I Hate Jill Zarin Top Chef Masters / Housewives News
Top Chef Masters – by Harvey
Top Chef Masters, Season 2, Episodes 1&2
First, let us establish the credentials of Harvey, who feasted yesterday on carrots and timothy hay at an eatery owned by a former TC runner-up, and who can thus attest to the fact that said chef is a genius. And yes, there was foam. Or, in culinary terms: “air.”Harvey has also enjoyed the culinary stylings of one of Jose Andres’ proteges, another TC alum, and stuffed his face on what seemed like half the menu at Rick Bayless’ Frontera Grill.
It really is a different world, this TCM. Though most of the regular TC contestants have worked in or owned restaurants, most still have a tinge of amateur about them. Some reek of it. Talented amateurs, but certainly not mature in their craft, and basically clueless about how to actually run a restaurant. The Bryan Voltaggios and Stephanie Izards are really the exception. Others like Carla Hall flounder (she’s now making tiny little overpriced cookies and selling them via online order; you have to go pick them up). I wonder how many of these people will succeed as chefs.
Then you have the masters. Were they ever as raw and unseasoned as the regular TC contestants? Harvey has read stories about Rick Bayless down in Mexico, annoying the living daylights out of Diana Kennedy who actually kicked him out of her car, forcing him to walk back to town. Eric Ripert admits to having been a nasty boss at one time. But hard to imagine a time when Hubert Keller didn’t have basic knife skills or John Besh couldn’t make a perfect roux. With the TC crew, there is often a sense that a successful dish is a lucky shot, but watching masters is a real joy. They cook with grace; they create. Remember Colicchio creating a great dish in 8.5 minutes on this past season of TC? That’s what Harvey’s talking about. How hot was that? Harvey would jump into Tom’s pot anytime….
As an aside, Harvey marvel at this gem in the sea of Bravo crap. This show has cred. Look at the people who have been at judge’s table: Joel Robuchon, Ruth Reichl, Eric Ripert, Hubert Keller, and Daniel Boulud, among others. Look at the competitors on masters: Bayless, Susur Lee, Art Smith, John Besh, Marcus Samuelsson, Rick Moonen, Jonathan Waxman, Ludo Lefebvre.
So Season 3. New host. Curtis Stone. He’s an Aussie who left the kitchen to star in cooking shows in 2003. So far, he seems a bit bland. Oddly enough, his Aussie accent is doing nothing for Harvey. Has Simon Van Kempen ruined the sex appeal of Aussie accents for Harvey? He’s just not getting the Hugh Jackman buzz off Curtis. The amazing Ruth Reichl, the long-time editor of the now-defunct Gourmet Magazine (WTF were they thinking) serves as a judge, alongside James Oseland, the editor-in-chief of Saveur. This years contestants are not, as a group, nationally known, except maybe John Sedlar and Floyd Cardoz, whose cooking at Tabla (a Danny Meyer restaurant in NYC) filled 280 seats each night for years before the economy killed it in 2008.
Now this season starts off with a strange challenge: restaurant wars! Yes, you read that right. The first episode was restaurant wars, something that usually happens much later in the season. Why? Who knows? What we do know is that this TCM is going to be structured like non-TCM. Everyone competes each week and one person is eliminated each week. In past seasons, they had heats and cooked in several challenges before anyone was sent home. In any one episode, only some of the chefs were cooking and at the end, one person would advance to the next round. Personally Harvey found that structure confusing. He could never keep track of what was going on or where we were in the overall competition. And it bugged that they didn’t all have the same challenges.
