Thursday, January 15, 2009

Top Chef: Season 5, Episode 8

One Little Piggy Cried All the Way Home

OK, I think I’ve said it before. This season of Top Chef sucks big time. I’m soooo not invested in any of the cheftestants. I don’t think I like any of them, other than Jeff the Hair and only because of the superficial reason that his hair does look really pretty. So it’s been a drag pulling these recaps together. So this week, I decided to invite my inner Fabio to do a guest recap. Take it away, Fabio!

Thank you Chef Benny. I can call you that, no? We are like da brothers even though you’re not from Europe. But your family make-a da noodles, and my family make-a da PAH-sta, so we all the same, eh?

Top Chef is tutti tutti bellissimo. I having a good time. I love New York. New York loves me. It’s beautiful.

You know what else is beautiful? Leah and Hosea. It’s amore every time at the apartment with the two. They’re always the kissy-kissy. But just in the mind.

So today we went to the quickfire and I see-a da Hung from Season Three. And you know, I think the guy is a genius with fish. So when I see Padma standing in front-a da big white-covered box, I knew it would be a big frickin’ ah-QUAR-ium. I’m a ready. In Italia, we love-a da fish. We eat the whole thing.

Oh wait. What da fuck? That’s not da fish. Oh. My. God. It’s all can goods. I don’t even see Bertolli. So Padma tells us to cook a dish in, what (?!), 15 minutes. She’s craaazy. I better grab something because every body is pushing and shoving. I find two cans of artichoke hearts. Ah, bellissimo. What? Stay away you stupid Hosea. No, I need two cans. I cannot give you one. Go away you tall, bald American!

LOL. I see my best-a buddy Stefan over there cutting a can with his knife. What is he doing? He make-a me-a laugh. He can just flip the top with da ring. Maybe they don’t have that kind of can in Sweden, I don’t know. That guy, I love him. We represent the EU. These other guys, they don’t know what they doing.

I see Stefan, he takes da Spam piece from Hosea. I say, go, go just use it. Don’t ask him, just do it. But Hosea say OK anyway, so it’s all good. Everyone likes da Spam.

So Padma and Hung, they go around and try everyone’s dish. I’m happy with mines. I do the artichokes, roast it really nice to give it flavor and warm them up. Then I make this mac and cheese from da blue and yellow box. It’s a-pretty easy, no? In Italy we make this for our kids all the time, but we use the nice cheese. I don’t know this stuff, with the orange color and smell. But it’s easy, so OK. To make special, I add da chili pepper. Hung, he don’t say ANY-thing. Just “spicy.” OK, I take the spicy because I’m a spicy guy.

Hung, da guy no like the dishes by Leah, Jamie and Radhika. I agree because Radhika and Jamie just make-a da toast. Then they just put stuff on top. C’mon! What is that? That’s not bellissimo. But da Hung, he no like mines too. I don’t get it. He choose … oh boy, he choose Stefan. Stefan! You steal another win from me! Awhile ago we were one-one, but now he won some more so I have to get back at him. Da guy is going too far ahead of me. We have to be same-same, no?

So now we have to pull knives, and I’m first and I pull da knife it says-a da “pig.” Then others pick and it says “chicken” or “lamb.” Padma says we have to go back to basics and I don’t know what she says, but she is bellissimo. I can listen to da Padma all day.

Commercials. I like-a da Ricky Gervais. I don’t usually like the London guys, you know, because I don’t understand-a their accents. But they come to Italy all the time. So I like Gervais; he’s going to be-a on da “Inside da Actors Studio.”

We go back to the apartment and I’m talking to Jeff and Radhika. Jeff, he tells me: “No Italian.” And he tells Radhika, “No Indian.” He says keep it simple. I say, Jeff, listen, Italian is simple. We get-a da pasta. We get-a da sauce. Simple, no? But the guy don’t listen.

I want to be on Stefan’s team. But he’s with his girlfriend Jamie. I tell him, Stefan, Jamie likes girls. She’s da lesbian. Stefan, he just likes to get Jamie mad. Stefan and Jamie, they work with Carla, and Carla I don’t think she do anything. She just sits there and she don’t even talk. What is that? I tell you what it’s not. It’s not bellissimo.

I want to go to bed already, these guys, they make-a me tired. But it’s almost midnight and I hear Stefan and Jamie still fighting. The two fighting fighting fighting all the time. Jamie wants to change the menu, and Stefan, he’s not going to listen. You know him, so macho. Just like me. But you know, I treat the ladies nice. They are beautiful. I like da ladies. I like the ladies who like-a da ladies.

