The Art of Wedding Cakes
A story with a poor foundation
Love is in the Vegas air and it’s a hot gust of dry desert mixed with the faint whimpers of people losing money. But somebody always has to win. In Episode 1 we had a chef picking up charitable loot like Phelps picking up medals. Chris, “That Offal Guy,” Cosentino was the class valedictorian of last week, but geez they were so nice to each other. Mixed with great food we want to see debauchery and cutthroat competition, tears of rage, and tears of freedom! It’s only a matter of time.
Chris is the nicest chef who also happens to be on many many cooking shows. He is next apparating on Time Machine Chef, where he will again have competitively anxious repartee with Art, but this time they will be pounding together rocks to make fire while wearing loin cloths. In the meantime, let’s keep this classy.
No Quickfire today as the chefs meet up with a couple to plan a wedding. The wedding is tomorrow so I hope the booze has been ordered. Later in the show we see Chris talk about cooking the food for his own wedding and I actually did the same thing. 100 people in Charleston in June, 1996. Hot as balls, but great fun. I recommend getting a caterer though. Much less stressful.
There will be wedding bells for Jay and Christine, after much sadness that has hurdled their union. Lacking the ability to love musicals or feel cuddly about depictions of affection on cable TV, I am very prepared to make fun of the nuptials. But just before I blurt out something caustic we hear the saddest set of stories ever about their wedding plans, from the passing of their friend (and his sister) to the strange implosion of their wedding site. Plans are made and the ever wide spectrum term “Asian food” pops up. This makes Gidget Chipperton nervous. The couple are actually Filipino which is a food culture that needs to get more U.S. exposure. Great cooking. Jay and Christine request some pork and some other vittles. Art is going to make the cake. They want layers and layers. Art is their man because he can lay it on. He namedrops both Lady Gaga and Maya Angelou in the same sentence, forging a generational alliance that has never been attempted before. I have changed to honor the moment and am now wearing a meat dress and reading poetry. This is my house and I can do what I want.
Thierry usually has 180 days to prepare for catering, but this is 24 hours of Le Mans wedding. Time to strap that hat on tight.
Ravella at Lake Las Vegas looks pretty swank, like an Italian villa in the desert.
Look, I catch a lot of flack about my eyebrow (singular), but Thierry once had eyebrows that made him look like a French Marx brother. Evidently the incessant wearing of a fedora has caused his power brows to whither over the years from lack of sunlight, resulting in just ho-hum regular eyebrows. C’est la vie.
Takashi is doing braised pork belly, but in a strange move has yet to actually procure the belly. Cosentino flanks back, moves out of the pocket, gets a handoff from Butcher Bob and then throws the long bomb to Takashi. We will have pork belly. This whole move was copied play by play from last season but then it was a Cardoz to Acheson long bomb.
As shopping concludes we find that they have wrangled too many carts in this shopping rodeo, and left full carts littered around both Ranch 99 and Whole Foods. Alas, Kerry has left one cart o’ crabs alone in aisle four. I am thinking that losing the canned crab is probably good karma as canned crab is never as good as you want it to be. Come on, Hef, get it together. He kicks the register counter in anger, making the poor cashier hate her job even more than before. Art gets a little skittish about making this cake. He and Chris do their strange dance of chitter, chatter, banter, bicker. When nervous, Art name drops. We know Art. You’re famous. Please get in the time machine to a time when you were not so famous.
Tom C. was best man at Kerry’s wedding. It’s a very small world when it comes to NYC fine dining.
Mark is supporting a marriage equality foundation for his home state of Maine.
All of the Muppets and I stand with you. Follow this link and you can make a difference. Mark is making an “Asian” dish of sesame-crusted salmon with noodles. Salmon is a tough cook for that many people. I would cure it lightly and then cook it in the combi oven, a device which you can calibrate the internal temperature of what you’re cooking and then hold it at that temperature. Even with high technology, salmon may not be the best choice.
Children’s TLC is the Kansas City charity that Debbie is competing for. Debbie is a very lauded chef at the American Restaurant, an institution of fine dining that has produced so many great chefs, like Debbie and Celina TIo. Very important restaurant to visit.
Lorena thinks Art is funny and is cackling like she picked some really special mushrooms. Mark’s Clark is not happy and he is having a moment. Do not mess with Clark’s cart. It’s a tizzy fit of organization. His hair reminds me of someone… can’t put my finger on it.
It is now the morning of the wedding. Chris putting his apron on is much like an older woman putting on a moo moo. That’s got to be the strangest apron ever. Very much like a Ms. Doubtfire uniform. It’s a San Francisco thing.
Clark is lettuce cupping. Mark is brought in to help. Mark has his own shitload of work to do. I see strain in this partnership.
People get married. Very sweet. Rock on married people.
Kids break dancing… people crying. It’s a wedding. Krista, James, Ruth, and the beautiful bloomin’ onion are our judges.
Ruth blesses the wedding couple with a nice, “May you live happily forever.” Huh?
Thierry: Grandma’s pork blood soup.
I think this is awesome and gutsy by Thierry. Very cool that he took that risk.
Clark: Lettuce cup with steak.
Texture is deemed good by the bride but its seems a little lackluster.
Kerry: Crab salad with corn panna cotta.
Delicioso. Kerry nails it.
Patricia: spoon of mackerel with coconut, herbs, and chiles.
They loved it. Perfect balance.
Takashi: pork belly with daikon steam bun.
Nails it. Takashi seems to have be the most balanced man emotionally.
Debbie: Grilled napa cabbage larb.
Kerry steps in to help, but this may too strange to make positive waves.
Mark: sesame salmon with Chinese noodles.
Some loved it, some hated it. The Bride is uber positive about everything.
Chris: banana leaf braised pork with adobo and bitter greens.
I gotta say that I just love Cosentino’s food. It just looks awesome. The apron is weird, but the boy can cook.
Lorena: Flan station.
Bride says hella good. Gidget Chipperton barks in happy chirps. Art: Listing cake. Art calls for God’s help and God makes his cake fall. Jesus like Art. This is confusing. It really is an upside-down cake: 5 points for flavor, 0 points for form.
Tops: Takashi, Patriciam and Chris.
I think that the winning tier just really understood what the clients wanted. The embraced the culture in a great way and made highly-flavorful food. Smart stuff. I really do hope that we see a rise in popularity of Filipino food.
Patricia wins for her one bite wonder.
Bottoms: Debbie, Mark, and Art.
Errors were to blame for two out of three of the people in the bottom rung. Falling cake and undercooked salmon are mistakes that will really hurt advancement. Debbie’s larb was not really an error of execution but was just a bad idea. It just didn’t work for most of the diners.
Debbie goes home to KC.
“I am going to Kansas City,
Gonna get my baby back home.”
the Beatles, Kansas City