Since last’s week’s Top Chef had a bit of a Christmas theme even if the seven fishes were trashy ones, I expect there to be some sort of New Year’s Eve nod this week. Perhaps they will make Hoppin’ John or something? I was doing some cooking today and pulled out my cookbooks for a bit. I have one that was originally published by the The Junior League of Charleston in 1950, my copy is from a 1965 printing but the book is unchanged. I believe I bought it at a used bookstore in Charleston many years ago. It was great fun to flip through today. Now it is time to check in with Top Chef and then I’ll have two and a half days to continue my lazy December days before things start to go back to a normal schedule again on Sunday night for #RHOA. I’m totally in sloth mode tonight, so apologies in advance for the plodding narrative that is sure to drive this recap.
Oh! NOE! It’s Silvia’s birthday. This is the kiss of death on Top Chef. I kind of love Silvia and I was so excited about her radish cake last week. I think she should be fine, she seems quite talented and there are others who should surely go first like Emily, and the burnt veggies guy, but now I am a bit nervous.
Why on earth is Sheldon waking up in a tiny little bed? Such a glorious Charleston home should have lovely beds in every room. I do vaguely recall something about there only being a few single beds though, so I would certainly choose that over sleeping with someone else. Sheldon works his ass off and is feeling it in his back and his leg. I am suddenly remembering the previews and not liking where this is going at all. Plus only one leg being a problem, deeply concerns me. He had back surgery for a herniated disc and is just recovering.
The chefs arrive to the Quickfire to an empty kitchen. Few cameras, no producers, no Padma, no nothing. Tesar says, “It’s eerie!” Padma and the rest of the gang are behind the scenes in the control room watching them. They chefs are standing there talking about themselves when finally someone notices that the door to the pantry is down. That was the cue for production to open the door and the Quickfire clock starts counting down. All of the ingredients for biscuits are prominently displayed. Perhaps this is a punishment for the biscuit debacle when the biscuit lady was there? They decide, someone hesitantly, to make biscuits. Though someone points out that they probably just can’t make up their own challenge. Peer pressure wins and everyone starts making biscuits. Because who want to be the only idiot just standing there?
There are people rolling out biscuit dough and cutting it to squares.
Read that again. #Blasphemy
Jim realizes it doesn’t take 40 minutes to make biscuits so he is making a scallop dish as well. Um Jim, scallops are the kiss of death on these shows and scallops and biscuits is not really a thing. Think about Crowe’s and fry some chicken. Emily is making biscuits and gravy. I would probably eat her biscuits and gravy. Don’t read into that you perverts, when I go all Meredith Baxter Birney, it won’t be with a bitch like Emily. A relationship can only have one bitch (and for now at least one cunt) and I’ve got that down to a science.
Jaime aka “burned veggies” who I think as moved to the south, maybe even Charleston to open a restaurant, just admitted he’s never made biscuits on national TV. Anyone looking for restaurant space in the deep south?
It’s hilarious that some of them keep calling this baking. There are like three ingredients and you don’t even have to measure. Silvia is in trouble. She is making some weird thing with avocados that is supposed to be her biscuit. Katsuji is making cornbread or something. I have to stop watching this. I am getting a case of the vapors.
Padma arrives with John Currence a James Beard Award Winning owner of a Breakfast place. Food and Wine magazine says good things about his biscuits. We are not impressed. Tesar had a strong performance with a drop cheddar jalapeno biscuit and gravy. We are only a few people in and he should win. I hear the yankees and Brits asking what a drop biscuit is. It just means he didn’t roll out the dough and made the dough a bit wetter and dropped spoonsful of dough onto his baking sheet. Faster, and a more interesting presentation. Jim made an authentic biscuit with lard (Crisco) not butter which is great, but the scallops and cream corn were a mistake. Sheldon’s was a flop but he is playing hurt.
Shirley, Sheldon and Jim were in the bottom. Currence said his biscuit was overworked. Again, this is the reason Tesar did drop biscuits. If Jim’s biscuit wasn’t top notch as it should have been, he’s in big trouble.
The guy picks Brooke’s SQUARE biscuit and he salmon dippy stuff. So I go Google to see what is wrong with this guy. Nothing is wrong with him. He was born in New Orleans and all his many restaurants are in Oxford, MS. He has a book called Pickles, Pigs and Whiskey! He picks Katsuji’s cornbread dish. WHICH IS NOT A BISCUIT, John Currence. Holy shit, his third pick was Jaime and his biscuit with asparagus or whatever travesty that was. This is simply outrageous.
John Tesar was robbed.
At least he gave the win to Brooke, whose only real problem was that her biscuit was square. I can live with that.
