Thursday, December 11, 2008

Everyone expected me to win...

“Everyone on my team expected me to win.” Wow.

I loved this Quickfire challenge. Blind taste tests that force a chef to strictly use what they hope is a finely tuned palate always shows their mettle. What I don’t understand is why some of the chefs let the others get away with naming between three and five ingredients? It’s a sauce, so aren’t oil, salt, and pepper almost automatic? In any event, it was really fun to watch. The only Quickfire I like more is when they do the relay races. But again, my boy Hosea holds it down giving Stefan the stink and showing him that Americans know a little something about cooking too.

The Elimination challenge calls for the chefs to cook for Gail Simmons’ bridal shower…of 40 guests, a large number of which are colleagues of hers from Food and Wine Magazine. So finger sandwiches and instant coffee just isn’t going to get it done. And of course there has to be a theme and a twist. So to correspond with being a bride, the chefs draw knives to make teams of three with the themes “old”, “new”, “borrowed”, and “blue” to incorporate into their dishes as well as define the order of service.

Team “Old” consisting of Jeff, Stefan, and Hosea are the first to serve. They decide that a trio of tastings made from heirloom tomatoes is the way to go. In an effort to assert himself, Stefan really started to try to tell everyone what was what this week. He didn’t like Jeff’s idea of a tomato sorbet. He didn’t like another team’s concept for their meal. He made no effort to mask his contempt. He’s trying to get some action from Jamie? Hey, here’s to your efforts big guy but that’s going to be like trying ice skate uphill. Ultimately, though the guys did well and Jeff’s sorbet was well received.

Team “New” was just a comedy of errors. I think Eugene had a good idea working with a make-your-own sushi roll. But maybe not the best idea to make a bunch of well-dressed ladies make and eat their own food with no explanation as to how it was supposed to come together. Oh by the way, his rice was way overdone, apparently. Why he didn’t just make more, I don’t know? Danny seemed to be more in the way then anything else. And Carla just went to her place of Zen, I guess, and let it all happen even when Danny put mushrooms in her salad without her knowledge.

Team “Borrowed” drew on inspiration from various cuisines, particularly Indian. But I gotta say, when someone on your team is, in fact, Indian, you’re not really borrowing it so much anymore I don’t think. Their carrot puree was perfect, and the lamb was apparently perfect too.

Team “Blue” decided to do a meal inspired by the deep blue sea. According to Tom, there is no food in the world that is truly blue. But when you say “blue food” who doesn’t think of blueberries? And going last opened the door for a blueberry dessert. Seemed like a no brainer.

Teams “Old” and “Borrowed” ended up with the favorites across the board with “Borrowed” winning the day. But when picking the person who was the most instrumental in the win, you hear Jamie say something about wanting the win. Well, she didn’t get it, prompting her to say in the confessional “Everyone expected me to win”. I guess she thought that because it was her concept combined with her carrot puree, she deserved to win. Apparently, the judges saw it differently, and they should have. Ariane cooked the lamb, which was the focal point of the dish. Hell, I could’ve come up with the concept. Does that make me the winner? By the way, yet again, in spite of saying that she doesn’t want to be earmarked as just making Indian food, Radhika yet again makes Indian food.

Team “New” was called on the carpet for basically screwing up all over the place. Any of them could’ve gotten the boot, and Tom wanted to do just that. What seemed to save Eugene and Carla was that when their mistakes we pointed out, they owned them. Danny, by contrast, was utterly convinced that their food was great, and it didn’t matter what anyone said. Bye bye big guy.

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