Harold Dieterle

'Top Chef's' Season 1 winner gives his take on the last two episodes.

on Aug 12, 20090

Let's get caught up on last week's episode first. The Burger Quickfire.  What did I think of those burgers? I was really surprised Anita went there with that soup. I liked the fact that she goes for it, but sometimes it's a little too out there. I think she overthought it. It was really scary. I've eaten her food before and I thought it was a slammin' but I don't know.

I thought Rick's burger looked really good. Chiarello had the big burger and it looked good, but it looked like just a straight burger. It was very rustic and very him. For Hubert, they said the Roquefort cheese was overpowering and I could see that. I don't like blue cheese on my burger, but that's just me. I probably wouldn't have liked it, but I do know people who like blue cheese on their burger. When you have those super pungent cheeses it overpowers it. I like it on a salad or in a fondue if it works well, but on top of that I'm not a fan.

Then the elimination cooking for Zooey Deschanel. I've cooked for vegans before. I did a tasting menu once for Robin Quivers from the Howard Stern show. It's nice to know ahead of time that that's what you're getting into. It's not that hard... I think the soy thing was challenging and it would be challenging for me because I use a lot of soy products. If you know how to be creative with it you can do it. If you go to a Whole Foods there is so much you can do and there is so much you can put together. I think I would have had fun with that challenge.

22 comments
Scout
Scout

I have had to learn how to do without soy in my family. My husband is allergic to soy, particularly soy lecithin (found in almost all baking products including chocolate); and soy proteins (which includes many soy flours, etc).

This insidious allergy is particularly wicked because it manifests itself as intense itching (wakes you up in the middle of the night) to anaphylatic shock in the worst cases. It took us over a year to uncover the source of the allergy.

I appreciated Zoe's need to have it removed from the ingredients and want to encourage all chefs to be aware of the problem.

CookingNPreachin
CookingNPreachin

Dale was WAY out of line. I don't know why Top Chef Masters would bring someone like that back in other than for a showdown. We love Top Chef and miss Padma. Glad it starts soon..and Harold, we have picked you to win during your season and have only been wrong on one- Hung. Keep up blogging. Great job!

don
don

I think Richard should have won as well. He clearly was the best chef but he didnt do as well on the last show. However, despite not winning he is doing very well for himself. He is on TV on one station or another an looks like hes having fun. PS Hells Kitchen is way more entertaining

Viewer
Viewer

The only sunchoke (Jerusalem artichoke) pasta I've seen was a mixture of sunchoke and durum wheat. The last episode was my least favority. I blame the producers. They invited the most incendiary contestants: Dale and Spike. I suspect they egged them on to be argumentative. The producers are convinced people won't watch unless there is a Jerry Springer aspect to the show. It has been wonderful watching the "professionals" cook and work with each other. Their respect for each other has shown how mature adults behave. Unfortunately, the producers seem to prefer adolescent behaviors. Maybe our society would be more civil (less road rage,etc.) if television showed more role models like these masters.

e
e

"Richard Blais comments were uncalled for too...again editing. Richard "I should have been the winner""

was blais was saying was that he choked in the finale. i'm sure if he had shined but still lost, he wouldn't make a comment like that. seems like a relatively tactful guy.

harold, enjoying the blogs as always. i was rooting for you in tc1, and am glad things seem to continue to be going well for you.

non sequitur, tc5 was trash. hope 6 can class it back up.

Pattymedic
Pattymedic

Hi Harold, Loved your season and look forward to the next season. I have enjoyed the Masters Series, but I have to say that I was disappointed at Michael's behavior. He seemed to belittle the chefs. I understand he is more recognized than possibly the others but still it was over the top. I do have to say that when you are given the job of sous chef you need to suck it up a little and have respect. Dale, wow, you should really try to show these "MASTERS" the respect they deserve.

Mother Hubbard
Mother Hubbard

I have to agree that the taste-test Quickfire was certainly dumbed down from the original version in the first season. Andrea's recognition of umeboshi plum was mentioned, but I will always remember her recognition of and reaction to the natto: "It's natto. I hate natto!" followed by a very adamant spitting out.

I don't think this most recent batch was as bad as the one in season 3—especially as we don't know the entire list of ingredients tasted. Season 3, though: recognizing bowtie pasta by sight? Hung's monkey could do that!

Dan
Dan

About the earlier question regarding the avocado ice cream, I believe the blog was corrected. When I first read it a couple of day ago, it was worded differently and it wasn't clear that Harold was talking about potentially what could have happened if the ice crean had not worked. Great blog though, honest and up front about things. Wish I was in NY so I could try Harold's restaurant.

Dania
Dania

Great blogs, glad you're doing them again. Regarding the dietary restrictions episodes ... I love the idea of Sunchoke pasta. You turned me on to those in TC1 and I love cooking with them but I never thought of making pasta. I'd love to see that on your menu. I've eaten at Perilla many times and I'm always happy you have non-meat options (in addition to your amazing fish entrees) and would love to see a sunchoke veggie addition. You make it tough to choose, it's impossible to choose just one dish.

Viewer
Viewer

A viewer said: "Did I miss something last night...when did they say the avocado ice cream Richard made for Rick didn't work???"

They didn't. Reading comprehension. It's a good thing.

Viewer
Viewer

I love all of the Masters ... they are all very courteous and helpful to each other. You can tell they have immense respect for each other.

