August 20, 2010

Reality Rundown: Today is a Say Something Hat Day

Finale! The Next Food Network StarTop Chef DCProject Runway

Finale! The Next Food Network Star - The queen of rasp, Rachel Ray, meets the finalists in the Food Network kitchen to inform them of their final task. Rachel will direct each finalist in a 3-minute pilot for their cooking show which will then be presented to focus groups and their opinions will help select a winner. We see all 3 finalists get overwhelmed at the memorizing, bumble their lines, and of course ace it in the end. It seems like such a time-waster since it's sooo obvious Aarti is going to win.

Herb's pilot is screened first and makes the audience chuckle with jokes about his girlish figure. He's described as charismatic, his food looked tasty despite it being healthy, and he's a guy they'd want to hang out with. Aarti has lots of family stories and talks about getting crunk at book clubs. The audience found her easy to relate to and someone they'd want to befriend (see a pattern?) Tom's show has some good tips and makes them laugh. Tom is the first one described with the phrase "star quality" and they love him being so different than any other food personality.

The judges praise all 3 finalists- why kick them down when it's already over? Tom makes cooking fun, while Aarti is the kind of girl you'd want to watch without necessarily making their food. Herb- c'mon, he's not even in the running. While I personally found Tom's pilot the best, it's clear this show has been obsessed with Aarti since day 1 and see something they love in her. Aarti is named the Next Food Network Star and pretty soon Aarti Party (which has nothing to do with parties) premieres this Sunday. But better news: it's already been announced runner-up Tom has been given a show, Outrageous Eats, where he'll visit places around the country for crazy food. This makes me happier.

Top Chef DC - Molecular gastonomy guys Wylie Dufresence comes out, so I'm expecting a science experience but it's actually just good old fashioned cooking with f'ed up ingredients. The Quickfire is create a dish using the ingredients in a bunch of mystery boxes. So yeah, the same as Food Network's Chopped. It's also a high stakes Quickfire, so money's on the line. Mystery box #1 is fish, fava beans, and a can (yes, can) of honey. Everyone starts their dish, but mystery box #2 arrives with squid and black garlic, and since all ingredients have to be incorporated, they're screwed. Wanna get gross? Box #3 has ramps and passion fruit. Something called hominy is in a 4th box and at this point I'm like, "Enough already!" These dishes sounded like crap all around. Awesome Tiffany wins yet another Quickfire with her stew, making her hilarious and talented, which is my favorite kind of Top Chef (shoutout to Crazy Carla!!)

Elimination challenge: a lot of CIA metaphors leads to the easier summary of "create a new identity for a classic dish." They'll be serving their food to CIA officers and the head of the CIA at the CIA headquarters and the winner gets a trip to Paris. Do they get a CIA escort, because they didn't say CIA enough in 2 minutes. Some of the dishes getting a diguise: kung poa shrimp, gyros, veal parmesan, and Cobb Salad. Angelo is getting the most frowns in the kitchen because he bought pre-made puff pastry for his beef wellington, and that ugly hippie guy from episode 1 was eliminated for that same reason.

The dinner panel has fun trying to guess the dishes (some far easier to guess than others) but the head of the CIA gets pulled away on a secret note; rumor has it some creature from middle earth stole a pea puree somewhere. The judges bring Tiffany, Kelly and Ed to the table first where they are told they have the best dishes. Kelly turned her kung pao shrimp, typically with a sauce, into a soup that was full of flavor. Tiffany's deconstructed gyro was described as elegant at the tasting. Ed's chicken cordon bleu was a little obvious, but it was perfectly executed technique-wise. The chef named winner and getting a trip (or shall I say honeymoon) to Paris is TIFFANY! For those keeping tracking, that's 4 challenges in a row. Suck on that, Angelo!

The bottom 3 can be called Triple A (AAA): Angelo, Alex, and Amanda. Amanda's french onion soup wasn't disguised well at all and had an overly sweet marmalade. Angelo's beef wellington was totally obvious and the puff pastry was dried out. Gollum (who, c'mon people, we know is going home at long last) takes on veal parmesan and it looked cool, but has horrible execution. He has the genius idea to try techniques he's never done before, and Tom basically says he'd rather eat carnival versions of his components than Gollum's terrible cooking. Alex aka Gollum is at long last eliminated, leaving a trail of poorly executed food and stolen pea puree in his wake.

Project Runway - We pick up last week's episode with a passed out Ivy being aided by EMTs and getting an ambulance ride to the hospital. Ivy's back and learned to hydrate herself (which means water, not Diet Coke).

The models enter the runway wearing outlandish hats (it's a Say Something Hat Day!) and Heidi brings out hat designer Philip Treacy who has designed hats "for some of the most beautiful women in the world, from Sarah Jessica Parker to Lady Gaga." You have named 2 famous women who are mocked for their quirky beauty; nice one. So the challenge is obviously to create an outfit inspired by one of Philip's hats and no, none have a propeller on top so BOO. The fun part is that it forces the designers to switch models just to get the hat they want so I was hoping for some model swapping drama to get the hat of choice, but they are all dullards and keep their model and whatever hat is plopped on their head. Front-runner Valerie hates her model's hat, which is actually a mask, yet still picks her. Where is the drama people?!

Michael Drummond (unrelated to Arnold, Willis and the old white guy) says hat reminds him of a warrior and farmer, so uses a pleated materials for the top and crinkled the skirt. The judges love it but I think it's terrible. Michael Costello's hat is a red hat/mask and his Grecian look is a last-minute "effortless" look because well, his original dress sucked and he had to re-do it. I like the brassy orange color and would be a big seller at a store. Valerie is awesome again with her lacy mask. She makes a little sleeveless jacket with an adorable red scooped dress with a racerback. The judges love it, but the hat designer does not so it looks like Valerie will remain PR's Susan Lucci. Michael Costello wins the challenge, finally giving Tim Gunn an accurate outfit assessment this season.

Kristin has an orchid hat, which is a beautiful hat, but the dress is a total snooze. It looks like a Macy's prom dress, sloppy lines, and it's poorly made. Christopher's hat has this huge black tulle and his silver/black dress is deemed to dark. It's a lot of look with boots, leggings, skirt, coat, and giant f'ing hat. April's hat is like one of those pointed Chinese hats, which for some reason leads her "futuristic beach look" which in turn leads to "shorts" that, c'mon people, it's an adult diaper. If April gets eliminated, she could work for Oops I Crapped My Pants. So the bottom 2 comes to an adult diaper or a cheap Macy's prom dress: Kristin and her black and hot pink blah dress are out.

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