Onto this week's challenge: It was really cool watching the chefs rip through their own rib-eye steak. Spike did a really nice job -- he went about it the right way by taking the fat of the rack first and using those bones as a gauge of how a chop is supposed do look. He went about it the way I would do it. When I was there I got to spend some time talking to Rick. I think that we kind of come from the same school were both very low-key and very quiet. I really like Rick. I don't know what his food philosophies are but as a person he seems pretty mild, really mild-mannered and doesn't seem like a lunatic. He knows what he likes and is able to articulate about food well and I thought he was a cool dude. I really liked his restaurant. The thing about picking the scallops was a horrible call. And if I remember correctly he used canned hearts of palms as well inside the dish and that was another big problem. I thought that his rib-eye was really nice and it would have been nice was if he would have presented it more, especially for the tasting, kind of similar to what Antonia did with her gratin which I thought was cool. It was really good -- there was a lot of good food. I thought as a whole the two dishes by Stephanie were the best. Probably one of the best dishes that I had in the last five years was Richard's appetizer. It was ridiculous. That dish was really impressive and it was definitely my motivation to want to go eat at his restaurant in Atlanta. The sweetbreads and the hamachi was ridiculous and even Stephanie's was really good.
Richard's comment about enjoying that cut of beef more as he grows older didn't really make sense to me. I think that people that start to learn a little bit about beef and meat tend to start up at the tenderloin and then move their way to the strip and then maybe to the rib-eye eventually because it has more fat and it has more flavor. So I didn't really understand his philosophy on that. But the food was good. I was kind of hoping that someone was going to pull out a hanger steak or a flatiron steak, something more of a butcher or a chef's cut. You can have some fun with that and hanger steak is probably my favorite. Does Rick use frozen scallops in his restaurant? No freaking way. What it boils down to is that it was kind of hard to see what he had to work with, but why pick it if it's frozen? If you use frozen shrimp it's one thing because shrimp doesn't absorb water and moisture like scallops do. And frozen scallops are sheeted, so you see a scallop and it's sitting in a muddle of milky liquid. That's the treatment they put in scallops so you want to try and steer clear of those.
As for the final four, I thought Dale was going to be in there because I think that he is really strong. I definitely thought that Antonia, Richard, and Stephanie would be there and those were three of my favorites. You don't know what the elimination Quickfire is going to be and that comes down to straight up cooking. Throughout the competition, I thought the last episode was building up to it. I thought Stephanie had huge advantage because she has done beef quite a few times and she's done really well with it. I don't know -- I think that they are all really strong. I think Richard is probably the most creative out of the three of them. I think that Antonia is really smart and she really pays attention to what the challenges are and gives the judges what they want. I think Stephanie just cooks really good and solid food, food that I want to eat all the time. Lisa's style is very, very Asian and wasn't that crazy about either one of her dishes that she made. But obviously she can cook because she's there.
So I think that anything can happen especially when you get into that finale situation -- you're so nervous it's crazy. Harold www.perillanyc.com