Top Chef 11/19

No thread yet? OK, spoilers.
I’m surprised that Miss Lemon Meringue got to stay. I mean, Padma spit out her dish. Then again, the judges said the quail egg quiche tasted of glue.

It was an ostrich egg. It was apparently her only idea for the dish. Because you don’t have to make something taste good if you put an ostrich egg in it.

I, too, was also surprised that Ariane did not go home. One of the rules of Top Chef is don’t make dessert unless you have to. But do go into the competition with a few dessert recipes just in case. To present a dish to the audience that you admit you serve in your restaurant and then not do it well . . . well that’s not excusable at all.

I think Ms. Ostrich Egg went home in part because she also demonstrated no imagination at all in the quick fire. Everyone else made at least some kind of sausage. She just chopped up a bad hot dog and tried to make pretend sushi out of it.

I don’t think I’ve ever met a person that screamed “slacker” more than the loser. Everything about her was droopy. Her posture, her facial expressions, her inability to string words together in a coherent way…

She just didn’t seem to be into the competition at all. At least Ms. sugar martini cared that she sucked.

Hosea - Canned crab? WTF are you thinking? You work in a damn seafood restaurant, for Christ’s sake.

Oh right, my bad. You’re right about the quickfire. Her dish looked pathetic and totally unappetizing. I think someone else made hotdog sushi, but it didn’t look like a hideous mess. I wasn’t mad about the theme for the quickfire, but I thought the main challenge was brilliant. I like seeing the chefs have to put out food in an actual restaurant setting to see how they deal with tickets coming up. I was impressed that no one screwed up getting their food out in time.

This is my first season of watching Top Chef, but I assume they all had to stay at Whole Food for the purchases? I know he asked them if they had any other crab and they said no, but jeez guy… try something else! If he’s been cooking for any length of time you’d think he’d have another idea of something to make.

There are too many of them right now for me to keep personalities straight, but Ariane is already starting to bug me. She’s got a ton of excuses.

I think the ostrich egg girl would have had a chance if she could sell to the judges her reasoning for doing it. After she was eliminated, she told the other contestants that she wanted to be bold and creative- it was actually a well spoken justification. Too bad she didn’t give it to the judges though. But I think Padme made it pretty clear that Ariane is on the three strikes and you are out plan- her reasoning behind tasting the dessert and not fixing the sugar issue was almost as pathetic as ostrich egg girl’s “umm… I don’t know, I just cracked under the pressure” speech.

I don’t think that would have helped. It wouldn’t change the fact that her quiche was poorly executed. The judges made it clear that the problem wasn’t the choice of ingredient, but that she didn’t do anything good with it. They don’t give points for being “bold.” We’ve seen time and again that they’ll much prefer a dish that’s unoriginal but well executed to a dish that’s “bold” but tastes like crap. They said that Ostrich Egg Girl’s quiche “looked like dogfood” and “tasted like glue.” Her argument that she was trying to be bold and creative doesn’t change that.

It always bugs me when contestants on this show think they should be given points for “taking a chance.” It makes me think they don’t know what “taking a chance” actually means.

Has anyone here ever had ostrich egg? I haven’t, and I’m curious regarding how it tastes and whether the quiche was doomed from the start or if the chef was simply bad.

Didn’t the guy who looks like Chase from House have some time issues?

I’m just amazed that there are chefs on the show that continue to use ingredients that they’re not familiar with in a competition. The rookie that used the black noodles got cut last week, and now ostrich girl.

Yeah, and Hosea? He got committed to a dish, and when he got thrown a curve ball, didn’t change his mind. I wonder if that was the editing though. Maybe he had all the ingredients and got the crab last, and wouldn’t have had time to go and change everything out? Dunno, but I thought from last week’s show he displayed a bit more creativity than this week.

What was it that Fabio did to his olives that the judges like so much? It sounded like he made the interior liquid, which does not sound appetizing to me. And why was he putting them into the pan of water?

They’re called spherical olives. You puree and emulsify the olives, and then use sodium alginate to form a shell on the outside (Sodium alginate is used a lot to make liquids chunky…when you buy olives stuffed with pimento in the store, those pimentos have really been pureed and then hardened with sodium alginate). So, yeah, the interior was liquid.

Padma had a tough couple of days. First she bites into a chunk of bone in one of the hot dogs and then she felt the need to spit out the dessert of another contestant. I can understand biting into a bone, I’ve had that same reaction biting into a hot dog at Sonic before. Gross.

