Well, hello again my little licorice sticks (obviously inspired by Tamesha's innovative Quickfire dish!) I'm in an exceptional mood this morning as we just found out that not only were Top Chef, Top Chef Masters, and Kathy Griffin nominated for Emmys in various categories, but this here very website has been nominated for an Interactive Emmy for the third year in a row! I just want to thank all our fabulous viewers and site users for, well, interacting with us!
OK enough of the self congratulations, onto this week's episode! I was waiting to see when we'd make the chefs make baby food for Tom and Padma! I thought this challenge was a hard one in that you need to have flavor, but it's a fine balance between providing enough flavor for a baby and not going overboard. As Eric Ripert mentions in his weekly video blog, I too was surprised by the amount of curry and strong flavors, but then again my oldest niece almost exclusively eats only white foods (white rice, plain pasta, etc.), sooo my frame of reference is less than ideal. It's probably safe to assume that Tom and maybe especially Padma are a little more adventurous in what they might feed little Luka and Krishna than the average parents. The chefs not only had to create baby food but an adult dish to complement it. While Tom seemed especially floored by Tamesha's licorice oil inclusion, it was Kenny's dish that won Padma over.
For the Elimiation Challenge, we were rejoined by some TC alums that work in D.C. and its surrounding areas: Bryan Voltaggio, Spike Mendelsohn, and Mike Isabella. I obviously adore them all, but anyone who read this blog last season knows I have a special place in my heart for Bryan, so I was really happy to see him back and hear his comments. Did anyone notice how Tom would lean over the entire table to hear what Bryan had to say also? Sigh.
The chefs were broken up into teams of two to create breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes suitable for Hilton Hotels and Resorts travelers. The format was sort of a backwards round robin elimination where the winners of each round actually got to sit out the next round. I almost felt bad for the judges becuas we were essentially making them eat more food from the bottom chefs in each round! Thankfully it looks like the dinner dishes were successful overall. In the end it came down to two short rib dishes. I didn't even understand how the dish with all that horseradish could not taste like horseradish, but Chef Ripert explained to me while we shot his blog this week that once you manipulate it, specifically boilling it, it loses its intensity. It seemed like it came down to a ltitle extra jus on the winning team's plate. The second place dish was only a little jus-ish. (Say it out loud phonetically.) Even though you didn't ask, the best short rib I've ever had was at Market Table. It was a short rib/gnocchi appetizer I had a couple years ago. Damn, it was good.