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Thread: Top Chef 11/1 Recap: Comfort Food, Cravability and Bacon Ice Cream!

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    Asst to the Regional Mgr SueEllenMishke's Avatar
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    Jul 2004

    Top Chef 11/1 Recap: Comfort Food, Cravability and Bacon Ice Cream!

    Now this is how I like to see an episode of Top Chef begin- shirtless men in bunk beds! I could do without Frank’s snoring though, and I’ll bet Marcel feels the same way. I wonder if being in the bunk beds bring back find memories of camp for Marcel. The memories should be fresh… you know, since he’s so young and all. Wow that joke really fell flat. Sorry.

    Marcel may be young, but he is experienced. We know this because he tells us so, He is a gastronomical genius and he knows how to run a business too. He’s not so sure that some of our more experienced chefs can make that claim. Michael is also experienced, and tells us that he’s not worried about any of the other chefs, and is just trying to lay low and not be a target. I’d say he’s doing a pretty good job at laying low.

    The Kenmore Kitchen is heating up!
    It’s time for another Quickfire Challenge and it’s a hot California summer day. What could be better on a summer day than original ice cream creations from our chefs? Well, I’d prefer Mojitos served poolside by toned waiters, but that’s just me, and it’s snowing outside right now so sometimes a girl’s just gotta dream.

    Host Padma tells the chefs they’re cooking for the “man on the street,” and will each have 2 hours and 45 minutes to prepare 3 quarts of ice cream for judging. It must be really hot in the Kenmore Kitchen too, because Padma is wearing a pair of fancy hot pants for the occasion. Hot pants! It’s a cooking show for Pete’s sake!

    Marisa is excited for the challenge, because as a pastry chef she uses ice cream in a lot of her dishes. Gee, I hope she pulls this one off, because after last week’s gelatinous debacle, her cred as a pastry chef is quickly diminishing.

    The chefs grab all sorts of standard and not so standard ingredients for their ice cream flavors. Carlos has decided to use avocados instead of eggs so his ice cream will set up quickly and still be creamy, Emily is going to cash in on the new fine dining trend of mixing lavender with chocolate, Sam is diabetic, so he doesn’t have much experience making sweet things, and Cliff’s plan is to make an ice cream flavor that he would like to eat.

    Aside from Carlos and the avocado, most of the chefs are making flavors we’d expect… and then we get to Ilan. Ilan has this grand idea about mixing breakfast and ice cream, (logical, no?), and he is putting bacon and waffles in his ice cream. Sounds kind of gross right? Surely none of the chefs can out gross Ilan on this one. Wrong! Ilan notices that Marcel is also frying up some bacon for his ice cream, and he’s going to add some avocado to make the treat complete. Let me just say ewww. I’m going to add bacon avocado ice cream to the corn starch slurry from last week on this list of foods SueEllen will never, ever eat. Ilan is kind of put out that he is not the only one incorporating breakfast meat into his ice cream, and tells us that Marcel’s concoction looks gross.

    For some reason, Marcel is really pleased with his ice cream, even though he used bacon and avocados! He’s happy with the consistency, and thinks he’s got a real winner on his hands. Betty disagrees- she knows that no matter who their judges are, Marcel’s ice cream will not be well received.

    How dare you do that to ice cream, sir!
    It’s a beautiful day at the Redondo Seaside Lagoon, and our chefs are met with their enthusiastic judges- hundreds of little kids and other assorted beach goers. Emily is disappointed to see “snotty little kids,” and tells us that she hates children. Emily, Emily, Emily… did you learn nothing from season 1 of Top Chef? Don’t cross the children or they will mess you up!

    Host Padma tells the chefs they will be serving the unwashed masses of Redondo Beach, and each person will vote on their favorite flavor. The tiny spoons come out and everyone gets served. Here’s what we see:

    Marisa has prepared ice cream with vanilla and peanut swirls, which seems kind of boring to me.

    Cliff’s marshmallow with cookies flavor proves to be popular, which doesn’t surprise Cliff. What little kid doesn’t like marshmallows and cookies?

    Sam is up next with his ginger snap and citrus crumble ice cream. I don’t know about that flavor, but Sam has got some incredible flirtation skills. He tells us he was named one of NY’s sexiest chefs, and he really works all of the females who come through his line for a taste.

