So You Want To Be A Waiter

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Top Chef Episode 6 – oh oh oh it’s magic…ya know

penn_teller

Oh my – it’s mime solidarity day. What, no “man in a box” routines?

Well, turns out that some of our chefs are whiney little bastards – I’m talking to YOU, Mike. Despite the fact that Mattin was one of the weakest contestants and didn’t really have much of a clue as to how to respond to challenges (this is coming up later in this episode as well), suddenly he’s portrayed as stronger as he really was. And, of course, it’s dump on Robin time as well. Well kids, have you not seen the show before? This is the part of the season where the shakeout happens. It doesn’t always happen linearly, ya know. And Mike, let’s face it, you’ve only shown a couple of glimpses of greatness yourself. So, quit yer whining and hope that you’re not going in the next episode or two, because, of the remaining chefs, you’re sort of toward the bottom, along with Ron, Laurine and Ash. You do talk a good game though.

Ahhh Michelle Bernstein. Love me some Bernstein. Apparently, so do the cheftestants. One thing though – Bernstein with mane of curly hair = sexy. Bernstein with straight hair = not so much.

Another devil/angel “temptation” sort of theme going here. Guess we should just get used to it. Surely, they’re going to trot out another 7 deadly sins challenge soon.

Ahhhh, a scallop-centric challenge. Lots of “buttery scallops” vs lean scallops sort of things. At least this bunch can cook the damn things. Ron, as usual, just doesn’t really grasp the concept. I’m thinking it’s a cultural/language thing. Bryan’s dish looked like a designer’s mockup of the lobby of a poorly-designed modern art museum. Ash – custard? Really? In 45 minutes? Why not just cook a whole pig?

And Robin – how dare she use cancer in the challenge? Well, that’s the expression we get from Mike, who wishes that he could have had been raped by his priest at an early age so that he could “represent”. And, guess what? She finally executes! And wins! Pan to sour faces and grumpypants. Oh no, Eli…oh no you dint. You dint just whine about cancer…boy talk about yer sour grapes. She couldn’t have possibly won because she hit the challenge spirit on the head *and* played to the tastes of the judge. Nah, she couldn’t have executed a single good dish because none of the rest of you freakish chefs don’t think that she’s in your league. Nah, that couldn’t happen. It was the cancer sympathy card that she played. That’s because Bernstein is a moron.  Riiiiiight.

Let’s welcome the bad boys of comedy – Penn and Teller. They do their venerable “deconstruct the cups and balls trick” using clear plastic cups (apparently their “vanish a zucchini and pull it out of  Padma’s butt routine” was vetoed by the producers, probably over Padma’s objections). Aha. We’re going to deconstruct some dishes. The Voltaggios get a collective hard-on, Ron seems puzzled, Jen is annoyed, Robin just doesn’t give a shit because she’s staying, Laurine is still pissed because, once again, she’s been on the bottom, Eli is the first cheftestant to use duct tape for his dish, Ashley pulls a corollary of the cancer thing – “Oh, we were soooo poor, we couldn’t eat pot roast…we had to eat snails and grubs growing up”, Mike doesn’t seem to have a clue about eggs Florentine, and Ash also loses the plot on shepherd’s pie. Ash’s problem  becomes crystallized by Tom’s upraised eyebrows when Ash tells him that he’s going to do a potato puree. What’s the problem? Well, the mashed potatoes on a shepherd’s pie is browned on top, creating a soft crust and the rest of the potatoes is the consistency of normal mashed potatoes. A puree just wouldn’t cut it – if he had done a mashed potato “cake” – potatoes spooned into a ring and then browned under a broiler – he would have had a better chance – plus, doing lamb chops instead of minced, chopped or cubed lamb just went too far afield.

Ron draws the worst assignment. Deconstructing a paella seems rough. And, could rice be the downfall of yet another cheftestant? Frankly, I’m at a loss as to how to deconstruct something like paella. Maybe do a thin crispy rice cake topped with a mound of cooked rice with some peas, then mince the various fish components into a “fish hash” sort of thing that sits next to the rice thing? I dunno. And yet, not understanding the concept of deconstruction, he seems to think that it plays to his strength. Big mistake.

Jennifer, be careful. You’re showing signs of humanity, in between pulling stern faces, that is. At this point in the competition, you’re the favorite. As your mama might say, “You should smile more, girl”. 

Padma –  “I’ve actually had bull testicles”. Penn – “I’ll bet you have”. Oh, SNAP! Even Tom can’t help himself.

Toby Young’s looks at the fish and chips and shepherd’s pie are priceless. Skepticism coupled with disgust.

Judges eat, judges make judgmental comments, Teller vanishes a piece of food. Move along folks, nothing to see here. EXCEPT – a Bernstein smackdown of Toby Young coupled with the stare of death. You go girl – you can’t keep that Latin temperament at bay for long.

The 4 strongest dishes make it to judges table. Kevin redeems himself with a perfectly deconstructed mole negra. Of course, that was probably the easiest thing to deconstruct, but he did it with verve and panache.

Predicatably, Ash, Laurine and Ron are summoned to the chopping block. And, as I’ve previously predicted, Ron’s time is up.

I’m assuming that we’re going to see Restaurant Wars next week (remember, I don’t watch the previews). In most cases, you don’t want to be the head chef because it’s a position fraught with danger. However, I think that whichever teams gets Jen should have her running their kitchen and I think that she should volunteer for it, because she’s a stern taskmaster (and I think that if this happens, her team will win the challenge).

Ron, please pack your patois and go.

Ron

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