Harvey missed the quickfire – twice. So let’s just go right to the elimination challenge. Naomi Pomeroy who has opened and closed two quirky places in Portland (there’s a law in Portland – must be quirky) and an underground supper club that was just slightly illegal (there’s a law in Portland – all laws suck; Portland is the left-wing version of Lyndon LaRouche and the Tea Partiers out there but way cooler) runs a 24-seat joint where she has only one seating and she decides unilaterally that she should be the team leader and that everyone should be served at a single setting. It creates a communal spirit. Everyone else thinks it sucks. But they do it anyway. They name themselves Leela which apparently means a moment of enlightenment. Someone notify Google cuz Google doesn’t know that. Cool Portland lady likes it because it denotes (to her) elevated and calm. They are still unhappy about Naomi’s fiat and they think they are making too many dishes. Naomi thinks that the other team will win because they are organized and working together.
The red team spends a huge amount of time moving tables; they give FOH to Traci DeJardins, who has immunity because she won the Quickfire. They shop. They use an iPhone app. They are doing modern American and call it Mosaic. One dish is an homage to the TC tradition known as “top scallop” but with an updated twist: “big freaking top scallop.” Basically we don’t see them cooking too much.
Harvey wishes they’d make them wear name tags in the first few episodes. No way can I learn much less remember all these names. For the first few weeks, Naomi is “carries-dead-pig-lady” and Suvir is “sous-vide guy.” Unlike the regular TC folks, they do not have weird personality traits, bizarre body piercings and tatts, or stupid headwear that make it easy to give them memorable nicknames. Sous-vide Guy has a touch of arrogance. He’s a master so he has no problem with desserts. Younger chefs tend to over-accessorize. Not him. He knows less is more.
Guests arrive. Over in Leela, carries-dead-pig-lady is also FOH. Because she connects with people. At least she thinks she does. The judges hate the idea of one seating. They know that will do to the kitchen team. Her team is still worried about the single seating and sure enough, it causes problems in the kitchen. No one knows where dishes are still needed. But “carries-dead-pits-lady” who is elevated and calm says it is OK, she’s fine with it
There is a very long wait between courses. The judges have a word with Naomi, who says she is perfecting it and making sure that everything is exactly as needed. She runs back to the kitchen and says the judges want their entrees. Yeah, like it is the kitchen’s fault. Overall, say the judges, the food is like hotel food. The lamb is raw and the apples under the lamb came complete with the fruit stickers. To her credit, carries-dead-pig-lady’s chocolate torte is amazing and she thanks her team for making her dish look so good.
In Mosaic, Tracy is FOH but she still does her own salad. Everyone seems calm and under control. They love her salad, they hate monster scallop. Way too salty, undercooked. They loved the salmon, the shortribs with oat risotto. Not really happy with Mary Sue’s chocolate cupcakes, which looked like haut Hostess cupcakes, which were too dense and leaden. They loved Suvir’s cobbler.
The guests like Leela a lot. Since the diners choose the winning restaurant, Leela wins. A chef on the losing team will go home. The judges loved Mosaic and didn’t like Leela much. The judges make a point of telling this to the Leela team. Carries-dead-pig-lady turns to her team for a high-five. They look like they’d rather strangle her. The wining dish was Alex’s fricassee. His charity is Faster Cures. Alex chose this charity because he is a cancer survivor and he wants everyone to have the kind of care he had.
Since there was a dish from Mosaic that they really didn’t like, it wasn’t really a problem that Mosaic lost. Hugh goes home for his huge scallop.
Episode 2 starts with the announcement that John Sedlar has had to leave due to an emergency. He’s out of the competition. To replace him, they bring back Hugh Acheson who was auffed last week. As aside – Harvey does not dig Padma, but somehow, unless you hear PPYKAG, the show is simply missing a key ingredient.
The quickfire: make a meatball in 30 minutes and they’ve got to grind the meat themselves using a hand grinder. That somehow doesn’t strike me as much of a challenge but they seem to think it is a tall order. Everyone grabs slabs of various kinds of meat, breaks it down. They all seem to have a huge amount of trouble attaching the grinders to the table. It is a simple vise, people. With only five minutes to spare, most haven’t started cooking yet. Harvey’s wondering what’s the point? When will these people ever need to use a hand grinder? Anyway, lots of frenetic saucing and plating goes on. Some pop singer named Kelis who also happens to be a trained chef is the judge. She doesn’t seem to know much about the cuisine and has little to say other than I like, I don’t like. Her favorite was the Vietnamese meatball made by John Currance. Sorry, but we are still at the stage where I can’t remember who is who without the Bravo bio cribsheet.