In contrast, I think the actions of Dale Whatshisname are inexcusable. Michael Chiarello is 100 times the man that Dale is, as evidenced by the fact that he held his temper, rather than lower himself to Dale's level. Dale is an immature idiot, and I'd be surprised if he is able to find employment very easily after that performance. I know I wouldn't hire him. I'd tell that young man to take a hike.

Dirk Watson
Dirk Watson

Howard, btw Perilla is excellent, I ate there because of you and Top Chef and loved it.

Your comments here are well thought out and insightful.

Baitseller
Baitseller

Harold

It’s great to read your no BS comments and opinions. I have to put my two cents in on the Michael/Dale situation. Michael held his temper more than I could have, Dale was, is and more than likely will always be a punk when he has to deal with other people, especially those with some authority or "elders".

The final show will be amazing when you look at the line up Hubert Keller, Rick Bayless and Michael Chiarello I have been trying to pick a favorite out of this group and for the life of me I can’t.

Viewer
Viewer

Did I miss something last night...when did they say the avocado ice cream Richard made for Rick didn't work???

Pennagirl
Pennagirl

Love the editing, not. Dale was totally disrespectful, Chef Chiarello was running his kitchen and determined who was the best sous chef to do it. So Chef Chiarello's methods look unappealing to many; but step into his shoes and you would do the interviews YOUR way. Calling a person young man and getting THAT mad, wow. At 43, I appreciate being called young lady. Richard Blais comments were uncalled for too...again editing. Richard "I should have been the winner" and Chef Chiarello's team and food doesn't look too good; what an ego you have!! I used to like you.

Lynda S
Lynda S

Hiya Harold,

I enjoy your clear spoken comments very much. The blindfolded tasting QF for the Masters was laughable. They were given a very easy array of ingredients. It was odd that they got so few correct.

As for the elim challenge, it was clear that both Hubert and Rick were dreams to work for. Anita was smart by asking Jamie (whom she already knew) for advice on who to chose. Michael's tyranical manner was jarring. He always seemed so personable until this point. Perhaps, he just wanted to get to know the cooks' skill level quickly in order to choose the right ones for his vision. Dale's flipout was ridiculous. All Michael did was demand a fridge (which was needed to continue) and call him "young man". Big Dale, er Deal!

btw: I don't appreciate seeing the biggest losers return to judge or play sous chef for a day. Spike was in the bottom 8 times and should not have been included. A work horse, he's not. He's a slacker...

CW
CW

Rick Bayless has never been in the bottom of any elimination and quickfire challenge, and I believe he's been #2 in the last three elimination challenges.

I know that you don't take past performances into consideration, but I think he's gonna win. I think he knows enough of what it takes to do well, and now he just has to have that one "knock-out dish."

Viewer
Viewer

Hey Harold! Love reading your blogs...congrats on all your success with Perilla..I have always felt you were a class act in every way. I am a personal chef in NYC for 10 years now and appreciate your insight on things. I remember on the Top Chef where Karla was paired with Casey and Karla caved in to her and lost..it truly upset me and Casey did not even seem to care..anyway I am loving watching these Master Chefs and the way they conduct themselves. I do not blame Michael at all for the Dale thing..it made me remember what happened to Karla..continued success to you and enjoy the rest of your summer!

Lynda S
Lynda S

Harold,

Luv to luv ya, baby... Great blog. Thanks for your take! You forgot to comment on the previous QF when the chefs had to transform junk food. Nobody came close to what you accomplished. You blazed the way with creative and delicious thinking.

I was surprised by Michael's dictatorial manner. He seems so easy going. However, Dale was over-the-top. All Michael did was call him, "young man". Compared to Michael, Dale IS a young man. Big Dale, er Deal! btw: it bothered me greatly to see TC losers like Big Mouth Batty, er Betty and Spite, er Spike. Spike was in the bottom 8 times. He didn't belong on this show as a sous chef or QF judge (the burger challenge). Poor Anita thought she chose her helpers well, but got stuck with the worst winner (Ilan) and slow Jamie.

I didn't realize that Blais' avocado i.c. failed. It seemed to be well rec'd by the guests.

Shelly
Shelly

Harold, about Hubert's guacamole last week: On Bayless's blog he says that Hubert had crackers of some sort that he was putting with it, but Rick looked at the ingredients while helping him plate and saw they contained gluten, so he had to scrap them at the last minute.

Your insight as a former contestant and winner, and a blunt one at that, is always appreciated.

neworleanslady
neworleanslady

Points taken, Harold. You always did seem to be the "Thinker" of Season 1. I admired your thoughtful approach as well the choice of ingredients while watching you muster your way to the ultimate win. I am pulling for Hubert Keller in this one! You were my pick from the 2nd episode of season 1 and since John Besh went down so early (gotta root for the hometown boy!) the class and sophistication of Hubert Keller has got to take the win. The only thing in your blog that I possibly disagree with was the Dale/Michael incident. Dale should have never shown the disrespect for Michael that was aired. I realize we, the viewers, may only see the highlights, but I think Dale should have let the "young man" thing slide. Maybe it was his idea for psychological warfare as this is a competition, but it was classless and showed a complete lack of respect.

Good to see you on here. Thanks for touching base with us and continued success with Perilla! Amy