    Here’s what you’ve been waiting for- Marcel’s bacon and avocado ice cream. Not surprisingly, it is not popular. We see footage of little kids spitting it out, and adults making disgusted faces. I don’t blame them- I’m a huge fan of mixing sweet and salty, but I draw the line at savory ice cream. Especially savory ice cream made with bacon and avocados.

    Michael was inspired by Elvis for his peanut butter and jelly banana ice cream. We don’t get much reaction to this, but it seems like it could be pretty tasty.

    Betty’s ice cream has a cute name to match their location- Redondo Beach Berry with homemade chocolate sauce. With the chocolate sauce though, I wonder if she is making a statement that she does not think her ice cream is good enough to stand on its own. Hmmm.

    The crowd is mixed about Ilan’s bacon and waffle ice cream. Some of them like it, some don’t seem to like it, but at least no one hates it as much as Marcel’s.

    Carlos plays up the marshmallows to the kids and the avocados to the adults for his avocado, vanilla and marshmallow ice cream. Again, no one seems to hate it as much as Marcel’s.

    Emily’s chocolate and lavender ice cream is getting a so/ so response from the crowd. One woman tells her that it needs more sugar, and Emily tells us that the last thing that woman needed with her four teeth and huge ass is more sugar. Yikes. That seems a little cruel and uncalled for. Even Tiffani was not this bad!

    Lastly we see Josie serving her peach cobbler ice cream to some very happy women on the beach, and as for the rest- I have no idea what they served or if people liked it, because they don’t get any air time..

    Who pulled in the votes?
    Back at Kenmore Kitchen, Padma has changed into a denim vest so that she can announce the winner. First though, she’s going to announce the loser and it is… (drum roll please)… Marcel with 7 whole votes! Emily and Marisa make up the rest of the terrible trifecta, which is surprising for Marisa since she’s a “pastry chef” and all, and surprising for Emily since she doesn’t seem to know that she’s an unpleasant person and a mediocre ice cream chef.

    Cliff is the winner of the Quickfire for his marshmallow and cookie ice cream, and that means he has immunity for another Elimination Challenge. This is Cliff’s second win in a row, and he’s pretty pleased with himself.

    Marisa doesn’t think Cliff’s win had anything to do with the quality of his ice cream- he just used ingredients little kids would like. I think Marisa’s just serving up a plate of sour grapes, myself.

    Doesn’t TGI Fridays have fried green beans on their menu??
    On to the Elimination Challenge, and tonight’s special Guest Judge is Stephen Bugarelli, Executive Chef for TGI Fridays. For tonight’s challenge, our chefs must create a dish to appeal to TGI Friday’s clientele. Judge Stephen is looking for a spectacular recipe that updates childhood comfort food and gives it a grown up appeal. And, the winner of this challenge will not only get bragging rights, their dish will be featured on TGI Fridays’ menus across the country. That’s right- one of our chefs is about to get national recognition for deep frying some crap.

    The chefs have $100 to shop for ingredients and two hours to prep their dishes. They will travel to the South Pasadena Fire House where they will each have 15 minutes to finish the dish, and then serve to all the Judges and some lucky fire fighters. Oh, and you know what else? Michael used to work as a line cook for TGI Fridays! Don’t worry though, his two months there will not give him the edge of favoritism over anyone else.

    The chefs head out to Wild Oats to shop for ingredients, and Michael is happy because he finds a brand of beer that he really likes. He’s not going to be cooking with the beer, he just wants to drink it. When he gets to check out and finds he’s over his $100 budget, instead of doing the intelligent thing by putting back the beer, he decides to put back some cheese. Cheese that he needs for his dish. Brilliant. Sam questions this bonehead move, and tells us Michael’s not in it to win it. Thanks for using a cliché, Sam. Michael’s not worried though- his brother is a firefighter, and he knows what firefighters like to eat and it includes meat and grease. He’s got it covered. You know who is worried? Emily? She doesn’t have much experience with cooking for the masses- she only knows fine dining, and decides to go with some sort of surf and turf.

    The chefs head back to Kenmore Kitchen and get to work. Judge Tom wanders through, tastes Betty’s soup and shakes his head in amazement at Frank’s bizarro mushroom fantasy creation. Since the dishes are supposed to be inspired by childhood comfort food and memories, Judge Tom asks Frank if his childhood included a lot of experimental drug use. Frank replies that his dish is inspired by his daughter, which I find even more disturbing.

