Top Chef 11/22 Recap: A Thanksgiving Feast Massacre
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Welcome everyone. Well, the Thanksgiving feast is behind us and if you are like me you are sitting around in a slight turkey coma wondering if you can squeeze in that last slice of pie. Last week we had a not so shocking elimination and said goodbye to Marissa and Josie. I was not overly disappointed to see either go although I did not feel that Josie necessarily deserved to go. So tonight the rumor is some sort of Thanksgiving challenge and that seems very appropriate for the time of year. So set your leftovers aside, shove down that last piece of pie, and let’s get ready to stuff this bird of an episode.
The chefs are in the loft and getting ready to start the day. The girl’s are shocked that Josie was eliminated but no one seems to care about Marissa. I also don’t really care about her. Everyone goes on to trash Marcel and how much they dislike him. Personally I don’t think he is that bad. Yeah, he’s a little cocky and has a poor haircut but I don’t see where the hate for him is coming from.
Much Ado About Canned Food
The chef’s enter the Kenmore™ Elite Pro Kitchen to towers and towers of canned foods. Padma is standing with Chef Tom and greets all the chefs. She informs them that for the Quickfire challenge they will need to create a tasty dish using at least three canned goods. They will have 15 minutes to complete the challenge. She announces that the time has started and everyone hustles for their goods. This challenge seems really hard and it does not seem like they have that much time to complete it. I would probably prepare a nice dish of mixed canned vegetables. It would be really tasty…or not.
The fifteen minutes passes quickly and everyone has to put their utensils down. Chef Tom starts to make the rounds and starts with Cliff who has prepared a potato salad with anchovies and mandarin oranges. It looks interesting but not real tasty. Betty has made a lemon hummus with beets, artichokes, green apples and soy vinaigrette. This dish also seems interesting but does not look very good. Sam makes a garbanzo and beat salad, crunchy anchovies with a lemon Dijon vinaigrette. So far I am very under whelmed with everyone’s offerings.
Marcel is up with a hearts of palm with clams, coconut milk and mandarin oranges. Mia makes a 15-minute salad with garbanzo beans, green beans, artichoke hearts, and mint. Mia’s dish looks good, Marcel’s not so much. Ilan is serving a spinach and cannelli bean salad, roasted potatoes and Vienna sausages. This dish looks interesting minus the sausages. Elia has made a fruit salad and beef hash with celery, red pepper, kidney beans and mint. Her fruit salad looks tasty but the hash looks odd and I don’t understand serving them together.
Carlos has prepared pasta puttanesca with capers, pears and deviled ham. Frank made a fruit and coconut salad with blueberry yogurt cream. This dish looks divine plus it has coconut and that scores bonus points in my book. Michael is last and he made bacon wrapped corn and mashed potatoes with chili and chives. None of these dishes look that great and I just seem to get the sense that none of these chefs’s are really trying. This is what is making this a blasé season to me.
The Legend of the Loser Times 5
Chef Tom has sampled all the dishes and is ready to announce the winners. He tells a few people to rearrange themselves in the order they are standing. I am assuming he is putting them in order from best to worst. He tells Cliff that he liked his dish and it did not taste like canned food. He next calls on Sam and compliments him on the fried anchovies. Marcel, who is at the other end of the line, is told that the clams in his dish needed to be cold. Elia is the next person called out and she it told that her items were good but should not have been served together.
Tom is ready to announce the winner and he calls out Sam’s name and I am happy that I will have eye candy to watch for another week. Just as I am ready to move on Tom calls out Mia’s name and tells her that she also won as well as Cliff, Ilan, and Frank. They were the top 5 and will all enjoy immunity this week. Their jaws drop and so does mine.
Turkey with a Twist of Loser
After all 5 winners are announced everyone is kind of standing around not knowing what to do or expect. Padma announces that for the elimination challenge the 5 losers will need to create a Thanksgiving meal with a twist. They will be serving the meal to the judges and the 5 winners. They will each be judged on their individual contribution to the meal. The 5 winners will relax for the day and take all the canned goods to the local food bank.
