Well Done

Ruth Reichl explains why this challenge made her so proud.


I wish you could have been there. It was the most wonderful wedding -- from start to finish. We had the great joy of sitting with the bride’s brothers -- all six of them -- and they were a fascinating and extremely diverse group. They’re united by two things: they love their sister, and they love to eat. When it comes to food they’re decidedly opinionated people: when they weren’t telling tales about their beloved sister, they were offering restaurant recommendations for Las Vegas.  I spent the next month eating out on their advice, and not once did they steer me wrong. 

But I wish you could have been there for more than the company; I wish you could have tasted the food. Something extraordinary happened to the chefs when they were offered this challenge; they absolutely outdid themselves. You could taste it, taste the fact that for this one night the competition was not anyone’s first concern. Each of the chefs was determined to make this a memorable evening for Jay and Christine. The result was a seriously great meal.

The appetizers weren’t just good; they were wonderful. I can still taste Patricia’s spicy spoonful of ceviche, with its lovely young coconut accent, still taste Takashi’s small, savory Sichuan pork buns, still taste all the terrific flavors that Clark wrapped up with his duck. Anybody would have been thrilled to have these dishes at their wedding.Chris’s adobo was fantastic. And that wedding cake... well, as I said at the time, I used to make a living making wedding cakes, and I cannot believe that Art pulled this off.  OK, it was kind of a leaning tower of cake, but for the few minutes that counted, that cake was ready for its close-up.  

There are moments when you think, "This isn’t real life; it’s just a TV show." And then there are moments when you’re really proud to be part of the madness that is Top Chef Masters. Tonight? A proud moment. The chefs never forgot what was really important, and they pulled together and created wonderful memories for two lovely people. As Curtis would say -- well done.


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