imagine dating a woman with seven brothers? You had best be on your good behavior.
• They had a memorial table set up for the deceased best friend. Aww. That’s incredibly sad and sweet.
• Extra scene – Nobody can understand anything anyone is saying. And that goes for us bloggers too.

Next week – Takashi on the hibachi. And more CC and Art fighting.

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