Stephanie Izard

Stephanie Izard misses Eric Ripert in a Santa suit, but overall thinks this season's chefs adequately brought the holiday spirit.

on Dec 22, 2008

On a more positive note, Martha was a big fan of Jamie's grilled scallop served over a kale and potato stew. This was a nice and hearty approach to a scallop dish and Martha seems to be almost as big of a scallop fan as Jamie. Ariane goes simple with a velvety cauliflower puree topped with filet mignon. I am a big fan of cauliflower puree but it just did not seem to have as much creativity as some of the other dishes. I felt that Hosea captured the win on this Quickfire. He made a dish that is in fact a one pot dish, and according to Martha and Padma he had great flavor as well. I guess Martha was just more drawn to her fellow Jersey girl's dish than the classic Spanish paella.

To get everyone further into the Christmas spirit, in comes the Harlem Gospel Choir singing the Twelve Days of Christmas. I think I was most entertained watching Padma get down to the gospel version of this holiday favorite while the chefs seemed to grasp where the theme to their dishes would be coming from this week. Though I have heard this song way too many times to count throughout the years I could not quite remember how many ladies were dancing and how many pipers were piping. There are some chefs who had to use a bit more creativity to create a dish that would fit the theme. Nine ladies dancing? Ten Lords a-leaping? Might need some creative storytelling to make some of these work.

The great part about this challenge is that they are creating food for a fundraiser to benefit amfAR which is the American Foundation for AIDS Research which is a great cause. Natasha Richardson, who is a supporter of the foundation will be the guest judge along with Michelle Bernstein who I had the pleasure of meeting at a Common Threads benefit here in Chicago. Very cool woman and talented chef.

The chefs all hit the market and try to figure out how to make tasty hors d'oeuvres that fit into the day of Christmas they chose. They also have only three hours of prep and will be serving 250 tasting portions by themselves at the event. Most of the chefs have experience doing charity events and passing out a large number of portions in a short amount of time, but I am sure they are used to having a helper at two so they can keep the food flowing as well as have time to chat with the guests.