Episode 3 has come and gone. It was a little bit dull, like a Russian egg sans caviar. Which there was no excuse for in this episode, the fridges were overflowing with the sustainably hatched delicacy.
Well, let’s go through it and decide: dull or small spark of interest?
1. Chef McEwan was wearing a silky billowing blue shirt. It was a “I can dine finely but still look casual enough for a movie afterward.” Perhaps he planned to check out a rom-com after last week’s sad dishes. Maybe Baby Boom– why didn’t he think of organic baby food before Diane Keaton?
2. Darryl says its time to bring his “A -Game” (yes, please. C-game is getting stale) and Steve confesses that cooking changed his life. Francois mentions something about “bringing it”. Maybe he means he’s finished cooking the raw egg dish from last week.
3. Quickfire Challenge for immunity.
Very cool actually. 20 ingredients in a box covering sweet, spicy, salty and sour. The chefs had to taste them blindfolded. You may have had this experience if you’ve ever been forced to taste baby food blindfolded at a baby shower (in the case of baby food you also quickly realize why kids start to hate vegetables at an early age. Because they taste like pureed poison. Sorry Diane Keaton)
The chefs sampled items such as arugula, fermented beans, miso, sea asparagus, anchovy, beets and watermelon juice.
Chris won with a high score of 13. Francois didn’t even bother to guess on many and managed to identify only 1. The taste of fear. Then he challenged any viewers who might be laughing at him to “try it–you’ll see”. You’ll be sorry was unspoken.
Best guess of the night, Steve calls eggplant “a dry-ass cucumber”.
4. Elimination Challenge: Dan Aykroyd arrives with his Crystal Head Vodka and the chefs are divided into 2 teams and have to prepare a Russian zakuski meal. Essentially hot and cold appetizers–pickled onion, kolbasa, cold fish dishes and such- all requiring strong visual appeal.
So the green team was set up as the team of potential implosion–it had the good: Rob, Andrea, Connie and the bad: Jamie, Darryl and Derek. (I always forget about him until I see his “cap”). I guess the cap says, “oh yah-the guy in the cap!”
Blue Team was all go, go, go. Dale was pissed that Chris didn’t “man-up” (since he had immunity) and take on the dessert course, often a surefire ticket to failure. Ultimately B&B Todd took it on (making a good waffle is halfway to making a good dessert). Dale declared himself the leader.
Green Team was “each man for himself” or as Andrea put it, “It’s Top Chef, not Top Team Chef.” She seemed to have the revelation this episode that she could kick some serious man-chef ass. Go Andrea. We also learned that Connie was a ballerina for eighteen years which gave her the discipline to keep a straight face while realizing that half her team was a bunch of duds.
5. Final Judgment: In a well manipulated TV upset, the green team pulled off the most consistently good zakuski for the judges (including Aykroyd and Frank Chef Anne Yarymowich). Connie nailed a cold dish of smoked garlic sausage, hand-made Kasha and barley lavash and won the challenge. Andrea also rocked the Crystal Skull with sauerkraut, smoked speck, pork loin and ribs, with a veal-and-rye bread meatball.
FYI-Dessert Todd ended up doing an impressive job making a parsnip blini.
Poor Connie, excited about her prize of a weekend in LA, must have been stricken when she realized she was actually committed to cooking meals for the Aykroyds for two days. (cleverly disguised as an invite to “come cook with my wife Donna in our kitchen.”)
And the bottom four came from the blue team.
Dale: “I thought my fishy tasting fish was just perfect”
Chris: “I won’t make dessert, I’d make a flavourless sausage.”
Steve: “I thought the bacon foam on my one-pot-potato salad was like seasoning the whole dish”
Patrick: “tasted good but looked bad”
Since, Chris had immunity it was down to the other three. Steve was sent packing. I felt some sad. I might need a bad rom-com to cheer me up. Maybe the one where Aaron Eckhart and Catherine Zeta-Jones play chefs.
In Episode 3 the cooking was much improved, but overall I felt like the whole show could have been cut down to half an hour. The other half could have been a chef cock fight, where the chefs drinks lots of Crystal Head vodka, dress in mascot costumes and fight each other in a ring made of caviar. Just a thought.