The 5 chefs gather in the kitchen and attempt to plan their menu for the event. Everyone starts talking at once but it seems to be the person (Betty) who talks the loudest that gets to be in charge. Michael throws out the idea of making a turkey, duck, and chicken lasagna. I think the idea seems interesting but they all hate it and move on. Marcel then steps up and tries out some ideas but Betty hates those as well and they once again move on. At the end of their planning session they don’t really have a cohesive plan but still prepare to go to the store for their supplies. This is the sorriest group of people I have ever seen, they are so selfish and uncooperative it’s not even fun to watch anymore.
One Angry Dude
Once the planning is over they all head off to the grocery store for supplies excluding Elia who heads to the wholesale market for dishes. They have $400 they can spend on the meal and everyone takes off in their own direction to look for ingredients.
Carlos is going to be working on a fall salad with butternut squash for the event. Michael is shopping for items for a turkey an egg canapé, twice baked potatoes, and a cheese plate. Marcel is going to make the entrée, a turkey roulade and cranberry gelee with foam. Betty will be working on the dessert, two different types of crème brulee. Elia is going to be preparing a soup for the event but feels that her and the judges have very different tastes.
Meanwhile, while the losers are shopping the winning chefs are off taking the canned goods to the food bank. Mia tells a heartwarming story of being homeless at the age of 13 and understanding the importance of the food donations. All the chefs seem to enjoy the experience and it’s nice for a change to see them doing something positive.
After the shopping is done everyone heads back to the lofts to start their prep work. We are never told why they will be cooking in the lofts but that is the plan. The women’s kitchen is very clean and tidy while the kitchen in the men’s loft looks completely nasty. Michael and Marcel are working in the men’s loft while Betty, Carlos and Elia are in the women’s. Frank has left all his toiletries out in the men’s kitchen so Marcel puts them on the floor to give them more workspace.
Betty, Carlos and Elia are over in the women’s loft not really working as much as just fooling around. Elia is so upset with the competition she does not care and really want to be a part of it anymore. She does not think the judges are being fare and starts to lose it as she is mixing a large bowl of chocolate. She takes some of the chocolate and rubs it on her face and then throws some at Betty. The three in the women’s kitchen get in a big chocolate fight and I pray that Sam walks in with his shirt off and gets chocolate all over him. Alas, it does not happen and the show does not improve.
Over in the communal loft area all the other chef’s are kicking back and relaxing for the day. Sam mentions to Frank that Marcel put all his items from the kitchen on the floor and Frank is not happy. Marcel comes in the room and explains that his things were in the way so he put them in the bag and on the floor. Frank tells Marcel that if he ever touches his stuff again he will “beat him so badly his mother won’t recognize him.” Marcel thinks it’s getting a little personal and I take note of that threat to use on the next Reality Show I am on.
Making Something Great So Very, Very, Wrong
It’s competition day and the chef’s have 4 hours to prepare their meal in the lofts. Michael and Marcel have decided to take on more dishes than the other chef’s in hope that it will show their dedication. Chef Tom comes for a visit and walks around inspecting all the dishes. When he gets to Elia she asks about the Quickfire challenge. She wants to know what he liked about Cliff’s dish. Tom tells her he liked the taste and Elia realizes that he meant it and that they do have different palates. Carlos is busy working on his salad and he thinks it’s an ok dish, not the best or the worst. I’m glad he is showing such a competitive edge.
The judges and winners arrive and sit at a large table waiting to be served. A guest judge is announced and Anthony Bourdain is introduced. Everyone is excited to see him and I also am looking forward to his honest critique of the meal. The service is getting started and Michael brings out his 1st dish, a turkey and egg toast canapé. Everyone really enjoys it and is looking forward to the rest of the meal. They have no idea what they are really in for.
