Party Picks

Rocco DiSpirito tasks two competitors with creating the perfect party for a mystery guest -- Padma Lakshmi (who reveals an affinity for potato skins.)

Jun 22, 2011

Hello my little potato skins! I apologize for not recapping the premiere episode of Rocco's Dinner Party -- guess you could say Im tardy to Rocco's party. Or, you don't have to. It's cool. Anyway, as much as I enjoyed the premiere, I was especially plugged in to this week's episode because I really couldn't tell which chef was going to win. First, Chef and New York restaurant owner King Phojanakang, high school culinary teacher Joel Gargano, and private chef Michelle Karam competed to, well, compete.

Michelle got knocked out in the first round with her not-so-slow-cooked etouffee. I've been told that the shade of one's roux is a preference, but traditionally it is dark, as Rocco said. So, even though Michelle beat Rocco's expectations, it just wasn't good enough to keep her in the competition. And after only two episodes, I can offer this bit of advice: Chefs, don't serve Rocco seafood in-shell! Take the extra few minutes to remove the shells. I will say thug that crawfish are better in the shell, right? Then you suck out the head? I've never done it, but i hear that's what all the cool kids in Nawlins do.

So, King and Joel make it to the dinner party round...

I will say that I actually have eaten King's food before -- I visited Kuma Inn on the LES with Top Chef's own LeeAnne Wong, and it was pretty delicious. It's a tiny place. I'm also not sure but i thiiiink I met him at the Lucky Rice Festival about a month ago. On the flip side, I had a bit of a hipster dork crush on Joel in this episode, so I didn't know who to cheer for! Ultimately, both competitors did a great job, but Joel won, much to King's chagrin. I was kind of shocked that the fact that Joel's ice cream was melting wasn't mentioned at all, but otherwise I would have lapped that bread pudding up. I think that Joel will put the money to good use, and hopefully he has a little bit more confidence to open that restaurant.

Each week, I shall present my top Roccin' moments of the episode. These are my top moments, but please share yours in the Comments section below.

1. Joel sort of reprimanded the wait staff for not telling him that the guests were already done playing his dinner-party game. I suddenly had visions of sweet Joel getting all Ben Stiller on Friends on the waiters' asses. You know the episode. The one where Ross always sees Ben's character blowing up, but no one ever else does.