Curtis Stone

Curtis Stone deciphers the chefs' differing teaching styles.

on Sep 19, 20120

It’s been said that those who can’t do, teach. I say rubbish. Take this week’s Quickfire and Elimination Challenges, which asked our three remaining chefs, all unbelievably talented in their own right, to guide, instruct and educate. The result was beautiful food and students who were inspired and proud of their accomplishments.

The Quickfire was vintage Top Chef Masters. Instructing someone you can’t see (and can barely hear) to cook and plate a dish is intensely frustrating for the chef, but so fun to watch. Particularly when the students are the show’s judges. I expected Ruth to be amazing at this as she was famously a master of disguise as food critic for The New York Times, but James and Francis managed to hide their identities pretty well too. It was here that we saw the first hints of our chefs’ teaching styles. Lorena was patient and encouraging, Chris was methodical, and Kerry was demanding. What was interesting is how that style translated into the mystery partners' dishes. Lorena’s patience produced a deeply rich sauce, but cost her time to finish the pasta. Kerry coached Ruth to make a perfectly sautéed chicken, but it was remarkable to see how close Chris and James’ Prawns with Sautéed Celery, Thyme, Pine Nuts and Chili Threads turned out, in both taste and appearance.

This week’s Elimination Challenge was unbelievably rewarding. Walking into the kitchen you could feel this intense blend of nervousness and excitement from our six students. While they were all star pupils in the culinary arts program at the Southwest Career & Technical Academy, you couldn’t help but notice that the chance to cook with our talented chefs at this incredibly high level was blowing their minds. It was fantastic. It was equally great to see Lorena, Chris, and Kerry work with their kids. It’s worth noting that it had to be nerve-wracking to hand over your chance to make it to the finale to inexperienced teenagers just starting to learn to cook. But each of the chefs put that aside and focused on how to get the best dish out of the students, as much for the kids’ benefit as theirs.

4 comments
househunter1
househunter1

wow! I am incredibly disapointed that Lorena was eliminated. She clearly was and is more of a top chef master than the other two finalists. Throughout the season she continued to impress the chefs and viewers in every challenge.  I know that every challenge is rated on its own merit but honestly some credit should be given to a chef that is consistant and not just lucky. In my opinion, Kerry should have been eliminated fo:r 1. Making poor Patrcia's dish fail by his sheer disregard for his teamate and lack of communication. 2. In the team challenge with Lorena he again proved that he was not a team player and was only concerned with "his"dish.

A chef is not a master if he cannot communicate or work as a team. There is no "I" in team.

simonsezsmartypants
simonsezsmartypants

I disliked having this particular elimination challege as the last challenge prior to the finale.  It seems too random to have a chef go home when the cooking is out of their own control.  Lorena and Chris were obviosly the superior mentors to their student chefs.  Additionally, Lorena's student chefs are left to feel badly for cooking the food that sent Lorena home.  Some of the vote should have included the mentoring/instruction ability of the master chefs.  Kerry was the least effective mentor.  I actually did enjoy the challenge, just not at all for a challenge this late in the competition. 

GardensGrace
GardensGrace

Was the criteria an elevated dish or a restaurant-quality dish?  If that term, restaurant-quality, was stated in the challenge instructions, it was edited out. Clearly that was an important perspective in the judging, esp against the lasagne offering.

kflower
kflower

What an incredibly, incredibly, disappointing, UNFAIR, and IRRELEVANT challenge.  I am certain that you must have lost many viewers on this one.  This challenge- of TEACHING high school students- is in no way is an accurate challenge to determine the most competent chef, for the title Top Chef.  This challenge should be called:  Top Teacher of High School Students.  I am very disappointed in Bravo for this- and it is a crime that Lorena was eliminated for such an ridiculous challenge, completely unrelated to what a chef does:  creates a menu, and cooks- with their particular energy, style, and magic.  You took the magic and justice away with this. You should invite Lorena back, and have a FAIR challenge amongst the 3 remaining chefs.