Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Recap week ending 11/22/2009

Top Chef 6 - Las Vegas:

The guest judge this
week was Gavin Kaysen who competed in the 2007 "culinary Olympics" called the Bocuse d'Or. Sorry, not impressed. The footage of that event looked like it was filmed in a high school gymnasium by a local municipal access cable company. Seriously, it looked like a joke.

Anywho, for the Quickfire Challenge, the 5 remaining cheftestants were to try to recreate in their own style Chef Kaysen's dish that he made in 2007 which was a Ballotine of Chicken, Chicken Liver and Crayfish. It is essentially a protein inside of a protein inside of a protein...think turducken.

While the instruction were to make a "version" of it, brother Michael apparently took a little too much license and made a terrine. I'd always thought of a terrine as a cooking dish (and it is) but in food it's essentially several items pressed together and shaped and cut. It kinda looks like a sushi roll. So, his dish didn't go over too well. Surprisingly, Jen won! It was her first win in a looong time, and maybe finally will get her confidence back up. Her win got her 30 minutes extra time in the Elimination Challenge.

The Elimination Challenge of course was to make something in the style of the Bocuse d'Orusing one protein (either Salmon or Lamb,) and 2 garnishes. Kevin (who I agree with) said that while the Bocuse d'Or is all about presentation (you present your dishes on a mirror...oy,) he wanted to focus on complex flavors. I mean, leave it to the French to come up with a food competition that is more about looks than taste. What is it for, a magazine cover? Ridiculous. Anyway, Brian was the one who everyone thought had the best technique and complicated dish, but his lamb was undercooked. If he had Jen's extra 30 minutes, he probably would have won. All of them received some praise, and all of them received some criticism. Kevin won, which I'm SURE pissed off Michael because he keeps saying that Kevin cooks what he cooks on his day off. WTFE a-hole. Kevin not only focused more on taste than appearance, but he sous vide his meat, which he'd never done, and he had asked brother Bryan the night before on some tips for doing it. Bryan said that he'd have been an a-hole to not tall Kevin...and that he doubted that his brother would have told Kevin. He's probably right, and Kevin is probably lucky that Michael went to sleep early, so he didn't know about his brother "helping" a competitor. Eli ended up going home so as predicted here after the 1st or 2nd show, the Final Four are the brothers (Bryan and Michael,) Kevin, and Jen.

Next Iron Chef America:

This started with 10 chefs, and I only knew 2 of them. Amanda Freitag and Jose Garces. Both had competed on ICA before (and Garces won as I recall.) The final 2 chefs were Jose and Chef Mehta who was born in India. So, the new Iron Chef would be a minority (either Hispanic or Indian.)

The final round was a head to head ICA battle in Kitchen Stadium and the "secret ingedient" was "ribs and racks." So it was ribs from pig, cow & buffalo. Unlike the first NICA 2 years ago, the 3 judges who had been judging all along actually got to be judges for the finals. The last time, there was a LOT of issues where the 3 judges throughout the show weren't the judges for the ICA battle (3 Iron Chefs were instead,) and the 3 judges who had been there all along thought that Symon probably would not have won had they been the judges. So, this time not only were the 2 judges there, but also 3 current Iron Chefs (Bobby Flay, Michael Symon, and Morimoto.) To me, that made the most sense, and both the Chairman and Alton Brown also were served dishes. I bet if there had been a tie that Alton would have been the tie breaker.

It seemed pretty apparent to me who would win. The 3 judges of the series made noise that Chef Mehta took more risks and that maybe led to more failures but also led to the single best dish. The Iron Chefs seemed to say that Chef Garces might have been more "conservative" but nearly everything was technically correct, cooked correctly, and he didn't produce 5 "Latin" dishes, so it wasn't "really" conservative for him. In the end, Chef Garces won and is the new Iron Chef to replace Mario Batali who has had a falling out with Food Network...although he WILL compete in the Iron Chef Battle with the White House Official Chef along with Bobby Flay and Emeril Lagasse (who also has had a falling out with FN.) This special episode of Iron Chef America will air in January.

Detroit Lions vs Cleveland Browns:

While this game was blacked out locally, I listened to it on the radio.

What the heck was that on Sunday?
The Lions are at home against another 1 win team. A team that had ONLY had 5 TDs for the ENTIRE SEASON so far, and of those 5, only 1 player who was directly involved in ANY of them was actually in the game. The Browns are imploding from within with players calling out the coach, the coach calling out players, and the owner working to replace the GM and coach. ANd they're imploding from without with fans hoping they lose all the rest of their games, that the QBs get hurt, that the owner fires everyone and/or sells the team. You think it's been bad here? At least the Lions team are on the same page and trying to get wins.
So, what happens? The Browns roll up a 24-3 lead.
In the first quarter.

