This, friends, is what I would call a Chef's Episode. The camaraderie of the Grrrl-Power trio. Tom commanding the kitchen ("You're killing me out here, Richard!")! No microwave rice, no catering, no teams. And a Quickfire that tested a fundamental and exceedingly difficult skill. It's not every day you see fear on Richard Blais's face.
Side note: Wouldn't it have been fun to watch Hung attack those rib-eyes?
But, of course, the story tonight was about a chef making an enormous and inexplicable mistake. A mistake involving very cold shellfish. Oh, Spike. You had this challenge in the palm of your hand -- or so it seemed. Your colleagues are gonna be breaking your balls about this for a long time. So I'll just do it once.
It was great to see Rick Tramanto grace the show. His soft-spoken demeanor belies his culinary reputation; his steakhouse, while excellent, is not even the brightest light in his portfolio. He and his former wife Gale Gand, who you saw a few episodes back, are national figures in fine dining. They made their haute-cuisine bones at Trio, a storied, five-star, avant-garde restaurant they created with Henry Adaniya, in the Chicago suburb of Evanston (a restaurant that would subsequently give the world Shawn McClain and Grant Achatz). They then went on to open Tru, just off Michigan Avenue, a temple of shimmering white curtains and wildly experimental cooking and presentation. I once had a tuna tartare there in a martini glass nestled in a fishbowl that contained a live goldfish. (He looked scared.)