    Marisa’s taking another stab at dessert, and I really hope she succeeds this time. It must be very disheartening for a pastry chef to constantly lose challenges when making desserts. Sam’s working on a fruit salad, Michael on a steak sandwich, and Ilan is madly shucking corn.

    Marcel’s mom used to make incredible mashed potatoes when he was a tot, and these potatoes are the center of his dish. He’s also making onion rings for some reason, and shows us the best way to perfectly coat onion rings in batter, (it’s all in the wrists, I think), and he goes on and on about nothing and is absolutely driving Betty crazy. She’s sick of him acting like he knows more than he does.

    Yay for firemen!
    The chefs travel to the firehouse where each one will have 15 minutes to finish their dishes before presenting them for judging.

    Michael’s up first, and he wants us to know that he is not flustered. He’s proud of his dish and knows that it belongs on TGIF’s menu. Do the Judges and firefighters agree? No. They call his cheesesteak sandwich with onion rings messy, overcooked, greasy and chewy. Sorry Michael.

    It’s Marcel’s turn to prep, but when he drops one of his onion rings in the deep fryer, he finds that Michael has dropped the temperature of the oil, and it’s just not working right. Marcel bitches endlessly about the problem, and then scraps the onion rings altogether. He presents his dish of pork chops, mashed potatoes and cabbage to the Judges, but we don’t really get to see the reaction, because something much more interesting is going on back in the kitchen.

    Sam’s trying to finish his dish, but all the other chefs are sitting around in recliners, and Marcel is still complaining about the deep fryer. He asks the group if it is fair that he was not able to use the deep fryer, and Betty replies that anything that screws him over seems fair to her. Whoa! She then calls him a selfish, egotistical bastard, and once Marcel recovers the ability to speak, she tells him that they will have to continue their discussion later, so they don’t distract Sam.

    Back to Sam, and he’s presenting a summer fruit salad. The firefighters love the salad and call it innovative and think it has tremendous flavor. I think some of the firefighters would have licked the bowl clean had they not been on TV. They liked it that much.

    Next it’s time for Emily and her salty, sloppy, amateurish surf and turf, followed by Frank’s Wonderland Mushroom Fantasy. Everyone agrees that Frank really missed the mark on this challenge. Ilan presents his bacon smoked roasted corn, Cliff serves mac and cheese with fish sticks, Josie’s prepared BBQ skewers, Elia: fish tacos, Carlos: chicken friend shrimp with corn, red pepper and lime salad, Mia: Mama Mia Meatloaf with spicy ketcherella and then Marisa with her strawberry crisp with orange caramel sauce. I’m happy for Marisa because her dessert goes over really well.

    Karma’s a bitch
    Betty’s the final chef to present, but she’s having a little bit of trouble with the griddle. She’s trying to fry up her grilled cheese sandwiches, but the griddle just isn’t heating properly. Marcel is watching her intently and asking stupid questions and basically just being annoying. He tells us that he wanted to throw her off her game, like she threw him off his, so he intimidated her with his remarks. I’m not so sure about that, but he did irritate me. Cliff tells us that Marcel is instigating, and if he were Betty, he would drop what he was doing to punch Marcel in the head. Now that I’d like to see.

    Finally, Betty gets her sandwiches done and finishes plating at the very last possible second. The other chefs cheer, and Marcel pouts. Betty serves her Bada Bing Betty with spicy red pepper soup and bacon, and everyone loves it.

    It doesn’t pay to be Tiffani 2.0
    Guest Judge Stephen tells us he was looking for innovation and cravability. I love it when people on reality shows make up words. He thinks that Sam was innovative, Betty’s dish was a nice update on a standard, but with a twist, and Ilan’s dish was wonderful, but should have been an entrée, not just a side dish.

    The Judges bring in Sam, Cliff and Betty, and line them up by height. They tell Sam that his dish was healthy and sophisticated, and the firemen really dug Cliff’s dish, but it’s Betty’s grilled cheese and soup that’s going to be featured on TGI Friday’s menu. And boy is Betty excited! She shrieks with excitement, and jumps up and down until Padma tells her to send in Michael, Emily and Frank.

    The bottom three try to defend their dishes, Frank says that his dish may have been a little too conceptual, (ya think, Frank?) and may have needed a little tweaking. Emily states she got too frazzled and completely lost control of her salting arm, and Michael can’t really figure out what went wrong.

