Team Top Chef

...and other things we learned about the chef this season.

on Sep 19, 2013

We've learned so much about David Burke this season. He used to date a Colombian girl. She was an ex-stripper. She taught him how to cook Mexican food. He owns a duck press, and he knows how to use it. He knows what a duck press is. He wrestled. HIs father didn't want him to be a chef. He has titanium balls. Wait, what? Oh, we'll get to that.

Let's first address this week's Quickfire Challenge where the chefs were asked to elevate the burger -- a contentious dish if ever there was one. It's literally at the heart of an East Coast-West Coast battle. I'm obviously referring to the age-old question: In-n-Out or Shake Shack? And while the answer is obviously Shake Shack (hehe), I really prefer a restaurant-style burger. In fact, I'm heading to Umami tonight (in case you wanted to know what I'm having for dinner.)

The chefs go a few different directions. While Jen and Bryan find the beef, Douglas attempts a shrimp burger, and David does lobster... and burrata... and apples...and pickles. Their critic? Sang! Muahahaha! Sang knows his burgers. He digs Jen's and surprisingly David's (I wouldn't have minded the ingredients!), but thinks Bryan's is boring and Doug's is, well, gross. What was interesting was that Sang really couldn't tell which chef made which burger. Presumably he was most thrown off by Bryan's choice to go classic. This may seem crazy, but I actually think if Bryan had gotten that piece of wax burger around his burger, it would have made a difference. Presentation has a lot to do with diner expectation. That paper would have signaled to Sang that this was more of a fast food-style burger, and Sang then could have compared it accordingly. But when his paper gave him trouble, Bryan just put his burger on the plate, and it looked pretty sad. 

Ultimately, Jen wins! That girl is on fiiiiire (or whatever Alicia Keys would say.)

In case anyone's interested, my favorite burger is still the lamb burger at The Breslin. And it appears that I'm not alone! I've got Frank Bruni to back me up! Read THIS.

On to the Elimination Challenge that made me cry. Anyone who has been reading my recaps for a few seasons knows that I cry often while watching Top Chef or Masters, but I really think this may be the first time I cried this season. Very unlikely me. The chefs are tasked with honoring four teachers with dishes. They all embraced the challenge with Bryan going so far as to say "Thank you -- it's an honor" while accepting his teacher's dossier.