Party Picks

Episode 6: Natalie and Vanessa were both successful with different approaches to to their French-inspired dinner parties.

Jul 20, 2011

 

Sure, I realize this week's episode wasn't wet, hot, nor American, but, hey, Michael Ian Black was there! And I just love him, so I'm sticking with this. And with that I say hello my little Julia Children. This week's episode was an emotional roller coaster, if for nothing else than the fact that the demeanors of our two competing chefs -- both female! -- were so different. First, in the Signature Dish Challenge, Chef Daniel Vater went home with his chicken ballotine. Our Season 6 Top Chefs had to create ballotines once, that's pretty much all i know about them. Natalie's dish looked like a hot mess, but apparently was very tasty, as was Vanessa's scallops, which looked stunning, so they both moved on. From the get-go, we learned that Natalie was, um, eccentric. But, man, her food looked good. She said she didnt' want her aesthetic to be too Henry VIII, but, um, it kinda was. but I'm sure it made an impression. Her look was more over-the-top, lush, buttery even -- just like French food. Her food was pretty classic, and actually reminded me of a chapter in Bourdan's Nasty Bits, where he talks about being taken to a classic and forgotten French restaurant on the Upper West Side. (I'll add in the name when I can remember it -- hey, I said it was forgotten!) Anyway, her food looked slammin', and frankly she was pretty damn amusing. I'm sure a few people had their doubts about her that day, but she proved herself. 

Unfortunately for Natalie, Vanessa's party was deemed better. Vanessa went for a Haitian theme with much simpler decor, using turquoises and fresh citrus to create her tranquil vibe. I'm happy she was called out for her use of truffles, which really are just so easy. I could not believe the amount of truffle that was available to them, though! That s--t ain't cheap! 

Although obviously i was thrilled to see all of this week's guests, I was awed by Alain Sailhac's presence. His take on the chefs' reenvisioning of Julia Child's classics was indispensable. The only thing that would have made his presence better would have been seeing him interact with one of next week's guests -- Raven Simone! (I'm a little too excited about this one.)

Anyway, let me know whose party you would've wanted to attend, and where you stand on short ribs: how long is your perfect cooking time?

Until next week, Have a Nosh!