'Top Chef's' Season 1 winner gives his take on the last two episodes.
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.
Anita's eggplant wasn't one that I found to be particularly interesting. I'm not a big eggplant man. If you're gonna cook it, I really don't wanna eat the skin. I'm not into it. I wasn't excited about that plate.
I thought Michael did a nice dish with his pasta. I probably would have used sunchoke pasta which is something I've really enjoyed. They take sunchokes, grind them up, and make pasta out of them. Obviously you can't use breadcrumbs with the restrictions, but I would have figured something out because I love sunchoke pasta.
I thought Rick made a very calculated and intelligent decision by using those greens. I thought it was very smart.
Hubert just makes masterpieces and they are really so beautiful. I think it could be a little tiring using just that guacamole because there's nothing to grab onto, there's no real texture. It seemed like he did a pretty good job.
Art didn't really make the best move. I mean, you've got all your equipment there so why couldn't he have made some sort of sorbet? There's a flash freezer there, so it' s like, dude, make it. I'm trying to figure out what he spent all that time on. He didn't need 2 1/2 hours to prep. Even with the brittle that's crazy. I just wasn't that impressed. Hands down the right person went home.
Now let's talk this week. In the Top Chef Masters taste test quickfire it looked like they didn't really know much. But if you go back and look at the Season 1Top Chef taste test, we got hosed. The ingredients they pulled out for us were so ridiculously hard and the things they pull out now are like corn and soy sauce and I'm thinking, seriously? They made that challenge a lot better, however, the elimination challenge was tough. I was having flashbacks to the wedding challenge with that one.
I can't go through the chefs mind and figure out why they chose their sous-chefs, but if it was me, I would have been happy to cook with any of them. Honestly. I was surprised by Michael and the way he spoke to Dale though. I'm not saying Dale's not a little hotheaded too though...
With my sous-chefs, everyone needs to spread their wings. That being said, it's a different situation because I've worked with him for five years. He knows my style, and I know his style. This is a situation where you're with people you've never worked with before and you don't know very much about them. You say "make food that's going to represent me" and I'm not sure I would have been any different than Michael. On the flip side, if Richard's avocado ice cream hadn't worked, Rick looks bad. It's a catch 22. It can happen to work out when you're trusting someone else, but if it doesn't work out then it's like, why are you letting people down? It's a double edged sword.
A little taste of the finale... I think it's gonna be a good battle. Three different chefs with three different styles who have really dominated all through the competition. It's gonna be a lot of fun.