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Live-Blogging Top Chef 5.6 12 Days of Christmas December 18, 2008

Posted by Amy Yen in Top Chef, TV.
Tags: , , , , , , ,

9:59 – Previously on Top Chef, Eugene made sushi…again. Ariane won…again. No I don’t get it either. Jamie was unlikable…again. Shocking, I know. Daniel put disgusting mushrooms in Carla’s salad & was pleased with a really, really bad dish. Bye, Danny!

10:00 – PS: The last 5 minutes of “Life” tonight? Were AMAZING!

10:02 – Apartment open. Ariane & I & America can’t believe she’s won the last two challenges. It is pretty shocking. Stefan & Fabio do dual interviews as Team Euro: Dorks Do America. Stefan carves a hilarious face in a watermelon, completely ruining a perfectly good watermelon. This apartment open is going on way too long.

10:04 – In the kitchen, there are Christmas decorations everywhere & Padma is waiting with a bunch of holiday-related food. She explains that the Quickfire challenge is to create a holiday meal using only one pot. That IS hard. Like when I make spaghetti & meat sauce? Which, BTW, is made with store-bought sauce? That requires a minimum of four pots. PS: There’s no guest judge standing with Padma, I want to note. But then Padma brings in Martha Freaking Stewart! The chefs are awestruck. I mean, yeah. It is kinda a big deal.

10:06 – Food frenzy. Jamie is going with scallops, which does not have a good history on this show, Spike. Ariane is doing a cauliflower puree. PS: I had the most amazing nonalcoholic drink today…it was a guava puree mixed with Sprite. It was like awesometown. Anyway, Fabio is interviewing about how he was evil when he was a kid. Heh. Eugene, shockingly, is not doing sushi. He’s doing a pork stew, which sounds amazing & I want some.

10:11 – Hey, I’m still live with my DVR. That like never happens. I’m so glad I never feel the need to recap the apartment open.

10:13 – Tasting. Martha is pretty talkative for a guest judge. She seems to be mostly complimentary & also, she makes a point of greeting each judge & asking where they’re from. It’s nice. Jeff doesn’t get good marks & Jamie talks over Martha’s comments on her scallops. Oh, Jamie.

10:16 – Comments. Martha didn’t like Jeff’s heavy potato risotto, Eugene’s starchy stew & Fabio’s “grey-ish” polenta. None of them are happy. She liked Hosea’s payaya, Jamie’s scallop(!) & Ariane’s beef & cauliflower. You can see Jamie tensing up & leaning forward in anticipation & it’s not reached the point where I don’t want her to ever win. Martha presents an autographed copy of her book to…Ariane! OMG. Maybe I should just give it up & start rooting for her. Am I the only one that still thinks she’s not a very good chef? Maybe I’d just biased by initial impressions.

10:19 – Jamie is, of course, exasperated. She interviews with a smile that she thinks she’s never going to win anything. I literally say out loud, “I hope so,” but then I felt bad about it. But let’s improve the attitude, James.

10:19 – PS: Ariane gets immunity. Everyone bids goodbye to Martha & Padma explains the multi-tiered Elimination Challenge. The chefs will be catering a meal to 250 people for a fundraiser. For help, Padma introduces a bunch of singing members of the Harlem Gospel Choir. They’re wearing these super nifty costumes. Hosea is weary, wondering what the catch is. Padma has everyone draw knives. They’re numbered 1-12, as the episode title might suggest. As each number is drawn, one of the choir members sings the part of the song (“FIVE GOLDEN RINGS!”). Stefan is first & he clearly doesn’t know what the hell is going on. It’s kind of hilarious. The challenge, obviously, is to prepare a dish inspired by each day of Christmas. They’ll work tonight & prep tomorrow at the party, which will be hosted by actress Natasha Richardson, who I remember from the J-Lo classic, Maid in Manhattan. Top Chef veteran Michelle Bernstein, who I actually can’t remember seeing since she played sous chef to Casey in the Season 3 finale, will also be guest judging. Aw, no more Martha? Bummer.

10:30 – The chefs arrive at Whole Foods & it’s already dark outside. They’ve got like no time to do anything, including plan their dishes. Hosea’s got “Eleven Pipers Piping,” so he thinks he’ll do something smoky. Not too bad. Jeff’s screwed, he’s got “Ten Lords a’Leaping.” He wants to do frog legs…get it? GET IT?? But they don’t have frog legs, so he has to switch to a random cheese concept. Oh yeah, I forgot they were supposed to incorporate Christmas into this thing. Stefan’s making chicken pot pie…no, I don’t know which verse he has. Fabio got “Nine Ladies Dancing” & he’s not happy about it. He also realizes some kind of legs is the only thing he’s got going for him.

