leave your inhibitions at the door
I’m celebrity adjacent.
While watching TV a couple weeks ago, Boom Boom (my wife) went nuts yelling, “ I KNOW that guy!!” over and over. She was referring to Jordan Peele from Key & Peele.
She met him at a wedding a few years ago and said he was absolutely hilarious. I bring that up because every time I see the Top Chef contestant Aaron, I keep thinking about this Key & Peele skit – * Too funny. To be honest, every time I hear of ANYONE with that name, I think A-A-Ron. And guess what – A good friend of mine is the sister of the guy who plays A-A-Ron, Zack Pearlman.
He’s on the sitcom Mulaney, but he’s going to be sharing a lot of screentime with Robert DeNiro and Anne Hathaway in the movie The Intern.
It turns out that James and I have half a dozen mutual friends. See what I mean? I’m not exactly a celebrity, nor am I in any of the above’s inner circle. But I’m a couple Kevin Bacons closer than most people.
Quickfire Challenge The chefs got to choose another chef for a head-to-head battle. That other chef got to choose what they’re cooking based on a technique that uses a Reynolds product. Winner gets 10K.
– Katsuji chose A-A-Ron, who chooses smoked salmon. Winner: Katsuji’s sake-infused chipotle broth with smoked jalapenos & salmon.
– Dougie chooses Adam, who chooses steamed mussels. Winner: Dougie
– KerriAnn chooses Stacy, who chooses Trout en papillote. Winner: KerriAnn
– Melissa chooses Katie, who chooses smoked barbecue. Winner: Katie
– Mei and Gregory were the only ones left and had to make steamed dumplings. Winner: Gregory’s steamed shrimp dumpling with ginger and herbs.
Overall Winner – Gregory. Not only did he make a better dumpling than someone who’s been making it since childhood, he won the whole Quickfire. That must’ve been one hell of a dumpling because Katsuji’s sounded pretty damn good.
The contestants were split into two teams – Quickfire winners vs Quickire losers. The teams selected someone on their team to go against one from the other in head-to-head battles. Whichever team got three victories first won the whole challenge. They were serving food for 100 guests at the Watertown Arsenal. Each team had a limit of $1000 to spend at Whole Foods.
Adam v Dougie: Winner – Adam’s grits with cheddar cheese, poached egg, bacon and onion jam.
Katsuji v Melissa: Winner – Katsuji’s tostada with charred cauliflower, olives, date & goat cheese.
Gregory v Mei: Gregory shiitake mushrooms & coconut milk broth, turmeric, green curry & dill
KerriAnn v Stacy: Winner – Stacy’s marinated beets with pecan-sage yogurt, horseradish brittle and fresh horseradish
Katie v A-A-Ron: Winner – Katie’s Imperial Stout chocolate cake with smoked sour cream & pomegranate-molasses strawberry.
The Quickfire Winners won, but no individual winner was announced. It was probably Gregory.
Gone – Aaron, who was humble and gracious to the judges and fellow contestants. WTF?!?! WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH A-A-RON????
– The Quickfire pairings were so evenly matched that I wondered if they were pre-planned.
– Was thinking, that substitute teacher in the Key & Peele skit would probably pronounce Katsuji’s name correctly.
– They had to $1000 to feed 100 guests, which meant $2 per dish per person. First, that doesn’t buy shit at Whole Foods. Which I guess was the point – that you can put together a good meal with so little (well played, Whole Foods). Second, if I was a guest there, I’d be pretty ticked off that I only got $2 in food per course.
– Thank goodness the rubes who attended the event had no bearing on who won. Winners/losers were based solely on what the judges thought.
– Padma kicked off the Elimination Challenge by saying that strategy is essential in choosing who goes first for the team. So the Quickfire Losers went with the winning strategy of Adam loudly proclaiming, “I want redemption.” Ummmm.
– The team of Quickfire Losers decided to split the budget evenly. I maybe would’ve gone heavy on mains or figure out some kind of strategy based on the match-ups, but the set-up meant that it didn’t really matter how the team did. The goal was to make a dish better than at least one of the people on your team.
– They tried the same format in the Seattle finale, where the chef to first win three courses won the whole championship. That failed miserably because Kristen was up 2-1 and there was only a couple minutes left in the show. No suspense there.
– I knew they’d get around to a blatant product placement eventually and was dreading it. In previous seasons they had everything in a kitchen wrapped in foil, had to cook in foil vessels, and had to feature Philly cream cheese in every dish of a meal. This one was just as obvious, but at least it had to do with the cooking. * * * *