Hugh Acheson

Even John Besh's positivity -- and perfect hair -- can't save Bene.

on Nov 6, 20130

“Enthrall me with your acumen.” -Hannibal Lecter

Our chef careers are shaped in many ways. We get jobs after school washing dishes to start. We watch the whirlwind of kitchens around us and learn what we can. Soon, for those who are enthralled with the frenetic pace of the kitchen, we develop a yearning for learning. This is the turning point. Endless fascination occurs that can only be fed with more learning, more wonderment. Books begin to play a vital role in the quest for knowledge.

When I was young I was working at a French restaurant in Hull Quebec. I was 23. I was green beyond belief. I bought books, I read, I wondered, and I dreamed. I wanted to get better with what was now the only employment I longed to succeed in. I remember walking into the cookbook store in the Byward market in Ottawa and buying Charlie Trotter’s eponymous first cookbook. It was stunning. It was new to me, everything about what he was doing. It sent my mind racing about what was possible. It pushed envelopes and opened doors with flavored oils, modern sauces, elaborate garnishes, and towering plating styles. It was, for me, a revelatory text. 

Charlie passed away Tuesday at the age of 54. Too young, too brilliant, and too utterly important to so many young chefs to lose at such a young age. Only last weekend I was talking with Andrew Carmellini about Charlie’s influence and career -- Andrew being one of countless amazingly talented chefs who saved up to make a trip to the Charlie’s place in its heyday. I only had the books to eat but they meant a ton to me. RIP. Chef -- you meant a lot to so many. 

Back to reality television. We find Carlos talking about his obstacles, and he seems to have come over many in his life, head first with lots of energy. He is a passionate guy. I like him. 

The chefs go back to get some sleep and Brian wakes up on top of Travis. This TV moment is now legal in many states and I will take the progress. Now if we can just keep SNAP programs from being completely defunded. Call your congress-people, people. 

Sara is trying to keep the demons out of her head. Vanquish those demons. She styles her hair to take her mind off the stress. Then J. Besh comes in. He is thrilled to take them to the next challenge. 

They walk to the posse of Toyota Rav 4s and drive and drive and drive to a farm. There are cows and vegetables and Creole tomatoes. The Quickfire is 20 minutes to make a tomato dish. That’s not a lot of time. Padma opens the trunk to reveal… wait for it… pots!

6 comments
lkbrose
lkbrose

I also mourned Charlie's death.  His restaurant was a place I always wanted to go.  I think both his cookbooks were something I was reading recently -- they were destroyed in the fire that took both the lives of my husband and dog recently.

 

The one thing that I cooked out of his book was a beautiful slow roasted salmon on a bed of latticed root vegetables with a red wine reduction sauce.  RIP Charlie

Mielegirl
Mielegirl

I wonder why so many of the chefs had such a hard time with this challenge.  And John Besh's hair isn't all that. jmo

motherhubbard
motherhubbard

Interesting how Carrie seems to have peaked only a few episodes in and seems to be fading fast. At the onset, she appeared to be  a frontrunner, but now—I just don't know.

TheKwan
TheKwan

I usually try to save Hugh's blog (best) for last, but alas, it is the ony one up. Enjoyable as always, but with a tinge of melancholy tonight. (He used pen*s twice, hehe.) Not surprised with Bene, but did think he'd have been in longer, especially with his TCM experience. Will see if he can dethrone Daisy Dukes on LCK. My picks for the finale are Shirley, Justin, and Nina.

Vic2012
Vic2012

Dissappointing. How do you woefully undercook the main course and stay on the show?

BlondeGator1
BlondeGator1

I'm terribly sorry to hear about the loss of your friend and fellow chef, Hugh.

 

Tonight's episode may be one of my all time favorite TC episodes, ever.  Because of the JUDGES!  Awesome.  Not "critics", but the real people who are on a day-by-day basis responsible for the product coming out of the kitchen.  I like Besh, and the rest of the "celebs", but this panel of judges just NAILED it, ALL.  Need more real people, and not so may "supah stahs!".

 

Must add, at this point, the season is "heating up".....the slackers are going to get slayed, AGAIN.  As viewers, we now know which chefs are in the hunt.  This is my favorite part of the season.  Sure and steady....or "going for it",, flaming out or pushing through?

 

P.S.  Where was the cheesecake tonight?