Cast Blog: #TOPCHEF

CJ, Josie, and Stefan: 'Top Chef's' Greek Chorus - Ep2

Gail Has No Problem With Blood

Make George's Cravable Breakfast Sausage

Gail Simmons Won't Be Pushed Around

Make Doug's Winning Mussels

Tom Colicchio Answers Your Restaurant Wars Qs

Gail: It Wasn't Keriann's Day

Make Doug's Winning Braised Pork!

Gail: We Had a Tough Job This Week

Make Katsuji's Authentically Delicious Stuffing

Hugh: The Demise of Cornwallis and Aaron

Make Gregory's Winning Dumplings

Richard: Chefs Please Follow Instructions

Richard Tries Money Ball Soup

Make a Home Run-Worthy Popcorn Crème Brule

Hugh: Where There's a Will There's a Fenway

Gail: Keriann and Aaron Were Being ---holes

Make the Winning Surf and Turf

Gail: We're Taking No Prisoners

Richard Goes From Player to Announcer

Tom Talks Boston

Gail: There Was No Season 11 Underdog

Hugh Wants Nick to Be Kind to Himself

Gail: It Was Difficult to Let Go of Shirley

Big Easy to Ocean Breezy

Gail: The Final Four Are Like Our Children

Emeril Is Proud to Serve Shirley's Dish

Hugh: Enough With the Mexican Food Hate

Gail on Favreau, Choi, and Finding Yourself

Hugh on Poor Boys, Swingers and Food Trucks

Emeril: Nick's Choice Is Part of the Game

Nick's License to Immune

Hugh's Sitting on the Dock of the Bay

Hugh Decides Eight Is Enough

Gail Talks OvenGate

Dookie Chase Makes Everybody Cry

Fin, Found, Floundering

What Danny Meyer Taught Gail Simmons

'Top Chef' Goes to Hog Heaven

Gris Gris Boucherie Ya Ya

Brian and Travis' Dud Spuds

CJ, Josie, and Stefan: 'Top Chef's' Greek Chorus - Ep2

Three veterans return to compete, but what does it all mean?!

"Alright, alright, alright" says a detached voice in the background. Obviously, I assume Matthew McConaughey has come to the Top Chef kitchen, but then I remember that Matthew hasn't been anywhere near a kitchen in a long time. (Sidenote: I hope for his sake his film is a good one!) After my disappointment over a Matthew-free kitchen subsided, I perk up again: veterans CJ, Josie, and Stefan are this week's Quickfire Challenge judges (for now.) The new cheftestants' reactions to the alums' arrival is nothing short of hilarious. Micah gives them his "waterfall" look. I have no idea what this means (I do), but if it's anything like making it rain, it's awesome. Chrissy says Stefan looks like a thumb. I'm relieved to know I'm not the only person who describes people's appearances this way.

So for this Quickfire Challenge, my little geoducks, the chefs have to divide into groups of three and create a dish that highlights local shellfish. I'm happy to see we're diving right in to Seattle-focused challenges, and allowing the chefs a lot of freedom. John who may or may not have a crush on Kuniko wants to be on her team. She's Japanese, so she probably has incredible knife skills, he says. I'm going to leave this one alone. Also, John got called out by Padma for not paying attention, so I won't beat him while he's down.

All of the groups want geoduck. Geoduck! Geoduck! Geoduck! Unfortunately, there's not enough for all of them, and Kristen had to get it so she could make that amazingly awkward comment about it looking like a penis. (Don't worry I'm compiling all of this season's sexually-explicit comments already.) Throughout the Quickfire, we start to see a bit of the Carla backlash. Because Carla is so loud and loves to share, we learn some new things about her. First, he wants to be a James Beard winner and have a nice a--. I have it on good authority that James Beard had an incredible a--, by the way. Also, she loves white pepper. She's always looking for the white pepper!

After the chefs create their dishes, which you can peruse HERE, the veterans start to judge. Joshua thinks Stefan is kind of a d---. I actually didn't think he was being quite the d--- we've seen in the past (I kid, I kid.) But I'm excited for a future Joshua/Stefan throwdown, which looks almost certain.

