Cast Blog: #TOPCHEF

Josh's Georgia Rule - Ep 15

Gail Simmons Won't Be Pushed Around

Make Doug's Winning Mussels

Tom Colicchio Answers Your Restaurant Wars Qs

Gail: It Wasn't Keriann's Day

Make Doug's Winning Braised Pork!

Gail: We Had a Tough Job This Week

Make Katsuji's Authentically Delicious Stuffing

Hugh: The Demise of Cornwallis and Aaron

Make Gregory's Winning Dumplings

Richard: Chefs Please Follow Instructions

Richard Tries Money Ball Soup

Make a Home Run-Worthy Popcorn Crème Brule

Hugh: Where There's a Will There's a Fenway

Gail: Keriann and Aaron Were Being ---holes

Make the Winning Surf and Turf

Gail: We're Taking No Prisoners

Richard Goes From Player to Announcer

Tom Talks Boston

Gail: There Was No Season 11 Underdog

Hugh Wants Nick to Be Kind to Himself

Gail: It Was Difficult to Let Go of Shirley

Big Easy to Ocean Breezy

Gail: The Final Four Are Like Our Children

Emeril Is Proud to Serve Shirley's Dish

Hugh: Enough With the Mexican Food Hate

Gail on Favreau, Choi, and Finding Yourself

Hugh on Poor Boys, Swingers and Food Trucks

Emeril: Nick's Choice Is Part of the Game

Nick's License to Immune

Hugh's Sitting on the Dock of the Bay

Hugh Decides Eight Is Enough

Gail Talks OvenGate

Dookie Chase Makes Everybody Cry

Fin, Found, Floundering

What Danny Meyer Taught Gail Simmons

'Top Chef' Goes to Hog Heaven

Gris Gris Boucherie Ya Ya

Brian and Travis' Dud Spuds

And Don't Call Me Shirley

Gloopy, Soupy, and Radish Dresses!

Josh's Georgia Rule - Ep 15

The pork-loving ginger competes in Alaska while his wife gives birth back in Oklahoma.

Hello my little, torchons! This is an exciting time in the season. All the Save a Chef votes are in, this week's Last Chance Kitchen episode is the digital series' season finale, and after this week's episode, there are only two episodes left before we crown our tenth Top Chef! Ahhh! Kristen knocked out Lizzie in last week's episode, continuing her winning streak. Now, only two chefs stand in her way of making it to the finale.

We're down to two men and a lady... with another lady on the way; Josh's wife is a week overdue. Oy! 

The chefs get a note from Padma and head to Eaglecrest, where they're greeted by a helicopter. Brooke starts crying because she hates heights, enclosed spaces, etc. She sucks it up though (and grips on to her competitors for dear life), and the chefs arrive at their destination -- Norris' Glacier at the base of Guardian Mountain -- for some dog sledding.

"I would die for some good reefer," declares Sheldon. This reaction surprises no one.

Padma and Tom are already there waiting for the chefs to arrive, looking winter wonderland chic, and explain to the chefs that they're at the site of an Iditarod training camp. Everything I know about the Iditarod I read in a Malcolm Gladwell book (if only I could remember which one.) For their last Quickfire Challenge before the finale, the chefs have to create dishes using ingredients found only in the training camp.

Josh -- one half of Team Husky, which is apparently what Sheldon and Josh have called themselves all season (since when?) -- makes breakfast. Shocking. Also shocking is that Josh had to make a scramble at the last minute because his original desired method wasn't setting correctly. Unfortuntely, the scramble didn't really either. I wonder what else Josh would scramble if it didn't work out. I think the possibilities may be endless. Sheldon's halibut is good, but his sauce is a little one-note. Brooke -- who also made halibut -- wins. No immunity, though.After the Quickfire, Padma hops in the chefs' car to drive them to their next destination. I honestly don't know if I would let Padma drive me anywhere. Her beauty would distract other drivers on the road. Yeah, that's it. Seems dangerous. They arrive at a house where Emeril and Roy Choi are cooking in the kitchen. I love that Emeril needs to only go by one name, while Roy Choi always needs two. He's always Roy Choi. Never just Roy. Brooke and Roy reveal their past culinary history in L.A. and you can tell Roy has a lot of respect for Brooke. Thankfully this wasn't a case where Roy applied for a job at one of Brooke's restaurants and she didn't hire him. Did I mention I'm eating at Son of a Gun on my trip to L.A. next week? Can't wait!

