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Jacqueline landed herself in the bottom by attempting to make a low-fat mousse. Um. This seemed like an oxymoron to me and to Eric Ripert (we'll get to him in a sec) and, well, all the judges. She might have been able to pull it off, but her mousse was grainy. Timothy also found himself in the bottom, which shocked him. Apparently his sauces were bland and the skin on his fish shoudn't have been there. Timothy and Chef Ripert have actually worked together before a long, long time ago, and Timothy does a fairly amusing Ripert impression. Stephen Hopcraft also landed himself in the bottom with his potato-crusted ribeye. I love potatoes. I love ribeye — it's probably my favorite cut. But this didn't look too appetizing. Eric compared the presentation to a chicken nugget. As much as I love a good 10-piecer, this wasn't a compliment. One word on Stephen: he is HILARIOUS. We shot another Slice and Dice Showdown video series this season (will be up on the website later this week), and he had me cracking up. I wonder how much of that side of him we'll get to see on the show.
OK -- now on to the good stuff: Kevin's lamb dish sounded tasty. Although I tend to steer clear of meyer lemon anything because I find it cloying, I think the pistachio in his marmalade might have swayed me. Kenny's trout dish got criticism for being complex, but I probably would have ordered it. I tend to order dishes more for what they come with than the protein itself, and I'm all about a good polenta. Then there was Alex with his borscht. I honestly don't ever think I've had borscht. I've been around it since before I can remember -- my parents would order it at every meal at Kutschers up in the Catskills on family vacations (where my Long Island Jews at?), and my mom would keep a bottle of it in the fridge. It just never appealed to me. But, I've recently developed an affinity for beets, so I'll let you know when I finally try it. The judges seemed worried about Alex attempting deconstruction, but he pulled it off. I think he had the best idea of the bunch. And, if you haven't noticed, I base a lot of my judgment on whether or not I would order the chefs' dishes at a restaurant; I am a paying customer in the end. Finally, we had Angelo's artic char. Being from Connecticut I had no idea what would inspire him. Nothing instantly comes to mind when I think of Connecticut, but Angelo talked about stream fishing and went for it. He wowed with his artic char which seemed to have tapioca caviar similar to the one we saw from Andrew quite often on Top Chef: Chicago. Angelo probably would have won me over with the bacon froth. Even though he wasn't in the top because of how the teams worked out, according to both Gail and Eric, Arnold's Kaffir Lime dessert was a hit too. I'm a big fan of Kaffir lime anything. Just a couple weeks ago, I had the Kaffir Lime Margarita at Top Chef Master Anita Lo's newly re-opened Annisa. You must go eat there, and you must get that drink!
I'm so excited that Top Chef is BACK!! I really enjoy your recaps and love hearing about your visits to former contestants restaurants. I'm thinking off the bat that Kenny and Angelo are the ones to beat. Since you asked about where we've been eating I have to mention "Peasant" in NYC, I ate there a few times on my last visit and I still dream about the food! They had the most amazing grilled octopus and a panna cotta to die for! If you haven't been I highly recommend it. I'm counting down the days until my next NYC trip.
I like your info and hope you blog more. I love Eric R. too! Please try to talk him into writing a blog (or at least try the Q/A format if it is too intimidating) instead of video blogging.
A written blog is more entertaining and offers better impact imo.
My business takes me to Atlanta frequently and I've had a couple chances to eat at Kevin's Woodfire Grill. Getting a table can be problematic, but without a reservation they have a large bar where you can have dinner served. The bartenders are all well informed foodies or seasoned chefs that engage in conversation. I highly recommend the tasting menu. It's kind of a mystery box - nothing is on the standard menu. I've never been disappointed with any of the presentations, only that Kevin has never been in the house while I was there. Last visit he had auctioned himself off to a charity fundraiser. Can't blame a guy for giving back to the community.
Please don't make this season all about Obama or his wife. I live in the New Orleans area and I've had an ass-full of him. When that cheftestant was screaming that Barack was her President, I wanted to put my fist through my TV.
I thought the same thing about the borscht! Love the Catskills-summering-Jews-shoutout (We did the Nevele and Kutschers at various points) :-) My mom (we're in NJ) is a BIG fan of borscht with sour cream, and often has a bottle of the Manischewitz version in the fridge at her house.