    The Judges send the bottom three back out to the hallway so they can figure out which one to send packing, and Emily immediately starts crying Michael threatens to “beat the s*** out of all those motherf******.” He then tells Marcel that he can’t leave yet, because he’s gotta f****n’ knock Marcel out. Again, that’s something I’d like to see.

    The bottom three are called back to the Judging Table where Emily is told to pack up her knives and get the hell out of the Kenmore Kitchen. She sobs her way out of the competition, and I only hope she’s learned something from her Top Chef experience, and can be a little more charitable towards children, and overweight people in the future.

    Oooh! Next week there are accusations of cheating! First stolen lychees, now this!
    Last edited by Yardgnome; 11-10-2006 at 01:16 PM.
    I was made to understand there were grilled cheese sandwiches here.

  2. #2
    This was a good challenge, and I think they made the right decision by sending Emily home. Her comments at the beach were uncalled for, and oversalting food is just an amateur mistake.

    As far as Betty's win goes, she got a little too excited. I liked her at first, but now she's just gettin' annoying. Her fight with Marcel was uncalled for on both parts, but we don't know what's going on behing-the-scenes.

    That ice-cream challenge was cool, but I have to say that Marisa is one of the worst pastry chefs I've ever seen. She screws up a simple, boring ice-cream flavor and can't make pannacotta. A crisp won't redeem her, because it's the easiest thing ever! I have to say that the pork-flavored ice-cream was just weird, but Ilan's actually sounded good, with the waffles.

  3. #3
    Being VIP Yardgnome's Avatar
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    Jul 2003
    Harnessing my evil for good.
    Hilarious recap, SEM!

    I really enjoyed this episode, we are finally starting to learn more about the different chefs. I loved the ice cream challenge, but to be honest I don't know if I actually would have tried Marcel's ice cream.

  4. #4
    Yumpin' Yiminy roses4me's Avatar
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    Feb 2006
    Nor. Calif. bay area
    Fab recap, SueEllen. You're a hoot!

    The thought of avocado in ice cream makes my taste buds shriek in horror. What a loony idea.

    Betty, Josie, and Cliff are starting to look like Top Three contenders. Woohoo! The "sexy" one will be posing for Playgirl with some kind of kitchen tool. Any ideas folks?

    Thanks again for a great recap.

  5. #5
    Confused ATXexan's Avatar
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    Nov 2005
    Working and Searching to Find the Light
    Yet another great recap.
    This is my first season of Top Chef to experience with FORT and I am loving your insightful play-by-plays.

  6. #6
    Great recap!

    I've got to defend the avacado. Avacado ice cream is actually quite popular in some areas. It's pretty tasty and sweater than you'd think. I believe it was the bacon that brought it down.

    Also, I fail to see how Betty threw Marcel off his game, since she didn't start arguing with him until *after* he finished with his turn.

    Poofy hair seems to have a direct correlation with smarmminess.

  7. #7
    Regarding avacado ice cream: I've seen avacado gelato in Italy years ago...they also feature a lot of very innovative flavors. A pet peeve I do have about the show is when contestants react with horror over having to prepare something that isn't "haute cuisine" (or if it's a design show, "haute couture")...these folks need to realize that's where the REAL challenge is. Perhaps that's why Dave from season 1 lasted as long as he did (despite Tom Collichio's obvious dislike of him).

  8. #8
    FORT Fogey Gala62's Avatar
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    Sep 2006
    Hopefully near a spa
    All I can say is thank god Emily went home (although Michael was equally deserving). For someone who is so experienced in fine dining, she sure fell apart and screwed up a dish that ought to have been second nature to her.

    And those comments of hers, thankfully they didn't keep her for drama. Looks like Michael, Marcel and Betty will be enough drama for now.

    Oh and a big thank you to SueEllen for a great recap!!

  9. #9
    Crazy Cat Lady MollyMouse's Avatar
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    Nov 2006
    That was a delightful read.

  10. #10
    Yumpin' Yiminy roses4me's Avatar
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    Feb 2006
    Nor. Calif. bay area
    Quote Originally Posted by MollyMouse;2132713;
    That was a delightful read.
    Welcome to FORT MollyMouse.

    SueEllen always gives a great read.

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