As Roy (Choi) cooks his rice, he explains his cleaning process, specifically how he transfers all his ancestors into the rice. I wonder if they sell ancestors at Whole Foods. They'd probably be organic. Y'know, add a little texture to the rice.

As the chefs sit down to eat, Roy (Choi) and Emeril describe the dishes they prepared. Roy (Choi) made traditional braised short rib and shares a really moving story about how he was in a bad place in his life -- how much of a troublemaker, I have no idea -- and how watching Emeril on TV changed his life. He knew he wanted to be a chef. Man, any time Emeril tells a story or someone else tells a story about Emeril, I get teary-eyed. Emeril talks about working in a Portugese bakery. He makes cornbread the traditional Southern way -- no sugar. He bonds with Josh over this little detail. 

Finally, the chefs are issued their challenge -- to create dishes that represent the definining culinary moments in their lives. They'll be cooking for the Governor or Alaska (no, not that one) and the state's First Lady. 

When the chefs get home, Josh gets a call from his wife -- her water broke and she's heading to the hospital. Ahhh! It may have seemed weird to some of you when his wife says she hopes her hubby is still competing. You must remember how confidential Top Chef is -- the chefs literally can't tell anyone how far they get in the competition, so his wife didn't know if he's been eliminated yet! Oh, man. Brooke keeps asking Josh if he wants to go home and I'm sure she means well, but it feels a little like she's trying to psych him out. Or maybe I'm just a terrible human being and think the worst of people. 

During Tom's walk-through, Brooke reveals that she still doesn't quite know what she wants to do, which could be trouble. Josh reveals that he's making foie gras torchon in less than 24 hours, which is apparently impossible. This could also be trouble. Tom psychs Sheldon out a bit by warning him not to plate his fish too soon. "I don't want to screw you up. If you don't get plated, don't blame me." Oy. Guess what? This could be TROUBLE!

Back at the house, Josh gets THE CALL. He is now a father to Georgia, named after Josh's father. Ugh -- I love this so much. Mazel tov, Josh!!!

"How can you concentrate?" asks Brooke.

Lay off, Brooke!

The chefs are ready for the their meal down memory lane. Sheldon is on top of his A-game. I'm mean to point this out, but I am so amused when he combines these two expressions. Don't worry, Sheldon -- our Housewives concoct their own idioms all the time. Sheldon took Tom's advice and waited till the last minute to plate. HIs fish were perfect, but his broth was too salty because he let it reduce too long. 

Brooke's chicken and quail dish is well-received as well, although Wolfgang's quail is overcooked. 

Josh's torchon is just not set correctly. In fact, he had to put it in the freezer while he was preparing it to speed up the process.

So, after 28 challenges, Brooke wins, and Josh goes home to his wife and new baby girl. I think those are pretty sweet prizes. Josh mentions that he wants "revenge" in Last Chance Kitchen. On whom I'm not so sure, but good luck in there, Josh!

And we have our two finalists. To find out who they'll be competing against, watch the Last Chance Kitchen finale HERE.

Until next week, Have a Nosh!

Make Doug's Winning Mussels

Doug's mussels pleased the palates of the superfans -- and the judges. Try having them at home.

Chorizo-Marinated Mussels With Sweet Pepper and Cauliflower Relish

 

Ingredients 

5 lbs mussels

5 lbs pork chorizo

1 head cauliflower

3 sweet pickled peppers

EVOO

2 cups white wine

2 cloves garlic

2 Tbsp parsley (chopped)

2 Tbsp Chives (chopped)

 

Directions

1. Start a pan with chorizo. Render and carmelize lightly.

2. Add garlic, parlsey, chives, and mussels.

3. Add white wine and cover. Cook gently till the mussels have just opened.

4. Clean the mussels and strain the liquid over them. Cool.

5. Cut the cauliflower into small peices and roast hard until they have lots of color and are crispy.

6. To serve: Plate cauliflower, top with mussel and pickled pepper. Pour a little of the liquid over the mussel and garnish with pickled pepper and lemon preserve.

 

Lemon Preserve

Ingredients

5 lemons

Water

Salt, to taste

Sugar, to taste

 

Directions

1. Peel five lemons and thinly julienne the peel.

2. Blanch in boiling water five times till tender and not bitter.

3. Add juice from the lemons and season with sugar and salt to taste

Read more about: