Top Chef
'50s Food Flashback

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Parfaits and Calf Liver

Back at the loft, the cheftestants talk about Last Chance Kitchen. I totally forgot that ever existed. Now I have to go check the website and see if they are doing it. They are! I'll save any thoughts on it until the end of the recap, in case you want to avoid knowing.

The cheftestants arrive at Canlis and start cooking. You guys, I hope you are sitting down because this is going to be a shock, but John knows a lot about 1950s cooking! His father used to take him to all the fine dining rooms in New York (which was the 1950s? How old is he anyway?) so he totally knows his stuff. Kristen interviews that it's actually harder to make a dish with few ingredients, because each one has to be perfect. Her strategy with the mushrooms is to prevent sogginess by throwing them in a hot oven for a few minutes, so they are dried out. Stefan develops a strategy to cook his calf liver that involves pan searing and then grilling.

We have to talk about the grill situation in this kitchen. There's a grill room that has (surprise!) a grill and it's tiny and covered in cooper panels. And you can only access it from the kitchen by a door or by looking through a tiny slit window. Weird! And inconvenient, since there are multiple people who need to use the grill and there's not enough room for all of them in the grill room. This will be important later.

Chrissy seems a little worried about her ability to make this iconic salad; she should be. Josh interviews that there wasn't a lot of French onion soup around in the '50s, which I refuse to believe. Maybe not at home, but every steakhouse (and I imagine Oklahoma is full of steakhouses) has French onion soup, no? Josh uses it as an excuse to talk about how his grandparents ate calf testicles... like we get it, you're country, but you don't get to have it both ways. You can't get mad when people think you're unsophisticated but then also brag about your heritage like that. Pick a side.

Carla is prepping her squab by crushing the rib cage with her hand. That's an unconventional method. Wouldn't the tiny rib bones splinter inside the breast that way? I don't know; I buy my meat boneless if that's what I want, because I am a spoiled suburbanite. Anyway, Carla's squab needs to be grilled but she's somehow not allowed in the grill room? She says that only Sheldon and Bart are allowed in there, although we've seen CJ and Stefan in there too. I don't know why she agreed to this; I don't know how it was negotiated. But it's bullshit and she should have never agreed to it, especially with a dish like squab, which we've seen doesn't fare well to tiny fluctuations in length of cooking. Anyway, CJ is making kebabs and he decides that he will sous-vide his meat if it doesn't get cooked enough. This could also be a grilling issue, but it's not clear.

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