Aug 26, 2007

Top Chef 3: Stalled En Place On the Chopping Block

We did see this one coming, didn't we dahlings? Tre's gone and Sara stepped up to the plate. How ever did this happen? Upon careful observation and analysis, here's how:

After a surprise reprieve last week, a somber Padma and Tom announce the new quickfire challenge: a Mise en Place Relay Race.

"Ms. Place race?" Thought Casey, "That's not brain science. I'll wup her fat Dutch ass."

The two teams are to compete against each other, shucking 15 oysters, dicing 5 onions, cutting 4 chickens, and beating 3 egg whites. Brian and Howie start off shucking oysters, and Brian handily beats Howie, giving Casey a huge lead over Sara.

"Let me see," Casey thought, carefully arranging the onions in order of size and patting them like babies. "Wonder if I should cut the large one first or start with the smallest? Mmm?"

As Casey pondered the perfection of her onions, Howie finished shucking his last oyster. Sara, rolling her sleeves past her elbows, began slicing and dicing onions with the speed of a $19.95 veg-o-matic. Oblivious to bits of onions being maniacally flung all around her like chopped liver in a Jewish Deli, Casey gently lifted one up. "They're too deliciously cute," she thought, "I don't want to bruise them."

As Sara finished chopping her last onion, Speedy Gonzalez Hung, fangs flashing and teeth bared, began deconstructing four chickens. In two minutes flat he'd cut all four in nugget sizes, wrapped them in styrofoam meat product packages and sealed them in cellophane wrapping.

Casey, starting on her first onion, began lining up her cuts. "1/8 inch cubes," she thought, "Each must be precise and cut at exact 90 degree angles."

In the background C.J. and Tre were jumping up and down, either from having to pee or from frustration. Howie, Sara, and Hung were draped all over each other, tears streaming down their cheeks as they whooped with laughter. "Wegonnawin Wegonnawin Wegonnawin," they chanted.

Before Dale whipped his egg whites to a stiff peak, he decided to take a nice long nap. "I got plenty of time," he figured, watching Casey measure and mark each onion with chalk before attempting her cuts.

"Gawd," said Tom in admiration as Dale held his bowl upside down for a full 50 minutes. "You wupped their assess bad. This was slaughter."

Oblivious to her team's frustration and the fact that the competition had ended, Casey continued to gently cut each onion, lovingly carving perfect cubes from their succulent round forms. Tears of joy filled her eyes. "I was put on this earth to do this," she thought, "and no one's gonna stop me."

Meanwhile, the two teams meet with their new interior designer, Madonna's obnoxious brother Christopher Ciccone.
"You the jerk that dissed us, our food, and our mothers and apple pie?" asked Dale.

"Yeah, whatyougonnado about it, High Tide Pants? You can't touch me. You lift one finger and my sister will sic Scotland Yard AND the London Bobbies on you."

"Like that scares me. I like Bobbies. In fact I love men in uniform. What I don't like is your Valentine vomit theme and you lording it over us when all you can do is ride your sister's coattails."

"Whatever," replied Christopher. "It got me this gig."

Telling the Dream Team she trusted their judgment, Casey stayed behind in the kitchen as Brian, Tre, and C.J. consulted with Christopher. She'd just completed chopping her first onion and was beginning to work on her second.

The two teams spent the night discussing a new plan of action. The following day, Sara began lording it over her chefs in an autocratic fashion.

"What you think ... ?" began Howie, holding up his dish.

"Do them over," she barked.

"Hey, Sarah," Hung called out.

"Shhhh," she replied.

"Do you think ..." Dale said.

"Don't think. DO! Then toss it out and do it again. We gotta be perfect this time around. We're not letting anything out of this kitchen that isn't up to my impeccable standards. The only one who's more obnoxious about being a perfectionist than me is our sommelier Stephen. So y'all leave him alone and let him do his shtick."

Observing Sara from the sidelines, Tom Coliccio raised his eyebrow. "Bitch has balls," he thought. "And they're each bigger than C.J.'s single humongous one."

In the other kitchen, Tre ran his Dream Team as a democracy. Each chef had equal say. "We all liked what we did last time. Those judges were dead wrong. Our food was good and their palates were bad," they said in unison.

"Yeah, but now we gotta offer two choices for each entree," said Tre.

