Tonight: Michael Chiarello (Bottega Restaurant), Rick Moonen (RM Seafood at Mandalay Bay), Nils Noren (French Culinary Institute) and Lachlan McKinnon Patterson (Frasca Food & Wine). “Flipping Out’s” Jeff Lewis and Jenni Pulos guest star.
Michael Chiarello makes me want to throw things. At him, preferably, but since he’s never actually around then at the nearest wall. “NapaStyle” sticks in my craw almost as badly as “tablescape.” I don’t really know the other three, although I tend to want to root for anyone named Nils.
LAST WEEK: Anita Lo can kill you with her mind. Neil Patrick Harris was disturbingly non-gay. Magicians were creepy, and pulling a rabbit out from under your hair does nothing to mitigate that opinion.
10:01:Huh, I never thought that’s what Rick Moonen looked like. I know I said I didn’t know anyone other that Chiarello. But then I remembered that.
10:02: English Judge: “Nils is very much the Swedish chef; calm, precise.” It took me a minute, because calm and precise are not what I think of when I think of the Swedish Chef.
Patterson has too many names. Also he trained under Thomas Keller. I’m dubious, although he seems a pleasant enough chap.
10:04: English Judge: “Michael Chiarello may feel he has more to prove than the other chefs.” That’s completely true, at least re: what he has to prove to me.
10:05: QUICKFIRE: Junk food. Take some nasty-ass Twinkies and turn them into fine dining.
Chiarello: Fish Sticks. Patterson: Hot dog. Moonen: Corn Dog. Noren: Fried Shrimp. The judges: the highly irritating cast of “Flipping Out,” which I haven’t seen much of but from what I can tell, is a show about a sociopathic manic-depressive real estate developer with OCD who loves burritos and self-flagellation. So, standard American reality TV.
10:08: I gotta say, I think they all wussed out big time: they all picked real foods. Make me a high class Ho-Ho, and then call me.
10:09: Jeff Lewis: “We are white trash with money.” I find his candor attractive, although I am not convinced that he wouldn’t stab me to death with cocktail umbrellas for painting the great room cream instead of bone.
10:10: Moonen has nothing. Literally, nothing. The plate is empty.
I hope Jeff Lewis shatters it against Kelly Choi’s head in a fit of pique. It would be in character, and then we would finally get to see the alien babies come out of her skull.
(I mean, that’s why it’s so big, right? It’s an alien incubator?)
10:14: Wow; I don’t often get to actually watch the screen because I’m typing. Moonen’s head is pointy aerodynamic, isn’t it?
Jeff Lewis et al: painfully, brain-meltingly stupid. Assistant, re: Chiarello’s fried fish meatballs: “I see three perfect balls.” Shoot me.
10:16: Chiarello revels in Moonen’s failure. That’s how NapaStyle rolls, baby.
Kelly looks like she’s been knocked unconscious, tarred, and rolled in the demolished remains of Studio 54 circa 1974.
10:17: ELIMINATION: Three course mini-meal, 100 people, all alone. Hors d’oeuvres size appetizer, entree and dessert.
Brian and I are calling it for Nils. Swedes: Efficient but deadly.
10:20: Patterson: I don’t want to hear the ‘pineapple’ and ‘speck’ together. I’m all for creative pairings, I am. But I just…can’t.
I blame Keller.
10:22: Chiarello is giving all his dishes annoying cutsey names, NapaStyle. He also seems to think that basil gelato is innovative, because Napa has apparently been cut off from the food world for the past two years. I mean, Napa; that’s culinary buttfuck.
10:26: Moonen’s not worried about flavors. He understands flavors. It’s the actual production that’s the problem. Wouldn’t that make you a flavorologist, and not a chef? Chefs cook.
10:27: Nils is prepared and not scrambling like anyone else. Then he assembled a dresser made entirely of plywood with off-centered drill marks and wooden pegs in under 15 seconds.
Did he mention he’s Swedish?
10:29: Gael Greene! Your hat, it never disappoints! And the GIANT FROG CLOSURES on your magenta jacket-smock! Magnifique!
Okay, the pineapple is wrapped in speck and deep-fried. I’m both more and less scared simultaneously. As diners also seem to be.
10:30: The room is packed with Project Runway rejects. Between the Flipping Out guy and People Who Suck at Sewing, this episode is one giant Bravo shill.
I miss the good old days of the Dr. Pepper Memorial Elimination Challenge and the Second Annual Swanson Broth Quickfire.
Michael Chiarello: Totally a television chef. Meaning: Totally skeevy in real life.
10:32: Would YOU have a knife at a cocktail party? If so, you are GAUCHE and INCORRECT and Gael Greene will NEVER attend your cocktail party and have an adorably low-key yet heated fight with a man who looks like but still is not Bob Balaban.
I know, I’m hardly telling you about the food. I’m punting and assuming they’re telling you all about it in the comments. I can report, however, that Brian has seen Kelly ingest a very, very small amount of food.
10:34: Michael is not opposed to using “every tool around him.” Including “attractive women.”
Which is funny, because I think of him as a tool. Great minds think alike!
10:35: Gael: “I don’t like grass clippings in my dessert.” I have no idea what she’s talking about, but awesome.
British judge informs his colleagues that panna cotta should have the texture of a woman’s breast. Not-Bob Balaban is made painfully aware that he has nothing to add to that comment.
(Hint: Because he sleeps with MEN)
10:40: JUDGE’S TABLE: Brian, on Chiarello’s appetizer: “It’s a giant green penis!”
10:42: Gael repeats her “grass clippings” line; apparently she was talking about Chiarello’s basil gelato. You don’t need to recycle lines like some kind of fame-hungry hipster from Episode 3. You’re better than that.
Also, you make an adorable Fag Hag for non-Bob Balaban. Truly, you’re an adorable couple. I’d like to shrink you both down and keep you in my pocket, where you could bicker lovingly over points of culinary etiquette before putting on your PJs and watching re-runs of The Golden Girls.
(I’d put a tiny TV in my pocket for them.)
10:43: Did you know, Nils is from Sweden? Where they smoke things? In Sweden? With smoke?
10:44: Patterson seems okay right now, but you can totally see him turning into a dick in 10 or 15 years. Yes, you kissed the short ribs on the grill. We heard you the first seven times you explained it that way. Also, Nils is from Sweden.
The judges feel they are unworthy of Moonen’s panna cotta, which apparently hit the perfect boob-like note.
10:46: Gael: “He invented the cooking of that salmon.” Really? Something about this statement reminds me of a statement my mother-in-law once made: “The Chipwich wasn’t invented, it was discovered.” Maybe Nils discovered the salmon, and that’s why the judges have never tasted anything like it.
10:48: The judges hate the pineapple-speck corndog as much as I do. I feel vindicated.
Moonen might actually have a chance; it seems like the breast custard really pushed him over the top.
10:50: This episode? Boring.
10:51: Montage of Moonen being high energy and wacky.
It is boring.
10:55: Moonen makes it up to 17 stars even with his initial biff. He manages to beat Patterson. Good, that kid is a fucking punk.
Did Kelly just call Nils “Phil”?
10:57: Nils and Moonen are tied at 17.
UnBalaban was impressed by Chiarello’s dessert. Seriously, has no one on this panel had basil gelato before tonight?
10:58: NapaStyle takes it with 19.5 stars, which Brian points out is among the lowest scores of episode winners thus far. Because nobody likes Michael Chiarello.
His family will be proud of him! I wonder if he means the fake family he employs for his Food Network show. He probably pays them enough to exhibit some modicum of pride.
NEXT WEEK: Art Smith! Fish denial! Excellent!