I hate to admit it -- but I can't recall one entire episode of The Simpsons that I've watched. But that didn't stop me from being super-excited about the Simpsons tie-in in this week's episode; I am a student of pop culture after all. For the Quickfire Challenge, the chefs had to create dishes fit for Simpsons characters' appetites. I really hope we/production gave the chefs some sort of clue as to what the characters like, but honestly, judging from their descriptions of what they chose to make, it sounded like that didn't happen, which made this challenge kind of hard. Susur had no clue until someone (was it Jonathan?) drew him a pretty amusing caricature of Marge. On a sidenote: how endearing was Susur's description of watching Bewitched as a child? I used to watch it too.
Anyway, as I said, I think some of the chefs' interpretations were real stretches. My favorites theme-wise were probably Jody's because she knew to make a vegetarian dish for Lisa and Marcus because I giggled whenever he said "Apu," which is obviously grounds for a high score. I wonder what one of the chefs would have made if they pulled "Maggie." How does one make an edible pacifier?!
Although Susur's use of blue potatoes was cool, I thought his edible illustration was just too literal a translation. Also, one moment that really left an impression on me was when Susur used Tony's bacon fat. If they hadn't been Masters, say, this had happened on Top Chef proper, it would have been a much different situation. There would have been a serious argument. Also, what was with Rick Moonen's shphitzing?! Anyeone else have flashbacks of Howie from Top Chef: Miami?
Although I'm not a huge Simpsons junkie, I know all the characters and got a huge kick out of hearing Hank Azaria's impressions. 'Member this?:
The writers and actors know those characters inside and out and it's so nice to hear how the writers' process for rounding out their characters. Jonathan Waxman hit the nail on the head by saying how obvious it is that Matt, Matt, and Hank still have so much fun with the characters after all this time. What great judges they turned out to be! They didn't get angry when the chefs were slightly off the mark but really tried to understand what the chefs were thinking when they created the dishes. It was just ... pleasant.
In the end, Howie, er, I mean Rick wins the Quickfire with his Sloppy D'Oh!
Onto the Elimination Challenge: The chefs had to create exotic surf and turf dishes for none other than Bizarre Foods' Andrew Zimmern. I love his show, and somehow whenever I turn it on it always seems to be the Korea episode where Andrew and his culinary tour guides eat coagulated blood ... and I proceed to vomit in my mouth. As much as I'd like to think I'm adventurous with food, I'm not THAT adventurous (although I did eat pig's head last night, and yum!) Apparently, Marcus is though. When he listed the things he grew up eating -- cockroaches, etc. -- I lost it. Marcus wins the award for eating the grossest s--- ever. (By the way, I love Marcus' plaid pants -- he also wins the "Most Stylish in the Kitchen" award in my book.)
The chefs must cook dishes from the "exotic" foods that our very own Season 3 chefs had to cook with -- geoduck, black chicken, etc. Although Tre won that challenge in his season, if I recall correctly Hung, like Susur, thought he had an advantage being Chinese and growing up with the dishes. Luckily for Susur, it paid off. Although the judges didn't think that Susur's filo package was worthy of the rest of his plate, I knew he had it when they called the rest of his dish "genius." Rick was a close second, playing to his strengths. Poor Jonathan was almost on the chopping block, admittedly in a fog this challenge. His fried duck tongue may have saved him. Susan benefited from well-fried sea cucumber as well. Although I don't doubt their flavor, I always think back to Padma's comment that a fried toe would taste good. It just seemed too easy to me.
Unfortunately, Jody Adams didn't have the same luck. Her goat was underdone and the chowder just didn't connect like she thought it would. Honestly, I thought her chowder idea was a solid one. I knew very little about Chef Adams before the show started (She studied with Julia Child?!), but I want to know more, and I am anxious to eat in her restaurant. I just know it will be a memorable culinary experience.
So, what say you? Should the Simpsons guys be judges every week?! Should Tony have been less understanding about Susur's bacon fact thievery? Who do you have picked to win the whole thing?
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