Now the elimination challenge. We are making classic 60s dishes like Veal Oscar (veal scallopine with crab meat), bread pudding, ambrosia (not cooking IHHO; Harvey would never eat this disgusting crap), beef stroganoff, deviled eggs, coq au vin. The guest of honor is some actor named Christina Hendrick from Madmen and her husband Geoffrey Arend from Body of Proof. Good lord, Harvey needs to change the channel once in a while. Well, Harvey was watching White Collar, but now that Zarin is going to make an appearance, Harvey has an hour time block free. Harvey can’t stomach the idea of having a good show ruined all season by the prospect that the Evil One and her stomach-churning voice might make an appearance.
Now they shop. One guy already knows how to make his dish – Oysters Rockefeller. Another made her dish – duck a l’orange – when she was a kid. Really? OK sure. Whatever. Of course, we have some dishes that are so simple you KNOW they are going to screw them up. Like deviled eggs. It will be interesting to see someone try to make ambrosia edible.
Now they cook. Suvir says that Veal Oscar is flavorless, and he is more or less right. The sauce is a lemony Bernaise. It was one of Harvey’s first “sophisticated eating” dishes when Harvey was in college.
The ultra-cool chick from Oregon (where they read nursery rhymes to their happy free-range animals until they voluntarily cease to breathe when the time comes) says she is cursed with the dessert beat. She has no idea what grasshopper pie is. And yet she somehow makes them. Chocolate cookie crusts & butter, gelatin, whipping cream, crème de menthe, crème de cacao, sugar…how did she figure that out if she didn’t know what it was? Though I admit that baking without a recipe is daunting. Baking – even a cream-based pie – is much more dependent on the ratio of ingredients than is regular cooking. Plating is a problem because there isn’t enough space. Same with stove burners. So Suvir decides to deep-fry the veal. Then he helps other people so they will get out of the kitchen. Which he spins as generosity of spirit.
Here come the guests, ready to pig out. They are drinking classic two-olive martinis. Christina has an annoying squeaky voice. The lady doing deviled eggs has no place to plate, so she sits on the floor and plates under the prep table. The plates head out. The deviled eggs are done Japanese style with umeboshi (pickled sour plums) and miso mustard on top. How you taste the eggs is a mystery. The oysters are a hit even though they aren’t really Oysters Rockefeller (parsley and bread crumbs). They have collard greens and horseradish crème fraiche and bacon. And the oysters are pickled. So far, this is a lot more like Iron Chef – we give you the ingredient, you cook whatever you want with it. Not that they shouldn’t update. They should. But at some point it loses all connection to the ingredient and the original dish. And in fact, they say the deviled egg – you wouldn’t even think it is an egg. Well, not going to go through every dish. Too darned many of them. And Harvey can’t taste any of them. This is the fundamental flaw of cooking shows. Let’s stick with disasters and stupid stuff said. Plus Harvey has to save some space for this effing ambrosia. Before that, one chick sends some plates out unfinished. But surely she gave the chefs finished plates? Suvir covers for her, says she spent too much time helping others. It is a competition, toots. Pay attention, pulleeeeez. So the two guests seem to know nothing about food. She is on a program that is set in the 60s, so that’s why they chose her.
Yay. Here is the effing ambrosia. He peppered the pineapple and made a custard of orange, mango, and coconut. The marshmallow is dipped into the custard like a fondue. Not bad. Ubercool earth mama’s grasshopper pie is minted warm chocolate souffle with a toasted Kirsch marshmallow. The ambrosia is a hit; the grasshopper pie gets a good word from one of the judges.
