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Top Chef Episode 7 – Umami yomami


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OK, chefs – how bizarre is it that nobody seems to know the definition of umami. “Earthy”? C’mon, Eli (hey, that’s almost a song). “It’s not salty, it’s not spicy, it’s not sweet, it’s not sour – it’s…umami”. Bzzzzt! Sorry Mikey, almost doesn’t cut it. Our judges would have accepted “savory” or even just “yummy”, plus, it’s bitter, not spicy as one of the 5 basic tastes since you’re Greek, not Asian. You lose 500 points. But everyone seems to know that mushrooms are one of the classic umami producers (hence Eli’s apparent conflating earthy with savory – sometimes they happen to intersect if you use fuzzy logic, I suppose).

Tyler Florence is approaching Florentine proportions – hey dude, time to lay off the butter sauces.

Poor Jen is under the weather. Slamming doors, looking baleful, puttin’ on the ole game face in the QF.

Slot machine! Didn’t see that one coming.

Mike Isabella proceeds to list off every type of cuisine that he’s cooked, which is most of the famous cooking styles, adding “I’ve never really cooked Asian food before”. Dude, how do you not have cooked Asian food before? Really? Icelandic I can see. Asian? Not so much. And Kevin, same thing. How does a modern chef not have any experience with Asian?

Ashley used sumac for her Middle Eastern dish! You go girlfriend! Sumac is one of my favorite little-known spices (at least little known by many Americans). Glad to see someone make a culinary connection on the fly.

So Mike, even though he can’t define it, does a good job with his umami, while Eli killed the umami…but let’s not confused that with “He killed”. He didn’t. And Kevin pulls through cooking something that he’s not familiar with (so he says, at least).

So we get the Macy’s Desert Day Parade of Chefs. The chefs, all loving that they got a free trip to Vegas, are holding bags of ingredients for a family style pot luck dinner under the desert sky.

And it turns out that Isabella is even more of a dickwad than he’s previously indicated. Not only does he take charge of a cuisine that he knows nothing about, he sulks and pouts and is just generally creepy. No way is this guy going to go all the way. And the elves are cutting it so that it looks like he and Robin will be on the chopping block (I’m typing this in real time with the help of DVR pause). there are two ways that this could go – Robin could go home because she didn’t stand up to him, or Mike could go home for being a prick. The former is more likely, but equally likely is that he accidentally lets her help enough to save his and his team’s butt. Hell, he didn’t have a clue about any of the ingredients (a bag that would have made me jump up and down for joy – it’s umami heaven!

Enter Tom. “Prawns over gnocchi”? I had the same quizzical expression on my face that he had. Just what I want, take a prawn and scoop some gnocchi with it. Huh?

Oh Mike, did you just hang yourself with Tom? I think he’s got your number. That won’t save Robin if she wilts under his “I can cook and I’ll pull it out” attitude. Of course, the fact that it ‘smells good” is an encouraging sign. Wouldn’t it be choice if they happened to be on top and he chose Robin as the winner because of something that she did? Hee.

“Ever prepped over a glass table before”? I was hoping that Ash would say, “Well, I’ve chopped some coke on one before”. Sadly, that doesn’t happen.

Cooking, cooking, bitching, real estate grabbing, fuses blowing (literally and figuratively), chopping, kvetching.

Turns out that Mike and Robin pulled out the one scenario that I didn’t outline. Middle of the pack.

The winners were obvious, the losers were too. Jennifer wins by some sick cooking (literally). Some nice attributions from fellow cheftestants.

Brother gets testy when discussing his brother’s predicament. Testy is as testy does.

Ash takes the high road, which wins him some style points. Ashley also takes the high road, which doesn’t win her anything at all.

In fact, Ashley gets the axe.

Ashley, take your Mr. Ripley good looks and go.



2 responses to “Top Chef Episode 7 – Umami yomami

  1. Pingback: Umami

  2. Pingback: Umami | Hot Web Trends

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