Hugh Acheson

Hugh Acheson elaborates on the salads his group created in the season premiere.

on Nov 7, 20120

And so we begin, in the kitchens of Tom, Emeril, Wolfgang, and some strange displaced Canadian with one eyebrow. Talk about wondering whether you have what it takes to be on a team. Aw well, those are my insecurities and I really only talk about that stuff on Twitter. Follow me and you will be privy to my most angst-ridden thoughts. 

You can see from the frenetic teasers at the beginning of this episode that we are about to judge a large group of people. About 21 if my math serves me right. The vista after this first culling will be Seattle and some of these fine chefs are not getting those tickets to eat salmon, drink coffee, wear flannel, listen to Mudhoney and whine about the loss of the Sonics. I for one, would enjoy doing that daily. No joke. You know, me, Detlef Schrempf and Gary Payton chatting about what went wrong over a nice cortado when Shawn Kemp interrupts us asking if we know where he can pawn a gold tooth. 

John Tesar’s reputation has resulted in some pretty bombastic articles about his exploits. Frankly, he’s known as an assh---. I don’t know John from Adam and I am hoping he’s just terribly misunderstood. There is a dire need for the formation of a self-help group for egomaniacal chefs though. Or maybe just a new rung of hell where they can do endless amounts of dishes for eternity. The dirties would be a never-ending stream of copper pots that have an inch of burnt caramel in the bottoms.  We have our villain though! That was quick. 

As is customary, someone says something flirtatious about Tom or Padma. This time it’s Lizzie about Tom. These crushes last an Usain minute and then the gravity of the situation sets in and they realize that they have signed up for a degustation menu of stress and anxiety. The amorous feelings quickly evaporate into fretful prep lists. 

So this is the challenge. It’s a proper culling. We, as the chef judges, are dividing the group up into fourths and having them pass a simple test in our kitchens. Tom is having them do a panoply of things from making pasta, to butchery, to working the line. Emeril is having them make a soup of their choice. Wolfgang is going all French on them and is having them make omelets. I am having them make a salad.  

20 comments
Argentus74
Argentus74

"Too propane-ey" ...Seriously?   Propane has no flavor, Hugh.  End of story.  Molecularly speaking, even if it hasn't gone through complete combustion, you can't taste it.  Nobody can.  Time to bone up on knowing what the heck you're talking about.

mvogler
mvogler

Welcome back Hugh for another great season ! I look forward to all of your posts more than most bloggers. Your humor, insight and sincerity are always refreshing. I'm stoked you are on this season !

kowkow
kowkow

Wolfgang was waay too soft on the aspiring chefs. I thought Tyler should've been cut because most of his omelet looked overcooked and I noticed a good inch around the edges looked undercooked. Not what I expect from a Top Chef. And Carla is just a hot mess.

LABowles
LABowles

Hughs back and with a blog. Cant wait to see how the Seattle show goes, and finally in Washington State!  The omelets kinda cracked me up because I thought they were suppose to be kinda crispy when done. Now I know, see Top Chief is an educational program. Keep up the greatness!!!

Sabayon
Sabayon

Thanks for your witty, literate blog.  Seriously, would you have advanced any of the chefs who presented scorched omelets?

bigcowboy
bigcowboy

Hugh, love your blog.  Keep up the color.  Watching what happened to Gina reminds me of all of those really bad singers shown on auditions of American Idol who just plain suck.  But when they are told they suck, they cannot believe what they are hearing. 

mcd1
mcd1

Hugh, you have hughlarious, I love reading your blog.  I enjoy the snarkasm as well.  You are always spot on when you describe the contestants.  Looking forward to this season as always!

withak
withak

Hugh, You are so handsome, but sometimes I just yell at you to lighten up!

shysharon
shysharon

Loved you since your first appearance! So glad you are on the show this season!!

smurf120
smurf120

So happy Top Chef is back with real challenges - so worried they would have to work like they are trying out for Olympics again like last season.  Good job!

 

I liked that the first challenge demonstrated individual ability without having 20 versions of chicken or something of the same.  45 minutes of salad really gave people enough time to present a great dish - did wonder if it made some people over think their dishes though.

JantinaH
JantinaH

Chef Acheson!   I'm so glad to see you on the show.  I love your blog too cuz you always make me LOL.  I applaud all the judges for not giving in to the gratuitious flatterers or chefs who are full of crapola.  It came down to skills and taste and that was that.  I also liked that the chef that stood around a lot and let everybody else run around him got the boot haw haw.  A sense of urgency is needed in team challenges, which does happen on this show, and those chefs who let everybody else work like dogs and then take the credit for the win just irk me.  Good job to Chefs Colicchio, Puck and Lagasse.  Bam!

elizadeelite
elizadeelite

I've been watching Top Chef from the beginning and was growing so frustrated with recent seasons. The focus seemed to be less on cooking, more on gimmicks. There are some exceptions, but I wasn't tuning in regularly for the show. 

 

This season's premiere was a welcome return to cooking and watching chefs use their skills. Last season, the American Idol style quick fires lost me. I thought it was a waste of time and uninteresting. This season, the different challenges were all fun to watch, but really unique. Loved getting to see all the judges work in their own way. 

 

I'm thrilled you'll be on the whole season, Chef Hugh! Am a big fan of yours from all your Bravo TV appearances. Your blog is hilarious and I look forward to reading your insight every week!

annemarieke
annemarieke

I'm so glad to see someone from Belgium on the show! Can't wait for the next episode.

dadrwl
dadrwl

Chef Hugh, I am glad to have you back!  Some days I am not sure what I am looking forward to more, the next Top Chef episode or reading you blog about it.  keep up the great work!

 

jmieso
jmieso

Love your blogs as always - just wondered why you didn't touch on Jorel ("Jor-El") and his name?

cupoftea
cupoftea

Very enjoyable blog. Your take on the first episode hits all the highs and lows of the first round eliminations. I look forward to reading more.

rnkat
rnkat

I guess you are a good chef--I've never eaten your food.  You are, however, a GREAT writer.  Love the play-by-play.  As a lover of "snarkasm", I found it a hilarious read.  Kudos.

huiray
huiray

"Who pairs oysters with an omelet?"

 

Well, the Taiwanese, Fujianese and Chaozhou folks do...and their compatriots in SE Asia and elsewhere in the diaspora too.  MILLIONS of people eat oyster omelettes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oyster_omelette

laissezfairey
laissezfairey

 @Argentus74 You do know a sulphur agent is added to these odorless gases we use so that you will smell a leak before you die from it?  Also you CAN taste said agent and it is not pleasant.

rnkat
rnkat

 @mcd1 I totally dig his sense of "hughmor", too!