Dec 10, 2006

Top Chef 2: Beach Barbecue Splish Splash

Fresh from creating a raw dish in the Quickfire Challenge for guest judge Raphael Lunetta (he nearly started a riot by choosing Marcel's Watermelon Steak - It was really just a hunk of watermelon, Ilan observed) our topcheftestants were challenged to create a unique breakfast dish. There was a catch: The cooking method would be a surprise.

"That leaves out my special Creme Brulee breakfast tarts with baco bits and Hollandaise sauce," muttered Betty. "Woulda been my ace in the hole."

Hearing Frank boast that he's "on a roll," we Top Chef junkies are receiving our first hint of who will be asked to pack up his knives. Nice, subtle clue, TC producers. Way to go!


As our merry troupe of topcheftestants trudged down Malibu Beach, Frank said aloud, "Wow, that Sears Kenmore Pro Kitchen sure is versatile! I didn't know those burners could work off propane gas!"
That dude's one log short of a full bonfire, thought Marcel, plodding alongside him and beginning to suspect they'd be cooking their breakfast over something more primitive than a Kenmore Pro kitchen appliance. And lo and behold, a series of charcoal pits greeted them halfway down the beach.



On hand were Tom, Gail, Padma, and Rafael looking like they'd first stopped at a Salvation Army store to purchase a few used items of clothing. In doing so they'd lost a golden opportunity to showcase Haute Malibu Couture Beach Frolicwear in Lili Pulitzer colors with retro 60's beachcomber touches. I mean, how cool would that have been?





Our contestants eagerly set off to work. Poor Cliff immediately experienced a host of troubles, not the least of which was a geeky nerd kicking sand in his face and food.

Upon seeing his distress, Charles Atlas handed him a business card. "I was flexing my muscles in the neighborhood. Think my gym can help you buff up your bod."


But Cliff hadn't heard him. He was too busy with his own thoughts. Man, didn't the producers realize he was a chef who catered to the sophisticated palate? What the hell was he doing cooking haute cuisine over a charcoal pit? And now someone had kicked sand in his food!



Mia was ecstatic with the challenge. She knew how to barbecue backwards and forwards and sideways, having done it for a posse of cowpokes for half her cooking life. In fact, she'd earned her professional barbecueologist degree in barbecueology school and she could barbecue while surfing and chopping onions at the same time. She aksed Tom, who was making the rounds at each station, "Who's gonna eat our tasty breakfasts?"

He merely smiled at her and said, "Here they come!"

From the far end of the beach rolled in a motley assortment of people. The surfer dudes were first of course, hungry and ready for chow. They made a beeline for Mia's station, as it was clear she seemed to know what she was doing. In the process they kicked even more sand onto Cliff's food.


Then, some other folks started to show up.

First in line was Charles Atlas. He'd figured out that something was cooking, what with the charcoal pits and all. He wasn't born yesterday! In fact, he wasn't even been born in the last century, since he was 110 years old!
After Charlie came the Big Kahuna and Moon Doggie and Gidget, and Frankie and Annette, and even Elvis and Marilyn, looking none to clean. They'd been wearing the same outfits for forty-five years, fifty years, but they still looked better than the judges.






"You MEEN I have to cook for all zese peepul?" Elia asked in alarm. "I don't know, Tom. I am a hot Latin firecracker, not some line cook at some cheezy beach breakfast joint. I have preenceepuls."

"Do what you can, Elia. Your fans are legion. You've got a pretty face. I mean, this contest is YOURS to win." He winked a couple of times, but Elia didn't notice.

She couldn't wait until this challenge was over so she could gambol and frolic in the water like a little kid.

The chefs then served their food, the men largely serving a mess. Frank was still looking for the Kenmore Pro oven to stick his quiche into. Tired of waiting, Charles Atlas stirred Frank's egg mixture and tossed it in a pan over the fire. Sheez, what lousy service, he thought. In all my 110 years I've never seen more sloppy work.

The ladies fared much better, hovering maternally over their eggs, making certain their fires burned evenly, and satisfying the hungry crowd. After all, they were gatherers and knew all about home hearths. Those ridiculous men were hunters. What the hell were they doing in the kitchen any way? Shouldn't they be off hunting whales or something?

The judges crowed over Elia's waffles and eggs; waxed ecstatic over Mia's Crab Cake Benedict, and lovingly told Betty what a sweet person she was after tasting her egg/ham/leek bundles .

They looked at the men bunched up together, trying to save their burnt eggs and toad holes and sandy food, and said, "Yeah, whatever. Those guys are a lost cause, especially Frank who's letting Charles Atlas do all his cooking."

The judges conferred over Raphael's surf board, and agreed that the three women (and maybe Ilan, who had nurtured his feminine self) were this week's top chefs.


After a short consultation, Elia was declared the winner. "Oh, goodie," she said, "Can I go play with Marcel now?"

"Not until we auf the next chef," said Tom. Frank, for not figuring out that he had the ingredients for an excellent fritatta, was then asked to pack up his knives and go. (Duh, as if we brilliant t.v. viewers couldn't guess THAT was coming. We've been manipulated all our lives by producers and marketing types. Get a clue, you dumb ass suits!)

The chefs, elated, ran toward the ocean, tearing off their chef's clothes to reveal casual clothes underneath!

Splish Splash:
Sung to Bobby Darrin's Splish Splash
Splish splash, I was watching Top Chef
Long about a Wednesday night
A fun hour, just relaxing with my pup
Thinking how the show was alright
Well, I stepped out the room,
put my feet on the floor
to snatch some white wine
From the ree-fri-ger-a-tor,
and then
Splish, splash! I came back in the room
How was I to know there was a party going on?

They was a-splishing and a-splashing,
rolling in the ocean
Moving and a-grooving, rocking and a-rolling, yeah
Bing bang, I saw Elia and Marcel
rolling on the sandy beach shore,



Flip flop, they were wrestling with each other
And the other chefs had bathing suits on too
There was Betty with-a Mia
And Sam 'n Cliff 'nMikey,
and then Frankie showed up too
A-well-a, splish splash, I forgot about my wine
'cause Padma had put her bathing suit top on . . .

Well, gentle reader, as you can see, Padma finally found a time and place to wear the bikini she'd purchased from Alexandra from Project Runway Season One. What a convenient product tie-in! But, Padma, dear. Take our well meant and kindly advice: You still can't dress worth a shit! Dahling, cover up that navel. The look simply doesn't suit you intellectual types.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

After all, they were gatherers and knew all about home hearths. Those ridiculous men were hunters. What the hell were they doing in the kitchen any way?

LOL. Funny recap.

JavaJunkie said...

Ms. Place,

Mwah!!! Wonderful recap!

You know, I don't think folks would mind Padma so much if Bravo would just hire someone to dress her...this week's "beach blanket bimbo" look left me with jangled nerves...