This week's episode combined two of my favorite things: film and food. But before we get to the Elimination and my answers to some of your questions from last week's blog, let's talk Daniel Boulud. He is one of my favorite guest judges. We always get the occasional, "Who does that guest judge think he/she is?" comment here at the site, but I have a feeling they might just not happen this week. And I agree with one commenter one of our blogs (honestly, I'm too lazy to look) who said that the chefs shouldn't just kowtow to the guest judges, they shouldn't be disrespectful either. Um, so, when Ryan said Daniel's restaurants "weren't his style." All I can say is, "OK, kiddo. Whatever you say" No one can really deny Boulud's place in the culinary landscape, and the chefs' faces pretty much say everything whenever he enters the Top Chef kitchen. He doesn't patronize the chefs by telling them everything's great or staying quiet, he gives them real criticism. (Oh, and his glasses were really flattering on his face.)
The chefs had to show off their technique, which for many of them, meant their knife skills. Zoi had it right -- she poached an egg -- which presumably when done incorrectly can be, well, nasty. (Is it weird that I can't recall every having eaten one?) This challenge made me think of our Holiday Special last year when Season 1's Stephen Asprinio made the "perfect omelette," which was by far the simplest dish presented, and he won. Why? Because of his technique. (Sidenote: The only advice I can offer in making your omelettes better/fluffier is to whisk your eggs rather than beat them -- a little tip I picked up from watching the legendary Jacques Pepin on PBS when I was younger.) Anyway, a lot of the chefs seemed to do the same thing: blanche vegetables. But Boulud was quite taken with Dale's knife skills and Richard's progression. Ultimately Dale won. I'm actually really surprised to see all the comments comparing Dale to Hung or Marcel. Sure -- I guess they all have an attitude? Maybe it's my love for Hung and Marcel that's blinding me, but I just don't see the similarities.