Thursday, January 11, 2007

First Reaction: “Fucking Soigné!”














Well, possums, what can we say? We were simply out-biatched this week, and it's not often we can say that. Which means, of course, that Gail Simmons has returned. God, we missed her and her Prime of Miss Jean Brodie ferule-bearing hauteur. Welcome back, Gail. We've got Elton John singing "The Bitch is Back" just for you, and you know that, coming from us, it's the greatest of compliments.

The Quickfire Challenge this week was to create a snack food using a Kraft condiment: mayonnaise, Italian dressing, or barbecue sauce. Michael "Beer Bong" Midgley, after professing his love for eating mayonnaise "straight from the can," found himself taking elocution lessons from Padma, who tried to teach him how to pronounce "chipotle." He kept saying "chipote," which he undoubtedly didn't know is, like "chipotle," a real word in Mexican Spanish. It means a blow to the head, as when a kid is clumsy and keeps running into things, thus giving himself a great, big "chipote." Beer Bong being dropped on his head? Who'd have thunk it?

(A propos, our paisana Elia Aboumrad went back to her roots and demonstrated the best "Ay Dios mío!" hand-fanning we have seen in years.)

There were two winners in the Quickfire Challenge, Sam and Marcel (although Padma, who is grammatically in our good graces this week, bought herself an even bigger chunk of goodwill by confessing that she thought our Elia Aboumrad should have won instead of Marcel). Each then got to pick two cheftestants for the team Elimination Challenge--to come up with and execute a restaurant concept in an empty space in a mall.

Sam, Ilan, and Beer Bong named their Italian restaurant by fusing the names of their womenfolk into the oh-so-mellifluous "Lalalina," which sounds rather like a fat drag queen in a Fellini film, or a Teletubby even gayer than Tinky-Winky ("A post-op Teletubby?" Miss XaXa suggested).

So yes, we learned from a smirking Ilan Hall that he has a girlfriend. WTF? Mr. Str8tacting is gonna have a lot of 'splainin' to do when he gets "home to Carolina," because the sexual tension between him and Marcel continued to be so thick and so clichéd that you could cut it with the proverbial chef's knife. We had Ilan paying "homage" to Marcel, trying unsuccessfully to "foam" and being unable to keep it stiff, and then "poking" fun at Marcel, and making redundantly named "little napoleons" in honor of Marcel. (To this we say, don't knock the shorties; we'll tell you sometime about Toulouse-Lautrec and why they called him "the Teapot," or about the one Miss XaXa called "My Little Pony").

And then--to, er, top it off--we had Marcel proclaiming, "Everybody loves meat on a stick!" We expect the DJ who remixed the Barbra Streisand "Shut the fuck up" tirade to take this catchphrase and remix it in time for the Gay Pride parade. Could this be the greatest Top Chef catchphrase of Season Two after "crap on a plate"? (Still, no one who can so misuse "soigné" deserves to be gay. In so doing, Marcel took the cake as well as the rap.)

Matters weren't helped by the name of Marcel's restaurant, MEC, which, as anyone with the rudiments of the language will tell you, is French for "guy." (In fact, we seem to remember a bar in the Marais called MEC, but that's neither here nor there.) Yes, the acronym stands for "Marcel Elia Cliff," but oh what a koinkeedeenk.

We learned that Ilan's front-of-the-house skills are the pits. We learned that Sam "Il Siciliano" Talbot couldn't spell "asiago" on his restaurant's menu, but that his parents are loaded. We also learned that Sam is a snob about line cooks, as long as it's line cooks from the Central Valley and not line cooks from a Mario Batali tapas joint, in which case he's not snobbish at all.

Both MEC and Lalalina were disasters, and the customer comments reflected this ("the chef was on crack!"). Despite wearing her Greek goddess lace-up sandals, Padma was forced to wait 10 minutes for her food at MEC, and was fed watermelon and cat-sick at Lalalina (funny that it was Marcel's foam last week that was likened to cat spit). Such infractions were not taken lightly, and no winner was declared. At this point, Top Chef turned into Project Runway, with Chef Colicchio telling certain cheftestants that they were "safe," and that they could "leave the kitchen." He was even more Teutonic than Heidi Klum; in fact, he's a dead ringer for Erich von Stroheim. We loved it.

In the end, we learned that Beer Bong can't shop to save his life, and Padma sent him packing. (We delighted in how Tom winnowed the cheftestants down but let Padma administer the coup de grâce to Beer Bong.)

This gave us the opportunity to learn that Marcel has not, after all, forgotten his manners, as he told Beer Bong, "It was great to meet you," and gave him a hug.

And so we bid "Adieu, dude" to the Central Valley's Great White Hope, the Stockton Socrates, good ole Beer Bong. Say what you will about the man (and we did), he had perhaps the best disposition of them all.

4 comments:

Shannon said...

Uh, why are Elia and Ilan wearing sunglasses in bed? I thought Mikey was the stoner of the group.

Marius said...

It appears that Marcel, the master dialectologist, is fluent in one of my favorite dialects of California--surfer. And, In last night's episode, he demonstrated his skills as an Urban Black rapper. I was speechless. I was touched when Mikey compared himself to the pig in Charlotte's Web. How cute is that?

corprip said...

I had to laugh when Ilan said his girlfriend's name is "Cah-ro-LINA". I was like, yeah.. and my girlfriend's name is Annabelle, just don't tell my partner about her. What a bullshit, made up name.

Ilan's gay, he wants Marcel, and it just tears him up inside.

Kenny said...

His "Marcel, can I pee on your hand?" was a dead giveaway.