The Battle of the Redwoods happened on Last Chance Kitchen, and CJ was left standing in a chicken breast battle. The Bart Knight is gone, but not forgotten. CJ is kickin’ ass and taking names. I still feel bad for his lower back though. There is no table at the right height for that chef.
Good morning, Seattle. Everyone is still riled up from roller derby fun and tree bark wars.
Sheldon welcomes us with morning ritual. Some people drink Dew wearing shades (Josh), some people rub strange white lotion all over their hairless bodies (Stefan), and some people sharpen knives (Sheldon). This ritual is what separates, as Sheldon tells us, “good chefs from great chefs.” He then talks about how he is a small pygmy warrior who likes to battle. Sir Spam-A-Lot from Lahaina is back in the house.
Skillset challenges are always awesome. In my tenure on Masters, we had the silly senses challenge which took its place, but I nailed that. Just saying. I do love watching people succeed at brunoise, or totally fail at something that should be commonplace, like breaking down a chicken or making a basic stock. Those bright lights and cameras can make even the most prolific chef wince, and it comes down to being calm and, well, carrying on.
So the Quickfire has Bob Kramer in the house with his heavyweight knives. Bob can make a mean knife and has been a leader in the new artisan knife movement, which has made many beard-sporting, selvedge apron-wearing dudes in flannel shirts very happy. Now you can buy stunning blades made by hand from metalsmiths near you, provided that you have about $600 to $4000 to part with and really want to whack some ropes to pieces. I have never been that enamored with spending huge sums on knives and find myself with a collection of random Japanese knives that work fine for me. That doesn’t mean I don’t get excited when I look at those fancy Black Cherry Burl wood handles, the hand-hammered steel, and the razor sharp blades, but I also have a mortgage to pay and little mouths to feed. Padma says the knives cost $500 an inch. I am ordering a one-inch long knife for myself for my next birthday. It’s not how long it is, but rather how you use it. I will make tiny food that will bring you to tears of joy.
The 1 inch knife and tiny little food and the middle-America chef's knife comments had me laughing out loud. Keep it up, Hugh!
If anyone remembers, Fabio made perfect risotto more than once during his stints on Top Chef so it's not like it can't be done.
And the pan is not excuse. I started my adult life with some of the crappiest cookware known to man, and I learned to work around the flaws and still produce decent food. Besides, if John had been constantly stirring his risotto as it cooked, it would have been done evenly, even if it was all overcooked or all undercooked. The mix, to me, is a sign that he just let the pot sit on the heat with only an occasional stir.
TChefAddict2012 Howie's uni risotto was a success as well; he was only in the bottom because he didn't get his frogs' legs on the plate. In fact, the quality of the risotto combined with Clay's total cluelessness is probably what save Howie from being the first chef eliminated.
I love reading Hugh's observations and comments. I'd like for him to address the whiners -- JOSH being at the top of the list.
SwimCards I agree, Josh, seems like a nice enough fellow, but please stop throwing everyone under the bus and just cook!!
The Top Chef blogs just tend to repeat what was aired without much insight, but at least you blend in a great amount of humor into yours. Thanks Hugh! Oh, and how about a video on how to make proper Grits?
Hugh, I have a chef-crush on you for this thought, "I am ordering a one-inch long knife for myself for my next birthday. It’s not how long it is, but rather how you use it. I will make tiny food that will bring you to tears of joy." Keep writing, its gives a bunch of us joy!
Oh happy day. Lizzie got to stay, and there was another Hugh-blog. Where is your book deal?
No mention of Josh comparing butchering the rabbit to butchering a cat? Perhaps you're right; it's a road we don't even want to go down. Disturbing I love Sheldon saying "maybe that helps him but it does nothing for me." Would have been line of the episode without the "gems" from "Jimmy". As always, love the blog!
The EC was rigged! Even if Sheldon had turned out the world's most perfect plate of food, he could never have won. Frozen beef carpaccio dinner??? Not something likely to appear in the grocery store aisles anytime soon.
emilyk It wasn't rigged. Sheldon knew the winning dish would become a frozen entrée, so he needed to reinterpret the carpaccio as a cooked-beef dish. He just didn't quite think it all the way through.
You have turned out to be one of my Favorite judges on TC. Today, I read your blog, for the first time, and found out your are as humorous in writing as you are on tv. I think you are a great addition to the show.....
John takes credit for Anthony Bourdain's celebrity status, hoards all the dill leaving none for Lizzie, who I love due to her accent, then pats himself on the back for not being a pickle-stealer AND blames the kitchen equipment for his disastrous risotto. Not sorry to see him and his glasses go home!
borbor Not fair. John left Lizzie one scrawny sprig of dill. Very generous considering she was the one who pulled the dill from the pantry in the first place.
Hugh, I would love to taste your tiny little food! I have wanted some fabulous knives forever, but I also could not afford the ones made by the blade-master. I hear you that Tesar is a great chef, but I hate whiners more than just about anything. He keeps telling us that deep down he's a really good guy, but has taken cheap shots at just about everyone in the competition. I'm really starting to warm up to Sheldon and Micah. They keep their heads down, work well with others, and have occasional moments of brilliant cooking.
Your blog is so funny! One thing though. People use algebra every day they don't know it. Especially cooks. Example: 2(1B(ag of dried potatoes) + .66C (up water) + 1P(kg. seasoning mix) = 1 double batch of scalloped potatoes.
Come on, Hugh....WATCH THE PAST SEASONS!!! You could be sooooo much snarkier if you had all the knowledge! ;-p We'll cut you some slack for procrastinating since you live in the South where things are done at a slower pace (one that, as a Belle myself, enjoy), but you gotta get with the program! How can you channel your inner Bourdain if you didn't see him verbally eviscerate past contestants or evoke Eric Ripert warm fuzzies if you didn't see him gently let down others...other even better, embrace the Sybil side of yourself and turn Toby Young on the cheftestants and let them know which WMD or pet food their dish most resembles....if you haven't watched everything?!? Let the schadenfreude begin!
You're a judge, Hugh...I'm sure the producers will comp you copies of the past seasons....WATCH THEM! You could be soooooo much snarkier if you had the all the knowledge! ;-p
Ok at first, I was on John's side, despite his pathetic pot excuse, Lizzie smelled her scallops and instead of throwing them in the trash she cooked and SERVED them! Unbelievable to me. BUT! In the cookoff, John was just a complete idiot, did he not take the pickles from Lizzie's station and then go on a rampage for the remainder of the time about how he shared them and how nice he was and blah blah blah? That whole thing was just ridiculous, and in retrospect, I am glad John is gone.
Vic2012 Yep, John is not a gracious person. I'm glad he didn't throw Lizzie off her game even though he used all the dill. I sure wouldn't like his vibe in the kitchen.
Vic2012 I also loved it when he said " I took it like a Man " about the pot he had spent the entire episode whining about.....
Vic2012 John took the dill from Lizzie's station. He got to the pickles first and agreed to share them with Lizzie, then said he would have won, if he had kept them to himself. The way to win is not by hoarding ingredients, but I guess John felt he couldn't win without having an advantage.