So far the two Europeans look strong and the blonde woman who made the creamed corn dessert also seems competent. I can’t remember anybody’s name yet, too many people.

I’ve never eaten ostrich eggs before but I’ve heard it cooks up and tastes much like a chicken egg.

I don’t think the ostrich egg was the actual problem, she used an alternative crust for her quiche that I think was the source of the so called “pastieness”. IIRC, the “crust” was brown rice and something else. Brown rice is notoriously pasty and glutinous. It also just sounds like she failed to season and make it tasty with ingredients, which is the problem with any quiche IMHO… I don’t think I’ve ever really eaten a quiche that was tasty enough for me, it is by nature very bland and can take a lot of additional flavors to amp it up and get something good.

I feel sorry for Jill, because now she’s going to be known as “Ostrich Egg Girl”. When, in fact, the ostrich egg was a great idea and wasn’t the problem… it was the quiche recipe that was her downfall. The alternative crust even sounds good in theory and was a bold move, but sometimes these things sound good in conception but fail to execute properly.

I will say that Jill didn’t deserve to go go home, her recipe demonstrated the creativity, risk taking, and conception of Top Chef Mettle. Aryane was the one who should have gone, she took no risk making a dish that she serves in her restaurant and even managed to screw it up. Jill’s only fault was that she froze up defending herself during cut time, I felt so bad for her… she was stammering under pressure and just couldn’t cogent under the lights and pressure. It was totally not fair, and the judges screwed up big time in this decision.

(Jill is also a hottie, so there goes my season crush!)

It was a bit of molecular gastronomy. He basically sphericized liquified olives and their juice. I’ve seen Ferran Adria of El Bulli make that exact same olive.

The chemistry is basically that sodium alginate is added to the liquified olive juice and then it is dropped into a water baionth containg calcium chloride. This forms a skin around the drop and hence spherification.

With all of his “I run a seafood restaurant” commentary, shouldn’t he know that the Dungeness crab season hasn’t even started yet? Was he that single-tracked that he couldn’t say “What do you have that’s fresh or even still swimming?” and switch over to Maine lobster or whatever.

If he really has been specializing in seafood, Thing Number One branded on his brain would be “What’s Fresh Today?” and to be prepared to roll with whatever came off the boat that morning, be it crabs, scallops or barnacles.

As for ostrich eggs, all she had was the novelty of the name. In a quiche, you wouldn’t know if it was one ostrich egg or a dozen regular chicken eggs. Really though - what can you do with an ostrich egg that highlights it other than one enormous sunnyside-up?

Because when two dishes are good, the judges do have a history of laying into the contestant who did a safer, more familiar, or more formualic dish. The things is, nobody ever says “My dish is going to suck, so I need to look like I took a chance”. Some obviously have inflated opinions of their own abilities (and at this stage, probably a gross underestimation of their competitor’s skills), so they think “Of course my dish is going to rock, but amongst dishes that rock, mine will stand out as gutsy, too.”

Eesh–I thought she looked like Hilary Swank’s homelier sister.* I think it’s a true testimony to the alleged talents of the women chefs this year because there isn’t a single cute one in the mix.
*Is that praise low enough for ya?

Three things…

  1. He runs a seafood restauant in Denver. I would imagine about the only truly fresh fish he has had experience with is Trout. Sure, I’m sure they get it flown in, and I don’t doubt the qulaity, but he’s probably never gotten anything straight off the boats.

  2. They sabotage these chefs by hamstringing them with sourcing from a Wholefoods freakin’ grocery! Sponsor restricted…You sure as hell aren’t going to get the best, even at Wholefoods. The plastic packaged lump crab was all there was and he couldn’t judge its quality… he was trusting the store to supply him with a quality product… true, some frozen king crab legs might even have been better than the lump, but it’s not quite what he was shooting for in a salad.

  3. Hi Opal.

Wasn’t even as good as plastic wrapped crab- it was tinned! I have to imagine that would be even worse.

It was not tinned! It was Jumbo Lump Crab Meat in a plastic container, in the refrigerated section. I assume it was minimally processed, possibly pasteurized.

That’s why I don’t get the comments from Gail and that other guest judge bitch about it tasting “Tinny” and “Muddy”. Totally not the case… they were making shit up. Of course Gail might have just been tasting the “mud” that dripped of her nose from having it up the guest judge’s ass.

Really?! Because I seem to remember him saying all they had was tinned crab. I remember thinking- gads, don’t use that! Color me confused!

ETA: Even on Tom Coliccio’s blog he said it was canned… maybe that means something different then I understand it be?