The Food and Wine Hedonist

leave your inhibitions at the door

Top Chef Episode 16: Fire and Ice

Previous Episode

Just about everyone on the internet hated how last week’s show featured a bunch of gimmicky challenges that had nothing to do with food.  The hatred got so bad that many of the commentators said that this season has been so awful that they quit watching weeks ago.  All this while still giving their opinions of the episode.  (Nice try, hipsters.)  The hatred for the episode even gave rise to a lot of conspiracy theories about rigging it for Beverly to come back.  I guess we’ll never know if there was a concerted effort to keep Bev in the competition.  I do know I didn’t mind all the gimmicks, simply for the entertainment value of watching Sarah fail at skiing.

What bothers me  is when they have the contestants cook for the cast of “Ben Hur”, thus making it “Top Caterer” instead of “Top Chef”.  So when I saw the previews of this week I was disheartened to see them cooking for 150 people.  It may have been basement-level expectations, but they pulled through with a good episode.

We got shut out the last week on the Sarah Grueneberg drinking game.  I saw the episode twice and didn’t see one OMG! reaction.  She made up for it this week.

Quickfire – Team Up with a Top Chef Master

The chefs were matched up with three Top Chef Masters alumni – Anita Lo, Floyd Cardoz, and Takashi Yagihashi.  I once ate at Takashi in Chicago and it was good.  Not very exciting or innovative, but the execution was excellent.  Since he’s in Chicago, of course Sarah is good friend of his.  And of course, since they are good friends, she freaks out when he enters the room.

I counted three OMG moments. Drink THREE times.

The contestants and masters took turns creating an Asian-inspired dish.  Neither teammate knew what the other was doing until they switched off every ten minutes.  The winner got $20K.

  • Anita Lo/Penishead – Scallops two ways: bok choy and chili, fried roe with sausage and water chestnut
  • Takashi Yagihashi/Kundun – Mirugai sashimi with yuzu dashi, fried white fish, scallions & Thai chili
  • Floyd Cardoz/Sarah – Pan-seared cod with coconut curry, dungeoness crab salad with clementine and amaranth
  • Winner – Sarah and Floyd.  I can see that, it looked really good.  But more importantly…

DRINK! Twice!

Elimination Challenge – Fire and Ice cocktail party

Each chef had to prepare a dish and a cocktail for 150 of Vancouver’s “culinary elite”. They must include both a fire and an ice element, the definitions of which were open to interpretation.  I still hate how it’s more of a catering challenge,  but at least the crowd is considered “culinary elite” as opposed to the some garden-variety redneck in a cowboy hat.  The winner gets a trip for two to Costa Rica.

  • Kundun – King Crab with lobster broth and lemon snow.  Paired with “The Pan Am” – kaffir lime, thai chilies, and rum.
  • Sarah – Five greens filled pasta with roasted garlic, chili and spiced sformato.  Paired with “Agrumi” – gin, kumquats, mango, and prosecco.
  • Penishead – Halibut with fiery celery root salad.  Paired with “Encendido” – vodka, tomato and horseradish.

Judges’ Table

The judges could agree that none were perfect, but that’s about it.

Winner: Kundun.  The only complaints were that it could be slightly spicier and Tom hated the piece of arugula.  He wins the trip and a spot in the final.

Also going to final: Sarah.  Her pasta was perfect, but Gail’s mousse was frozen solid.  And yes…

Two drinks!

Sent home: Penishead.  The remoulade overpowered the fish and overall didn’t seem to have much direction.

Random Thoughts

  • The final three were all chummy together throughout the episode.  They said its because they’ve become friends, but it’s probably that they don’t have much personality.  They really are not a lot of fun to watch – Kundun’s too focused, Penishead’s a fucking robot, and I want to turn off the TV when Sarah’s on.  There were so many times I just wanted to fast forward to the finished product.
  • That had to be Padma’s hottest look with the leather shirt and tight leather pants.  Maybe it was because she was standing next to Emeril?