10:33 – Back in the kitchen, everyone’s kind of freaked out by the lack of time for cooking for like a gazillion people. We get the montage o’ menu explanations & then Hosea starts with his smoky dish. There’s so much smoke, the entire kitchen begins to get filled with it. Pausing my DVR to tell you guys my smoke story—so in high school, I was in tech theatre, I was a lighting specialist. On opening night of our production of Grease, we notice smoke in the hallway outside the lighting booth at the school. We went out in the hallway & it was like completely filled with smoke. Yeah. So me & the sound technicians evacuated the entire audience & all the actors & stagehands backstage & we waited around for an hour before we found out it was a false alarm & then we went back into finish “Beauty School Drop-Out.” I have an entirely different memory of “High School Musical.”

10:35 – Anyway, the smoke is creating a cloudy haze over the camera while we watch the continued food frenzy. The chefs are wrapping up for the day & just stuffing stuff into the fridges like their lives depended on it. One chef interviews that some chefs are putting steaming stuff into the fridge, which isn’t ideal, but they’re under a time crunch. Everyone heads back to the apartment while ominous music tells us that something nefarious & evil is happening here.

10:36 – The day of the fundraiser, we get another apartment open. Did we get this many double apartment opens in the other seasons? Let’s get on with the ruined food!

10:37 – In the kitchen, mischievous music plays. The chefs realize that one of the fridges was left open overnight. Everything’s warm. Much freaking out ensues. One of the ruined dishes is Hosea’s, who proclaims melodramatically that he could KILL everyone in the room if he serves his meat. That would be awkward.

10:38 – Radhika’s duck is also ruined & she’s beside herself. The other girls, including Jamie, try to make her feel better. Jamie somehow still makes me dislike her by rubbing the fact that she’s already done with everything & her stuff didn’t get ruined in the irresponsibly closed refrigerator in Radhika’s face. Melissa’s cheese is also ruined & I also suspect that if anyone left the door open, it was her, since she was the last chef we saw put something in the fridge. She finds another cheese in the kitchen though, so she’s fine. The other chefs rally around Radhika & Hosea. It’s kind of foreign, this group of relatively nice reality show contestants. Like…I don’t know how to react to this… Ah, awkward. I’m moving on.

10:39 – Hosea finds some pork & the rest of the chefs start helping him clean it. Radhika also is maybe-saved, because she saves the rest of the duck she wasn’t planning on using. Fabio jumps in to help her marinade it. The chefs-stick-together mentality is starting to crack my cold, dead heart, even though obviously, chefs who acted selfish would look like villains on national television. I suspect it’s more about the fact that these chefs probably do respect Radhika & Hosea & want to be in a fair competition with them & not beat them because of a random instance of bad luck.

10:40 – How much time do they get in the Top Chef kitchen anyway? I thought they had to go straight to the other place. Confused. Anyway, Radhika interviews that she knows the chefs won’t care about what happened to them. They’ll expect them to adapt. The chefs pack up to go.

10:44 – Oooh! Is this a new Top Chef holiday special, or just a rerun of that one with seasons 1-3? They should do seasons 3-5 now!

10:44 – The chefs show up in the Prince George Ballroom & start prepping. Radhika is praying her duck is cooked, but is relieved that it is & it smells delicious. Mmmm, duck. The guests show up & Stefan makes creepy, inappropriate comments about Natasha Richardson in interview. PS: The judges all say “Happy Christmas” to each other. When did this happen? I’m going to just say “Merry Christmas” & “Happy Holidays,” cool?

10:45 – Natasha gets on the mic & tells everyone to donate & pin their AIDS ribbons by their favorite dish. Everyone spreads out to get food. Stefan’s chicken pot pie & Radhika’s duck are praised. Carla’s “turtle doves” mushrooms are designated one-note, Eugene’s too-sweet pineapple “golden” ring & Fabio’s greasy crab cake are also put down. Jamie’s “swimming” dish, which is something floating in a sauce, which she clearly thinks is just unbelievably clever, is burned as raw & slimy & wrong. Not so “all done,” are you. Melissa is confident with her cheese dish, but the judges don’t really like it. Leah’s puff pastry dish is too dry. Ariane’s “Six Geese a’Laying” concept is six kinds of deviled eggs, which is kind of clever, actually, but goes the exact opposite way with Tom C, who thinks it’s ridiculous Ariane would think she could win a competition with deviled eggs. Yay, Tom!

10:51 – OMG, is this thing going over again? What the hell, Bravo?? I need to sleep! Everyone likes Hosea’s smoky dish with chipotle, so that means both of the chefs that got screwed over did great. WTG guys! Hosea also takes the opportunity to flirt with some of the girls & pimp his restaurant. Some of the girls pin their AIDS ribbons on his sleeve & he also gets a bunch on his sign & table. Hosea is looking good for the top 3. Jeff’s table is very popular & he’s struggling to keep up. His Dr. Chase looks aren’t hurting. The judges seem to like the balance of his dish. Jeff, Hosea & Stefan appear to be the leaders.

10:54 – As much as I like this show, it really does not need to be an hour & fifteen minutes long. See, you can take out this scene where the chefs are drinking champagne & you can definitely take out the second apartment open. I’m just saying.

