Yes, the chefs are all masters but it takes a challenge like cooking up something brilliant with “exotic” if not terrifying ingredients to stagger even a master chef.
Personally I have never had a black chicken that I loved enough to take home the leftovers for breakfast (one test of whether I love it or not). But I am very fond of monkfish liver since I don’t know hw many years ago when I first tasted it at Chanterelle – a surprising amuse from chef David Waltuck, a marine biologist. In a sense, Rick Moonen and Susur Lee had an advantage in both choosing monk fish liver and black chicken to work with -- the most appealing proteins -- even though Rick had no idea a black chicken could be so scrawny and Susur was an old hand at handling this familiar Chinese fetish. Actually, watching Rick improvise – diluting the testy texture impact of the scrawny bird by adding the tenderness of a regular chicken to his dish – showed Rick at his best.
Wow, Rick is a cranky, competitive guy and he doesn’t hold anything back, does he? Susur too, is right out there, naked aggression unsheathed as he commandeers most of Tony’s work space as well as “borrowing” Tony’s bacon fat. I was amazed to see how calmly Tony took both invasions. I imagine Rick would have smashed the table with a cleaver if he’d been the victim.
Clearly Jonathan was numbed by the challenge. As he makes clear again and again. Not only is he in a fog at Whole Foods, but he can’t get himself motivated to work with products he doesn’t love.
That must have been one tough old goat – both Tony and Jody suffered by failing to wrestle the meat into an edible state by either braising or roasting. I guess someone should have tossed it into the pressure cooker. Maybe that’s why not many chefs cook goat, and we love the chefs that do it well. But at least Tony and Jody were game. Buoyed by her earlier triumphs, Jody did her best with a geoduck clam chowder. Tony’s goat cheese ravioli were wonderful in their sadly spare ragu.
This was one challenge that I am glad I didn't have to taste the dishes!! More power to you, Gael, to try everything!
Watching these excellent chefs work hard, without letting the competition push them to backstabbing, as happens on regular TC, is why this is my favorite reality show.
Also I love seeing you, Gael after reading you for years. Loved Blue Skies.
I too was so sad to see Jody go - she was a great chef and a great competitor, focusing on food, not fights.
Susar continues to disappoint me. He is a rude prima donna and I am surprised that no one has called him on it yet. Creativity is not a free pass for bad behavior, and he's not the only talented one there.
Gael - For a series that is filled with cogent and amusing blog entries, I think you are by far my favorite writer, both of Top Chef Masters and Top Chef itself. Of course considering your background that makes sense. I too was sad to see Jody go, though I suppose at this level, it seems a crime to cut any of these amazingly talented chefs out.
I look forward to the next episode and keep writing these entries! I love them!
Thank you for another insightful blog. Your comments are most appreciated. There wasn't anything there that I could stomach. Mystery food is NOT for me! No matter whether it's deep fried, oven roasted or smothered in luscious sauces... To swallow those items, you proved that you are a brave soul.
Great blog. Your insightful comments are most appreciated. There wasn't one thing there that I could stomach. Mystery food is not for me - no matter if it's deep fried, oven roasted or smothered in luscious sauces. To swallow those items, you proved that you are a brave soul...
Ms. Greene - these are the times when I admire a food critic - for tasting things that sound or may taste unappealing. And you go for it! I enjoy your pro-viewing insights.
In that you are always perfectly quaffed and look like a poster for the well dressed woman, who would have guessed that you have an iron-clad stomach?! How ever did you get that "exotic" food down? We happened to be eating when that show was on, and it nearly ruined my meal.
I love Jonathan Waxman and felt sorry for him with his mental block. As for Jody, I share your sadness at losing her. She was a lovable and intelligent contestant. I wish you at least a well-cooked hot dog for your tailgating party.