leave your inhibitions at the door
I don’t know jack about literature. “50 Shades of Grey” was pushing my limits on reading comprehension and I only remembered it because it had sex. Horrendously described sex, but sex nonetheless.
But I’m pretty damn good at remembering the opening lines of books. Here’s one – “Call me Ishmael.” That’s the opener to “Moby Dick”. I know, three words is pretty easy. But I can honestly type this classic first sentence from memory, no cut and paste –
Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.
-100 Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
So what’s the whole point of this literary excursion? Two reasons. First, this episode of Top Chef reminded me of the classic opener to “A Tale of Two Cities”
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…
In a one hour time frame this episode went from one of the best of the year to one of the worst.
The second reason I bring up literature was that I came across this image when I was skipping through commercials.
It’s for the Silkn hair removal tool thingy. I don’t know why but seeing this gave me a good chuckle. But then I started thinking about how it would’ve been much better if the actress were taking care of her nether regions. Which got me thinking that I can’t recall how Anastasia got her privates trimmed in “50 Shades” because it wasn’t at the BEGINNING OF THE BOOK.
But the opening line was – I scowl with frustration at myself in the mirror.
Wait, what’s this post about? Oh yeah, Top Chef.
Sudden Death Quickfire
The chefs were tasked with making “the ultimate artisanal toast”. The winner gets a $16,000 Rational oven.
The bottom two contestants would then compete head-to-head with the loser getting booted.
At first I thought that this was a ridiculous challenge – all that riding on a piece of toast. Then I saw the dishes…
Jeremy: Chicken liver mousse, pickled cherries, white raspberries, jalapeno & arugula on ciabatta
Marjorie: Sourdough baguette with a pancetta fennel marmalade & Dungeness crab salad
Amar: Foie gras, duck breast, fig marmalade, balsamic truffle glaze, prosciutto on raisin sourdough
Carl: Grilled sourdough with burrata, blistered cherry tomatoes & shrimp
Isaac: Butter-fried ciabatta with pecorino, prosciutto, & roasted pepper spread
Bottom Two: Carl and Amar have to duel it out to stay in the competition.
Tom then gave them the best type of challenge – in 30 minutes, make a dish that proves you deserve to stay in the competition. That’s it. No rules, no specific ingredients – just make the best dish. I love that.
Amar: Pan-roasted sea bream, dashi glazed watermelon radish, plum yuzu brown butter & pickled mushrooms
Carl: Thai snapper crudo, corn, nectarines, chilis, yellow tomato & rice wine vinegar
The chefs were then introduced to Hubert Keller, whose legendary restaurant Fleur de Lys was the location of the first Quickfire Challenge. The restaurant had just closed for good, but he re-opened it for a party of 40 people. The challenge was to make a tribute dish to the restaurant.
Carl – Foie gras en gelee, with black pepper, strawberries, & fines herbes
Isaac: Duck ballotine, porcini, beluga lentils, broiled figs & aged balsamic cherry gastrique
Marjorie: Roasted lamb saddle with artichoke puree, artichoke barigoule, squash, tomatoes olives
Jeremy: Filet de loup de mer, truffle potato puree, pommes soufflés, & heirloom tomato
Winner: Jeremy. Not even close
Least Favorites – Carl, Isaac
– After a great Quickfire double-whammy, this elimination challenge seemed a little anti-climactic. A big part of it was how Carl’s decision to make a 3-hour torchon – something that usually takes days to get right – was used in promos for the show. As soon as I saw that, I knew whoever did that would be gone.
– The other part I really didn’t like was how the dishes were supposed to be a Fleur de Lys- style meal. Jeremy’s dish turned out great, but the other three had serious faults. It would have been good if they repeated that last challenge and just had them serve whatever they wanted.
– Heck, they should just do that for the rest of the season.
– I loved this exchange…
Isaac: It’s only the single most important dish you’ll ever cook
Marjorie: Shut up Isaac.
Isaac: Oh shit.
– Kind of a bummer that Amar wasn’t in the Elimination Challenge. He’s made some great French food so this would’ve suited him perfectly.
– That Rational oven seems pretty cool, but at that price I’d prefer the la Cornue
– There were two Last Chance Episodes this week. The first one had these two losing chefs go up against Jason, who had a five-week winning streak going. They had to make something that featured Sourdough. It was close but the top two were Carl and Amar.
– The second episode, which was the LCK finale, had Carl and Amar making a cooked fish dish in 12 minutes. As expected, these were great dishes and the competition seemed really close. Could really be either of them making it back into the competition.