    No, she was bangin’.

  • An Indian guy named Floyd?  I guess it doesn’t surprise me because I work with offshore folks named Green (male), Jose Maria (female), and Josh.
  • I hereby pronounce myself part of Ann Arbor’s culinary elite.  Applications are being taken to join me in this exclusive club.
  • Sarah’s worried about her Elimination Challenge dish as she’s never made it before.  Wait, she hasn’t made a pasta with roasted garlic?  Oh, that’s right.  She hasn’t yet made a pasta.  This episode.
  • I knew Kundun would win because Tom kept getting his panties in a wad over the superfluous piece of arugula as garnish.  Really, if that’s the only beef you have with a dish, it’s probably pretty damn good.
  • In “Watch What Happens Live”, the guests are newly-engaged singer John Legend and supermodel Chrissy Teigen.  She’s a terrific cook and hilarious blogger.  I posted one of her recipes a few months ago.
  • They made a comment of how Sarah freaked out during the show.  I hereby say “no shit”.
  • Penishead was on the show and it looks like she’s gained weight.   So now she’s more of a Shane Diesel than a Mandingo.  No, I’m not going to explain that or post a picture.  Just do a Google image search for either of those names with “penis”.
  • Next week is the final.  Who’s going to win?
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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.

12 comments on “Top Chef Episode 16: Fire and Ice

  1. The Sicilian
    February 23, 2012

    What WAS with Tom’s arugula obsession? Annoyance! And your second-to-last bullet post frightens me–no I won’t google it.

  2. ChezMike
    February 23, 2012

    Agree with your comments on Takashi, the restaurant. I liked his new Slurping Turtle better than his restaurant. The lovely in leather Padma had a faux paus when describing him though: he hasn’t been on Top Chef Masters…yet. I’m guessing she slipped because she knows he’ll be on the next season of TCM.

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      February 23, 2012

      Unbelievably, my 84 yr old mom went to Slurping Turtle before me. She liked it and suggested it for lunch before we ended up at that FIlipino buffet. Which led to the balut debacle. I knew we should’ve listened to her.

  3. thefoodandwinehedonist
    February 23, 2012

    On another site, I came across a hilarious nickname for Sarah – Picnic Ham with Eyes… Watch for that next week

  4. lauragrai
    February 23, 2012

    You should know that, as I was watching this episode, I kept seeing Sarah’s reactions and thinking to myself, “Ahhhh, this qualifies for the Sarah Grueneberg drinking game!” Look what you’ve done.

  5. Hyacinth
    February 25, 2012

    I love your recaps. I told my mom your nickname for Lindsey and she just said, “I guessing don’t get it.”. Hahaha. I about died. She really does look like a Penishead or Picnic Ham With Eyes.

    Sarah has bothered me from the start. Her mouth reminds me of that bad dude at the end of Return of the King. The one who comes out of the gates of Mordor to trick Aragorn and friends into thinking Frodo was dead and then loses his head for his troubles. Plus, her attitude is just bad.

    Paul is my hero. He’s been a focused, calm, *nice* bad ass the entire time. Also, I’ve had the good fortune of eating his food and it ranks as my all time favorite ever. Ev.er. Fucking makes you die it’s so good.

    God, I hope he wins… If Sarah wins I’m never watching this show again haha.

  6. thefoodandwinehedonist
    February 27, 2012

    Ok, you’re kind of scaring me with the LOTR reference… But curiosity got the best of me and I Googled it. I believe it’s the Mouth of Sauron you’re referring to… and HOLY SHIT are you right! Her grill isn’t that messed up, but there’s a definite resemblance. I’m so stealing that for the finale… Found a pic – http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Mouth_of_Sauron

  7. Pingback: Top Chef Texas Finale « The Food and Wine Hedonist

  8. gundam
    March 10, 2012

    thanks.very good blog and very good share.

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This entry was posted on February 23, 2012 by in Ann Arbor, Television and tagged , , , , , , , , .
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