Well, possums, when you go on national television--and alongside Kathie Lee Gifford, no less--it can hardly be called a spoiler, but if you’re of the sort who wants to remain unsullied, read no further (though, really, if you were the sort who wanted to remain pure and unsullied in the first place, you probably wouldn’t be reading a blog called Amuse-Biatch, would you?).
So, as you must know by now, Season 5 is being filmed en ce moment in New York City and its environs. (We had heard rumors about New Orleans being the chosen site, and had winced in anticipation of Quickfire Challenges such as “Cook Breakfast in a FEMA Trailer!” Or perhaps we’re too cynical; given what happened with Chicago, perhaps they would never have left the French Quarter during the filming. At any rate, we’re relieved it’s the Big Apple rather than the Big Easy this time around.)
And the Ursus Major himself, Mr. Tom “Padre Padrone” Colicchio, went this morning charmingly to disport himself with what passes for the salon des précieuses these days—Meredith Vieira, Natalie Morales, Hoda Kotb, and Kathie Lee Gifford. The video is here, but because those lovely folks at MSN won’t allow us to embed the video, we’ve resorted to screencaps and a little transcription. Bear in mind, though, we’re not court reporters, so we may have missed a word here or there.
The segment begins and Meredith Vieira announces, “This morning we put 13 chefs to the test of making a meal for us. We’re going to taste some of them and pick our favorite.” [Hint, Meredith: Go for the fat ones first; they taste better.]
So assuming the season began with 15 or 16 cheftestants, this tells us that two or three have already been eliminated. Meredith then brings on His Royal Bearness.
Pardon us for a moment while we let him bashfully beam.
So, Tom says, “We’re shooting in New York, so New York’s a great background. The chefs are all seasoned pros, and so far the competition’s pretty stiff.”
In other words, the usual shtick, except that, surprisingly, no talk this time of how this season’s contestants are the strongest yet, etc., etc. Hmmmm. God, this always feels like Kremlinology.
Tom again: “Their assignment was to prepare and demonstrate a dish that they would make if they were on the Today Show. And we have 13 chefs; they all did a two-and-a-half minute demonstration, and we are pretty much deadlocked. So we narrowed it down to three. You’re going to make the decision.”
Why, it’s like that new Kevin Costner movie about voting, except that maybe the Today Show women are like the Electoral College, or maybe the Supremes (in both senses of the word). And by the way, don’t that sound aaawf’lly like Next Food Network Star? We sense a gradual convergence.
Tom yet again: “Whoever wins the challenge, on December when this episode airs, will come on and make their dish on the Today Show.”
What did we tell you? Perhaps Top Chef will decamp for Food Network much as Project Runway went to Lifetime. Also, this lets us know that Season 5, now officially called Top Chef: New York, will begin airing in November, or perhaps early December.
So, on to the dishes.
Tom: “This is a tomato, watermelon, feta cheese salad…with basil oil and balsamic vinegar.”
We learn Meredith Vieira does not eat watermelon because it makes her sick.
Tom: “The next one is a sautéed shrimp cabbage roll, and it’s also made with roasted peppers and walnuts. There’s a spice in there, which is sumac.”
Kathie Lee Gifford, after putting a roll in her mouth: “I can’t stand that. Can I do something with this? I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry for the person who made this.” She goes to the sink, spits it out in a paper towel and throws it away.
Natalie Morales can’t eat it because she’s pregnant.
“We all have our issues, don’t we?” asks a seemingly un-self-aware Kathie Lee Gifford (yes, it’s redundant, we know).
“Not Hoda, though,” Kathie Lee adds, “she’ll eat anything.”
Hoda shows admirable restraint in not knifing her right then and there.
The, er, ladies then confer, and render their verdict: