So last night's episode of Top Chef was a bit of a shocker in the sense that no one won, but really, was anyone surprised about Mike getting the boot? Okay, so I actually thought Cliff was going to pack his knives this time, but really, even though I loved the fact that Mikey won everything last week, hasn't he overstayed his welcome? Don't get me wrong, I'm sure he's plenty talented, but he didn't really seem like he ever wanted it.
I was glad that this week was more about the cooking and less about the bickering, but I must ask, what was with Marcel's rooftop rap? (If anyone has the words, please post, I forgot to write them down.) Oh and another what's with Marcel moment: what was with the "Cut Out 4 Us" hand gestures? Did it remind anyone else of Uncle Joey from Full House?
Anyway, enough chatter, let's talk food. To check out my full recap,
The episode started off with a Kraft sponsored Quickfire challenge. Now, I completely understand product placement, but these sponsored challenges are starting to irk me. This time our favorite fledgling chefs had to turn BBQ sauce, Zesty Italian dressing and mayonnaise into a gourmet snack. I was really excited to see what they'd come up with, and although there were some impressive dishes, not very many of them seemed like "snacks." The two that stood out to me were definitely Sam's sandwich and Marcel's lamb kebabs with curried mayonnaise. I thought his use of the mayonnaise was quite effective and like Marcel said, "meat on a stick, who doesn't like that?"
Apparently it's not guest judge Mike Yakura of Le Colonial in San Francisco (you may remember him from last year's street vendor episode, although probably not, because this time he's sporting a wicked new mohawk), because Marcel, along with Sam, won this particular challenge.
The two winners were then granted the prize of choosing their teammates for the Elimination challenge. Once the teams were chosen (Sam, Ilan, Mike vs. Cliff, Ilia, Marcel), they were told they had 24 hours and a limited budget to open a restaurant.
Sam's team ended up going with a rustic Italian inspired place called LaLaLina (named after their girlfriends, and I must add, a very cute name). Their menu featured:
- Fried Meatball on Crostini with Parsley Pesto
- Spaghetti with Mushrooms and Walnut-Parsley Pesto
- Bacon Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pork Tenderloin and a side of polenta
- Watermelon gnocchi with bruleed cheese
Strangely missing from their menu: wine.
And bowls to put olive pits in. Good ol' Mikey went to the supply store and only stuck to his list. Sam took over as the kitchen leader and Ilan boringly worked the front of the house.
With the exception of the meatball, which they loved, the judges found the food to be boring, salty and disgusting. Judge Gail obviously did not like Sam's watermelon gnocchi, but that still isn't hindering my desire to eat it (honestly, I really would like to try it). The judges were also disappointed to have no wine offering.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the wall, Marcel's team has whipped up an impromptu "high end" classic diner named M.E.C. Their menu included:
- Barbeque Coffee Chicken Wing
- Tempura Vegetables and Mozzarella with Cornichon Aioli
- The M.E.C. Burger with Prosciutto
- Oreo Lemon Pie
- Root beer floats or beer
Ilia and Marcel did most of the kitchen duties while Cliff ran the front of the house. Again, the guy in the front of the house was not the most exciting guy; he paid no attention to the judges (they waited over 10 minutes!) and he didn't mingle with the guests either. The chicken ended up being undercooked (scary!) and the hamburgers (because they had sat so long), were overcooked and "meatloaf" like. They did however, like Marcel's perfectly executed tempura veggies.
When everything was said and done, neither teams were deemed good enough to win and in the end Mikey had to pack his knives and go.
Now for a few things I'd like to discuss:
- Marcel's rap, please people tell me what this is all about!
- Ilan's attempted jab at Marcel with a sadly non-foaming Zesty Italian foam.
- If Ilia wanted to be front of the house, then why did she say she could do either? Why didn't she speak up when given the chance?
- I wonder why they had to break the budget up to $500 for food and $500 for supplies instead of letting the chefs choose what to spend the $1000 on.
- Oreo lemon pie? That thing looked like a Little Debbie snack cake.
- Who doesn't serve wine with Italian?
- I really want to eat watermelon gnocchi. I don't care how gross Gail says it is.
- Sam lurking from behind the plant while the judges ate. Also, his face when the judges told Ilan he did most of the work.
So tell me what you thought and then join me next week when we find out who's going to Hawaii!