10:58 – In the backroom, Padma asks for Jeff, Stefan, Hosea & Radhika. They’re obviously the favs. The camera gives us a nice long unnecessary shot of Jamie as they leave.

10:59 – Judges’ Table. Radhika very politically explains the fridge situation. Lots of praising of everyone’s dishes. The judges call Jeff’s salad “memorable,” which I think is high praise, but they also don’t like that he had two cheese, even though it was part of his “Lords Leaping” concept. The ribbon race seems to be coming down to Jeff & Hosea. Natasha says that Hosea wins! Yay! Good stuff. Even Stefan seems happy for him. Michelle Bernstein gives Hosea her first book, which is apparently all the rage with guest judges this season. Hosea gives appropriate props to everyone who helped him out. Padma reverts back to “unfortunately” having to ask Hosea to send back the losers.

11:02 – In the back, Hosea sends back Jamie, Melissa & Eugene. Not that I think I have a chance here, but I’d really like it to be Jamie, just so this stupid “I’ll never win anything” subplot will be over. However, I think Melissa’s going to get it here, for being completely unmemorable in every way. You know I still sometimes forget her name?

11:03 – Adorably, Radhika calls after the losers to stand up for themselves & fight. The judges start with Jamie, who is completely oblivious as to the temperature of her dish. Michelle explains to her about how everything on her dish was lukewarm & therefore kind of gross & slimy. Yeah, I really don’t get why she would serve the scallop raw over a sauce. Michelle doesn’t either & immediately starts to go defensive. She’s got her arms crossed & it’s very much like in the Today Show challenge when Rocco pointed out how she goes into this little anger shell. It’s really unappealing. Add that to her natural non-charm & we have a really unlikable chefestant. She’s not even annoying because she’s crazy.

11:04 – Nobody likes the amount of cheese in Melissa’s dish. Michelle says her pretty little raspberry vinaigrette got lost in it. Melissa, who had previously interviewed her worry over not getting many ribbons, stupidly decides to sell the judges on how popular her dish was, saying people were coming back for seconds & thirds. Who were these invisible people, Melissa? Padma rejects her out to the half-court.

11:05 – Oh no. Eugene has his defensive shields up as well & it isn’t pretty. The judges blast him on how sweet his dish was & he insists there wasn’t even “no sugar” in the batch they got. Tom C tells him that the dish didn’t go together well & Eugene is in full-on pout mode. When Padma prompts him, he say he doesn’t know why he’s there. Are you kidding? You got eight freaking ribbons, Padma tells him. Michelle Bernstein goes off. She says a chef is only as good as their last dish & if she gets one complaint, she goes back & tastes her dish to see how she can improve it. He only got eight ribbons & didn’t think something was wrong? Really? Oh, things are not looking so hot for our friend Eugene.

11:06 – I love how this season, Padma’s been sending them away with this tone like, is this really happening right now? Heh. The losing chefs retreat to the backroom while the judges ready their battle stations.

11:07 – Michelle’s least favorite is Jamie’s scallops, but everyone’s turned off by Eugene not even listening to Tom C. He’s Tom Freaking Colicchio. Natasha thinks Eugene thinks he knows it all & doesn’t want to learn. Oh, dear. Nobody likes Melissa’s bite o’ cheese. Actually, the entire lot were pretty bad this week, says Tom. Natasha speaks up & says she was actually disappointed. Wow. Tom wants to call everyone out since there’s just something universally wrong with this group. Natasha does point out that she loves that everyone pitched in to help Hosea & Radhika. Yeah. At the expense of their own food. Touche.

11:08 – In the back, Eugene is convinced he’s going home & he doesn’t much care. He seems done with it. In the front, Padma says they have a decision.

11:12 – Back from commercial, who shows up in the backroom then Tom C. Everyone’s freaked out. He’s there to give a pep talk. Tom wants to know if everyone was happy with what they made tonight. Leah speaks up & says she doesn’t think everyone was so amazing or whatever, but nobody like sucked or whatever. Tom’s like, what do you think we’re doing here, exactly? Is this Didn’t-Suck Chef? Tom calls out Ariane’s deviled egg. In the spirit of the holidays & for their team spirit pulling together for the fridge mishap, Tom tells them nobody is going home tonight. He tells them to get some rest & leaves.

11:13 – You know, I guess that’s nice, but SOMEONE definitely deserved to go home tonight. One of those three definitely deserved to leave.

11:15 – Next time on Top Chef…Early morning Tom C wake-up call! Unrestricted cooking madness! Top Scallops! Catfood! Missing Gail!


1. Stef - December 20, 2008

I think Jeff kind of looks like the father of Anna Nicole Smith’s baby. A better looking version (and yes he does look a lot like Chase too), but still.

I think out of everyone I sort of like Fabio, Radhika and funny, eyes
a’popping Carla the best. Everyone else is kind of meh to me. Don’t quite get how Ariane keeps winning. I find her very annoying.

I miss Steph and Richard from last season.

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