Judge’s table brings Mary Sue (Milliken; she did the deviled eggs), Floyd (Cardoz; ambrosia), and John (Currance; Oysters Rockefeller) in as the top three. Effusive praise for all. And the winner is Mary Sue for the deviled eggs. Her charity is Share Our Strength. Very cool org - http://strength.org/ that fights hunger.
The losers are called to the guillotine: Sue (Zemanick, the lady whose plates were incomplete), Alex (Stratta; bread pudding), and Suvir (Saran; the fried Veal Oscar). They felt bad for Sue but they didn’t like what she did put out. It wasn’t an updated dish. And they say that even with all the components, the dish wouldn’t have been much. It wasn’t well-conceived. The veal was too large for an appetizer, tough, and overcooked. He explains why – he couldn’t find a burner to cook on. But the sweet version of the story is gone. Now there were divas in the kitchen who wouldn’t move aside. Jerk. They also needed to cook their food and they got to the burners first. What did you want them to do? Stop cooking their own food? The bread pudding…best they can say is that is wasn’t as bad as the veal; Suvir’s dish just didn’t work. They didn’t talk about his ridiculous bitching.
Sue gets the cleaver. She’s toast. Stick a fork in her. She’s done.
Standard parting drivel – great friendships, learned a lot, great experience. They should let me edit these damned shows. Next week they cook insects. Yum. Oddly, Andrew Zimern is not one of the guests.
Thanks Harvey! Great recap! Lynn~
I have to throw in my two cents on the show.
One chef had to leave for a personal family emergency so they brought back last week’s eliminated chef. I liked that because I didn’t think he should have gone home anyway.
The elimination challenge, once again, had uncontrollable aspects that seemed unfair to some of the chef’s. The bottom three all explained that the kitchen couldn’t accommodate all of the chef’s and were forced to either make changes to their dish or weren’t able to complete their dish. This is irritating to viewers, the least they could do is to ensure that wherever they have these great chef’s working, there is enough room for them all to prepare their dishes properly.
Last night they eliminated Sue Zeminick because she wasn’t able to get her dish plated in time. We watch as she helps some of the other chef’s plate their dishes in an attempt to have enough room to plate her own. Would she have been eliminated had she gotten her dish finished on time? No way of knowing but this happens frequently on Top Chef and it is really annoying! At the least they should ensure the playing field is equal.
Real Housewives News! New York
You absolutely have to check out this web site, Ryan Casey is a very talented artist who does some amazing drawings, the Housewives stuff is Amazeballs as Bethenny would say…Look at this great one he did of the New York Housewives:
Andy Cohen put one of Ryan’s drawings into a blog:
Click around Ryan’s site for New Jersey, DC and Beverly Hills Housewives art, there’s a great one on page 2 of his site, it’s Lisa Vanderpump and he included a short video of Lisa receiving her picture, it is so great! I don’t know how this guy hid from me all these months! I’m so glad I found him! He’s very talented! Follow Ryan on Twitter: @GoRyanGo
Jill Zarn saw Ryan’s drawing yesterday, I’m glad she acknowledged Ryan, but instead of telling him how talented he is, well, here was her comment to him on Twitter:
Jill Zarin to: @GoRyanGo I look miserable! Can you make me look happy? I’m always happy!
I think Ryan captured her perfectly! Don’t change a thing!
Jill also found an article about reality stars running for local government offices, she had this to say:
Definitely Jill I think you should run, run very far away, run to Siberia or Iceland, somewhere that has a very small population so as to annoy the least amount of people.
