Quickfire Challenge: Well I thought the crab challenge was a very good one because we are in a region for the blue crab, and there are a lot of them in the Chesapeake Bay. And everybody was freaked out by the crabs moving. They are very fast; they can pinch you and hurt you very quickly, those crabs. Timothy seemed to be very comfortable with them because he has a restaurant in the region, and he therefore was handling them properly. And I thought he would have a good shot of shining in that episode. I don’t think he made the crabs shine at all because he didn’t win that episode. It doesn’t matter if you cook with Asian style or any style of cooking. What matters is to bring the right seasoning and the right ingredients in a sauce or in a garnish to make the crab the star of the plate, and Timothy seems to have forgotten that, probably in his seasoning or something. But the crab was not the star of the plate, and therefore he lost against Ed. Angelo has the reputation of being very Machiavellic and calculating things to let others be mislead or bring them to a loss – and then is trying to help Tamesha with showing her how to do it. And obviously everyone is questioning his intentions because we don’t know where he’s going.
Elimination Challenge: The Elimination Challenge was definitely a challenge for them. In the house you saw Angelo and Kenny fighting to take over the team, and it was actually very entertaining to see them arguing like that. Timothy was kind of in the middle, but not interacting that much. Finally, they had a team, and went to the country. I thought it was a very difficult challenge because of the lack of equipment and the lack of cooking stations that they had. Also, they were very limited in their vegetables and meat. All the ingredients were very sparse, and it was difficult for them to create something. I was actually very, very surprised to eat such great food in the middle of a field, not knowing that they had to fight for space and fire and ingredients. Kenny, in this episode, did really well; his eggplant was delicious and very tasty, and we all agreed at the table that it was the winning dish. Also, we enjoyed very much the dishes from Kelly and Andrea, and the fact that Kelly made a crumble as well was a very good surprise; that crumble was very delicious. We enjoyed it very much.
I think it was also an easy choice to choose who was going home, and it was Timothy. He really did a poor job with his vegetables, and I didn’t even remember seeing those vegetables on the plate. Tom caught the fact that Timothy supposedly had asparagus for color, and it didn’t really bring any flavor. So if you use an ingredient, especially a beautiful ingredient like an asparagus, and if that ingredient doesn’t bring anything to your dish, do not use it because you are spoiling it. And maybe someone could have used that asparagus and done something great with it. Timothy had already had the mini-fight about the beets, and now he was putting asparagus just for the color? I mean, it didn’t really make much sense.
Viewer Questions: I’m going to answer the question of Jackie D., and it’s about chefs bragging about their talent, or not bragging about their talent. And because Top Chef is television, I think you need to sell yourself to begin with by talking about the talents that you have. I don’t think you have to overly brag about your talents, because then your cooking is going to make you shine or not. But it is always good to be articulate about why you are on Top Chef, and why you want to win the challenge, and what are your qualities as a cook. But it is true that some of the chefs have a tendency to exaggerate their talent, and it could be maybe a kind of insecurity. And by bragging they try to fight that insecurity, I don’t know. And it's true that talking a little bit about yourself is good, and then cooking a good dish is really, definitely the right thing to do.
So, all of my comments for Episode 5 are done. I will definitely see you next week to comment on Episode 6.
Chef Ripert,considering that the challenge was located at a 'humane farm' wasn't it ironic to see the chefs chopping away at the crabs so brutally. Why can't a chef throw the crab in the boiling water rather than bring water to boil with the crab in it causing it to suffer maximally.Is this how seafood is treated in restaurants, it kind of puts me off eating crabs and lobster. There must be a way to sacrifice the crustaceans quickly but it seems that people would rather save on time than spare a creature some suffering.
I love your blog every week. My question... As a home cook, I seem to use the same recipes over and over. Anytime I try a new recipe, it seems to fail. What is a good cookbook that will help me learn to be a better chef in my kitchen?
1 - the videos weren't available 2 - with the access I have - it's impossible to watch the videos
And, darnit, you're intelligent, knowledgeable (I love your insights on the show) and well, let's be honest, very sexy.
I hope you consider staying on in future seasons.
Eric, you have brought back my interest in this show! I am really enjoying your expertise and your video blogs. It's such a pleasure to see you on the show, and listen to your blogs. I am looking forward to many years of them.
Great choice Bravo!
I like reading the blogs, not watching them. This becomes especially true when the blogger is difficult to understand. I miss Toby!
I totally love hearing your thoughts on each episode, Chef Ripert, and I thought the fighting between Angelo and Kenny was amusing as well. While they do seem to have the skills to back up their posturing, the fact that they have to fight about showing each other up is amusing to me. A good chef will naturally show their talents through their food and not have to go through that kind of rigamarole to prove they are the best- their skill will naturally be shown in their food. Something I thought was shown last season by the finalists, one of them being your chef, Jennifer. They all let their food talk for them and came across as skilled and talented. Thank you for your wonderful insights, and I hope to be able to dine one day in one of your restaurants. :) Good eating!
