Top Chef
Wedding Bell Blues

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The Cake Mix Controversy

Colicchio strolls in to ask if any of them have catering experience or have ever catered a wedding. Dave seems to be the only one who raises his hand. Colicchio confirms that they are planning to work through the night. Stephen tells us, "Looking at the menu, I saw no need to pull an all-nighter. I mean, we had sixteen hours and everyone had one course." And the wedding cake. And the petit fours. Jackass. Colicchio snorts that he'll bring the coffee. When? In the morning? When it won't even really help? Jackass.

Back at Berkeley Bowl, the cheftestants shop. "Who caters a wedding out of a supermarket?" Harold asks us, "That's ridiculous, that's unheard of! You have specialty purveyors that you go to. That...specialize." Poor Harold. Stephen solicits a hundred or so Kumamoto oysters. Harold attempts to get his hand on a fresh, whole salmon and runs into some difficulty. The fishmonger has a whole farm-raised Atlantic, salmon but she won't sell it to him because the manager says it's for sashimi. "And I was like, listen, 'We're spending a lot of money here, I'm taking the salmon. You're giving me the salmon. That's all there is to it,'" Harold tells us. It looks like the woman finally sells him the salmon. In one shot, blood is dripping from the poor salmon's mouth. Yummy. Harold bitches to Lee Anne, who asks if he wants her to go take care of it. "No, I took care of it," Harold says, hands in pockets, still annoyed. Tiffani prominently grabs eight boxes of cake mix. Dave grabs prawns. They check out and head to the hotel to cook.

The kitchen at the Hotel Monaco is huge. Everyone starts prepping. Harold still isn't too happy with his salmon, "It was Atlantic salmon -- it doesn't have the color, it's not meaty, it's not sweet." I agree on all counts. I didn't even like salmon until I had Pacific salmon. It's a totally different fish. Lee Anne makes the scallion pancakes. Be-gloved and be-knifed, Dave hacks at chocolate for the milk chocolate-sesame, dark chocolate-ginger, and white chocolate-sake truffles. As Tiffani uses an industrial-sized mixer for the cake, Colicchio walks in for his Sniff 'n' Sneer. "Um, Tiffani? I just found this," Colicchio says, holding up the box that he came upon specifically by chance. Oooh! Drama! Not. So now he gets to judge the cake as tasting like cake mix. Tiffani explains that the whole team agreed to use cake mix since none of them are pastry chefs. "At least you're honest," Colicchio laughs. "I'm never not going to be honest," Tiffani says. Oh, we shall see. WE SHALL SEE! Tiffani makes a good point that part of being a chef is recognizing your weaknesses and making up for them in order to be able to deliver the product. Better to serve a Duncan Hines cake than to not serve a cake at all. Stephen laughs to the camera about the one hundred spring rolls, dumplings, and oysters he has to prepare. Harold tells us that Stephen is slow with his prep work, "He's not even moving with any type of urgency at all." Tiffani tells Stephen that his pork stock is getting low. Lee Anne tells us that while Stephen's dish had a lot of components, it was certainly not the most difficult to prepare.

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