Hugh Acheson

Hugh Acheson is quite particular about his fried chicken.

on Jan 23, 20130

To recap last week’s ejection: Lots has been said on the intertubes about this one, and I feel your pain. I understand the sadness. At the end of the day, I think Kristen was the leader who took the fall, grasped the responsibility, and left with her head held high. And she beat CJ in Last Chance Kitchen, so I don’t think it’s the last time we’ll be seeing her. As for Josie, ah well, she’s Josie, and she ran into the lucky puddle. Sheldon, he was the real winner in all of this, and I really do think it was deserved. He’s a real Menehune. 

Wake-up time in the Olive 8. Stefan misses his wifey. Josie feels heavy this morning. She gained some emotional weight and needs to shed them tears. Lizzie acts as the therapist that doesn’t really want to be there. 

Sushi master time. Master Katsuya Uechi is in the house for the Quickfire Challenge. Simple is best in the land of sushi. Stefan still has not won anything, but he has put forward raw fish in about three challenges. Josie has found the smallest halibut the ocean ever offered, and I am hoping it’s west coast halibut as the east coast ones just are not sustainable. I love sushi, but it really does need to come to the table with sustainability in mind or the state of the oceans will be more dire than ever. Josh, a big believer in sustaining his high cholesterol through bacon intake, can’t find a way around not having bacon, even in sushi. Sheldon is burning lemons and explaining why. Hipster burnt food, check. 

Josie really, really wants you to know about her parties where she serves food on naked women. She’s like the present that keeps on giving. There is nothing that can compare with eating seaweed salad out of a belly button. Yup, there I’ve gone and made myself shiver with disgust again. Must stop doing that. 

The five-minute bell rings and they begin plating. Stefan is first to act and he has presented yellowtail with grilled shiitake and a lobster with seaweed and unagi. Katsuya, a man of few words and not the most emotive soul on the planet, says it tastes good. Josie has made Helluva Halibut with Blistering Bacon and Jammin’ Yuzu. Trademark has been applied for. Chef K wants a little more punch, which is his way of saying it was really lacking. Lizzie puts up a lobster thing with a broth and pickled ginger. Chef misses rice in this one. We are not told what the tempura fried thing is off to the right on her plate, but it’s evidently of no consequence. Brooke loves sushi. She has made octopus with yuzuand grated wasabi. Simple. 

54 comments
Newlaw1995
Newlaw1995

Padma needs to really step back a bit and chill. I know she is a "personality" but that's no excuse for the attitude, persona and language she has adopted over the last few episodes.  I dont know if this is her idea of making herself more visible, but is she has forgotten that it's not about her, its about cooking. 

ned
ned

JOSIE IS FINALLY GONE!  About time too!  I'm still through with tc unless Kristen emerges from LCK and wins.

suziemichiko
suziemichiko

You are one of my favorites on the show because you have a sense of humor and tell it like it is as a judge.  In addition, you have been a contestant on the show also so you are able to empathize with these hard working chefs.  

Good job!

NRR
NRR

I'm a native Texan and fried chicken was a weekly staple in our home. My momma said it was the easiest thing to make but also the easiest to screw up. You need a large cast iron skillet (momma called it a Dutch oven), melt Cisco solid, soak your chicken in milk or butter milk, seasoned flour in paper bag (keep the seasoning simple, salt, pepper, maybe some paprika), dip chicken in egg wash, shake in flour, dip in egg wash again, shake in flour, and fry. That s where it gets tricky, it's got to be slow enough to cook the chicken but hot enough to crisp and not burn. Drain on paper towel. Pour off grease and then make cream gravy with all of those lovely crispy bits left in the pan. No properly raised southern gal would serve fried chicken unless there was mashed potatoes and cream gravy.

frankiefrankie
frankiefrankie

Hugh, you are the man! Your blog is always fun to read and i appreciate your sarcastic yet honest opinion. I have been a TC fan since day one but i have to say i was farely dissapointed after last season. i debated whether or not to watch the new season, but in the end the show won (i'm a sucker for reality TV shows, at least there are some talents here, beats housewives). I think last week's result was purely a drama the show intended to create. Kristen is CLEARLY the best chef among the bunch and Tom CLEARLY likes her a lot. i have no doubt (well maybe 90% sure) that Kristen is going to come back and win the whole thing.


Kgurney1021
Kgurney1021

Love you and your excellent commentary.  LOL for real...really.

