Top Chef has never made me cry until tonight. But before we get to that, the Quickfire was a taste-test (not blind, surprisingly) and identification of sundry ingredients, and it was sort of both really easy and really hard, and Padma got bell-happy because I think she forgot if she was supposed to ring it for a right or wrong answer, and Casey won. Also, Rocco was there as guest judge and he was looking really bizarre. Sort of like someone else had put his skin on and it didn't quite fit. Or like he had gone several rounds with the Son'a skin rejuvenator in Star Trek: Insurrection.
In the Elimination Challenge, the cheftestants -- in teams of two -- had to reproduce their own versions of frozen Bertolli skillet dinners. Specifically, make an Italian/Mediterranean pasta meal, freeze it, and successfully reheat it in about ten minutes. The key to this challenge was to freeze every cooked component individually and then package the components into fifteen individual servings. Of all the teams, Tre and CJ were the only ones who not only understood this, but also managed to execute it. The two of them ended up winning the big prize: two tickets each to Italy.
Meanwhile, Howie and Sara M. did not play well together and made a fairly disgusting mess of a fusilli entrée. Two other losers -- Hung and Joey -- messed up their fusilli meal, because Hung understood what they needed to do and Joey didn't. Hung tried to tell Joey what they should do, but Joey just didn't hear him. At Judges' Table, everyone goes after their teammates, there's a lot of finger-pointing, and both Howie and Joey's heads get redder and redder. Sadly, Joey is the one to get sent home, and he just loses it -- in the back when he has to say his goodbyes, and in his interviews. He is full-on sobbing about everyone he's going to miss and he lays a big hug on Hung even before they leave Judges' Table to show all was forgiven and he just keeps crying and voice-cracking and I had some serious sympathy sobs happening here. Shut up. Tell me you can look at that big round red face, wet with tears, and not be moved by Fusilli Joey.
Man, Bravo, don't make me go all Stephen Colbert on your asses and start a recap segment called "Who's not honoring me now?" because that would get tedious and more than trifle whiny, but come ON! Andy Cohen did NOT coin "cheftestant" and neither did Amuse-Biatch (who kindly wrote to me giving me full props, and then posted the same on Ted Allen's "controversial" post) or Blogging Top Chef. FYI, Bravo, I used that word in the Top Chef forum back during season one and then I used it in my TC1 recaps, the first instance there being published in July 2006. Now, I know it's a dumb little non-word, but hell, it's MY dumb little non-word. How about some respect? On the same subject, to all the posters and commenter who got all up-in-arms on my behalf over on Bravo I send out my deepest appreciation and love. It did my pickled little heart good to be so defended; come to California, I'll make you all cocktails. (I do have to admit that "cheftestant" getting all this attention is sort of sad, given that Jeff's "auf'd" is a far more brilliant creation.)
I meant to put this cocktail up two weeks ago, but I was on a no-caffeine, no-alcohol, no-painkiller, no-any-substance-you-use-to-cope in order to prep myself for maximum dizziness. However, this is the best recipe for Hogsmeadian Butterbeer I have ever found. It's supremely simple but it's also exactly what I imagine Butterbeer to taste like. My wizard hat is off to Britta Peterson for concocting this recipe.
Makes 2 quarts.
1 cup butterscotch schnapps
7 cups cream soda (almost one 2 liter bottle)
Carefully mix just before serving, adding the schnapps to the soda then stirring gently to mix well, or the fizz will dissipate too soon.
Eerie music plays as rain spatters the windows of Chez Cheftestants and heavy clouds move across the sky. What is with this "It was a dark and stormy Top Chef"? The music is all heartbeats and for whom the bell tolls-y with some definite notes recalling the Halloween theme. Nice one, sound guys! Casey rolls over in bed with perfect hair and makeup and she is clearly naked. Speaking of naked, one of the Brians partially shrouds his naked body in his chartreuse motel blanket while he talks to us. Oh, sorry, he's not naked. He has his knit cap on. Here's a question -- why is he wearing a knit cap to bed? In Miami? Just turn down the AC and stop looking so insane! Also, the cut makes it look like he's in bed with naked Casey. What happens if he has a Brian changeover during sex? Could be sort of erotic. Or life-threatening. One of the Brians -- and all signs point to a sleepy MALARKEY! -- tells us about how he thought Lia would be one of the last chefs standing. And then he was going to eat her brain. In the living room, CJ tells Dale and Joey that Lia was his closest friend there and he's bummed she's gone. Standing outside, staring at the sullen Miami sky, Joey From New York contemplates wearing galoshes. He tells us, "You have to do whatever you have to do to survive another day here. And if that means throwing someone over the bus, over the balcony -- it's gonna start happening." Dude, what did I say just last week about him wanting to throw Dale over the railing? Creepy. Speaking of creepy, I just took a closer look at the knit-and-go-naked Brian scene and saw a whole mess of prescription bottles on the bedside table. The Brians must have hay fever.