Her ridiculous comment prompted me to write my take on Jill Zarin as a politician:
Jill Zarin: “Bawwwby! Bawwwby! I can’t work like this, these people dress like my sister Lisa, they’re all idiots Bawwby, they look like they’re wearing clothes from Kohls or Marshalls or something. I’ve never seen so much polyester in my life! How do they expect me to work when they’re carrying no name Handbags and wearing flats, do they think they’re fashionable? All they do is talk talk talk, they talk about schools, Bawby I don’t care about that stuff, my Ally is in college, do they think I care about these public schools, besides my Ally went to private school in a private jet everyday thanks to you , I adore you Bawwby, remind me sweetie, I owe you in the bedroom later for those diamond earrings. I know they were expensive but I had to have them, did you see those earrings that Jason got for Bethenny? No way is she going to have bigger diamond earrings than me, but don’t worry Bawby, I’ll earn them you sexy man you!
We both know those reports are all BS, there’s no way that Bethenny could have more money than me…er us. I wish I was still friends with her when her father died, I am just dying to know if she got all of his money, you know Bawby, I’ll bet she did. I’ll bet Bobby Frankel left her every dime, but he didn’t have as much money as you my Bawwby! They’re all saying on the internet that Bethenny has more money than me…er us Bawby they’re saying that, it’s not true, is it Bawby? No, it can’t be true, we put a roof over her head and food in her mouth. We are richer than her, ain’t we Bawby? Ain’t we? If she has more money it isn’t because of her stupid margaritas, she got money from her father Bawby, didn’t she?
That last council meeting was so booooring Bawby, I don’t know why they make me sit through that stuff, I don’t care about the parks and if they are safe or not, I don’t have any kids playing in the parks, what the Fudge! Bethenny’s kid will be playing in those parks soon, let her with all her money pay for new parks, haha, I’m funny, ain’t I Bawby? Ain’t I funny? I told those idiots that too, people with little kids should be paying for that stuff, not me…er us. I told them they should move that big huge bridge in front of our building Bawby, wasn’t that a great idea? I am tired of people on the internet saying that I live under a bridge, that isn’t funny but the city could move that bridge instead of wasting money on schools and parks, they couldn’t say I live under a bridge anymore, I loved my idea, isn’t it a great idea Bawby? How nice would that look if that ugly bridge was gone?
You know Bawby that one lady who sits two seats away from me on the City Council, I told her she could really use my Sqweeze undergarments, I gave her the web site to go to buy herself some, she really needs to wear them, don’t you think so Bawby? Oh and Bawby, you would be so proud of me, when they were talking about the fundraiser for something or another, I told them that I would host it at Zarin fabrics, ain’t I smart Bawby? Ain’t I? Did you see those awful chairs in the council room? They need to be covered with new fabric and I told them I would give them a discount at Zarin Fabrics, those chairs are hideous Bawby, I can’t sit on those hideous chairs anymore. Next week Bawby, you know what I’m gonna do? I told my assistant Darren to bring a case of my books to the Council room, he’s going to set up a table for me to sell and sign my books after the meeting is over, wasn’t that smart Bawby? Yes, Bawby, I know there are too many cases of books in the basement of Zarin Fabrics that’s why I am going to bring a few cases to the council meeting, those people could use my advice, they need my book. I’m even going to autograph them for a few dollars more, but I’m giving council members a discount, if they buy 5 of my books, I will sign one of them for free. Ain’t I a genius Bawby? The basement will be empty before you know it. This politics stuff is so easy Bawby, I don’t know why they’re always complaining, I’m going to run for Mayor of New York next, who knows someday I may take Obama’s seat, he’s President, right? Yeah, I could do that job, I’m going to send Michelle Obama some of my Sqweeze wear Bawby, she needs it, don’t you think? I think she needs it Bawby. I gotta go Bawby, I gotta take Ginger to get fitted for that diamond dog collar you promised to pay for…I’ll see ya lata Bawby!”
Yes, Jill should definitely get into politics!
Kelly Bensimon attended Charlie Sheen’s crazy stage show in New York, the two of them deserve each other:
The proceedings managed to perturb even “Real Housewives of New York” star Kelly Bensimon, no stranger to melodramatic antics herself.
“I was confused,” Bensimon, seated near the front, told the Daily News. “I kind of feel unsettled.”
