Top Chef Masters
I will say I enjoyed last night’s episode, there was a bit of vegeterian drama but the show is growing on me. It’ll never be Top Chef with our beloved Tom Colicchio but Curtis Stone is doing a great job and the chef’s seem to be giving it their best shot.
Top Chef Masters – The Biggest Loser (originally aired April 28)
Quickfire – SAY CHEESE! YAY! Better than bacon! by Harvey
So – make a great cheese dish. Ummm, yeah….great dry, crumbly cheddar on a cracker with a very thin layer of fig jam. Any good cheese by itself is a great dish. The key here is definitely going to be “don’t muck up a good thing.” The winner will get 5k for charity and immunity on the elimination challenge. They have 12 minutes. Lots of that unsafe running in the kitchen going on. Naomi grabs a stinky soft French cheese called chaume which is going to be a sauce for a skirt steak. Traci makes a goat cheese carpaccio and explains that you want to use all parts of the cheese from the center to the rind because different parts have different flavors. More unsafe running in the kitchen. George suffered the childhood trauma of expecting his parents to give him gifts like toy cars and instead getting stinky cheeses they’d bought on their international travels, but this is what caused him to become a chef. He’s making an onion gratin. Floyd is using a Mexican cheese called Queso Cotija. It appears to be the dry, hard form of this cheese which is relatively bland. The wetter form is slightly similar to feta. He is going to put it on steamed corn on the cob. Suvir is making what he calls a Calvin Klein dish. Huh? It is cheese pakora (Indian deep-fried snacks; dredge something in gram flower and deep-fry it) two ways. One with mozzarella di bufala and the other with gouda with tamarind chutney. Curtis says GOWDA, not GOOOODA. Celina made manchego with crispy carrot, fig, golden raisin and sherry. Sounds perfect to me. Hugh made a crisp camellia goat cheese (a Camembert-like cheese) with fried quail egg, pepper salad, and hazelnut vinaigrette. Naomi’s chaume cheese toast with skirt steak, apples, onions, and balsamic vinaigrette is a hit. Now Mary Sue’s cotija and gouda empanada with tomatillo salsa. They are astonished that she made the dough fresh. George’s onion and grana padano (hard Italian cow’s milk cheese) gratin, quail egg, grilled bread and aspargus has too much onion, says Norbert. Alex made a quesadilla of Rochetta and proscuitto with pickeled asparagus and a fried quail egg. Guess quail eggs are the new scallop? Floyd’s cotija elote (Spanish for corn) has crème fraiche and pepper. The judge thinks there is too much pepper. Traci used colombier (a raw milk goat cheese) and prosciutto to make a carpaccio with argula and croutons.
The judge is Norbert Wabnig from the Beverly Hills Cheese Shop. He loved Naomi’s and Traci’s, both because of the choice of the cheese and also because the dishes highlighted the cheese. Fair enough. And Traci is the winner. Thank goodness. A win would have made Naomi completely insufferable. In a rare show of non-zen, Suvir makes a sour face and takes a very unprofessional pot-shot at Traci. We can’t understand what he says, but he says he is very ticked off. Yeah, we always knew the zen thing was a total façade. It always is. The more zen someone claims to be, the more it is hiding an angry beast.
The elimination challenge is creating a calorie-conscious dish. The segment is introduced by the blond chick, Alison Sweeney, from the Biggest Loser, and the two trainers, Cara and Brett. Let’s say this up-front. It is a total downer to go out to dinner and have someone start talking about healthy foods, calories, cholesterol, and so on. Eat healthy at home, enjoy yourself when you go out. Unless you are eating out all the time…
So they are told to take the crap that the Biggest Losers love to eat. Garbage like deep-dish pizza, cheeseburgers, fries, meatball subs. Fried chicken and mashed potatos. Chefs are to provide the same items for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, creating a full day’s worth of meals that will satisfy the cravings. With under 1500 calories total. Easy. Make it just the way it is, but give them only two tablespoons. Just like Weight Watchers does….
And they are working with the contestants from the Biggest Loser. I hate these stupid diet shows. No one can live like that, having someone watch every bite that goes into their mouths and exercising hours a day.
Now the teams start planning. They have to cut the calories in these items by 2/3 or more. Of course, what they are making bears little or no relationship to the originals. Like how spring rolls and kelp noodles replace , I don’t know. So really this is not about satisfying the cravings. It is about making anything they can think of that will add up to under 1500 calories.
Nutritionists help them keep track of the calorie counts, but it is not likely that they are going to use bomb calorimeters to actually measure the calories.
Food comes out and we again have Restaurant Hurl Danyelle Freedman, James Oseland, and Alan Sytsma. Ruth Reichl is gone this week. I don’t blame her. She probably didn’t want to be on the same planet as Freedman and Systma. Naomi’s French toast with spelt bread, berries, scrambled eggs, and mixed berries looks horrible. Which is the thing about healthy eating. Trying to replace the “real thing” is pointless. Don’t even try. You will end up still craving whatever you wanted. Instead have something really good that isn’t meant to make you forget about real French toast. You will just end up dreaming about French toast 24/7. The corned beef hash with eggs over easy was replaced with turkey-root vegetable hash. Bacon, egg and cheese with hash browns was replaced with turkey bacon and eggs whites on Ezekiel bread. People are saying nice things but no one is saying YUM or doing the OMG eye roll. There is no enjoyment going on. Oseland finally admits it – this dish (the turkey bacon and eggs whites on Ezekiel bread) really makes me want fat and salt.
