Ya know, shoveling is for the birds! I'm pooped after shoveling and chipping ice off the driveway all day! But it's Top Chef night - and we were sans TC last week, AND I still have electrical power. So onward. :-)
The bar scene after last week's competition - Mike reiterates that he wasn't going to let Marcel get away with pulling out details about problems with service, so he piped up. Antonia says that there's a list of people she wants to go home, and Mike is at the top of her list!
For this QuickFire, the cheftestants' plating and presentation skills will be on display. Isaac Mizrahi is guest judge. When he sees Mizrahi, Fabio says he's thinking "Oh no! I think he going to say 'Chefs - you going to make a great dish - and I will have to wear it!'" LOL
The Quickfire is all about Inspiration - plate's presentation, per Padma, is designed to attract the palate. As such - she and Isaac will be judging on the plating only - they *will not* be tasting it!
During the cooking, Blais says many of the chefs seem to have problems with the fact that the judges aren't going to be tasting. But he knows Mizrahi wears black a lot, so he's making a black ice cream.
Antonia isn't cooking anything - it seems she's using all raw foods.
Per Fabio, Angelo's dish looks like a bag of vomit. Tee hee! It really does look kinda gross - and he writes "Crocodile" across his table. And then tells Mizrahi that his favorite designer is Roberto Cavalli. Nice way to suck up to the guest judge, Angelo. NOT!
OK - for judging, lots of the plates LOOKED beautiful, but would you want to eat them? Mizrahi did NOT like Dale's dish at all. Dale says he doesn't care what a fashion designer thinks about his food. MEOW!!! Mizrahi also really disliked Angelo's dish and writing on the table was completely unnecessary.
Bottom group - Dale, Tre and Angelo
Top group - Fabio, Carol and Richard
And Richard wins, and gets immunity!
For the Elimination, they will have to create a traditional 3-course Italian meal. They draw knives - Frankie No, Junior, and Dino the Chef. They bring in Frankie Pellegrino, owner of Rao's, his son, Frankie Jr., and Dino, the Exec Chef @ Rao's.
Frankie Team - Antonia, Carla, and Tiffany - Antipasti/Appetizer course
Junior Team - Dale, Tre and Mike - Primi/Pasta course
Dino Team - Richard, Fabio and Angelo - Secondi/Meat course
They will be judged on their *individual* dish, although they'll be cooking within their course. They have several hours to prep, and then they head over to Rao's to finish cooking and plate and serve.
Antonia, Carla and Tiffany are up first with their Antipasti. And the three women all seem to be working well together - all of a sudden, Tiffany's polenta is burning on the tray!
Guest judges? Designer Isaac Mizrahi and actress Lorraine Bracco - she's a repeat guest judge from many seasons past! Joe, the GM of Rao's, Nicky, the bartender at Rao's, and someone else from Rao's NY (sorry fella, didn't catch your name! LOL) Bracco talks about coming to Rao's the first time with Joe Pesci when they were studying to film Goodfellas.
Carla's soup gets called "something you can get in Wisconsin" by the Rao's GM. Ouch! Tiffany's polenta seems to go over VERY well. Antonia's mussels were VERY well received as well - no one had a bad comment. And it looks like they all three got the "family style" idea.
Next up - Primi course - Dale, Tre and Mike are cooking. And upon bringing the dishes to the table, I have to say Dale's dish looks WONDERFUL! But it doesn't get good reviews - no sauce, and Bourdain says "someone in the Witness Protection Program is eating this right now".
Tre's risotto also didn't do well. Rut-roh! Meanwhile, Angelo, Fabio and Richard are in the kitchen cooking. And Mike's pasta is now reviewed. It was the LEAST pleasing of the three, according to one of the Rao group - his pasta wasn't just al dente, it was way undercooked!
Blais has said he always thinks that Fabio's not going to make it in finishing his dish in time, but at the end, he said "Fabio's a magician - he pulls a rabbit out of his hat and Whoop! He's done!"
Angelo's pork chop is swimming in sauce, and Nicky the Bartender says you're full by eating all of the garnish before the pork. Fabio's pan-fried polenta gets rave reviews from the Rao's group, and Blais's cacciatore dish also gets good reviews.
In the in-between, Mike shows the cheftestants how to make gnocchi in Top Chef University (back at the house). Antonia seems impressed that he's hand-cutting them vs. using a gnocchi (cutter?), but tells him to not let it go to his head. Then Angelo walks in and asks "What's burning?" LOL
So who's in the bottom? I'm thinking Angelo, Mike and probably Tre. And the top, I'm thinking maybe Fabio, Antonia, and maybe Richard?
Padma comes into the Stew Room, and asks to see Antonia, Carla, Fabio and Tiffany. After they leave, Richard asks "Have they ever called the bottom group 2x in a row?" Dale replies "It's All-Stars - they can do whatever they want!"
And they ARE the top group! Carla's soup was well liked by Lorraine Bracco, despite the dislike from the Rao GM. :-) And Antonia wins! Now her father won't be disappointed in her! Fabio's pissed off, saying he made the most traditional dish, and Antonia beat him with a "French dish." And when they go back into the Stew Room, Mike says "I'm surprised that Antonia won - she did just steam some mussels." Ouchie.
The bottom group is Mike, Dale and Tre...all from the second course. Mike knew he'd be there because of the undercooked pasta. Bourdain said if he had used pasta from a box, he wouldn't be there - and Mike said he had thought about it. REALLY? You KNOW the judges would have called him out for using a boxed pasta!
Dale's dish was faulted for no sauce, and they didn't seem to like the pasta either. Tre's risotto was made stiffer than the way it should be - it wasn't creamy enough. Tom Colicchio said when it's spooned onto a plate, it's supposed to spread out. And Bourdain said that it was buried in garnish.
Tom said back at Judge's Table, good Italian food should be simple. And THAT is probably why Antonia won! I'm thinking it's going to be Mike going home....or Tre. I really hope it's not Tre *or* Dale. And MAYBE, just MAYBE - the Elves gave us a hint at the beginning of the show with Antonia saying Mike's at the top of her list to go home...and SHE won - so maybe Mike's going home? LOL
OK, we're back at Judge's Table. Tom tells Mike the sauce was fine; but the pasta wasn't good. Tre's rice wasn't good either, and Dale's pasta wasn't good. Yowch.
DAMMIT! Tre's gone. Shoot, shoot, shoot! I was so hoping he'd stay longer.
And next week, looks like Jimmy Fallon's the Guest Judge - THAT ought to be fun, based on the previews!
Well, that's all she wrote, boys and girls. It's time for Linda to go sleepies. :-) See ya next week, same Bat Time, same Bat Channel. (Actually, I'll see you tomorrow morning after reading what everyone else writes!)