Andy Cohen

Top Chef Boston: To Julia!

Finally, Top Chef Boston is back!  It’s been forever for the viewers, but the chefs are fresh off of Katsuji’s elimination.  The episode starts with a PBR toast to him!

Andy Cohen (Boston University alum) and his college roommate, Dave Ansel, act as guest judges for the Quickfire.  Padma announces that it’s a ramen challenge!  While Top Chef provides the ramen, the rest of the ingredients are provided by my alumni network: Emerson College students!  Five Emerson students bring in bags of whatever food they had in their dorm rooms.  This is the pantry the chefs have to work with.  They pick blindly and hope for the best, because the winner of this Quickfire gets $5k!

It’s truly hilarious watching the cheftestants’ reactions to their ingredients!  I must admit, I probably was worse than some of these kids in college.  You can’t fit a lot in that mini-fridge!  Here’s what they come up with:

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Andy & Dave don’t care for Mei’s for the lack of broth, and found Doug’s combination of ingredients strange.  Even though most people might find George’s meat-filled concoction off-putting, it worked for Andy and Dave.  They also liked Gregory’s bacon-pizza-broth and Melissa’s Frito crunch!  The winner of the Quickfire: Melissa!

Padma sends the cheftestants back to the stew room where they find a remote and a note to “press play.”  The TV lights up with Julia Child cooking with Jacques Pépin!  Watching the camera pan their faces as they watch Julia, you can see the pure magic her presence brings.  You cannot watch her cook without smiling.

In walks the real Jacques Pépin accompanied by Padma.  “I come with wine,” he says, “and a beautiful woman.

The chefs ask Jacques about Julia, as their elimination challenge will be cooking to honor her!

To make this monumental task a little more nerve-wracking, the chefs serve to the judges– Padma, Tom, Hugh– Jacques, and a table of special guests including Food & Wine’s Dana Cowin, and Boston chef/restauranteur/celebrity Barbara Lynch.

In Julia’s honor, the chefs serve:

Gregory truly cooked in the spirit of Julia, and watching him do so was amazing!  His coq au vin pleased the judges all around.

Gregory truly cooked in the spirit of Julia, and watching him do so was amazing! His coq au vin pleased the judges all around.

Mei's take on duck a l'orange was cooked in Julia fashion, but with five spice to add her own twist.  It was very well received!

Mei’s take on duck a l’orange was cooked in Julia fashion, but with five spice to add her own twist. It was very well received!

George used the pressure cooker, which always makes me nervous.  Even with that, his veal was not braised long enough.

George used the pressure cooker, which always makes me nervous. Even with that, his veal was not braised long enough.

Melissa braised in Julia-fashion, but feared her meat wouldn't be tender enough... so she left it in the over all day resulting in over-cooking it.

Melissa braised in Julia-fashion, but feared her meat wouldn’t be tender enough… so she left it in the over all day resulting in over-cooking it.

Doug's foie gras was undercooked.

Doug’s foie gras was undercooked.

 

Hugh, Tom, Padma, and Jacques sit at the judges’ table and announce that Mei and Gregory have the top dishes!  While they both took different approaches, ultimately Mei’s personal twist on the dish won it for her!  The remaining three in the bottom, and Dougie is asked to pack his knives.

This is another tough elimination.  I really feel like Dougie is one of the strongest chefs left, along with Mei and Gregory.  With the pack so small and everyone so talented, every elimination is rough.

We’re close to the end, sadly!

Leave me some thoughts in the comments, and tweet with me every Wednesday 10 pm East coast time!

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Binge-worthy: Hotwives of Orlando

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I’m a big fan of Angela Kinsey from her days on The Office.  Though her character, Angela Martin, was never exactly the life of the party, I loved watching this little ray of sunshine play such a convincing unimpressed character.  I follow Angela on instagram, and that’s how I heard about The Hotwives of Orlando.

