Gail Simmons

New York City Restaurant critic Andrea Strong lists some worthwhile chef-driven charities.

on Apr 10, 2008

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Last night's episode ended with a full serving of anger and rage as Zoi was sent home for her sad unseasoned mushrooms, leaving Spike to get a strong talking to by her pissed-off girlfriend Jennifer. From where I sit, Zoi was more responsible for those 'shrooms tasting like little more than bland sponges than deep earthy fungi. I can understand Jennifer's need to protect her woman (who wouldn't do the same), but Zoi demonstrated with her pasta salad debacle earlier this season that she does have an issue with seasoning and it seems she does not like strong flavored foods as she so confidently asserted at Judges' Table.
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Also getting in on the rumble in the stew room was Dale who seemed about to pummel Lisa, enraged with the green monster of envy because she won a trip for five nights to Italy for "cooking bacon." I think she did more than cook bacon, she had a technique that impressed Ming and Dale's quite a sore loser in my book. Be a professional, and not a petulant child. The Quote of the Show goes to Dale for his wining: "She made bacon and she gets to go to Italy! Are you f-ing kidding me? I'm bitter." Grow up Dale and try to understand that you're not the king of the universe. It seems from the rage and release in the stew room last night that Top Chef contestants are fraying at the edges and the heat of the competition is starting to singe their nerves. It's only gonna get hotter in the kitchen as the weeks progress. In any case, I was glad to see that Lisa, Dale and Stephanie eventually got their dish together and were able to pull off a winning plate for the Fire Team. Richard escaped by the skin of a fish, but leaving scales in fish is a huge no-no. And I completely agree with Tom about cooking salmon sous-vide; it's a technique that I think works better with meats. (In truth, I'm not a huge fan of the technique at all. I find it renders food too soft, and I prefer the old fashioned way, no vacuum-sealed bags, just fire and a good pan.) With fish, sous-vide cooking turns its flesh into mush.