"So we'll add raw salmon and salty lobster," said C.J. from behind a column. He was hanging back just in case his enormous cojoine got in the way and tripped someone up. Casey murmured in agreement. She was working on some geometric equations for her knife skills before she attempted to chop the rest of the onions.

We fast forward to the restaurants at the moment guest judges Geoffrey Zakarian, Padma, and Ted enter Quatre. As Dale and the servers passed around each entree, the judges and guest diners Joey and Sara N. oohed and aahed with delight. Finishing up dessert, Ted even forgave Dale for dressing like a Denny's line cook. But when the time came for the judges to taste Restaurant April's food, they didn't ooooh and aah. In fact, they nearly barfed up one of the entrees.

"That raw salmon tasted like rotting cow's gut inside whale blubber," said Geoffrey.

"The dish, like Dale's outfit, should never have left the kitchen," said Ted.

Since the rest of Restaurant April's dishes didn't outshine Team Quatre's, Sara and her team won handily and Sara won her first elimination challenge.

Back at the judge's table, Geoffrey summed up Restaurant April's salmon with one well-placed barb: "That salmon was like a car wreck in Times Square."

"Where were Casey and C.J?" asked Tom. "They didn't watch Tre's back."

"I believe Casey was taking an advanced calculus class to figure out the trajectory of the final cuts for her fifth onion," said Ted, "so she had an excuse for letting Tre trip up."

"But there was no excuse for her dry monk fish," said Geoffrey. "That fish was already dead; she shouldn't have killed it again."

"What about C.J.'s poor performance?" asked Padma.

"He started thinking about his remaining nut," said Tom. "That can be very distracting."

Tre was asked to pack up his knives and go much to everyone's surprise except mine. The previews had Tom portending Tre's ouster, so it was just a matter of finding out why they gave him the boot.

We'll have two weeks to ponder who will go next - two long weeks. I'm beginning to suspect that Bravo is overseeing a scientific inquiry: How many Top Chef reruns can we be force fed to see before our minds turn to mush?


Marius said...

LOL. I love your recaps. I should have seen it coming, but Sara's amazing performance was a surprise for me. She rocked from start to finish. And then, there's Casey. I was soo disappointed. As you know, I have a soft spot for the female cheftestants. But there's no question; Casey is not Top Chef material. I'm rooting for Hung. I like Dale and CJ, but they haven't done anything spectacular in the kitchen. Sara has earned my respect, and I'd like to see her in the final.

Marius said...

Oh, and feel free to use my images any time. :)

Ms. Place said...

Thank you, dahling. It's always a pleasure when you come to visit, and even more endearing when you so kindly allow me to 'borrow.'

I agree with you about Hung and Sara in the final. As for Casey, it's time for her to go. She's been at the bottom too many times.

becca said...

"I believe Casey was taking an advanced calculus class to figure out the trajectory of the final cuts for her fifth onion," said Ted


cb said...

I was puzzled when you wrote that Casey was doing geometric equations...I didn't think she was quite smart enough for that.

but god, it was painful watching her not slice those onions.....
she's gotta go.

I like Dale, and I have a soft spot for Brian (he's cute, and I am a sucker for hats) but frankly, I don't have a damn clue who will win this thing. they all seem out.

Elizabeth Kerri Mahon said...

I loved this commentary, particularly your comments about Casey and her inability to chop onions. However, Madonna's brother, the obnoxious designer, was actually Christopher Ciccone.

Ms. Place said...

The devil is in the details, isn't it E.K? Thanks for the correction. Now you see why I frequently received an A for creativity and dismal grades for accuracy. No rocket scientist am I.

ArtfulSub said...

Casey used the wrong knife and a dull one at that. I think we're going to see yet another former CIA student in the Finals.

Hung's knife-skills are the most impressive of any Cheftestant from any season. Knife-Skills Rankings:

1) Hung
2) Marcel(finalist)
3) Harold (finalist)

All CIA guys.

BigAssBelle said...

haha!!! this is grand, ms. place!

"And they're each bigger than C.J.'s single humongous one."

i nearly choked on that one. and your recap of casey cutting onions ~ priceless.

and that photo of tom, speaking of priceless. yum.

trixie said...

Great recap! Veru funny.

"Let me see," Casey thought, carefully arranging the onions in order of size and patting them like babies. "Wonder if I should cut the large one first or start with the smallest? Mmm?" ha ha

It must have been utterly maddening to watch her go about this!!!