Then I go to bed, but we all have to wake up early. The producers tell us get up at 5 a.m. This not good for Fabio. I have to get my rest. I cannot sleep, though. Because Hosea, he’s walking back and forth. I think he’s nervous. I don’t know why because he’s with his amore, Leah, with the lamb team. And they’re working with Ariane, and she cooked the lamb and won the challenge before! They all worry about cooking seasonal. In Italia, we always cook seasonal. Every season. SUM-mer, fall, da spring, WIN-ter. We like da seasons.

So we driving and then we go outside the city. I never been outside New York before. It’s pretty. It reminds me of Tuscany and the countryside in my Italia. But I think to myself, this is no Whole Foods. Jamie, she says she knows where we’re going and it’s a farm by Chef Dan Barber. Blue Hill at da Stone Barns or something. I don’t get it. I don’t see-a da blue hills.

I see Padma and Dan Barber and three farmers. This is good because I like fresh foods. This is going to be fresh because this is coming from da farm. But I look at Jeff and he looks and me and we make-a da eye contact because we know we can’t find all our supplies here. So we have to change da menu. That’s OK. It’s beautiful. It’s going to be fresh.

I’m not vegetarian but I respect the land. This place, you got to respect the food. You’re born-a, and then you raise-a. You kill for a purpose. This is a lifetime process. You got to respect it.

We go to da garden and I see all these beautiful red tomatoes. I think PAH-sta right away. But Jeff, he no let me cook the Italian. Then he starts grabbing the green tomatoes. I know already what he’s gonna make. He’s gonna make the green fried tomatoes. Everybody knows already. That’s not-a original.

Then we see this pig. It’s soooo big. Bellissimo! But da pig, he no like me. He spit at me or something. So crazy.

Commercials. I don’t understand this American family in this Samsung commercial. In Italia, we all get cell phones for years. We give our bambino cell phones. Everybody talk the cell phone. Wait, I get-a da call. Scusi.

We get in da kitchen, it’s beautiful. I love the kitchen. It’s a real professional kitchen. We get all our meat cut for us and lots and lots of produce too. Bellissimo! So I tell Jeff I make-a da ravioli. I put a little bit sausage from the pork. Jeff, he cooks da loin. Radhika, I don’t know this girl, she says she cannot make the bread pudding because no figs. I say, make bread pudding and put something else. You get all beautiful produce to put. Then I say, OK, I make-a da crème brulee. So Radhika make the grilled corn for salad. I don’t know this girl why she take two hours to grill-a 10 corns. Two hours!?

I see da other teams, Stefan’s making roast chicken and cutlet. He still fighting fighting fighting with Jamie. Then they make-a da soup. Carla is making another tart with stone fruit. What? Tart again? Carla, this is called Top Chef, not Top Tart.

Hosea is cooking with Ariane and Leah, the girl just standing there making tomato salad. That’s so easy, we can beat them easily. I think our food will be better. Me, I make my ravioli by hand-a. But I think it got to be better, so I make-a my pesto sauce. Radhika, the girl doesn’t understand Italia. She says pesto sauce, for inside the ravioli? No, I tell her, you pour on top of the ravioli. It’s-a da sauce. Mama mia, Jesus Christ the Pope.

Speaking of da Pope, there comes Chef Tom Collichio. To me, I said before, Tom in the kitchen is like if I da priest and the Pope is there. But he talk to Jeff and Jeff tells him our menu with my ravioli and the pork loin. It’s going to be bellissimo!

When Chef Tom leaves, I see Ariane trying to tie up her lamb. She don’t even know how to tie the lamb. I can do it with one arm tied behind me. So I see Leah helping her do the tying, but that girl’s not any better. I bet the lamb won’t cook good.

We almost ready and Jeff looks at the pork and he says he’s happy, and he asks me if I’m happy. I think, yeah, I’m happy. I’m always happy because you know me, I love life. But I love my ravioli more. I think Jeff cook the pork too much and he shouldn’t have cut off the fat. Why? The fat is the flavor. These American chefs. I don’t understand. But that’s OK. I tell him I’m happy so he won’t be not happy, no?

We bring the plates out to the farmers. I respect the farmers. So I have to make sure they know I made good food to respect them. I want to say, you did good job with growing da food. I respect you. I don’t care about the judges. That Toby Young, he’s vicious. In London, he can make or break you. I hope the sun burns his bald-a head.

I cannot hear what the judges saying, but I think they like-a my dish. They eat it all, not like Stefan’s chicken soup. It’s too hot to eat soup. I don’t know what he thinking. But that’s OK because I love him. He’s my buddy. We’re both representing Europe. If I don’t win, then he should win. This year Top Chef will be from the world!

We bring the dessert and I pass out my crème brulee, it’s beautiful. It’s not too sweet. It’s just right. Carla’s tartlet looks so big. Ariane’s team made a trifle with vanilla cream. I bet she made that for Toby Young.