Great observation re: boasting vs. delivering. I can see how intimidating the challenges are for the chefs. Yet for me, to be a great chef means delivering under pressure and taking every morsel into account when you put your reputation on the line.
Great V-blog Monsieur. Look forward to next week.
FloridaGal Thank you for explaining what we couldn't see or understand. Tim's turnip with asparagus didn't sound like such a good combination. I want flavors to be the first reason for adding a vegtable not color. Amanda needs to go back to school. I am not a chef yet I know that Minestroni soup has pasta. And all schools are drup free, no drugs, and alcohal is considered a drug. If a student brought alcohol to school he would most likely be suspended or even expelled. A staff member could be fired. This is coming from a school administrator. As soon as Stephen, Amanda, Andrea leave - it will be interesting who shines. I think both Tiffany and Tameshia are talented. I wonder if any chef who was older with more life experience warned Tameshia that Angelo could be a snake, and would throw her under the bus if need be. I so enjoy your comments and blogs glad you are a big part of Top Chef this season.
Eric, Your skills and knowledge are much admired but I must murmur that you are mistaken about minestrone - it does not need pasta in it to be called "minestrone".
I have scoured the Internet and no where is there a description of Minestrone soup that states that you have to have pasta in it. In general, most recipes do not mention it at all, others have it optional along with rice.
I just want to say what a fabulous addition you are to Top Chef. I had the privilege of working with you when you participated in a Boston Food and Wine Festival many years ago. You were one of the nicest and most professional people I have ever worked with and that comes through on this show. I look forward to the episodes in which you appear.
Thank you for your insight, you are a true class act and an amazing chef.
I know that Eric Ripert may answer your question, but just in case, he has a cookbook called A Return to Cooking that is perfect for the at-home chef. I've tried some of the recipes and they are fantastic. Let me tell you, if I can do it then anyone can (my mom was a professional cook & baker so she does all of the cooking & I have very little experience, but everything I've made that is an Eric Ripert recipe, she absolutely loves) If you wanna get really fancy, his book On the Line has recipes that are in Le Bernardin and some great insider knowlegde of the culinary world.
The great Minestroni Pasta Debate! I have eatten my fair share of Minestroni - if it is on the menu, I order it. Never has it come without pasta. I would like to see all these recipes that do not have pasta. Someone said without the pasta it becomes vegtable soup - how true. I wish your fellow bloggers Jamie, Gail and Team Top Chef would contribute each episode. It helps clear up questions that we have. And it gives us the lay person more incite to what has happened. I am tired of hearing about S-6 being so much better. Bravo repeats their shows - set your DVR and watch the repeats instead of S-7. Give it up already. Personally my two favorite seasons are S-2 with Ellia and Sam and S-4 with Richard and Antonia. Oh I cannot forget Fabio and Carla and Dave from S-1. Each season brings us a batch of new chefs. Stephan who is falling apart and makes us wonder why he ever applied for Top Chef. Who knows he might be a terrific chef yet put him in front of a camera, being timed while shopping and cooking, limited money and food and all the curve balls that are thrown to the chefs - anyone no matter how talented could freeze and fail. These men and women are taking a huge risk by taking a chance to look like a loser on national TV. They all have chef jobs back home. Many own a resturant. They have a lot to lose. At the same time, hungry young chefs who make it on the show can get a real boost to their career. The money prizes are given to help that beginng chef get started on their own or expand. Kudos to all who take a chance. We the viewers just sit back and watch. I know I couldn't do it for sure. Thanks again for your blog. It is interesting to have your take on the episodes.
@Hungryman: "The great Minestroni Pasta Debate! I have eatten my fair share of Minestroni - if it is on the menu, I order it. Never has it come without pasta. I would like to see all these recipes that do not have pasta. Someone said without the pasta it becomes vegtable soup - how true."
Well, a simple google search for 'minestrone recipes' or 'italian minestrone recipes' will give you plenty of recipes without pasta, without even going beyond the first or second page of the result sets. It seems that you may not know how to do this, however, so here are a sprinking of links from that simple search, ALL from a click or two from the first 10 results on the first page of each search: http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/minestrone_soup/ http://www.cdkitchen.com/recipes/recs/226/Autumn_Vegetable_Minestrone55243.shtml http://www.cdkitchen.com/recipes/recs/226/Barley-Minestrone107634.shtml http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/winter-minestrone-recipe/index.html http://italianfood.about.com/od/heartysoups/r/blr0157.htm http://fxcuisine.com/Default.asp?language=2&Display=124&resolution=high http://www.ifood.tv/recipe/peasant_minestrone_minestrone_rustica http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art15284.asp
You should also take a look at the Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minestrone
Pasta is optional; rice is often used instead; beans are often present, but even beans may be excluded and the dish still is called minestrone by Italian cooks. Out of curiosity, where are these places where you eat your minestrone? (Middle American places? Diners?) Have you eaten in regional restaurants in Italy?
