Hugh Acheson

Hugh Acheson describes the odd relationship between the Masters and the sous chefs.

on Jul 31, 2013

I am renaming the Masters all “maestros.” It's my prerogative. I will talk about the strange relationships between the chefs and the sous chefs throughout my blogs, which actually are luckily, for the most part, not about subjugating anyone, but are laced with strangeness, coos, arm pats, some cuckolding, some ego bashing, and strange advice from all angles. 

That said, the shit is about to hit the fan and we are going to lose two of these maestros today. First step is to swoop in and take over the mise en place challenge (impossible to pronounce if you are Australian) and cook with the prep created. Loser of this gets the door to hit them in the butt on the way out. Second is a real Elimination Challenge, creating an Asian spin on a American classic, with product sourced from the a huge Asian grocer, and presented at a night market venue, kind of like an Asian food stall city. 

As I write this, I am in the Atlanta airport surrounded by a group of school-aged children going to save the world after they eat at a restaurant popular in airports that has the letters TGI Friday’s in its name. From their t-shirts it is clear that they are going to Mexico to save a convert a cartel. I actually remember the Yucatan trip of my youth; though it was a very agnostic one, and we did not have matching t-shirts, where our teacher liaisons seemed more than content with us just drinking beer and having one helluva time as long as we made the bus in the morning and didn’t bother them with trivial things like our personal saftey. I was 15, and I seem to remember smoking peyote, but it could have been epazote for all I know. I was a bad child. Back on track Acheson -- get this show back on track. 

Sue Zemanick, lordy I love her, but she looks scared of this Quickfire replacement. Her eyes are as big as a terrified aye aye (which if you haven’t watched this video by Zee Frank you need to… top priority if you are wasting time in a cubicle right about now.)

Franklin doesn’t expect Vinson to let him down, but Vinson is still looking like he may cry or go postal. Franklin is a very supportive maestro and this support will help. It’s all going to turn out OK, Vinson. Vinson, put down that knife. 

They gave me a whistle. I am the wrong guy to give a whistle to. Annoying noisemakers and I have a great rapport. 

The sous chefs clunk through the pomegranate and the celery root, and when time comes to a close only a couple have gotten through the squid and onto the lamb. Sang’s mercenary, Ted, completes the lamb rack butchery and gives Sang immunity. Good sous chef, that one. 

The Maestros step in and get down to prep completion and cooking. What would you make with pomegranate, squid, celery root, and lamb? It’s kind of a culinary version of Sesame Street’s “One of these things is not like the other” with the squid playing the roll of the thing that doesn’t belong. When in doubt, fry it into delicious submission and use it as a textural component. That’s what most of them do. Except the winner who treats it with a little more grace. 

Franklin gives Vinson happy hugs and high-fives, which kind of feels like the parental speech, “It’s not whether you win or lose….” Neal has a more evil paternal stance and admonishes Jason with a wedgie. We all have different ways of leading. I’d be like, “Really? Really? OK, go to your corner.” Follow that up with an awkward chef to sous chef bear hug and then me breaking into angry tears and crawling into the corner. I like to keep them on edge.