We get back into our cars and go back to New York City. I’m so tired I sleep in the car next to Jeff. His hair, it smells-a nice.

It’s night time and I want to go to sleep. Buona sera! But we have to go for judging. So we go to the stew room and sit again. For hours! Padma, da bella, she calls Jamie, Carla and Stefan. So I know Stefan is going to win again. I think, no, I still need to win more before Stefan. But I have to wait.

When they come out, Jamie says they all win. I’m so happy for them because then Stefan isn’t really the winner because there’s three winners but really none of them is the winner. This is like a wash, no?

So Jamie says we all have to go in. This is not good because one of us might go home. I miss-a my wife but I don’t want to say ciao yet.

Padma says both our team did poorly, and she talks to our team first. Toby Young asks about cutting the fat, and Jeff says he usually takes off the skin. I don’t agree, and Chef Barber says the same thing. He says no to taking off the skin and that’s the nicest part. That’s what I think. You got to respect the animal. Jeff looks sad. He says if it wasn’t enough, then it wasn’t enough. I no like being on his team because he don’t even try. But at least I like him more than Radhika. This girl, she didn’t even do anything except grill the corn.

Oh, they ask me about my ravioli, so I said I wanted to make my sauce with cherry tomatoes, but there was no cherry tomatoes. So I thought I make-a da light pesto. Chef Dan, he says it was-a heavy hand. I don’t know what he means heavy hand. Toby Young, argh, he says the pesto OVER-whelmed the sausage. I disagree but I don’t say anything already.

Then they talk to Hosea and Ariane and Leah, and they ask them about butchering. I can tell already that they didn’t butcher their lamb good. Ariane is saying something about tenderizing, and I think, tenderizing? That’s a baby lamb. It’s supposed to be tender because it’s a bambino! Chef Dan agrees with me.

They send us away, and we all think it was brutal. I’m worried I might go home, but I think Radhika should go home, or Leah because I don’t think she did anything except make the tomato salad.

We had to sit in the stew room a long time. I just talked to my boy Stefan. I says, Stefan, you know you didn’t really win because all three of you won so really no one won. He tells me to fuck off, and I told him you fuck off. The guy, I love him.

I hear Hosea and Leah talking about amore, I think, but they’re whispering so I cannot tell. But Ariane is talking to Jamie and she says she’s a team player, and Jamie says yeah. And I think, so Ariane is on Jamie’s team now?

Commercials. What is the deal with the bottle water? In Italia, we drink da wine. Fuck Brita.

We go back in, and Chef Tom says it was a nice field trip and he says something about the freshness. I wanted to tell him, and don’t forget the respect, but I didn’t want him to send me home. So I just listen. He says he was disappointed in all the dishes, and I disagree with my dish. He says my pork stuffing was overpowered by the pesto, so I think next time I make a little less pesto. Then he says Jeff’s fried green tomato was the best, and I’m like, are you KIDDING me? But he says the dish saved da team, so I guess I have to thank Jeff for saving us from elimination.

Then I feel bad for the Lamb Team because I know one of them is going to go. So Padma sends Ariane home, and I don’t believe it. I think Leah should go because she no make anything I tasted that is good. It’s always the same. Ariane was the cougar in our group, so I will miss her.

So I’m happy I’m still here. Next week is restaurant war!!! Yes, this is what I want to do. I just wish I’m on a good team. But that’s OK, it’s all beautiful! Ciao!

[[Note to readers: The above is satire and was not really written by the real Fabio. And the above in no way meant to offend any particular ethnic group or men with accents. I love da men with-a accent!]]

“Top Chef: New York” airs every Wednesday at 10 p.m. (9 p.m. Central) on Bravo TV. Photos courtesy of Bravo TV’s Web site.


Anonymous said...

That was AWESOME.

Grazie, from an Italian, on making my Friday!!

Passionate Eater said...

It was all in good fun Chef Ben! No offense taken, and we understand that you HAVE to poke fun of the terrible cast of Top Chef this season, to make it halfway interesting!

David K. and Ann C. said...

The SF chef from Absinthe (Lauren?) grows more annoying every episode.

Tracy said...

A most original recap!

I love Fabio and I like Carla, but I agree that the cast doesn't seem as interesting or as talented as last year's.

I hope that Toby goes home when Gail returns. He has done NOTHING for that show.

Anonymous said...

Very Funny!!!

Do you agree with me that the female co-host is a worthless waste of space? What are her freak'n credentials? Might as well get that lame-o Brooke Burke!
-Dave B.

Chef Ben said...

Dave, are you talking about Padma? I actually think she's pretty good, and all the guys seem to love her. She actually came out with her own cookbook last year, so you know she likes to cook and eat. I think some of her comments during the judging make sense. Anywho, I like Padma more than grumpy Tom C.