Here's a Milanese version: http://www.e-rcps.com/pasta/rcp/soup/minestrone.shtml
Here are two recipes plucked almost at random from two cookbooks from my shelves, written by well-known Italian cooks:
1) Sicilian Home Cooking (Wanda & Giovanna Tornabene) - Alfred Knopf, NY 2001, pg 53: "Minestrone Rustico Siciliano": butter, onion, celery, carrot, garlic, ham, tomatoes, parsley, water, salt, zucchini, rice, bell peppers, parmesan cheese, basil. (NO PASTA. NO BEANS. RICE present.)
2) La Cucina Siciliana di Gangivecchio (Wanda & Giovanna Tornabene) - Knopf, NY 2000, pg 81: "Minestrone di Verdure Fresche": potatoes, carrots, spinach, celery, onions, tomatoes, green beans, peas, garlic, basil, parmesan cheese rind, olive oil, ground pepper, parsley, croutons, olio santo, parmesan cheese. (NO PASTA. NO RICE. FRESH BEANS & peas present.)
Dear Chef Ripert, Any tips or suggestions on how to know if a dish is properly seasoned. What specifically do you mean by properly seasoned. It's one of the main things I'm struggling with when I cook.
I enjoyed On The Line. I always wanted to know about the different roles in a restaurant and you made it very clear and compelling.
HungryMan, Middle America? Is that suppose to be an insult. I know some very fine people from Middle America. I have ordered Minestroni Soup in many resturants in DC and the surrounding area, Orlando, Boulder, San Diego, Monteray and various small towns and cities in Europe. Minestroni is one of my very favorite dishes and I enjoy seeing how different chefs make it. I can honestly say I have never had it without pasta. You did prove me wrong with your web sites. What does Minestroni mean? What is true is that Amanda is not a Top Chef. I look for her to PHK. The Sherry in the school lunch would have been enough for me.
FloridaGal Minestrone- a thick soup of Italian origin containing assorted vegtables and beans, pasta such as vermicelli or macroni, and herbs in a meat or vegtable broth. Windows Internet Explorer Online Dictionary
Here's a little more about the minestrone debate:
Marcella Hazan in her well-regarded combined book "Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking" (Alfred Knopf, ©1992) talks about soups in Italy (other than the occasional fish soup) being largely dependent on the seasonal vegetables available and varying from region to region and in fact the composition of which is indicative of the region [as one might expect, really, if you stopped for a moment to think about it]. She gives as her own basic version something she calls "Minestrone alla Romagna", clearly printed as such in the book, which contains zucchini, olive oil, butter, onion, carrots, celery, potatoes, fresh green beans, Savoy/regular cabbage, cannellini/kidney beans, meat/beef broth, water, plum tomatoes, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and OPTIONAL scraped Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind. NO PASTA, NO RICE.
She then lists a few variations that use the basic recipe as a starting point, to which is added additional ingredients.
She makes a revealing statement in a following recipe for "Spring Vegetable Soup" where she says, "It doesn't have, nor does it seek, the complex resonance of flavors that a minestrone achieves through lengthy cooking of an extensive assortment of vegetables".
In the book "La Cucina" subtitled "The Regional Cooking of Italy", put out by the Italian Academy of Cuisine (Accademia Italiana della Cucina), English Edition (Rizzoli Publications, © 2009) [originally published in Italian as La Cucina del Bel Paese, ©Bolis Edizioni – Azzano San Paulo] are recipes for minestrone variants. The book is supposed to be a compendium of 'authentic' recipes gathered by the Italian Academy for documentation of traditions from various regions of Italy, and as a means "to keep these recipes alive so that future generations might continue to enjoy them". [Paolo Petroni, Editorial Coordinator & Supervisor, Accademia Italiana della Cucina]
This book (La Cucina) lists three recipes for minestrone with pasta: "Minestrone" (Toscana) (pg 154); "Minestrone col Pesto" (Liguria) (pg 155); and "Minestrone di Verdura (Piemonte) (pg 157) - together with three recipes for minestrone WITHOUT pasta: "Minestrone d'Orzo e Patate (Friuli-Venezia Giulia) (pg 155); "Minestrone Dauno" (Puglia) (pg 156); "Minestrone di Ceci e Costine" (Piemonte) (pg 156); and "Minestrone di Fagioli, Cavolo, e Patate" (Calabria) (pg 156).
There is no indication that pasta is a necessary ingredient of something called 'minestrone'.