Trouble With Toast

Top Chef Las Vegas, Episode 4 | September 17, 2009

Well, since my hotel room here in St. Louis does not have Bravo, I will not be watching TC tonight.  I am le sad about this.  However, I should probably post the recap from the last episode before I go watchin’ the next one.  Here goes!

The quickfire challenge finds the chefs at Daniel Boulud’s restaurant in Vegas, with none other than…Daniel Boulud!  Sadly for him, he is only the second most adorable French chef in this episode.  He announces that their task will be to prepare a dish with snails, and that the loser of the challenge will be going home.  Mattin is clearly excited about the escargot challenge, but Jennifer is nervous as hell despite the fact that she works for a VERY French chef.  There are a flurry of recipes, but Kevin emerges victorious with his escargot fricassee with mushrooms, brussels sprouts, and some sort of sweet bacon jam.  YAY, KEVIN!!!  He gets immunity in the elimination challenge and another TBA goody.  The bottom three are Ashley, Jesse, and Robin.  Instead of axing one of them on the spot, Tom tells them that they will have 20 minutes and all available ingredients to make an amuse bouche.  The losing chef will be eliminated.  Jesse thinks she has it in the bag, since she is preparing a tuna tartare and quail egg dish that she makes in her restaurant all the time.  Jesse is wrong.  She is now the fourth straight woman to be eliminated.  Chicas, get it together!

The chefs learn that for their elimination challenge, they will be paired up to create dishes using both a classic French protein and a classic French sauce.  They will be serving their dishes to famous French chefs.  Kevin gleefully learns that he does not have to compete, and that instead he will be dining with all of the esteemed Frenchies, including the one and only Joel Robuchon (who, in case you were wondering, is the most adorable French chef in this episode).  All of the non-Kevin chefs race off to Whole Foods for their French ingredients, which prompts my husband to ask, “Since when does Whole Foods regularly stock frog legs?”  Since Bravo called and demanded that they stock frog legs, of course.

Speaking of frogs, the dinner guests gather and include the usual panel and the likes of Hubert Keller and Laurent Tourondel.  Again, I emphasize that the man himself, Chef Robuchon, is the most prosh of all of the Frenchies, and he is made even more prosh by the fact that he doesn’t speak English and has a prosh little translator that he pulls out of his prosh pouch when necessary.  I find it funny that Kevin is seated down at the end of the table with the translator.  Also speaking of frogs, Ron and Robin present their dish first, and it combines Kermit with meuniere sauce.  They don’t slam the dish, but they don’t love it, either.  Mike I. and Bryan serve a cured trout with a deconstructed bearnaise sauce, which looks incredible on the plate and goes over very well with the diners.  Eli and Laurine, who have been conspicuously absent from most of the episode (minus a few hilarious, snarky comments from Eli), present an unimpressive lobster and sauce Americaine.  Mattin and Ashley serve their poussin and sauce veloute, and the only part of the presentation that is lauded is Mattin’s well-spoken French.  Uh-oh.  Jennifer and Mike V. serve their rabbit (details have escaped me), and it seems to go over well.  Hector and Ash bring up the rear–in all respects–with their chateaubriand au poivre.  Comments center around its uneven temperature, its poor carving, and the lack of sauce.

The favorites are pretty obvious (Mike I./Bryan and Jennifer/Mike V.), and Bryan ends up winning the challenge.  His prize is an invitation to stage with Chef Robuchon at his restaurant in Vegas, which is pretty badass.  The bottom four are Mattin/Ashley and Hector/Ash.  Ashley pisses me off, as usual.  Mattin does not seem to handle the criticism well, probably because he is fucking French and should know how to make veloute.  Ash and Hector are pretty honest about the shortcomings of their dish, though you can sort of see Hector steaming internally about being at judges’ table for a STEAK.  Sadly, Hector is told to pack his knives and go, which both he and I think is a shame because he never got a chance to really showcase his strengths.  Adios, Hector…I will see you at Pura Vida!



  1. I am sure that they some how find a way to even things, but it does seem peculiar to me that the budgets are them same even if your course requires $90 worth of live lobsters (ahem, Whole Foods stopped selling live lobsters three years ago) or $20 of frog legs.

    I also found it oddly predictable that Mike I took an inordinate amount of credit for his work in what appeared to be Bryan’s dish with Mike working under his direction. His tooldom continues.

    Comment by restaurant refugee — September 17, 2009 @ 7:02 pm

  2. Yeah, I remember thinking that Bryan should have smacked him around for that. Ugh.

    Comment by bettyjoan — September 18, 2009 @ 2:10 am

  3. Just started reading your recaps, very funny! And I knew I couldn’t be the only person who has noticed Bryan has TOTALLY been carrying Mike I. for the past two weeks!

    Comment by Jessica — September 18, 2009 @ 5:51 pm

  4. Jessica, welcome! Bryan is definitely my favorite of the Voltaggio brothers, and he would be even MORE my fave if he threw Mike I. right under the proverbial bus.

    Comment by bettyjoan — September 22, 2009 @ 4:25 pm

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