The Food and Wine Hedonist

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Top Chef Episode 13 : Bike & Borrow & Steal

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Last week, I was pissed off because the producers put stupid restrictions on the chefs in the Elimination Challenge that limited creativity.   Having them cook “healthy” meals for 200 people sacrificed quality and made me think the show should be renamed “Top Caterer”.   I realize that just about every week has some set of restrictions and parameters, but those (mostly) usually require the chefs to be more creative.

This week they went back to that formula and added the physical challenge of making them ride around on bikes in the San Antonio heat.  How many of you were rooting for that Buick to run over Sarah?

Speaking of, she didn’t disappoint with the overreactions – “Gasp” and “OMG” (with and without hand to mouth).  So the Sarah Grueneberg drinking game’s ON!  I’m playing nurse to a very sick patient in my house today, so I won’t be taking drinking shots this time….  I’ll be popping pain pills.

Quickfire Challenge

The chefs had to cook for a guest judge who’s favorite dish was pancakes – none other than the great Pee-Wee Herman.  I’m dating myself here, but when I was in high school I worked in a movie theater when Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure came out.   We used to see every movie twenty times, but I NEVER got tired of this one.  In a movie full of classic scenes, this was one was my favorite –

They had twenty minutes to make a pancake dish.  No other instructions beyond being creative, dressing it up, making it funny or happy, etc.  At stake was $5K, but no immunity.

  • Grayson – Minnie mouse-shaped ricotta buttermilk pancake, peach compote, blackberry, basil
  • Sarah – Confetti pancakes with blackberry sauce, cocoa nibs, banana, vanilla whip cream (she did a quick “Oh No” forehead slap, but we’ll let that slide)
  • Kundun- rolled pancakes with berries, black pepper & Champagne Dippin’ Dots made with liquid nitrogen
  • Penishead – ricotta pancake, whipped crème fraiche, marcona almond, anise cookies
  • Sonny  Chiba – pancake bits, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, bacon, and bruleed marshmallow.

Winner: After trying each pancake, Pee-Wee said it was “the best pancake I ever had”.  The one that truly was, because of it’s originality – Sonny Chiba’s.  Based on the descriptions, this is probably the one I’d choose, too.  I love those little crisp edges that Ed recreated.  I’d definitely want to try Kundun’s because of the Dots, but his pancake looked like it was a little flat and chewy – probably lacked baking powder?  Penishead’s sounded pretty good, too, but she lost me at the anise cookies.

Elimination Challenge – Make a family style lunch for Pee-Wee Herman

The inspiration for this challenge was Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, which told the story of Pee-Wee going across the country to The Alamo to retrieve his prized red bike.  The chefs were given red bikes, a hundred bucks, and were told to ride around San Antonio to find ingredients and a restaurant that will let them prepare the meal.  When complete, they had to The Alamo where they had 15 minutes for final prep.  The judges were Pee-Wee, Tom, Padma, and Gail.

I heard Sarah whisper an OMG on the way out, but well let that slide, too.  Don’t worry, you’ll get your chance to drink.

Seeing them ride around town was pretty fun, especially with Sonny being put to work at the Bed & Breakfast.  Although I wonder about all the trouble they had finding ingredients at the Farmer’s Market and the restaurants they cooked at.  Couldn’t they stop into a Kroger or something?

  • Sarah – Summer vegetable egg salad with chicken skin vinaigrette
  • Grayson – Egg, spinach and gorgonzola-stuffed chicken & butternut roasted squash
  • Penishead – Stuffed zucchini with braised beef cheeks, rice & goat cheese
  • Sonny – Chicken and grits, raw corn, kale salad with red-eye gravy
  • Kundun – Roasted chicken, red curry gastrique, summer salad with basil blossom oil

Winner: Penishead.  This was a little bit of a surprise as it didn’t look very special.  I guess it shouldn’t surprise because beef cheeks are full of flavor.  (Here’s a recipe for veal cheeks)  Kundun was not the winner, but he was told he was safe.

Bottom 3: Sonny (chicken borderline undercooked), Grayson (odd combination of butternut squash and tomatoes), Sarah (underseasoned)

Adios!: Grayson.  From a cooking perspective, I’m fine with this.  She executed well every time, but I don’t think she’s as strong as the others in terms of creativity.  I am bummed, though, because she was cute and had a ton of personality.  Although, Ty-Lor also made for good television and he seems like an asshole on “Last Chance Kitchen”.

But the important thing is that there were two Sarah OMG moments – one audio only and the other with full-on hand-to-mouth.

Drink TWO!

Last Chance Kitchen

The final four were then told about LCK and that either Grayson or Beverly would be coming back into the competition.  During the montage where they showed clips from LCK, I counted THREE Sarah OMG moments.

Drink THREE!

I only recently started watching LCK and I think it’s great.  Because it’s online, the editing is a lot looser.  This not only means unbeeped F-bombs, but you can see a lot more of the personalities coming through.  I mentioned Ty-Lor being a dick, but you also see Nyesha being fierce, more personality conflicts, and some brutally honest commentary among the chefs.  Surprisingly, Tom’s a lot more pleasant on LCK.

Random Thoughts

  • It was Kundun’s first time making pancakes?  How does that happen?
  • Uh-oh, preview of next week shows that Kundun may have messed up and was in tears.  But it looks like it was in Quickfire, so hopefully it won’t be fatal.
  • Stay on the fucking bike Sarah.
  • I love the guy, but could you sit through dinner with Pee-Wee?  His jokes and banter would probably get annoying after a while.   You catch glimpses of him having normal conversations, but still in his Pee-Wee voice.  Disturbing.  Although, not as disturbing as Paul Rubens, who plays Pee-Wee.
  • I still call "Party Foul" on the guy who turned him in during the theater incident.

  • Scoff all you want about Big Adventure, but that was Tim Burton’s first full-length movie, and its success launched his career into the big time.
  • Why did they have to tell Penishead that her helmet was on backwards?  I think she’s  SOOOO conceited, so it would’ve been awesome to see her ride around San Antonio looking like a tool.
  • Can I go to a random restaurant and cook there so that I don’t mess up my house or have it smell like fried fish?
  • All of the chefs got good comments and it’s been repeated over and over how it could be small details that could make or break them.  However, I stuck around and caught “Watch What Happens: Live”, which had Tom on there.  He said three of the four judges went into deliberations that with the idea that Grayson’s wasn’t the best.  So maybe this “small details” thing isn’t a factor.
  • Grayson was on the show, too, and looked pretty fierce

    Hmmm, 2nd time I used "Fierce" in one post. Been watching too much Bravo.

About thefoodandwinehedonist

I don't know everything about the world of food and wine, but I'm not going to let a small detail like that stop me from blogging about it.

3 comments on “Top Chef Episode 13 : Bike & Borrow & Steal

  1. Pingback: Top Chef Episode 12: “Block Party” « The Food and Wine Hedonist

  2. The Dude
    February 3, 2012

    Speaking of Sarah staying on the bike – she mentioned (during the pancake challenge) that she “used to” love confetti pancakes as a kid – I contend she still does; perhaps more so. Certainly more than lettuce. Just sayin’.

  3. Pingback: Top Chef Episode 14: « The Food and Wine Hedonist

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This entry was posted on February 2, 2012 by in Television and tagged , , , , , , , , .
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