Each week, I try to pull some life lesson from Top Chef Masters, but this week, I was stumped. Looking through my notes, I kept coming back to one thing: Curtis cooking for the two remaining chefs, talking about how difficult it is to have critics judging your food week in and week out, especially since none of them had gone to culinary school. (I'll have you know that I did go to culinary school, but that's not the point.) What he said was true, especially of this episode. Here were these two incredibly talented Masters writing very personal letters and translating them into a tremendous meal, and we had to find some flaw in it all in order to declare a winner. It really is messed up.
So I decided as my last recap, I'd write my own letters, just like the chefs did for their final challenge. For the sake of space and your sanity I'll keep them short but sweet, just like the experience of making this season of Masters was for me. (Can you believe all of that happens in less than a month?!?) Anyhow, here goes:
When people ask what was the singular dish I connected with this season, I just keep coming back to you. I can say with confidence that you are the one. I'd judged your kind before, Tripe, but you opened me up and made be believe in an oft-forgotten protein. I know now that there's nothing awful about offal, and it's all because of you. I loved you in a way that I never thought possible. (You are a cow's stomach lining, after all.) Your tenderness, spice, and comforting tomato ragu were a warm embrace for a lost soul, and I hope our paths cross again. Perhaps someday we'll meet at Chris' restaurant, Incanto? I've heard you show up there form time to time.
SWAK (yeah, I just said that),
This was a delightful blog! Thank you for a well-crafted, funny, but heart-felt recap.
I guess Chris's dinner doesn't seem so audacious to someone whose mother-in-law cooks pigs' feet in cabbage, tripe balls in tomato sauce (the tripe rolled around a stick), and pigeon pie. And goes out to harvest all the young dandelions in the yard for me to mix with other foraged herbs (nettles, linden leaves, ramps). I got the feeling I'd get tired of four courses of this fare, with nary a vegetable in sight. Especially with such a heavy final dish. If they came across as varied and not uniformly leaden, then I guess Chris really is a genius.
Krista - I love your creativity in using the letters to describe the food in the episode and to sum up the season. Thanks for this blog entry!
With all due respect, I will not watch another cooking show that is judged by critics. I know that you critics have sophisticated palates and need to have your palates challenged to show how sophiticated you are, but I just don't enjoy watching that or the results of that kind of judging. The judging of the finale of this show was all about the critics and not about which chef made the most delicious food, which is sad. I did enjoy watching you on the show this year, but not your judging criteria. Best wishes.