ATLFoodie
ATLFoodie

Sometimes it's the simplest things which outsmarts ya. When you hear fried chicken, you start salivating for crispy skin (dedged twice).  You don't want chicken fingers or cutlets - not the same. 

 

I always use a brown paper bag and LOVE that Josh used one.

cjeans
cjeans

Enjoy you on the show but had no clue, until reading your last two blogs, that you are so hilarious.  Tears running down my face, hilarious.  By reading others' comments, I see many agree with me.  Keep it up....made my day.

 

shysharon
shysharon

.....since you asked....I like broasted chicken best!

Jezzybel
Jezzybel

Best blog ever! You should go on the road with Bourdain and Ripert! Ps: glad you like skin on!

bananasplit
bananasplit

I eat KFC when ever I can. In Texas, I eat Churches chicken. But one time I have to return the KFC I ordered. It was dry and not greasy. I wonder what Emeril is applying "you want more grease"? He should ought to know, his greased up. I prefer criticized the food not the chef. Top Chef has been international. If it's all American Top Chef cooking fried chicken. Then pls. profanely mocked the chefs. Brooke and Josie should be accounted for. If you own a restaurant and your fried chicken is what the people keep coming back for and pay the bills? Then the judges say, the same fried chicken you serve is not up to par. There's something wrong in the picture. 

8haven
8haven

Great blog! They need to feature you on the show more often!

parker85
parker85

Panhandle is definitely the South. It doesn't get much deeper than the panhandle. Also can't wait to move back to New York after being in China for 3 years. First stop will be Momofuku Noodle Bar.

AugustaGa
AugustaGa

Interesting that you think chicken has to be cooked at such a high temperature. I agree that Lard is by far the best for cooking friend chicken. I am originally from the Barberton Ohio area where there are several chicken houses. I replicate what the chicken houses serve as its a bit far to drive. The chicken is coated with flour that has had salt and pepper added, egg washed then coated in just plain bread crumbs. Their chicken is cooked at 250F for 20 minutes. The crust is crunchy but its really about the chicken which turns out super juicey and flavorful.  Serve with a simple vinegar slaw( white vinegar, sugar, oil), what they call hot sauce (its rice, onions, jalepenos, and stewed tomatoes), and fries. Unfortunately they cook the frys in the same temp and oil as the chicken which makes them grease balls. I dont know if you would ever really want to get near Akron or Cleveland Ohio but I would suggest you give the chicken houses a try if you are in the area.

MomofTwins1992
MomofTwins1992

LOL The best part of Top Chef is reading Hugh's blogs. Absolutely hysterical and spot on! Love it!

Julie109
Julie109

As usual...Brilliant post!  I cannot wait for your blogs my friend.  Best recap on the Internets!  Brilliant.

borbor
borbor

Loved Josie's awkward departure from judges table: Turns Stefan's attempted embrace into a high-five/ handshake hybrid, and Brooke keeps her hands behind her back and won't even look  when Josie goes in for the hug. Then the lukewarm reception to her call for a group hug in the stew room inter-cut with the others' comments on how glad they are to see her go. No more Josie show. No more donkey laugh. She tells us she is glad to have had the chance to redeem herself and show her skills. What? You were the irritating, lazy incompetent villain, Josie, in the competition if not in your deluded head.  Please pack your skates and leave.   

gwencontralto
gwencontralto

Couldn't someone just do a simple southern fried chicken: chicken with bone AND skin soaked in buttermilk; dredged in all purpose flour seasoned with salt and pepper and maybe some paprika and garlic powder; fried until golden brown and done on the inside in grease that's not too hot.  My mom used lard back in the day when we weren't so health conscious because we were always outside and playing.  Couldn't anyone just do plain and simple fried chicken - with some cole slaw or collard greens and spaghetti!

jerseygirl_aatrh
jerseygirl_aatrh

Ok Chef, since you're all about calling it like you see it...is Padma getting a bad edit or is she becoming a bit too big for her britches?   Who is this mean spiteful person?!

delusional
delusional

I would read EVERY recap of any show you care to blog.  Thanks for making the trip more fun......As a child of the south, Buttermilk is required in every Fried Chicken dish, no exceptions.  As a chef and Culinary graduate, I can appreciate the different takes, but Tom said Fried Chicken!  Your blog makes me laugh and thanks for giving us a part of your humor and life....A genuine smile today.  P.S.I am so friggin glad Josie is gone.  Her laughting  cause my dog to bark and me to barf.

chellemabelle
chellemabelle

Hugh-

Do you have any suggestions for fried chicken for someone who has a gluten allergy?  Would love to know what would make it a close cousin to the real thing.

