That’s me when I’m watching Top Chef Seattle.
I’m used to hearing words like “croutons”, “Ranch dressing”, “pepperoni”, “salt”, “pepper” and “frozen pizza”. I DO like to cook and will often make things from scratch, so add “flour” and “chicken breast” to the mix.
But those Top Cheffers? They’re throwing out French words left and right with no concern for their Velveeta-using audience members whatsoever. So, I’ve decided I am going to make little digital index cards for each Top Chef review for the words they toss out there that I have never heard.
Words like these:
(I don’t and I wrote the card.)
If you missed the 8th episode and want a preview of the show, here is a clip
OPENING: The beginning showed the chefs talking about Eliza, the most recently departed cheftestant. Brooke mentioned that she was funny and that they were sad to see her go. Let’s get real, though, folks. Eliza is just one less person in their way to receiving that $125,000 grand prize. As soon as she walked out of the room, they were already thinking about if they would get their turn to call out the remaining minutes during the next Quickfire challenge.
“Dude. We’re, like, all standing right beside you.”
This was a totally made-up scene, but it’ll happen on one of these shows, I just know it.
Also, Danyelle regretted that she came off as nervous in front of the judges during the last episode, although she admitted that she was very anxious. She was determined to show everyone that she was truly a great cook this time around, dingdant it.
QUICKFIRE CHALLENGE: Stephanie Izard, a former Top Chef Winner (and the ONLY woman to win so far), was the guest judge. The chefs were asked to create any dish they wanted BUT all of their possible ingredients were covered with foil. Once an ingredient was opened, they had to use it in their dish. ALSO, they had to use ONLY foil to cook the dish. No utensils and no pots or pans were allowed.
During this challenge, there were no outright plugs of any brands.
Oops. Forgot about that one.
The chefs were opening things that didn’t quite go together because they had no idea what they were actually opening. John thought he was unwrapping herbs when he was really unwrapping something much different. (I’m totally going blank on what he really did open. Was it a gigantic box of Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers? Can’t remember.) The whole scene reminded me of one of my favorite childhood books, The Little Old Man Who Could Not Read.
The poor little old man bought wax paper when he meant to buy spaghetti and buttermilk when he meant to buy regular milk. He bought soap flakes instead of oatmeal and salt instead of sugar. The major disadvantage that old man had wasn’t illiteracy, it was not being a fancy chef! Those guys would have been able to make a Soap Flake Buttermilk Gazpacho that would have probably tasted delicious.
The one thing I kept thinking through the Quickfire Challenge is that I’m not a fan of hats in the kitchen. Maybe formal chef hats are okay, but I’m not sure about the rest. Sheldon’s knit cap. Josie’s sweatband. Micah’s bandana. I just keep thinking that they’re probably dirty and that their dirt and sweat juice is falling into the food. There is probably a fancy French name for “dirt and sweat juice” that I haven’t learned yet.
Kristen was the big winner of the Quickfire Challenge with her Almond Sponge Cake with Chocolate and Baked Apples. YUM. MY.
If I remember the story right, Kristen shared that she was left basically on a doorstep (it might’ve been at a fire station or at a hospital) when she was 4 months old. She was then adopted by a family in the United States and moved to Michigan as a very tiny baby.
ELIMINATION CHALLENGE: The ones who had the more preferred dishes during the Quickfire Challenge had to pick someone to compete against during a head-to-head competition at Remlinger Farms Berry Festival. The pairs and their berries were:
BLUEBERRIES: Danyele and Joshua (a little TX-OU rivalry)
GOOSEBERRIES: Stefan and John (the older dudes of the bunch)
STRAWBERRIES: Micah and Sheldon (the head gear wearers)
RASPBERRIES: Josie and Lizzie
BLACKBERRIES: Bart and Brooke
Brooke was happy to point out that she was the only one left to get picked. Is she getting a little too big for her britches? Hmmm? Getting a little overconfident there, Miss Thang? Clearly no one wanted to compete against her, but STILL.
