Gail Simmons

What's a judge gotta do to taste some berry?

on Dec 19, 2012

Finally, the blueberries and Danyele. Josh redeems himself—he had a streak of really bad food with the last few challenges and this challenge made up for it.  His mousse was lovely. Finally, we saw some delicate, technically adept food from Josh. The two challenges before, he made clunky, terrible pork. He walked away from pork this challenge, made a beautiful savory mousse and blueberry compote, that showed that he can cook, finally! Because we know it’s in him. Not just against Danyele’s, but in general. And goat cheese with blueberries is such a great combination—the tart and sweet flavors. I would have liked a little more texture, it was a little soft—but it had nowhere near the issues that we had with Danyele’s food, which I think were clear: her bread was cut too thick, toasted too early, way too crispy so that it  hurt when you bit into it, and then that chicken terrine, which was sliced so thin, really did feel like rubber chicken.  It just had no flavor. Chicken terrine is very tricky—you have to season it highly and add other flavorings to it. And when you poach it and then cool it, if you didn’t season it, you’re lost. Terrine Class 101. Her blueberry mostarda was a good idea, but it wasn’t strong enough in its blueberry flavor.. Good instinct, but the other two components were just executed so poorly that we couldn’t overlook them.

I’m sad about Danyele. I know she worked really hard; I know she’s a good cook and had great experience, but sometimes TC isn’t for everyone—with the pressure, and the way you need to specifically cook. That said, I know she’ll do great with whatever lies ahead.