Carlos brings out the first course, salad with chipotle peppers, queso fresco, pumpkin seeds, and a butternut squash dressing. Everyone thinks it’s very bland and parts of it taste burnt. Elia shows up with the 2nd course, Portobello and button mushroom crème with walnuts. People seem to enjoy it and they like the nut and mushroom combo. Marcel has the entrée and he made a turkey roulade with stuffing with a cranberry gelee with foam. The judges think the turkey was dry and the cranberries were too tart. Anthony Bourdain thinks it was the most inventive so far.
Michael appears next with the side dishes, which are twice baked potatoes with shrimp, parsnip mashed potatoes and corn with Parmesan. The judges think the plate looks very bland because everything is the same color and the double potatoes are confusing. I am just wondering why they are serving the side dishes after the entrée. Betty has the final dish and she is preparing her crème brulee to be served. She has put ginger on the top but it is not burning so she had to quickly remove it. She ends up serving chai pumpkin crème brulee and chocolate hazelnut crème brulee with a shot of coffee. They all think it’s missing the sugar on the top and they don’t really care for it. Anthony Bourdain thinks it’s a failure of the imagination.
Since the meal service is done they are all getting ready to discuss what was served when Michael shows up with his final plate, a cheese plate with Applewood smoked cheddar, gouda, port-salut, parmesan and brie. I always thought the cheese plate came before the dessert course and I guess the judges agree with me. The service is complete and Anthony Bourdain does not think they stretched the borders of Thanksgiving and I would have to agree.
You Are All Worthless and Weak!
The judges talk a little before they call in the chef’s and overall they are really disappointed in what was presented to them. No one took a chance or stepped up to this challenge. Carlos’s salad was lame, Elia’s soup was good, Marcel’s roulade was adventurous, Betty did not create crème brulee, and Michael’s dishes were just inappropriate. They did like his canapé and cheese plate though. The chef’s are called in to find out their fate.
The chef’s are asked who the leader was of the challenge. Michael states that he tried to be the leader but he was shot down. He tells them of his idea for chicken, duck, and turkey lasagna and the judges all think it’s an interesting idea. They tell him that the twice-baked potato was the best tasting dish they were served. They next ask Carlos why he did a salad. He says that he did not choose the salad but someone had to do it and it was him. They want to know what he worked on for the four hours. He gets very defensive and tries to claim that he worked on lots of things.
They tell Marcel that his idea was good conceptually but overall it failed. They move onto Betty who immediately blames two other people who were helping her on the failure of her crème brulee. The judges don’t think it was cutting edge and Betty says that it was for her because that is not normally her style.
The judges think two dishes stood out and that was Elia’s and Marcel’s. Elia wins even though Marcel’s was much more risqué overall. Elia is very excited with her win and the two of them are excused from the room.
Michael, Betty and Carlos are left to face the judges and they ask them who they think should go. Betty refuses to answer so they move onto Michael. He thinks that Carlos should go because he didn’t do anything. Carlos thinks that Betty should go because here crème brulee was really lacking. Betty freaks at hearing her name and thinks that Marcel should go because he made her brulee fail. This woman is seriously nuts, she made the dessert and he only tried to help her fire the top. Once she gets kicked off the show I hope she has a psychoanalysis done because she is seriously off her rocker. The contestant’s are excused from the room as the judges deliberate.
Take Your Knives and Shove It
The judges discuss the remaining three chefs’ that did not shine during the competition. They think Michael was not good but he at least seemed to make an effort. Carlos was not good and didn’t seem to care. Betty made excuses for her dish and what she made was not unique. I am praying for another double elimination of Betty and Carlos and then I truly would have something to be thankful for this holiday.
The chef’s are called back into the room and Tom tells them nothing was cutting edge about what they made. Carlos is going to be packing his bags and going home. I am not shocked and this whole episode was really disappointing. I didn’t like that half the people sat out and we saw such mediocre cooking it kind of took away from what I love about this show. Oh well, till next week.
Make sure to tune in next week when all the chef’s think they are going to be eliminated, Marcel is trash talked and threatened by the others and Betty is loud and obnoxious.
If you wished that Frank would have shaved that weird little beard thing off Marcel in his anger, send an email to me at Yardgnome77@fansofrealitytv.co m.
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