I've got a major girl crush on Elizabeth Falkner!
Seriously, how cool is that woman? I'd like to chill with her in a beer garden come summertime over a cold hefeweizen and some brats smothered in stinky sauerkraut. Her and her swinging samurai sword move when she entered the Masters kitchen was BADASSS!!
And the other amazing chefs on this Lost Supper episode: Wylie Dufresne, Graham Elliot Bowles, and Suzanne Tracht, also blew me away as soon as i walked out into the kitchen and felt their charged energy.
This class of four culinary mackdaddys were incredible. I knew Graham by reputation and name, but i was in awe of him as soon as i saw him on set. How cool is he? Cool as a cucumber under any circumstance, pushing boundaries, and always cooking what he wants. Punk rock, did he call himself? Yeah, that works.
Although I know Wylie Defresne from my work in New York, it felt excitedly different seeing him in the Masters domain. A cerebral and thoughtful chef, my palate was ready to be challenged.
Suzanne Tracht is intriguing to me because she's not an in-your-face kind of cook, but her food is where she really expresses her quiet, yet assertive genius. It's where she lets her hair down. Her style of cooking is bountiful and luxurious, but she also goes in straight for the kill; this woman knows what to put on the plate to make your taste buds swoon.
Now, to the vending machine Quickfire! When we were shooting this part, the dusty old vending machines kept screwing up, and it made for some hilarious, but awkward moments. Wylie was up first. He slotted his quarters in, chose his ingredients, but the stingy machines would not drop his food. Either that, or they would get stuck in the machine, and then he'd look at me, and I'd look at the crew, and it was like, "Uhh, ummm .... What now?" Many a what-now moment and kicking of the machines passed before our blind taste-testers and former Top
Chef contestants were able to try their dishes. I hope it came across while watching (so much wickedly funny content gets left on the cutting room floor), but Ilan, Betty, Michael, and I all had a blast during the tasting. Michael, you are a riot!
The Elimination Challenge dinner was great fun cuz everyone was anticipating a stellar presentation. The Lost show's producers and writers were really into their challenge, and by the way, these diners are big-time foodies! We spent a good amount of time debating our
favorite Los Angeles restaurants before our masterful meal.
As far as the chef's winning dishes go, Graham's finest portion was his coffee-crusted seared tuna loin. Totally innovative and refreshing, just like Graham. Does anyone wanna meet me in Chicago to eat at Graham Elliot? You can just tell the guy loves exploring his culinary possibilities.
Elizabeth's braised wild boar was absolute finger-lickin' tastiness. I wanted to pick up the meat slices with my hands and schmear it through the sweet papaya yam pudding, which I adored. Critic James Oseland didn't like what he called its baby food-consistency, but I love
creamy textures, so i thought it was divine.
I will never, ever forget Wylie's chicken and egg dish because his banana mustard sauce was TO DIE FOR. It might sound odd to pair the two ingredients, but the tangy mustard combined with sweet banana was flat-out brilliant. I now make different versions of that sauce
whenever I think of it. One of the greatest things about Wylie's cooking is that he thinks off-the-radar, for sure, but he remains steadfastly true to his mode of cooking. Elimination Challenge or not, what the diner gets is total Wylie.
When it was Suzanne's turn and she told us that she was conjuring Christmas Dinner for our Lost Supper, she practically sealed the deal right then. Her plate of food was generous and celebratory, and she seduced us all with her harmonious use of exotic island ingredients.
Lobster, uni, risotto, boar, chardonnay sauce; lots of components that made a singularly knock-out course.
I think the best part of the Lost Supper episode was watching the sincere camaraderie between these Masters. Graham's and Wylie's competing/playing up to each other was super cute. And I'm happy to report that the impromptu chocolate chip cookies that Elizabeth baked
up in the few minutes in between Critics' Tables were some of the best I've ever eaten. She uses a bit more salt than typical — but the PERFECT amount — to make a glorious cookie. For you all who are able to go to Citizen Cake in San Francisco, I envy you!
Makes me wanna eat some desserts right now. Let's see what treats I can scrounge up in my teee-nee kitchen ... bananas, mustard, hmmmm ....