Thanks!

Calvinthebold999
Calvinthebold999

Chicken fingers count as fried chicken. So do boneless breast. This is top chef! It would be boring to get 6 dishes nearly identical. If the food is not good, fine, but don't harass them for not all making bone-in, southern-fried chicken (which is my favorite, by the way). I think they are expected to delivery variations, regardless of Tom's comment. That could have just meant don't stray too far, but we still expect creativity.

keepitcivil
keepitcivil

It was kinda of ca-razy, when we at home absolutely GOT that the panel really wanted friend chicken.  What a great challenge... just give them your best fried chicken!  Hoping Kristen makes it back and because of all the prior wins, hope to see C.J. back as well.  Thanks for the fun posts Chef Acheson!

ltpayne
ltpayne

On Tom's blog, he said he removes the skin --which I have never heard of and I've lived in the South my entire life (Athens, actually).  Hugh, what do you do?  Skin on or off?  

Kenlo
Kenlo

Hugh, you are the bomb.  If you every publish another book on, say kitchen observations I'll buy it.  I'm sure you current book "A New Turn In The South" is outstanding but two things, we're vegetarians and we don't particularly like southern food though I've lived in Tennessee and North Carolina, well Florida too (for 17 years) and I'll agree, from my experience there Florida may be geographically "South" but everybody there seemed to be from New York, Canada and Michigan.  Love your blog, it's getting to be the only one that's both enjoyable and informative.

motherhubbard
motherhubbard

Interesting about the seeming requirement to marinate the chicken in buttermilk. My Jewish grandma made terrific fried chicken, and not being one to mix milk and meat, never used buttermilk. Her chicken was dredged in seasoned flour, dipped in beaten egg, and re-dredged in the flour. And it was never deep-fried. It was fried in a huge, deep cast iron pan in about 2 inches of oil, turned frequently, and drained on many, many paper towels. I love all good fried chicken, but my fondest memories are of my grandmother's.

athensmom
athensmom

So, where can we find good fried chicken in Athens, Hugh? 

 

Incidentally, your blog is so much more fun than the show.  I read this first and then watch the episode. 

general1318
general1318

Josie went home because she couldn't hide behind anybody anymore! Everyone. is sick of her lazy, lax, excuses, and others. being blamed and taking it for her. I used to like her, I have lost all respect. for her as a person and she seems like a lazy chef. Josie went home because she couldn't hide behind anybody anymore! Everyone. is sick of her lazy, lax, excuses, and others. being blamed and taking it for her. I used to like her, I have lost all respect. for her as a person and she seems like a lazy chef.

skyesmom
skyesmom

Hugh,

I love reading your blog of the show.

It's so funny and the show needs some levity.

Thanks and keep it up.

general1318
general1318

The Fried Chicken that the blind chef from Masterchef cooked on The Chew with Carla looked awesome! Maybe some of these chefs should remember fried chicken is Fried Chicken...lol.

greysalton
greysalton

I lived in Germany for 2 years and fell in love with veal cordon blue, so I can understand Stefans' zeal for the ham and cheese stuffed chicken deal. They are so  good at that stuff.

I think he skated by elimination because of last weeks politics. Gawd is he a BS er.

 

PS  Earest Hemingway drank daquiris.

PaulainVA
PaulainVA

Wow, who knew there were so many ways to mess up fried chicken!  I would really love to have tasted Sheldon's chicken, but I was happy with what I heard about Josh's smoked/fried version.  I have always detested Chicken Cordon Bleu, and have no idea what Stefan was thinking.  That said, I am personally afraid of frying chicken or anything else; and am really amazed when people do it well.  In spite of Hugh's views of the judging, I thought tonight's diners were particularly articulate about exactly what they liked/disliked and why.  There was no hidden agenda or misunderstood judgement, from what I could see.  Good episode.

Yenhe
Yenhe

Yes, the mistake was fixed.  Rightly so.  Had that not been an issue, I think I would have sent Brooke home.  For me, dried boneless chicken is more of a travesty than greasy bone-in, and more of an affront than Cordon Bleu executed adequately.  Of course, none of us tasted the dishes.  

Vic2012
Vic2012

To me, this week was about fixing last weeks mistake. I didnt care about anything other than sending Josie home. If that hadn't of happened, I would have been done. I would have read the blogs to see whats going on and tuned back in once Josie was gone. And if she illegitimately won the whole thing I would have never tuned into Bravo again. Fortunately, the mistake was fixed. I would have been fine with sending Stefan home this week if the right person had been eliminated last week. He deserved it, for sure. But it doesnt even matter to me. The Josie show had to end.

