Carlos Fernandez

Carlos Fernandez on the culinary bee and the frozen food challenge.

on Aug 2, 2007

Let's start our conversation on the Elimination Challenge with the term being thrown around so loosely by so many: IQF, or Individually Quick Frozen. I assume that they all got the term from the back label of the Bertolli dinners they were told to emulate. The telling word here is "quick". Foods that are individually quick-frozen require specialized freezer equipment that brings foods to the frozen state much more quickly than ordinary freezers. I don't believe the Top Chef kitchen was equipped with this equipment since there was no Padma product placement involved. Ha! CJ and Tre were individually freezing in a more conventional manner--still obviously effective--but not exactly the same. I was as surprised as everyone else that more of the teams didn't follow through on that, although I do understand the temptation to have the finished product ready to go as soon as possible.

I was really happy about this challenge because so many chefs are snotty about frozen foods. There are truly wonderful modern frozen techniques that allow us to offer so many foods that would otherwise be available only if you were lucky enough to reside at the source of the food. This challenge taught them that there is a lot of thought that goes into creating a delicious frozen food product.