Top Chef: Doopity Don't

Top Chef: Doopity Don't
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This episode didn't do much for me. Possibly because I was a bit buzzed: I barely took notes and just sort of listlessly tapped away at my keyboard. Possibly because I'm distracted and still fuming over being kicked out essentially mid meal from dinner at Lucali, an okay pizza place in Carroll Gardens. Ahem. I'll get right to it. Manuel misses his sons. My ears perk up because this usually means this person is getting sent home. Seriously.


Daniel Boulud is the judge. Daniel Boulud says he's all about technique: "without a good technique I don't think you can accomplish good cooking." I heartily agree! I'm all about technique. Not in my own kitchen, of course -- I blithely stab and burn myself as dinner guests squeal in horror-- but on this show, at least. I think you should at least have the knowledge, and then you can reject it or whatever. Kind of like algebra. And if I want cooking with heart I'll go to my grandmothers house. Except my grandma was a NY flapper and was really more into cigarettes and cocktails. But you know.

Anyway, the challenge is to create a vegetable plate with 3 techniques that will impress Daniel. I find this quickfire depressing but I think it's a valid test. Have I told you I'm pro technique?

Most of the chefs are feeling nervous about technique, but Richard and Ryan apparently worked in Boulud's restaurant's before. Ryan says "I spent a very short time with Daniel. It wasn't my style."

Richard says that "technique is more than just knife skills."

It seems both Spike and Dale are classically trained. Spike says he "trained in France so I've got all the French techniques." Dale is doing a veggie sashimi platter. With, most impressively, what looks like curls of avocado! OMG!

Daniel starts tasting and give Richard a warm greeting: "It's a good thing to see you again." Teacher's pet!

The losing three are Nikki, Lisa and Manuel.
Top three: Zoi, Dale and Richard, and Dale wins.

The challenge is to create a dinner where each course is inspired by your favorite movie. They'll be cooking for a dinner of 12 including Richard Roper and Aisha Tyler. They have 2 hours to prep and cook on location. Everyone draws knives for teams of 2.

Dale, as the quickfire winner, gets to join a team of two. He joins Andrew and Richard, who are on a team. Of course! Dale says of Richard, "I think he's a very talented chef...we come from this progressive forward thinking background." Andrew, who is crazy, says "The weak choose the strong!"

Richard suggests Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as their movie, since it's all about creativity.

Spike and Manuel are debating. Manuel of course wants Like Water for Chocolate and Spike wantsGood Morning Vietnam. I'm siding with Manuel here, but they go with Spike's.

Jen and Nikki are doing Il Postino.Ah, Italy! I went to Ponza last year, seriously amazing.

Antonia and Zoi pick Talk to Her.

Ryan and Mark are having some trouble finding common movies. Ryan wants Dumb and Dumber. All I will say is, Oh No. Eventually they pick A Christmas Story and go with duck. Except there is no duck at the market, so they go with quail.

Stephanie and Lisa decide to go with Top Secret and make steak - inspired by the Cow Suit scene. I think this is the worst idea I've ever heard - does ANYONE know what's happening in this scene in the movie? I do, and it makes the caramel sauce....difficult to swallow, if you will. Ahem.

I think it's the worst idea I've heard, that is, until Andrew comes out with wanting to dress as an Oompa Loompa to serve the judges. Even typing this makes me giggle to myself. Andrew wants to "Make more of a connection...I wanted to show them what an oompa loompa was." I KNOW what an oompa loompa is - I have nightmares where I run into a pack of them in a back alley. Dale dissuades Andrew from this horrible idea.


Andrew, Dale and Richard have a hit with their smoked salmon and faux caviar (tapioca pearls) and white chocolate and wasabi. With a pear and celery soda! I'm impressed. Andrew also does a little dance and sings a little song about the perils of gluttony. I wish! Anyway, the judges think it's creative, well-executed, and a properly delicate first course.

The other one the judges like is The Christmas Story by Ryan and Mark. Everyone loves it. Ted has a new favorite dish! That's great, but bring Gail back. Seriously.

The other top contender is --against all odds-- the "cow" from Top Secret - I can only assume the judges don't know the particular scene they were inspired by. Am I just immature? I mean, if I didn't know the inspiration, this would sound delicious: "it's a NY strip steak with a sauce that's a reduction of the braising liquid, with a savory caramel sauce." Gotta love that savory caramel sauce. It's too easy!


Ultimately, it's between Top Secret and Willy Wonka. Willi Wonka is the winner. If only Stephanie and Lisa had presented in a Cow suit!

Willy Wonka wins, and Richard is the winner. Back at the holding pen, Zoi is going on a highly unattractive rant against Richard: "If this is what they want, then...see you later." See you later, I guess!

So, it's between Good Morning Vietnam and Talk to Her for the losing spot.

Good Morning Vietnam didn't seem to use the whole budget, it was: "something that you could find in your local Vietnamese restaurant that you'd pay 8 bucks for."

Talk to Her wasn't colorful or passionate, even if it did taste pretty good.

Then, it becomes clear it is someone from Team Vietnam: it was the least favorite dish- unanimously. You would think it would be Spike, because it was really his dish, but I know it won't be because he's kind of fiery and kind of good looking and kind of has a statement hat problem.

So, Manuel, my friend...pack your knives and go.

Then I chatted with Max, who does not hate Lucali. Probably because they let him eat dinner before he left.

Max: Oh Manuel. Poor guy

me: I knew he was going to go. Not young, no statement hat. He knew it too. He knew he was doomed.

Max: Yeah. No way was Spike leaving. He's too expressive. And he had like 4 different jaunty hats on in this episode! He didn't pack all those to go out in the third round.

me: Those hats! I hate hats. I'm anti hat.

Max: It was weird. He was SO nice. And so gracious leaving, talking about friendships and cooking. Wasn't he technically in the house for like 7 days?

me: I thought he very subtly tried to blame Spike though, saying the challenge was a chance to 'learn from Spike.' Nicely done!

Max: I'll be honest, Haircut started to win me over this episode.

me: AHA, you DO like Richard!

Max: I don't like like him. But he pulled off that Willy Wonka dish pretty well. He's still gross. I don't like to see him or hear him.

me: Okay - Andrew wanting to dress up as an oompa loompa? I liked that Dale shut that down, right quick.

Max: Hah, yes. I was REALLY hoping he was still going to surprise them and come out with shoes on his knees.

me:In his orange face and a terrifying wig. "here's some salmon, DOOPPITY DOO!"


me: "And make tap-io-ca beans THREE WAYS! I've got a riddle for you! Doopity DOO!"

Max: Also, who blanches fillets? What a dummy.

me: I'm totally naming this recap "doopity don't" - except they won! So really it is a doopity do. No, it's still a doopity don't.

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