With that it is time to move on. Rodney Scott, a local Pit Master is there to tell them about their next challenge. He talks about the two kinds of BBQ sauce in SC, mustard based and vinegar based. And while you can’t go wrong with either one, in the two tiny towns I taught in, mustard based ruled and I fell in love with it. Rodney prefers vinegar base because that is what his daddy made. That is fine as well. You cannot go wrong with South Carolina BBQ.
The challenge is to BBQ a whole hog using either type of SC BBQ sauce. Sheldon is excited, in Hawaii his dad cooked whole hogs all the time. Sadly, he is going to end up having to tap out for an MRI at some point. They are told to divide into three teams of four. It was awkward and I think Jim might be on the best team, if they will listen to him.
Everyone hits the back roads to go to two BBQ shacks. The first one uses a mustard base sauce and the second one is Rodney’s place. By the time they are all arguing over who is making what side dish, Sheldon is back on his team. He has a herniated disk again but he was shot full of pain killers and is ready to fight on another day.
They are out in the middle of nowhere cooking with whatever they brought over a pit all night long. Tesar is talking his team’s ear off about some New York BBQ place. That can get you shot in SC. NEW YORK CITY?
Wait, what? Did that one team use a red sauce? That will get you shot in SC as well. Wait. That is two teams with red sauce. Sylva is becoming Mr. Bossypants.
Thank GOD Jim’s team, which includes Shirley, Jaime and one of the blonds has a mustard based sauce. That’s the red team. I would like to see someone win who actually followed directions. They seem to be doing the best job.
The yellow team is Emily, Tesar, Sheldon and Brooke. Tesar didn’t have any all purpose flour which was for some reason necessary for him to make Mac and Cheese so he substituted some sort of crap and it sounds dreadful. If yellow loses and Tesar goes home, I will not be amused.
The green team is Katsuji, Sylva, Silvia and a brunette whose name I haven’t learned yet. None of them appear to know how to BBQ despite being given instructions twice. They set their fire at 375 to get it done faster. I’m pretty sure the first guy said 175 for hours on end, not 375 so you can get some sleep. My Italian friend doesn’t like mayo so her potato salad has salsa verda instead of Mayo. My GOD. Just when I thought this episode could not get any worse. Something is wrong with Katsuji’s beans. They smell horrible.
Everyone lives through the all nighter and arrives at the BBQ where the chefs are feeding 150 people. If they get a vote the yellow sauce will win in a landslide. You do not serve red BBQ in SC. It’s simply not done.
Darrius Rucker is there with a guitar and we get to hear a bit of him singing Alright. Which is rather ironic in a million different ways.
Team yellow is saying their sauce is a vinegar based one, it seems they have added lots of chilis which caused the red color. This will perhaps be enough to save them. There is a lot of conversation about Tesar’s mac and cheese. But there were a lot of good comments about it. Overall the judges liked Team Yellow a lot. Except for Emily’s under cooked beans. There was a lot of foreshadowing about Emily’s beans.
Apparently, everything I have told you is a lie. Because not it seems that the Red Team has made a vinegar based sauce as well. Gail like’s the Yellow Team’s sauce better. Tom sticks up for the Red Team’s sauce. Jim’s hash gets rave reviews. Especially from Rodney. They also loved Shirley’s slaw. Gail whines again about the vinegar BBQ sauce. She says it was much more mellow than she anticipated. The blond, sorry, her name might be Casey, says she wanted to accentuate the pork and not cover it up. This is what Tom said, he liked that you could tasted the pork. Gail said she was hoping the sauce would be more nuanced. Can someone tell Gail that nuanced means subtle and she makes no sense?
On the Green team, Slyva is saying his red sauce is a vinegar based sauce, it just has a lot of Hoisin sauce added in. Oh, I see. So it’s basically Hoisin sauce. Which is red. Big mistake. Amanda is the brunette whose name I missed earlier. She made a KALE and pickled apricot slaw. Bless her heart. Then the gross potato salad with no mayo from the birthday girl. She seems doomed. Katsuji made beans. VERY funky beans. The judges agree Green Team sucks. This was not a southern BBQ. It’s hard to determine what they hate the most. Tom thinks there is a gland in the beans. I will not elaborate.
At judging, the yellow team beats the red team. I’m happy for Tesar and Sheldon. But they should have picked the red team. Tesar wins for his mac and cheese.
The Green Team gets judged harshly. Katsuji tries to whine his way out of all the weird crap in his beans. Slyva hems and haws in defense of his Asian sauce at a southern BBQ. Padma asks Sylvia for the millionth time if the crap she served was really what she intended to make. Amanda got off easy for serving kale in 2016 in place of cole slaw. They can’t decide what they hate the most. But Sylvia seems doomed. I can’t imagine they get rid of Katsuji for his “beans with a gland issue.” Because he’s the hired villian.
Silvia, succumbs to the birthday curse. I’ll miss her but the whole Silvia and Sylva thing was driving me battty.
I do not know why this recap took two hours. I think it is because I actually watch the TV when recapping this.