I would think that “unsettled” is a constant state of mind for Kelly Bensimon, and anyone who comes into contact with her.
Yes, it’s true, Jill Zarin will be in “White Collar” she tells us that she has “a few lines”, I really don’t understand why these producers continue to think it is a good idea to put these Housewives, who have no acting abilities or experience in their shows. Maybe if we’re lucky her scenes will end up on the cutting room floor where they belong.
Real Housewife of NYC Brings Completely Natural Face to Prime Time http://t.co/N3PgTG7 via @eonline
Real Housewives of New Jersey News
Bravo has released its first preview of The Real Housewives of New Jersey, the addition of Teresa’s sister-in-law and cousin seems to have brought out the best in Teresa Giudice and her husband Juicy Joe. (yes, that is sarcasm) T’s cousin Kathy says she doesn’t understand the “Juicy” part, she added that he’s more “dried up than juicy”. Funny stuff!
It looks as though we’re going to meet Ashley Holmes’ father this season as he surprises her in a bar and she is overwhelmed seeing him again. But there is trouble in paradise as Jacqueline tells Ashley that she doesn’t appreciate anything that is done for her. This isn’t news Jac, it’s a pattern with Ashley.
Rumors were spreading at the end of last season that Ashley would not be returning for Season Three of New Jersey but I was told by an excellent source that, like all of the Housewives, Ashley continued to be under contract for 3-years. Although her mom didn’t want her to continue on the show, she wasn’t able to stop it. As long as Bravo wanted her, they could have her. Apparently Bravo wanted Ashley, I can’t imagine why.
Watch Bravo’s New Jersey preview here:
Ex-New Jersey Housewife Dina Manzo will be hosting her own show on HGTV, a party planner by trade Dina will be followed by cameras as she attempts to cater to their ever whim. I’m assuming Tommy and Lexi won’t be on this show either…
Dina’s new show should put to rest any validity that she quit her job as an event planner to spend more time with her daughter.
I recently had a bit of a change of heart about Dina’s charity, after reading about her Chicago branch of Project Ladybug I was impressed with some of the work she was doing. Unfortunately it all got blown out of the water during, of all things, Jill Zarin’s U-stream video. Jill announced that Dina invited her to attend the Chicago fundraiser for Project Ladybug ALL EXPENSES PAID. Jill turned down the invitation because it was happening on the same night as the Real Housewives of New York was premiering. Who would have been paying all of Jill’s expenses? Would Dina be paying for Jill from The Brownstone profits? or from Project Ladybug funds? Sort of makes ya go hmmmm? If PLB was offering to pay for Jill, who would want to donate funds to this organization knowing that a portion may go to Jill’s flight to or hotel room in Chicago?
Jill made a mistake, how good would it have looked for Jill Zarin if she took a pass on Andy Cohen’s invitation to appear on Watch What Happens Live that night (looking ridiculous by the way) and attending a charity event in Chicago instead? It would have appeared as though Jill put the kids of Project Ladybug ahead of her own promotion, saved herself from that embarrassing outfit and she would have certainly gained a few brownie points. I would have given her props for that, but would still have to question Dina on who was funding Jill’s trip. Jill made a big mistake passing on Dina’s invitation.
Jill needs a new publicist, stat!
Exclusive! ‘Jersey’ Housewife Dina Manzo’s New Reality Show | Extra http://t.co/nErgcFz via @AddThis
The other ex-New Jersey Housewife, Danielle…something what’s her name again? Seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth and that’s ok too!
Ok, still a hot topic, did Jill Zarin have plastic surgery?
When I first saw this photo in the pink dress I thought she probably had a bit too much Botox but if you look at the nose in relation to her top lip in these two photos, I now believe she may have had a nose job. What do you think?
Nice find by our very own IndianaHousewife, Simon Barney and Orange County Housewife text argument that Tamra refers to on an upcoming episode:
Nice work IndianaHousewife! Thanks!
Until Next Time…