The Hotwives of Orlanda is a Hulu original series and a parody of Bravo’s The Real Housewives.  Its seven episodes (6 stories + 1 “reunion special) feel like a long-format SNL skit.  The show opens with: “Mario Lopez once said, Orlando is the most glamourous city in the world” which got an immediate laugh out of me.  This series was enjoyable to watch all the way through– funny, light-hearted, and on-point with attention to detail from the Bravo counterpart.

Oddly enough, this show kind of made me want to watch The Real Housewives… like I need another bad reality show to occupy my time!  To me, each character seemed to embody a different Housewives location.  Wikipedia breaks it down a little more:

Angela Kinsey plays Crystal Simmons, “the Religious Zealot.”  Crystal is a holy roller, who believes her husband is king.  She admits to never having read the bible, because her husband told her that women can’t interpret it as well as men.  She is based on The Real Housewives of Orange County’s Alexis Bellino and The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’s Kyle Richards.  Though I’m unfamiliar with both of these Housewives, Crystal is my favorite.  I love this stereotype and find it very funny.  I also love Angela Kinsey just so much.

Kristen Schaal plays Amanda Simmons, “the drug-addicted former child star.”  Amanda is single, and a complete alcoholic mess.  She was in Florida Prune Juice commercials as a kid, and has not let this go.  She is based on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’s Kim Richards.  Again, I’m unfamiliar with her, but this is a familiar stereotype that works well in this format.  Think: Cinderella in the SNL spoof, Disney’s Real Housewives.  Kristen Schaal is another favorite of mine, as she gives voice to Louise, my favorite character in Bob’s Burgers.

Casey Wilson plays Tawny St. John, “the trophy wife.”  Tawny is a gold digger with a bad roots who has convinced herself her older husband is dying, and is blatantly screwing her fitness instructor, Heath (played by Joey McIntyre!).  She is based on RHOC’s Tamra Wilson and Gretchen Rossi, but really, every Housewife has a little Tawny in her.  From silly charity events to bad entrepreneurial ideas, Tawny seems to be what the Real Housewives as really like.

Danielle Schneider plays Shauna Maducci, “the bankrupt overspender.”  Danielle is a loud, overreacting, material girl.  She has 4 (or possibly 5) daughters with ridiculous names that we never see.  She is pure Real Housewives of New Jersey and is based on the infamous Theresa Giudice.  Her overspending has pushed the envelope so much that the family’s home is repossessed.  In the final episode, her husband Anthony is arrested for fraud.  This is the most familiar character to me, as I’ve actually watched some RHONJ.

Tymberlee Hill plays Phe Phe Reed, “the entrepreneur.”  Phe Phe (which is short of Phenomenon) is prone to speaking her mind and claiming– she’s just being Phe Phe!  She is a lawyer, a CPA, an ordained minister, an amateur taxidermist, and a music video producer to name a few!  She represents the Real Housewives of Atlanta, specifically Nene and Phaedra.  Even though I’ve never seen RHOA, I watch Bravo and recognized her name mash-up right away.

Andrea Savage plays Veronica Von Vandervon, “the cougar.”  Speaking with a pseudo-British accent, (which she explains in the reunion special, is how white people with money speak,) Veronica is an heiress to a mini-golf course in Orlando.  She makes overtly sexual jokes, then explains them to you in case you didn’t pick up on it. She was based on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’s Lisa Vanderpump and The Real Housewives of New York’s Sonja Morgan– I’m familiar with Sonja enough to see this and her name is a great play on the likes of Vanderpump.

Producer Paul Scheer makes a cameo at the end of every episode and hosts the “reunion special” as Matty Green, a perfect play on Bravo’s Andy Cohen.  This adds to the accuracy and authenticity of this parody, making it all the more hilarious.

If you’re looking for a fun, quick watch this summer, I highly recommend you check out The Hotwives of Orlando.  In a weird way, this show actually makes me want to watch the Bravo shows it parodies…

Has anyone heard if they’re doing another season?  I’m hooked!