I really enjoy reading the Top Chef blogs and comments but have one problem with them: I prefer to read the comments with the oldest first so that I can understand those that refer to an earlier entry. However, all the Bravo entries are newest first, so I have to go to the oldest and read them in reverse order. Can you please arrange them oldest first or give that option as most sites do?
I LOVE Top Chef and have diligently watched all seasons. However, seeing the previews for the upcoming season showing Nancy Pelosi and the chef who is in love with Obama, I think I'll skip this season (otherwise I'm afraid I will throw up). Please stay out of politics next season.
Ugh, these comments referencing Obama are just ridiculous. DC is a great town, no matter who is "in charge." And, good food is good food no matter what city it's served in. Perhaps you guys should get over yourselves and your politics. It's insulting to those of us who live in the area to read comments like that.
And, to Monica -- I'm a new reader and I like your blog! One thing though, I believe Andrew (tapioca caviar Andrew) was on Top Chef: Chicago. :-)
Editor's Note: Thanks for the correction -- I'm officially senile!
Seriously. Did the season have to start by throwing Michigan under the bus again? Yea, I guess those of us living in the wake of the "Motor City" collapse deserve another kick in the gut. Have a heart. Someday maybe you'll treasure our fresh water like we do.
People the show is still about the food not politics. I personally dont have a problem with people being excited in a new city. We really have no idea what else they say that does not make the cut. The main reason for the show is the food of each contestant so if you want to cry and cut off t.v because some politician is on Boo freakin hooo.
Hi Monica - we are BIG fans of Top Chef, and the owners of Vermont Marble (the material that all the buildings and monuments are made of!) We have beautiful baking boards and kitchen items made of the same marble as the monuments - wouldn't it be cool to have the chefs work on the boards?? Gisene Prado Bullock just had her kitchen done in the same Danby, Vermont marble! It is a great USA made work surface - if we can help, feel free to contact me at 1-800-427-1396. Keep on with the WONDERFUL shows. Marsha Hemm
I was sad to see the Michigan Chef go, being a Michigander myself. I think he should have done something with cherries or whitefish.
This season I'm happy that the chefs appear to be as talented as last season, which for me was the best season ever.
One of the reasons I watch shows like Top Chef is to escape from the mess Obama and Pelosi are making. So now I guess I will skip this season and watch something else. Who was the genius who came up with that idea? Have you seen their poll ratings?
I love Top Chef and look forward to every new season. Obviously someone must be eliminated each week, but sometimes it is tough to watch. I just wanted to comment that John seemed like a good soul and although I know he was disappointed, he need not be embarrassed or feel like a failure. John, you are truly outstanding to have made the cut at all!
Yikes, people--can't believe you're making this cooking contest show about politics. I am a lifelong resident of the DC area-politicians come & the politicians go (and there have been PLENTY of dreadful ones from BOTH parties in my 58 years), and you know what? Life goes on. There is also a real city here, with real people, and we have some really great food too! On Top Chef and some of the other contest shows, celebrities appear who I don't like--it doesn't burn my retinas to see or hear them. In DC some of the "celebrities" are bound to be politicians. Enjoy Top Chef for what it is--cheftestants competing against a backdrop of a given city, which in this city is naturally going to include politics. Hopefully it won't reflect just politics, because there is much more to this town. BTW: As an American citizen, the cheftestant who supported Obama is entitled to free speech. You are entitled not to agree with him.
As a parent I would hope that TC got permission to involve the kids. Peanut butter, strawberries and Sherry!! Allergens and alcohol should not be on a school menu. Before anybody has a fit, no the alcohol is not all cooked off.
I'm enjoying this season of Top Chef. I think that Tim Dean is the chef to beat. Looking forward to watching week after week to see what's on the menu.
I am EXCITED that TOP CHEF is back always looking forward to see the food and who is going to chop who up..Well I konw one thing , Angelo HAS TO GO... HE IS SOOOOO FULL OF HIMSELF..I do not care if he can cook.. he is a big !!! lol..
I have enjoyed Top Chef every season, except this one. Why, why, why do you have to lean to the liberal left with all you political comments this season??? The least you could do is be fair and balanced. How about a dinner with a Republican Senator and three or four FOX News commentators? Really, the head of the Center for American Progress?? UGH!!! Better yet, why don't you leave politics out of it altogether and just let it be about FOOD!!! SHUT UP AND COOK!!!!