Thursday, May 15, 2008

Boxing Match

I missed ANTM last night -- I know, the FINALE! -- so I can't talk about that. I'm going to try to catch it when they run it on Sunday.

But I did see Top Chef!

Last night they had to create a "sexy" salad (whatever) for the Quickfire Challenge and Spike won. His first win. Maybe the guest judge thought he was cute? Maybe it was actually good; people have really liked some of his dishes throughout the season. Anyway, he didn't get immunity but he did get an advantage for the Elimination Challenge.

For the EC, the cheftestants had to create a hearty, healthy, delicious box lunch for Chicago's finest (police or police academy students or both, I wasn't clear). They had to use something from each of these food groups: protein, grain, vegetable, and fruit. Spike's advantage was an extra ten minutes to shop and what he chose, the others couldn't use. So he deliberately chose chicken, bread, tomato, and lettuce so no one else could use those box lunch staples. I may have to call him Spite from now on. What an ass. The others then got to shop and were much more creative, some because they now had to be, and some because they just are.

They went back to the kitchen and started creating their lunches and it went pretty smoothly except Lisa's brain had apparently stopped working altogether. First she got shrimp -- why, hello, cholesterol! -- and had to be TOLD by Crazy Andrew that it's loaded with cholesterol -- you sneaky little artery-clogger, you! -- so she decided to just use it sparingly. Then, even though she was calling her dish stir-fry, she decided to use brown rice. Okay, whatever, it's "creative." But brown rice takes forever to cook and they only had two hours to prep, cook, package, and store their lunches in coolers to take to the cops. So she did her vegetables and shrimp, then went to check her rice and discovered that someone had turned the flame all the way up! Her brown rice was ruined! SABOTAGE! Everyone else was like, whatever, get over yourself. She decided to hope for the best. (Yes, that always works out well.)

Let's see... Andrew did some sort of weird sushi rolls, using pine nuts and parsnip instead of rice. Spite did an odd chicken salad with olives and grapes, and only used the tomato and lettuce as sort of lame decoration -- kept them from the others and then didn't even really use them! Ass! Lisa did her shrimp "stir-fry." Stephanie did a mushroom, leek, and meatball soup. Antonia did a curried beef and rice dish. Richard did a grilled tuna burrito and was admittedly annoying, asking every cop that came to his table, "The question of the day is: do you like burritos?" I generally like Richard and think he's talented, BUT. Annoying! Dale did yet another Asian dish. Not one to roll the dice, our Dale. But he used bison, which was smart.

The top two judge faves (Chicago's finest didn't get input -- no respect!) were Stephanie and Dale. Guess who won? Yes, of course Dale. At least he didn't lose his temper this week (that we saw, anyway) and so was just his usual sort of surly arrogant self. Sigh. It's almost too bad he's such a good cook.

The bottom three were Spite, Lisa, and Andrew. Even with his advantage and his pettiness, Spite STILL didn't do well. The judges said the chicken salad tasted weird and apparently he spent the whole two hours just doing that. He said, "Well, olives and grapes are sweet and salty, what don't you get about sweet and salty?" Ooh, the nerve! Tom (Colicchio, head judge) just smiled and said, But olives have a flavor, they're not just salty, and that flavor didn't work. Or something like that. SNAP. Good to see karma working a little magic there. Lisa's brown rice was underdone -- ah, the SABOTAGE worked! -- but the judges also called her out for having underdone shrimp (gag) and something else wasn't right, but I can't remember what it was. Andrew's sushi apparently wasn't very good and it wasn't a filling, satisfying lunch.

So, here we go. Andrew and Lisa, both with pretty bad defensive angry attitudes, start defending themselves. Lisa told the judges about the SABOTAGE and the judges basically responded that even if she was a victim of SABOTAGE, it's her responsibility to keep an eye on her dishes. THANK YOU. Besides, she's not so talented that the others would need to resort to SABOTAGE to get rid of her. Tom then said, Well, the shrimp were underdone, too. She had nothing to say to that. Trapped, she threw Andrew to the wolves and said, Well, he didn't follow the rules, he didn't have a grain. Tom basically replied, We know, Lisa. Very adult-to-a-difficult-and-disappointing-child.

Andrew defended himself in a predictably unpredictable, uncomfortable way. Very impassioned speech about how he studied nutrition for years and this was the most healthy dish in the world that he gave those cops and if they didn't like it... They didn't show him actually using curse words in front of the judges but it seemed a near thing. He used them plenty at other times, yelling at Lisa, talking to the camera... Seems to be just the way he speaks. Anyway, he and Lisa got into it and the judges seemed to find it all very distasteful. Well, it was. Two awkward and frankly not very likable people showing their asses... not pleasant. So the judges shooed them away and discussed.

Back in the storage area the cheftestants waited and Andrew and Lisa argued and Andrew finally just stared at Lisa in a completely creepy psychopathic way. I think he is seriously unhinged. The judges called the bottom three back in. They all stood in front of the judges' table like it was a firing line and looked defiant. Padma looked at them sadly and said...

Andrew, please pack your knives and go.


Andrew, in a complete surprise move, handled it extremely well, and was gracious and almost charming about it. He asked the judges if he could shake their hands and thanked them for the opportunity. He hugged Spite several times before he left and they were very enthusiastic about each other and hooking up later and staying friends. With benefits?

So exit Crazy Andrew. I still can't believe he took it as well as he did. Good on you, Andrew!

Next week: RESTAURANT WARS. See chefs who have no idea how to actually run a restaurant scurry around like little mice, little angry mice, squeaking at fellow mice to do this FASTER and that BETTER and YOU ARE RUINING OUR CHANCES, YOU STUPID MORON, WHY ARE YOU EVEN HERE?

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