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First, the Quickfire challenge. I personally like to do snails with curry. You need to have a good amount of fat and this is one of the times instead of using a lot of butter to cook them, I like to use coconut. I love snails. I think they’re meaty and not fishy at all. They can be a little chewy.
Kevin’s was pretty cool. Bacon with snails - that looked pretty top notch. The food is looking pretty tight.
The worst out of the 14 got another chance to redeem themselves with an amuse-bouche, but it didn’t look like they knocked it out of the park. I’m not happy to see anyone go home, but Jesse seemed kind of just hanging on by a string. Nothing has been terribly impressive. She had no reasoning behind her dish.
Let’s talk elimination. The one issue I had with this pairing thing was that historically, throughout the competition, you are assigned partners. With this choosing partners thing it’s kind of lame. It allows people to work together who have similar styles. This isn’t let’s see who we’re compatible with and then cook with this person. It’s just an issue I have with the challenge, specifically. Obviously you have some stronger cooks working together and they don’t want to be put under the knife. For the weaker folks, I just want to see some people with different styles bring it together.
Can someone explain why Ashley is seen as a dark horse in the competition?
She's made ravioli twice, the first may have tasted good, but didn't really look professionally presented, the second was hard and dry. She can't make panna cotta. Potato gnocchi: again--may have tasted good but didn't look good. She didn't ruin the bread pudding, but in my book bread pudding is another pasta salad--a dish that could send you home if it's not good, but never, ever a winning dish.
Her best dish so far has been a square of watermelon with some balsamic vinegar. Really.
Ash, Isabella, Ron Duprat, and Eli are all better candidates for dark horse.
About Kevin's snails, I'm not a fan of the "smear" on the plate. Especially brown if you get my drift! Very unappetizing. Plus, the plate looks like before it goes in the dishwasher! Isn't that going our of style by now?
Thank your for explaining about the potato souffles with the trout. I noticed the disks, but had no idea what they were.
Gotta disagree with you on this episode. Veloute is boring if classical? If it's done right, it's great. The fact that he loaded it with bacon is what they kept talking about as the issue, not that it was boring. Guess you're not a fan of French cuisine, huh?
"That’s what happens when you don’t let meat rest. All the juice comes rushing out." Hahaha! I love the way you write, Harold. And I appreciate how down and dirty, how nuts-and-bolts, you are when talking about the food in your blogs. Thanks for your insights!
Don't be so strict on protein and sauce pairings. The french make anything taste good with a fancy sauce. How do you think they hide all the icky things underneath? A great chef is able to make anything good whether it goes together or not. They're supposed to be tweaking the dishes not following cookbook recipes.
I don't care what fancy thing you do to a snail, it's still a disgusting creature. Anybody ever notice only humans are dumb enough to eat them?
Otherwise, you write a good blog. You're right about Ash and his saucing attempt. I thought everybody helped out with the plating like I've seen in other seasons. Thanx and keep it up.
Hey Harold!! Great to 'read' you!! Would love to hear more about the potato souffle. I tried looking it up on the internet. Nothing, nada. Especially after Fabio's sous chef explained in his "top recipe" video that they're not only difficult to make there dangerous!! to make and will forgo that recipe.
I was also wondering if you interact with the Cheftestants much. I bet you would from this years top of the heap crop. They seem much more professional, intricate, and in a take off of your famous words - they're chefs, that's what they do.
Ron is a dark horse?!? On what planet. He did a good dish for the first challenge that got him noticed. But it wasn't really a dish based on a vice. The only other thing that he's done was clam chowder with Jesse on a hot day. Granted that was a big crowd pleaser and I understand why but he's nothing more than a flash in the pan. I'm sure he'll be leaving soon probably after or before Laurine goes.
I agree that Mattin should have been sent home. If a French chef cannot cook a decent French dish, then how does anyone except a non-French chef to cook one!?! I think that Ashley should have thrown him under the bus and let Tom drive over him. All of the chefs are fighting for the title of Top Chef and quite a bit of money and fame, so they should stand up for their decisions and suggestions. Ashley mentioned something that the judges agreed with, but that Mattin did not. This alone should have sent him home.
I can learn a lot from your insights and vast knowledge about food.... when I understand what you're saying! I don't expect you to be an English major, but I wish you would take a little more time with your blogs. For example, your explanation of the potatoes "souffle" technique is confusing. Maybe you skipped a couple of steps, or left out a sentence?
It's not just the puffy potatoes... I've noticed this with every blog you've written. I don't mean to be snarky, I'm really interested in what you have to say.
Thank you for your insight Harold and the explanation of the potato souffles. I saw them and they looked heavenly, but had no idea what they were.
Thanks for the potato explanation I missed how they prepared it, and the techniques top chefs use is why I watch the show. It looked like a nice garnish.
Harold, I FINALLY made it to your restaurant (no excuses for taking so long, I live in the city), but I'm so glad I did! Despite my high level of expectation, I was still "wowed". I highly recommend your restaurant to anyone who lives in NY or is traveling there. Fantastic! Could have gone right back the next night for round 2...Congrats!
I actually grew up eating snails (ginataang kuhol) and didn't really realize that a lot of people don't know how good snails could be. Here's the recipe:
1 kilo kuhol, edible snail 2 big bundle malungay (horseradish leaves, you could substitute any bitter green such as collard or arugula) leaves, removed from stem 1 thumb sized ginger, cut into strips 1 head garlic, chopped 2 medium size onion, chopped 2-3 siling labuyo (closest thing is thai red chili), chopped 4 c coconut milk cooking oil salt
Place snail in a plastic container with lid, cover with water and let sit in for several hours to allow the snails to expel dirt and discard water, change water frequently wash and drain. Cut off tip of each shell about 2-3 turns using a knife, discard broken shells and remove all visible entrails. Wash several times and drain, set aside. In a skillet or wok sauté garlic, ginger and onion. Add in siling labuyo and 3 cups of coconut milk, bring to a boil and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until liquid has reduced to half, stirring occasionally to prevent from curdling. Add in snails and cook for 10 to 15 minutes. Now add in the remaining coconut milk and malungay leaves, season with salt to taste, cook for another 3-5 minutes or until done. Serve immediately.
Thick, rich, creamy, snails absorb the rich coconut sauce really well. As Harold says, snails really work well with coconut because of how rich it is.
Harold you are still the best chef that has been on the show but I just was wondering who you were thinking is going to taking it this season my bet is Kevin. Hope to hear your thoughts soon
Hey Harold, you're still my all time fave among the Top Chefs! I never miss your blog, and I'm glad you continue to provide your insight into the proceedings.
Just one tiny, itty-bitty correction: Those cute little potato puffs WERE mentioned, and by none other than the great Robuchon Himself (in French).
I think that the judges finally got it right. The top three finalist are where they should be, in the finals. I also liked the idea of having restraunt wars in an already established restruant. I think they should cook and not decorate...This was a great idea. Also it is refreshing to see them get rewarded for efforts. Car, money, etc....great show this go round.
You are so talented and sweet on top of that!! I like your take on things. My sons and his friends went to your restaurant in NY. We are from NJ/Philly area and they loved you in your season. They had a great dinner and said that you were so kind. They were actually in the hall by a restroom but you took the time to say hello and talk to them (young kids..20's) and they were thrilled that you took the time to say hello and ask them about their meal. My son even has taken a job as a sous chef in our rural local restaurant just to learn!!