But, as I contended last season...these Lions aren't quitters. Last season, had we played Cleveland or St Louis, or Cincy, or a couple other teams, we probably would have beaten them. The Lions were motivated to not go 0-16 while those other teams just wanted the season to end...and they lucked out because each one of those 4 win or less teams played other 4 win or less teams while the Lions did not.

So, the Lions get it back tied at 24 at halftime. Then they took the lead! Then, like the Lions, they not only lost the lead, but turned the ball over late in the 4th quarter by a bad decision by StafFORD. Calvin had triple coverage, yet Matt tossed the ball his way regardless. Dumb. Typical Lions QB. But wait! The Browns fail and kick the ball back to the Lions. What does StafFORD do? He marches them down the field to around the 30. Then he heaves a last second desperation toss towards Bryant Johnson in the end zone, and is promptly flattened onto his left (non-throwing) shoulder. Johnson was essentially frisked like he was a dope smuggler, so after a pass interference call, the Lions had 1st and goal from the 1 with 0.0 showing on the game clock. Daunte Culpepper, who hadn't even been warming up, had to run onto the field to run the last play. So what does the genius coach of Cleveland do? He calls time out. Many say that he didn't have a choice. They were winning and they had to get their defense set. BS! Let the ice cold Daunte try to run a game that he had absolutely no handle on and take the chance that the Lions, as usual, would fail. Instead, out runs StafFORD, lame arm and all, and tosses the winning TD to rookie TE Pettigrew! HOLY SCHNIKES!!!! This isn't Joey Harrington. This isn't Scott Mitchell. Those clowns would have been writing in pain on the bench, watching the game on the jumbotron.

What did I learn from this game?
That the Lions are absolutely terrible. Their defense couldn't stop a check, and their special teams must be full of "special" people. Durr durr.
But, the offense isn't horrible, and StafFORD tossed TDs to 5 different players. 2 rookies, one a 2nd year player, and one a 3rd year player, and the 5th the backup TE. That shows that perhaps there is a nucleus to build upon. StafFORD has shown that he could be "the real deal" and prior to the game HE took all the blame for the multiple dropped passes over the prior few games. That sends a signal to his offense that HE is the leader, and that builds respect. StafFORD got 422 yards and 5 TDs, the first time a rookie has done that since the 1930s! HOLY SCHNIKES! Does this mean that the Lions "turned a corner?" Hells no. But it does show that perhaps, just maybe, they got the right guy last draft. The offense needs LINEMEN, not skill players or StafFORD will get killed. But the guy's got the heart of a winner and the toughness and guts to get him through the bad times.

The Lions will be lucky to win 1 more game (Chicago at home on the last week is their best bet) but that was a nice win and a nice boost to the offense and showed that the Lions may FINALLY have a true leader in the locker room. They had better spend the entire off season bringing in veteran defensive linemen and secondary as well as o-linemen, and target those positions with EVERY pick in the next draft.

Oh, and I happened to pick up StafFORD for my Fantasy Football team and he got me over 55 points! W00t!!
I played my brother's team, and he's a HUUUUGE Lions fan. Must have sucked for him knowing that although the Lions would win, he was getting killed. Sorry about that, bro.


  1. I don't sadly watch any of these shows since I can never find them on tv but I am really surprised that they did another Next Iron chef since the last did so well. He had only a few battes on Iron chef and then moved to Dinner Impossible (Loved Irvine) and then he failed miserably at almost all his challengers when Irvine usually completed them.
    I hope this time around they aren't as useless as Symone was.

    Happy Thanksgiving! :)

  2. They had the first Next Iron Chef in order to add someone because Morimoto and Batali had both just opened new restaurants and weren't available to do as many comps so Flay ended up shouldering the burden and was being over worked.

    Symon only took over DI after they had to fire Robert, but Robert is back on DI as of this Summer and they've had some good missions (he actually failed one!) but a couple of his missions were VERY similar to 2 of Symon's. He had a neighborhood block party, and he had an amusement park. Symon did BOTH the one season he did DI. Symon always said that DI was "Robert's Show" and he was just "filling in."

    The new Iron Chef is needed to replace Batali since he left Food Network. They could continue using his image as an Iron Chef, and he'll be doing the special White House one, but that's it. I wonder if they'll still be using his image? I imagine that they'll keep him in the opening credits for the new guy's first season, but after that...who knows.

    Happy Holidays!