A brief word about the berries.
What in the HECK is a tayberry? All I know is that Kristen says that it starts off tart and finishes sweet, which, let’s be honest, is probably total bullwinkle. It probably just tastes tart the whole entire time.
Okay, I can’t pretend I haven’t heard of a gooseberry. My grandmother still remembers a cheer from her high school back in the 1930s that went a little something like this, “Strawberry shortcake, GOOSEBERRY PIE, V-I-C-T-O-R-Y! Will we win it? Well, I guess!Tomball, Tomball, YES, YES, YES!!!!”
So, there’s your gooseberry.
Lizzie wasn’t happy that Josie indicated that she could beat Lizzie without a problem. Lizzie shared that she had, in fact, cooked for Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu.
Joshua shared that he was on the wrestling team in high school and that he was up for a challenge. Pretty sure Danyelle was hoping he’d go get his spandex on and practice his wrestling moves out in the parking lot so that she could win the challenge automatically. Old curly mustache stayed around, though.
When the teams went into the store for their food, they were running around the place like valet guys! It almost looks like it is a handful of guys trying to provide valet service to all the people that live in Texas and California combined within a 5-minute time span. THESE CHEFS MEAN BUSINESS.
Sheldon took all the fresh tuna, so that left Stefan with having to get saku block tuna. Stefan claims this is high quality but John, his competitor, keeps throwing him under the bus for choosing “frozen tuna”. He wasn’t just upset that it was frozen but that it also wasn’t sustainable. John made sure to mention this frozen tuna issue to Tom Colicchio right away when he came in to check on the chefs. No doubt that Stefan had visions of trying to sell John to sheep herders in Uzbekistan at that very moment.
(Stefan also had visions of getting down on one knee to propose to Kristen probably. The dude is always flirting with her and referred ot her as “wifey” once during this episode. Are they really “hubby” and “wifey” and I just totally missed this story line?)
Other things that we learn is that Micah’s daughters are named Sage and Saffron. SAFFRON. If they have another, I hear that “Seasoned Salt” is in the running.
The winners from this challenge?
Brooke, Kristen, Josh, Sheldon and Lizzie.
The overall winner was KRISTEN (AGAIN) for her Matcha Goat Milk Custard with Macerated Tayberries.
Critiques against Josie’s dish was that there was not enough raspberry and, really, that everything was so pink that it almost resembled Pepto-Bismol.
(DELICIOUS. I WANT TWO BOWLS.)
Ultimately, it was Danyelle that had to pack up her knives over her Chicken Pine Nut Terrine (note to self: add “terrine” to index card) with Blueberry Mostarda. Tom Colicchio thought the chicken was rubbery.
Just before the show was over, Josie and Stefan get into an argument. She asked Stefan to have a conversation with the person he was yelling at from across the room by walking over to that person versus yelling to them. I thought she was just kidding, really, but he took it seriously. The next thing you knew, her sweatband flew off and they were in the back of a cop car.
Sweatband stayed in place and the cops weren’t called. They just got a little snippy and ugly toward each other. They weren’t playing nice and I have a feeling it’s just going to get uglier up in the kitchen. With everyone.
Okay, that took a lot out of me. I’m hungry now.
The winner of Top Chef gets $125,000, a feature in Food & Wine magazine, a showcase at the Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen and will earn the title of “Top Chef.” So, Food & Wine is where it’s at apparently. (Slowly puts down the Two-Ingredient Crock Pot Recipes book.)
If this magazine is something you would be interested in receiving, just leave a comment below telling me one of your favorite Top Chef recipes or a favorite Top Chef moment. The person will be picked from the list of commenters on December 26th and sent to the Bravo people. I just ask that the winner be a liker of the Kelley’s Break Room Facebook page and/or a follower via Google Friend Connect.