I know, I know, bad puns — I couldn’t resist. Still in Australia, but heading home soon…for a little while, anyway. I understand my baby has picked up the guitar while I was gone. We’ve been playing him the Stones since he was in utero; I’m looking forward to hearing the rock stylings of my 11-month old.
Meanwhile, back in D.C.…I was very glad to have Michelle Bernstein with us once again. It was fun to have someone who famously cooks with such heat judge a challenge that was all about the cold. It was also quite interesting to hear our chefs comment on the food of their peers. While they sounded harsh, and while it seemed as though the members of the second group were being strategic in selecting Kenny’s dish for elimination, they were actually generally fair-minded, usually correct, and most certainly correct about Kenny’s dish, which, despite his posturing, was the weakest in his group. And yes, it was weaker than Amanda’s cartilage-laced Chicken Gallantine. Please trust me on that.
A general note about food being served cold: It needs to be seasoned correctly, as the temperature can dull the flavors, as we found with Andrea’s dish, which was probably seasoned correctly for a warm dish, but underseasoned for the same dish served cold. But seasoning can be tricky, as it’s very easy to then overdo it, as Angelo did with his salmon dish – it was impossible to appreciate the salmon. Stephen fell prey to this as well with his chilled beef, in which the taste of the beef was subjugated to the jalapeno oil (and yet, despite the seeming strength of an ingredient like jalapeno oil, the dish still underwhelmed).
And one must also anticipate the changes to texture that come from serving food cold. Tiffany planned for this by selecting a protein that shines when served cold, and by crafting a sauce from gazpacho, typically served cold, and refreshing items like cucumber and arugula. It was smartly conceived and well executed. Amanda, on the other hand, did not get her protein to the correct temperature in time, and it was unappetizing.