The veterans announce their top and bottom dishes. Josh's team's corn chowder was actually on the bottom, so he had a reason to be upset. John, Kuniko, and Sheldon's dish wins! The three chefs draw knives for immunity, and John wins it. John is still so happy-go-lucky, I'm just waiting for his other side to come out. One thing I did notice is that he has an awesome evil laugh.

After the Quickfire, Padma drops the bomb that CJ, Josie, and Stefan are actually rejoining the competition. Tyler thinks it's bull----. I think I want to hear Tyler's response to everything. His interviews are my favorite so far. Keep it up, Tyler! Joshua is enraged by this announcement and proclaims that he will most certainly get into a fight. "I hate them all now." I know he's serious, but it's just so amusing.

The best thing -- in my humble opinion -- about having the alums back is that they're now something of a Top Chef Greek chorus. They know how it is, they see everything. They have knowledge the current cheftestants don't. Whether that's an advantage or a detriment remains to be seen. Although if this episode is any indication, it might be the latter.

But I won't get ahead of myself. On to the Elimination Challenge, where the chefs have to make a dish using regional ingredients for legendary Seattle chef, Tom Douglas. They have 47 minutes to make their dishes -- the time it takes for the challenge's venue, the Space Needle, to rotate once. And, the chefs remain in their Quickfire teams -- the veterans now forming their own team. 

Most of the teams grab fish, even the Yellow Team, who literally can't identify theirs. The Red Team grabs fish, but also grabs quail just in case, which was smart... at the time.

The chefs prep their dishes, and head back to their apartment, where Jeffrey comes out to his fellow chefs. Of course I go on and on about how cute Jeffrey is last week, and he comes out this week. I guess there's no future for us. Sigh.

The next day the chefs arrive at the Space Needle. CJ has a soft spot for the landmark because he remember good potatoes he had there when he was 7. OOOK. Subsequently, the veteran team decides to cook their quail. 

While the Blue Team is cooking, we learn something interesting about Kuniko. Her mind is always going, so sometimes, she loses focus. Luckily, John was able to catch her chili oil starting to burn. Thankfully, they were able to save it, and the judges love their dish. "The first thing to put in my mouth in Seattle? Not bad," says Gail. Good one, Gail. He-he. Anyway, the Blue Team wins again. In fact, Tom Douglas says the dish is the "essence of Seattle." Kuniko's fish wins the day. Way to go, Kuniko!

The rest of the teams offer decent dishes, but two teams find themselves on the bottom: the veterans and the appropriately-named Grey Team. Both had overcooked protein. But apparently the Grey Team's was worse, and so, the person responsible for that protein -- Jeffrey -- is sent home. WHYYYYY?! (Sniffle, sniffle.)The best part of the elimination was obviously watching Josie try to evade the judges. She's done this before. She knows not to bring up faults just in case they're not the ones the judges were thinking. She forgets the judges know everything. Also amusing was Stefan's zebra anecdote, "It's like you're a zebra; you're wounded, and you're walking around Africa." Huh?

I'm going to go try to wrap my head around all of the chefs' non-sequitors this week. I'm also going to go help Carla find that white pepper. Where is it?! Until next week, Have a Nosh!

 

 

Make George's Cravable Breakfast Sausage

George decided the best way to satisfy New England Patriot tight end Rob Gronkowski  was with a hearty breakfast. Make it for yourself at home.

Pork and Veal Sausage Patty With Sunny-Side Up Egg and Potato Hash

 

Ingredients
3 lbs pork butt
1 lbs veal
4 garlic cloves
1 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp coriander
2 Tbsp smoked paprika
1 bunch chives
1 bunch parsley
1 Tbsp fennel seed
Pepper (to taste)

 

Directions
1. Grind prok and veal using medium dye, reserve and keep cold

2. Toast cumin, coriander, and fennel seed in a sauté pan until aroma is released. Grind in spice grinder, reserve

3. Chop parsley and chives fine, reserved

4. Chop garlic super fine, reserve

5. Mix meat with spices, smoked paprika, herbs, garlic, salt, and pepper

6. Test a small batch in fryer. Taste and adjust seasoning

7. Form into patties, place on grill, then finish in oven