Lunch goes out. Buffalo meatballs with onions, tomato, farro, spinach, and ginger. Alex made oven fried chicken covered with panko and corn crumbs, corn bread made with nonfat yoghurt, and sweet potato puree. Traci’s idea of a Chinese buffet had broccoli beef, cabbage salad, and rice and wonton soup. The judges love the meatballs but not the fried chicken or the corn bread. Again, nice things said about the Chinese buffet, but no enthusiasm. No raves, but it might satisfy the cravings.
OK, let’s try dinner. George actually believes that there is a substitute for pizza. No. There is not. Whole wheat pizza with tomato coulis and smoked mozzarella. There is some limited enthusiasm for the pizza, but not much. The veggie burger doesn’t taste at all like a burger. It is not a substitute for meat. Well, duh. Eat a freaking burger. Just not every day of the week. Danyelle and Alan love the mini-meat dish (again, Lean Cuisine. Weight Watchers -secret is tiny portion). The sub for the cheeseburger is a veggie burger. Mr. Zen gives us an obnoxious lecture on red meat and how it is any enemy of our hears. Which happens to be what Hugh is serving. A small portion of flank steak, a lean cut. He makes a joke about Suvir’s lecture about red meat. He included fingerling potatoes and green asparagus. And that’s the point. Just eat LESS. You can have what you want. Eat less of it. Now Mr. Zen is having a fight with Hugh. He takes another potshot – this time at Hugh’s dish.
And now the desert. Brownies. Each team has a couple hundred calories to play with. That is all we are going to hear/see about the dessert. You can just imagine how crappy the faux brownies must be. Fortunately, the portions are miniscule!
Naomi, Floyd, and George are first to face the judges. They win. Floyd’s pizza is the winner.
Suvir, Mary Sue, and Alex are on the losing team. Suvir says that his loser might not enjoy the food, but he had a statement to make. He says he is working for people who are losing weight and he starts with the lecture again about the red meat. Curtis cuts him off. The judges didn’t like Mary Sue’s egg and Danyelle thought the turkey hash should have been diced more finely. Alex’s corn bread was like a hockey puck and they didn’t care for the texture of the chicken. It wasn’t moist and not flavorful. The judges acknowledged that while they didn’t care for some items, the challenge was to satisfy cravings, so they focused on what the losers liked or didn’t. Danyelle wanted the veggies cut smaller. Holy cow would someone please cut this woman’s food for her? Can we eliminate her? Worst judge ever?
And Suvir is auffed! I’m guessing it was a combo of his lousy “burger” and his lousy attitude towards his loser. She was going to eat what he thought she should eat. Notwithstanding the fact that it has been shown time and again that making radical and/or rapid changes in a diet is the best way to assure that you will fail.
Now here’s the thing. EVERYONE EVERYONE EVERYONE knows how to eat healthy. We all now that too much fat, too much salt, too much sugar is not good. We all know the drill – more fruits and veggies, less red meat, less fat, less salt, etc. We all know to read the labels. To shop the outside aisles of the store. Ferchrisake is there anyone alive who thinks that potato chips and soda are health foods?
No. It is not about knowing. It is and always will be about will power. True, there are people who do not have access to good healthy food at a reasonable cost, which is particularly true for fresh produce. And that in turn is a function of our bizarre food subsidy policy. But for nearly everyone, there are better choices available, including portion control. It is about will power. Which is something no chef, no trainer, no TV show can give us.
Our good friend Terry Aley posted this interesting article, a link to a You-Tube Video of an interview with Jill Zarin, Terry noticed that Jill contradicts herself frequently and as I reported a few days ago, Jill said that viewers have short memories. She wishes! Jill hopes that we forget everything she’s done and said but not only are we not as stupid as Jill seems to think we are, luckily in case we did forget, Bravo keeps re-running Jill’s bad behavior from Season Three. Thanks Bravo!
I think everytime Jill says that viewers have forgotten her bad behavior from last season, Bravo scheduled another re-run of one of her epic eposides from Season Three. Even if last season was completely forgotten (never going to happen) we still have the really great comments from Jill just a few weeks ago calling Alex a “f****n Bitch” and saying Alex was mingling with people so far above her. Don’t worry Jill Zarin, there is plenty more bad behavior from you to come, I’m confident of it.
Terry’s commentary is dead on accurate, Jill claims to have changed, then admits to having a media consultant. She talks about grown adult men being on Twitter and I suppose because her Bobby isn’t tweeting and probably has no desire to do so, she’s agreeing that grown men shouldn’t be Tweeting? But it’s ok for grown women to tweet? As long as they’re promoting something? Like a book maybe or a Spanks rip-off? The woman just insulted hundreds of thousands of Twitter users in one stupid no-name interview. She’ll talk to anyone with a microphone and is always sure to stick her foot in her mouth! Nice find Terry!
Tonight on Bravo The Real Housewives of New York, minus Jill Zarin, plus Cindy Barshop who seems to think it is ok to rip into Ramona Singer on camera, but don’t worry, Sonja Morgan will teach her the pecking order……be sure to stay tuned, then come back here tomorrow morning for the full recap!
Don’t forget to join us at 4am to chat about the Royal Wedding live!!!
Until Next Time….