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ToP Chef S5, Ep6 (JP Recap)


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Aight, I’ve been saying this the last few episodes: this cast of cheftestants suck! Like, they royally suck! I’m pretty sure the line cooks at a place like Intermission Tavern would do better than half these so-called chefs. Now, I don’t think all of these cheftestants are all bad though…just that the product they are placing out for us viewers (and apparently the judges) is utter crap. The Euros should be dominating! Jeff definitely has a vast knowledge of food and can clearly make complex dishes…I’m just not understanding why it’s not happening for him. I mean, seriously, how can you let someone like Ariane beat you in this sort of competition. All she has done is cooked the basic of basic foods. Granted, she has proven to do them well, but you should not be winning this competition for TOP CHEF by just cooking turkey and lamb well…especially if you weren’t the one that made the flavors for the lamb. Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself, so onto this week’s craptacular episode.

So in the beginning they show Jersey herself talking about how awesome she is…blah. Hey bravo, you got enough ugly middle aged women on your Desperate Housewives show, no need to be showcasing this one as well! Then there’s a little snippet of the Euros, being totally awesome. How could you not like/root for these two? Then they show Hosea (with a T-Mobile Sidekick! I need to go get one now, along with some Glad-ware!) apparently being able to talk on the phone. I didn’t know they were allowing cheftestants the ability to converse with the outside world. But then we learn that Hosea’s dad is sick and he’s allowed to chat to catch up. Look, I ain’t got a heart of stone or anything like that, but COME ON!!!! I don’t really care that you and Leah are trying to cheat on your significant others. I don’t really care that Alex is missing out on his wedding planning. And now I don’t really care that your dad is sick. I do hope he gets better and can beat cancer, but I’m watching this show to see your food and cooking chops, not learn your life history. (That’s not really fair to take this out on Hosea…I should be blaming Bravo for it all…but a part of me wonders if these cheftestants will go to any lengths just to get their story out there.) Anyway, onto the quickfire challenge: making a one-pot holiday dish that is judged by Martha Stewart. Now all the cheftestants go crazy for Martha, speaking of how great her and her empire is…and I gotta say, I don’t see it. I admire Martha for her empire completely, but as someone wanting to be a Top Chef, is Martha Stewart really someone you want to hold your candle to? I understand if you wanted to be a branded chef, that she should be a role model…but to be a branded chef, it all starts with what makes you a chef: your food! In any case, Jersey goes off and talks about how both her and Martha are from Jersey and how she’ll try to use that to her advantage (making it the first time anyone on reality TV show had tried that tactic…most others have tried to hide their Jersey roots because of shame). The other cheftestants explain what a one-pot meal is and some mention how hard it is…really? Abby and I cook one-pot meals all the time. Ming Tsai does at least one one-pot dish on every Simply Ming episode. This seems like it should be a staple of a chef’s repertoire. In any case, the losers are Euguen, Fabio and Jeff. Dammit, two of my favorites and one of my wildcard in the bottom. The winner turns out to be Jersey (god dammit!) for making filet mignon and cauliflower puree. Seriously…that was the winning dish. Now I know a thing or two about steaks, and filet mignon is the easiest of the steaks to cook. It’s all about the product. All you do is season it with some salt and pepper and some extra virgin olive oil and sear it on all sides and you are done. Let the meat speak for itself. So you gotta ask yourself, was the cauliflower puree all that great? It must have been to push Jersey above Jamie (sea scallops and kale) and Hosea (paella). Think about that…a simple steak plate (which can hardly be considered the hardest one-pot wonder meal) beat out paella? I mean, come on! Paella has a million things going on in it, plus the fact that it was cooked under 45 minutes! UGH! All this means is Jersey wins immunity and I’m forced to stare at her for at least another freaking week!

Then the Harlem Choir comes and the cheftestants have to pull from the knife block and predictably the number on the knife represents one of the 12 days of x-mas. This is a tough challenge. I could probably think of a few things for some of the days of x-mas, but some are really, really tough. Good job on the cheftestants for tying in their dish to the theme. There was some drama of a refridgerator not being closed correctly, ruining Hosea and Radhika's dishes. But in the spirit of x-mas (filmed probably in July) all the cheftestants help out to get the dishes complete. This was the point I figured no one was going home. No way the story of all of them helping out combined with the fact it's an x-mas special mean anyone's going home.

At the charity event, an AIDS fodation, the guests are given red ribbons to place by their favorite dish. Hosea and Jeff win over big, with the ladies liking them and their dishes. Hosea even flirts with a blonde that is wasted and wants to bone, which gets Leah (still not seeing that great rack) all jealous. They do realize their significant others are watching this right now...if they are still together with them I guess. Here's a list of all the dishes made (courtesy to TWOP):

Twelve drummers drumming: Stefan makes a creamy chicken pot pie
Eleven pipers piping: Hosea makes pork loin with chipotle mashed potatoes with apple brandy jus
Ten lords a leaping: Jeff makes seared Halloumi and Kassiere cheese with roasted beets and pears
Nine ladies dancing: Fabio makes sweet corn and roasted pepper crab cake
Eight maids a milking: Melissa makes gorgonzola and NY strip steak on sourdough crostini with cranberry vinaigrette
Seven swans a swimming: Jamie makes crudo of sea scallop in vichyssoise
Six geese a laying: Ariane makes deviled eggs six different ways
Five golden rings (people coming in from other rooms for that part): Eugene makes poisson cru with pineapple ring and Yukon Gold potato chip
Four calling birds: No one
Three French hens: Leah makes braised guinea hen with butternut squash on brioche
Two turtledoves: Carla makes braised chicken with duxelles and mushroom cap
A partridge in a pear tree: Radhika makes braised duck leg on brioche with pear chutney

Hosea wins and Jamie, Eugene and Melissa are all the losers. But in the kindness of Colichio's heart (and also because of his major disappointment) he tells them all that everyone is safe this week and that they all need to step it up. He calls out Jersey's Deviled Eggs and wonders aloud if they expect to win with dishes like that. I applaud Tom for speaking out to this group. As a viewer, obviously I can't eat their food to really judge them, but it really looks like they are sucking it up. This is TOP CHEF!!!! Next week Tom tells them to cook their best dish. AWESOME!!! I love the fact that this will truly show off how good (or bad, I'm looking at you Jersey) their cooking chops are.