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This episode lived up to the hype as the hardest competition ever on Top Chef! Cooking for Daniel Boulud and Thomas Keller at the same time would be enough to make you “freak out”, but when you are cooking outdated old school French food then it would be time to panic. I loved this episode and I hated it at the same time. We have seen it all this season, from Michael’s disc of bleu cheese molecular gastronomy to Kevin’s upscale comfort food, and now we get to see my friend and San Diego native Gavin Kaysen usher in the original “turducken.” Galantines, Balantines, Terrines are what we are taught by the old guards in culinary school, and that is where they are usually left. I have not been to a fine dining restaurant and seen any of those things on the menu in years. Don’t get me wrong – Gavin, and all of the other competitors from around the world who make it through regional competitions all the way to the national stage, are “superstars." The knife skills and technical level is out of this world. The Bocuse d'Or is a grand event. It is a ballet of timeless dances performed over and over again to pay homage to history, while we are living in a modern world with a different beat and a different sound. This is neither good or bad, it is just a different time and place, where paper hats have been replaced by tats! If we were to put a sound to our chefs this season what would it be? Michael would have to be modern, with a cocky undertone and a backbone of righteousness – Kanye West! Ouch! Jen would be ultra-talented with a self-depreciating anthem – Alanis Morissette. Eli would be comically twisted with a jolly rhythm – Jack Johnson? And Bryan would be overly serious with a dark realization peering through the clouds into sunny tomorrow – Morphine. Let's just give Kevin – Blues Traveler for fun! That was kind of fun. Now give me your musical matches for the chefs.
Back on track... This is why this was the hardest challenge EVER: I remember when Gavin was representing the U.S. at the Bocuse d'Or, he had his kitchen turned into an exact replica of the kitchen he would be competing in, every piece of equipment was exactly the same, from spoon to sauce pot. Every day for months, he would have fish flown in from France so that he could practice his dish. This is crazy to think we could ask our chefs do try and live up to the expectations that the d'Or holds. I'm a little surprised that they would even attach their prestigious name to a TV show competition. It just goes to show how far Top Chef has come over the seasons.
Our friend Eli has gone, and Kevin wins. The finals are set, and I am still rooting for the guy who makes the food Michael cooks on his days off.
Now what does this have to do with healthy remix? Simple! Less is more! The more contrived, tortured, manipulated your food is, the more you should stay away from it. Eat what you know and recognize. If you have to stuff it, emulsify it with gelatin, or freeze it with liquid nitrogen, you have to believe it loses its nutritional value and personality. Do you ever say “I crave – lips and assholes stuffed in a gelatin mold, or meat submerged in a plastic beg for hours?" No! I usually say, "I crave fish, chicken, pasta". It's fun to play, but at the end of the day follow Kevin's lead and cook with soul!
Well, here are my musical thoughts ...
Brian & Michael -- Oasis (they bicker, they fight and they're pompous as hell) Jennifer -- Amy Mann Kevin (beard notwithstanding) -- ZZ Top (just for the music)
Enjoyed your take on this, Brian. It helps sort it out. I, too, am pulling for Kevin and will scream if I hear Michael V criticize Kevin one more time! Kevin has just been a jewel, never nasty or backstabbing. Always trying to be concilatory and then of course the cooking! Am going to have to try Kevin's food sometime soon. Can't wait.
I think you are missing the point of the The Bocuse d Or. Look at the dishes presented at finals. Most are very modern . It is about techniques and flavor profiles used to create your dish. As I recall they are given only a few hours to prepare under extremely annoying and distracting circumstances where people are cheering and screaming for their home country.
I agree that sometimes simple is better, but I also seriously respect what Michael does as a chef. And I know that he has a very interesting way about him and he is my pick to win. I am positive that Kevin's food is fantastic and I am sure that Jennifer is one of the best chefs to come through the show, but I am always left wondering what Michael and Brian are going to cook next week. They leave me thinking about food and looking forward to the next episode. So, we'll have to agree to disagree. But love the blog!!
Brian from what I read most people are routing for Kevin. Well I think all four, different personalities but they are all exceptional chefs. You know we don't know the dynamics of the V brothers, especially being together couped up and challenging against one another might not have been good for either of them. If I recal they said the last time they lived together was 12 yrs ago. Well alot happens and changes in that time. Who knows something could of gone done in the house between them. I am beginning to think that. It seems to be unpopular to say but I am still routing for Michael V. However there all talented chefs Maureen
I'm definitely one of the ones rooting for Kevin. One thing I have really enjoyed about this season is that, for the most part, the chefs have been supportive of each other (Mike vs. Robin notwithstanding). Here's why I am pulling for Kevin (in addition to being an amazing chef) ... although there has definitely been some trash talking going on, Kevin seems to stay out of it and just try to get along with everyone else. After the antics of some of the past contestants, this has been a welcome change for me. I'll tell you what really summed it up for me ... during this past Quickfire, when Padma told Jennifer "Welcome back", the follow up scene shows Kevin winking at Jennifer to say "great job". I'm all about good sportsmanship and Kevin definitely has it.
I've never added my comment before, but Brian you made me laugh with your post so I thank you! Very witty and down to earth! I'll look forward to your next post.
I thought the other chefs were robbed in this challenge b/c kevin. Perhaps my intrepretation of the challenge was incorrect but I assumed superior techniques, presentation and taste as all part of the challenge. If the challenge was simple foods, simple techniques and taste -why have a Bocuse d'Or challenge?
Brian, I have to disagree on your comment about gallantines and terrines being outdated. I work at a well known French restaurant in Southern California and we regularly make terrines. In fact it is one of our specialties. I'm pretty sure that Thomas Keller serves a terrine at French Laundry.
Sorry El but while Michael and Brian had superior techniques, they did not cook the dishes correctly. There is not enough superior techniques to make raw lamb fat acceptable. Also it was about cohesion remember. Michael is a very forward thinking chef, but his dishes did not reflect this.
Brian, You should take your own advice of "Less is more". I remember from your season that you were the chef who over complicated your dishes with too many ingredients. Also, why hate on a contestant when you know full well how the editing room makes confessionals a bit more controversial.
I have never watched Top Chef before this season and I love Kevin's personality,he seems like a great sport and chef,I wish him the best of luck in everything he does.
Anyone else think that if Kevin's food is what Michael makes on his days off, then Michael should have more days off?
It is certainly interesting for me to read that article. Thanks for it. I like such themes and anything connected to this matter. I would like to read a bit more soon.
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