As for the winner, yeah, if Josh hadn't of won a fried chicken contest over these chefs, what is he even doing there.  Congrats to Josh, but this challenge so heavily favored him its not even funny. Fried Chicken. Oklahoma. Case closed.

franci
franci

 @parker85 absolutly, the Florida panhandle is most definitly the deep south!

laissezfairey
laissezfairey

 @parker85 You can tell if you are still in the South when in Florida by whether or not they serve real sweet tea in a restaurant.  I do not mean that crap from the coke dispenser either.  Miami is not the South, not at all, not even close.

shysharon
shysharon

 @jerseygirl_aatrh And didn't she at one point call it ''her'' challange? I thought that was odd! Not sure if that was this week last week...

gator_girl
gator_girl

 @jerseygirl_aatrh

 THANK YOU for saying that. The last two shows I have thought she's hitting the wine pretty hard.  With chefs like those at the table...it's not Padma I want to hear an opinion from. Especially some of the mean spirited ones she's been making. When you're the "host" and you overshadow Tom Colicchio...might want to rethink your strategy. 

geo_grace
geo_grace

 @chellemabelle My old roommate had celiac disease but she made some of the best fried chicken I've ever tasted. I'd say the trick is to try out some different flour combinations..probably stay away from nut flowers since they can add a weird sweetness sometimes, and just remember to season the mixture like you would any other time.There are tons of great gluten-free blogs out there, so don't be intimidated, and good luck!

motherhubbard
motherhubbard

 @ltpayne I was appalled that Tom removes the skin. The skin is the best part, and if you do it right, it's always crisp.

Mona_Munaki
Mona_Munaki

 @greysalton Thanks for mentioning the drink of one of my favorite writers!  The show would be as dull as a pile of bricks without Stefan this season.  Love him or hate him...he is a witty character.  Fried chicken is not a typical German or Finnish dish regardless if Wolfie ate it in Austria.  But Lizzie gets a pass. (Huh?)  Padma was out of line for calling Stephan a bad word and "liar" is a strong accusation.  She was also furious that Stefan did not explain one dish in Restaurant wars.  Hasn't that error been made by most a host during RW?  If Padma Wants to be a diva, there's another Bravo franchise about Housewives.

sciuro79
sciuro79

 @greysalton Yeah!  A real daiquiri is something to behold: rum, lime juice, simple syrup.  Shake over ice, serve up.  That's it.  Not even in the same world as a cloying blender drink!

Kenlo
Kenlo

 @Yenhe The difference is that you can actually EAT dried boneless chicken, little hot sauce, some chutney, hell even pour a little wine on it, it's edible.  Greasy chicken?  No way, even vegetarians know this.

ATLFoodie
ATLFoodie

Oklahoma (like Florida) isn't in the south.

elque_
elque_

 @Vic2012 I agree that Josie needed to go. She should have left weeks ago. I have to take issue with your view that Josh had an advantage, though - Fried Chicken is a Southern dish. Oklahoma, though redneck through and through, is not in the South. Oklahoma's known for beef. That said, I'm rooting for Sheldon, Brooke, and Lizzie to make the finals.

LAMusing
LAMusing

 @Vic2012 I so agree - in fact I just posted on Tom's log that had Josie not gone home this week viewers would have been bailing out.

michele00724
michele00724

 @Vic2012 TOTALLY agree. To be able to tolerate this show, I zipped forward to the end, to see Josie go home for her greasy chicken, then, and only then, could I stomach the show.

 

I think that when skilled chefs are given a simple task, they have a fear of serving pedestrian cuisine. But, when you have something as delicious as fried chicken, the saying, "Less is more" is appropriate.

 

 

 

pianojewel
pianojewel

 @Vic2012

 I agree with you.  I was sick of seeing Josie skate by.  It started to seem as if Padma was a Josie fan. Josie should have been sent home last week!

AugustaGa
AugustaGa

 @TondalayoSchwartz  @AugustaGa I just hope it came across that the chicken is submerged in lard @ 250 for 20 minutes. Let me know how it turns out. Its ok if it dips down in temp a bit because It turns out fine at 240 for 20 mins as well. I prefer a darker brown(which is what the chicken houses serve) as opposed to more a golden color. I have a friend that pesters me to make it all the time but with it being submerged in lard I try not to make it too often.