Hugh Acheson

Hugh Acheson loves hearing fellow chefs share their culinary stories.

on Feb 13, 2013

Brooke makes a pan-roasted halibut with panzanella, beet vinaigrette, and red currant. When Brooke thinks up a dish, beet is usually involved, a decidedly Californian reaction to menu writing. She seems to have had some issues with the stoves and the heat really wasn’t enough to give that halibut a nice golden sear. It looks pretty good though, for dog camp vittles. 

Josh has Waffle Housed a cornmeal cake with scrambled eggs, smoked salmon, and bacon, because nothing is ever complete without bacon. Arugula and stuff is on the plate as well. Tom seems to have an unidentified issue with the scrambled eggs but fails to explain his disdain. The staff does like the “big, hearty camp food” and confess to knowing absolutely nothing about fancy food not served under the natural glory of the Aurora Borealis, companioned by stunning huskies while sitting on a glacier. Hell, a PB&J sandwich would taste good with that backdrop. 

Sheldon whips up a peppery halibut with tomato sauce, sesame bok choy, and some radish. Tom likes the halibut cookery but says his sauce is too salty. Jeremiah, musher No. 4, loves this dish and does his best Jeff Spicoli impression. He and Sheldon disappear for 10 minutes to evaluate their chronic problems. Jeremiah is a winner of the Junior Iditarod which means he can pretty much do anything he wants to, cause that’s completely badass. 

In Quickfire deliberation, Tom clarifies that Josh’s scrambled eggs were pretty lousy and not whisked enough to blend the whites and the yolks. Tom does love Sheldon’s halibut, but the whole plate was not very exciting, and the win goes to Brooke, who impresses everyone with her crunchy crouton panzanella. I adore panzanella and you should too. It is so easy to make and makes for an awesome staple to in your culinary arsenal. Just make sure that vinaigrette is made with good red wine vinegar and that the bread is top-quality stuff, stunningly toasted. The recipe in the original Rogers and Gray Italian Country Cooking is probably the best primer on the whole idea of panzanella. That’s a fantastic book that everyone should own. 

Brooke is on a role. Babies are being born. Padma is going to heli-ride with the chefs to a Toyota rendezvous and then take the wheel herself to chauffeur the chefs to their lair of isolation. Padma driving makes Sheldon nervous. I would be freaking out. They get to the Al Jourgensen Inn, a ministry-inspired resort. 

Roy Choi and Emeril are cooking vittles for lunchtime. This should happen every day. I should walk up to a Kogi truck and Emeril should be making my lunch. Make it so, Roy. I went to A-Frame recently in L.A., and it was so great. Totally chill place that is very sure of what it’s doing. Fun was had.