Offals, or the nasty bits of animals, are fun. They are great for restaurants and chefs for so many reasons, whether it be that they are often times very affordable (sans maybe foie gras) or its ability to let chefs get creative. Oh, and they are pretty tasty also. I think it also speaks volumes about a chefs cooking ability and comfort level. They aren’t such a normal part of the modern professional kitchen, but they are still important skills to master.
The Quickfire was fun, and a bit off putting for a lot of reasons, but I think the offals were really the main reason for discomfort for a lot of the chefs. The main thing that shocked me was that the emu egg went last! It’s a bird egg; they are all more or less the same with exception of size and slight flavor variances. What is arguably the most versatile and approachable item on the table seemed to scare the chefs off the most. That being said, Kelly really lucked out getting it during the mid-challenge switch. She was able to quickly adapt and do exactly what she should have; cook a perfect egg dish. Simply highlight the ingredient and make it tasty all in one. I was also surprised by the aversion to the Llama and Ostrich loins. They are lean meat, unlike the unusual animals and some of the random parts they cook like other more traditional cuts of meat. These were safer ingredients that I didn’t see anyone emphatically jump for. Surprising really.
I did love the concept of the Elimination Challenge. I think it's great any time you get to see the chefs cook their own food with so little restriction. Unlike some of the challenges, this is something that all of the chefs do on a daily basis, prepare cold dishes. So little room for mistakes because of how well versed they all are in it and how much creative freedom they have. Also a lot of chefs go on the show with “pocket” dishes: things they know work and they are very good with. This is a super opportunity to break them out.
Eli - slight error - you mean KEVIN took the win and Tom corrected the chefs on the acidity of KEVIN's dish - whoops!
Kenny took the win? What? He managed to survive because Tamesha's dish was even worse than his. He was on the chopping block precisely because of lack "of being the most composed and articulate of dishes".
I think your mixing of the names (Kevin won, not Kenny), as well as Eric Ripert's name confusion on his blog - is just another indicator that this season has no interesting people. I am sure their food is great, but it's hard to care who wins.
"Kenny took the win for being the most composed and articulate of dishes..."
Actually, Eli, Kevin won. Kenny came in next to last.
I agree with you that the chefs should put their professionalism before stategy. Strategy may get rid of a chef but as you know it all comes down to cooking the best dish at the challenge.
I must say I am very impressed with your blog. It is very well written and not only astute but fair. This season is not as good as last but I believe that to be that the cooking is not the star of the show. As some posters have said, I have not been inspired to cook the dishes we are being shown.
Hi Eli, thanks for your comments. However, aside from the foie and the duck tongue and white kidneys, I didn't see what was so 'offal' about the quickfire. As far as I know, frog legs, ostrich, yak, boar, etc are just exotic (to us) ingredients, whereas offal are innards and random other non muscle bits.
I'm done. After watching Top Chef since the beginning, and loving it and learning from it--I'm done--unless Bravo the next episode or two can change my mind.
What I love about Top Chef Masters is that it's about the food, great technique, sportsmanship, humor, and great competetion among great chefs. This year is filled with boring, back-biting chefs and "tidbits" about who likes who, who hates who, and strategy to send the unliked home, instead of the brilliance and artistry of past seasons, of Top Chef Masters, and of a show that is worth watching. A shame, Bravo. I hope you'll print this!
And what do you people do for a living? Eli has spoken fairly in this post. I have four kids and mix their names up from time to time. The actual winner was documented on the show so grow up kiddies. I appreciate your fairness Eli. It's refreshing in this season of games before food.