leave your inhibitions at the door
I’m beginning to see Bravo’s formula for casting contestants for the show. Obviously, they have to be some kind of cook but I think that’s a formality. The titles range from sous chef to executive chef to instructor. It’s possible that the sous chef is a savant or is at French Laundry, but chances are they don’t have as much skill or knowledge as an executive.
They also try to get a mix of cooking styles, too. But if you want to get on the show, it’s best to fit into one or more of these character types:
– Asian Chick
– Previous years: Bev (Texas), Kristen Kish, Shirley (NOLA)
– This year’s candidates: My Asian-dar (like Gay-dar, but for Asians) is a little rusty, but I think it’s Mei, Melissa.
– Person, preferably female, who’s not sure she belongs in the same company as the others.
– Previous: Patty (Seattle), Bev
– This year: Ron and Joy. Both seemed overwhelmed when others were listing all their accomplishments.
– Weepy Parent who’s missing the tender moments in their kids’ lives
– Previous: Josh (Seattle)
– This year: Kerriann
– Douchey asshole that everyone hates.
– Previous: John Tesar, Nicholas Elmi (winner of TC NOLA),
– This year: Clearly it’s Aaron with his black, flat-billed rapper hat worn askew. But he won’t win because hated person winning is sooo last year.
– Weirdo who probably spends too much time in the kitchen and probably lives in his mom’s basement.
– Previous: Chris the Molecular Gastronomist
– This year: Katsuje
– Likeable chef with some good lines
– Previous: Ed Lee (Texas), Grayson (Texas), Sheldon (Seattle)
– This year: Adam. Mei’s enjoyable too with her confidence and sailor’s vocabulary.
– Cuddly guy you want to hug.
– Previous: Josh (until he opened his mouth), Keith (Black Hagrid from Texas)
– This year: Ron fits the bill, but he’s a little hairy and sloppy. Dougie, though, is short and amiable. Just want to pick him up and squeeze.
This challenge was an homage to Paul Revere’s ride where he said “One if by land, two if by sea.” They had to create a surf and turf meal by choosing ingredients when one or both of these two lanterns go on. I didn’t really understand it either. Winner gets $5 Grand.
Bottom: Joy, Stacy
– Katsuje’s poached sweetbreads, quail egg, uni, caviar, and hot pepper jelly.
– James’ sauteed mussels with boar bacon broth, sautéed fiddlehead ferns, sauerkraut, and tosaka
Winner: James. I wasn’t going to list what they made, but these two dishes sounded EXCEPTIONAL. These are some high concept dishes, and this is only a Quickfire. Hope it’s a sign of good things to come.
Work in teams to prepare a meal for Boston firemen and policemen, aka “first responders.” By luck of draw, the first team got first choice in ingredients, the second team gets to choose from what’s left, etc. The challenge is to “respond” to what’s available. I get it, but it’s not like the last team was left with a bag of pork rinds and starfruit.
Red team – pea coconut puree with sautéed halibut, pickled rhubarb, cherry and grilled fennel slaw
Blue – filet, parsnip puree, pan sceered scallops, marcona vinaigrette
Gray – grilled pork chop with grilled stone fruit salad, morel mushrooms, walnuts
Yellow – maple and vanilla wood-roasted veal chop with vanilla-scented celery root puree and citrus kale slaw
Green – pan-roasted chicken breast, bourbon onion jam, fresh corn salad with Serrano chiles.
Top Teams: Red and Blue.
Winner: Blue, for showing attention to detail.
Bottom Teams: Yellow and Green. Both sounded completely awful. Yellow’s veal was way undercooked and the whole dish was overpowered by vanilla. Green’s Aaron and Kerriann were constantly arguing in the kitchen and in front of the judges.
Gone: Joy. She made the veal and it was a show-stopper. Green’s dish sounded worse, but Stacy’s chicken saved them. Maybe there’s an emphasis on the protein?
– First off, let’s get one thing straight – I do respect first responders. But they brought out all the clichés – fine men and women, heroic, Boston’s finest, protect, honoring bravery, keeping us safe. I get it, they do special work. But I’m sure that 99% of them are doing jobs they dreamed of when they were kids. How about a little love for the schlubs who keep the economy going? There’s no way that there were kids who dreamed of growing up to work shitty, soulless, mind-numbing, non-descript office jobs. Yet they do it.
– At first I didn’t think the order made a difference on the Elimination as the last groups got good ingredients. But maybe it did? The top two dishes were the ones who got first choice, so maybe they were more enthused? And the last two teams were on the bottom. Hmmmm.
– I really LOVE how all the contestants are being brought to the Judges Table this year. They get to see all the positive feedback, which will make for better food down the road. Plus, they get to see all the squeamish moments which makes for good tv.
– Speaking of good tv, how’s this for a conspiracy theory – Green’s dish was completely awful, uninspired, and amateurish. But the bickering is entertaining, so they were kept around.
– Green’s constant arguing proves what I’ve said many times before – good teamwork is the most important part of these challenges. More on that next week.
– I can’t let this go. James, who hails from Michigan, predictably has several tattoos. But who would’ve EVER predicted that he has a tattoo of Patrick Swayze on his arm!!
– Nice, but couldn’t he have gone with the billowy silk blouse version?