Cast Blog: #TOPCHEF

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What About The Herbs?

Get Doug's Masterpiece Brisket Recipe

Make Melissa's Seared Duck Breast Dish

Gail on Innovation (and George's Failure to Push It)

Make Melissa's Mom's Egg Custard

Hugh Worries About Scurvy and Foie Gras

Make Mei's Inspired Duck a l'Orange

Gail Has No Problem With Blood

Make George's Cravable Breakfast Sausage

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

What About The Herbs?

Harold Dieterle thinks something's missing form season two. He also thinks chefs should stop whining.

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A two month break, and everyone gets new haircuts. I have to say, going to Hawaii would have been pretty great. First class. There's a difference between Vegas and Hawaii. Las Vegas was nice, but I could have used a little Hawaii time, I'll be honest with you.

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Let me talk about this judge. Alan Wong, he's one of the founding fathers of refined Hawaiian cuisine. And it's great that he's a really nice guy, too. I was really impressed about how articulate he was. I know I've said all season that I like the judges that are nicer than the ones who are just, you know, jerks for the sake of being jerks, but I think this guy really knows his stuff, and he's a pioneer. And those are the kind of people you want representing the idea of a "Top Chef."

That Quickfire Elimination. haroldsblog_212_03.jpg

The plan is to make two dishes for Chef Wong's birthday party -- bring your own experience to some Hawaiian cuisine. You know, it's kinda funny, just watching these shows. I'm really waiting for Ilan to make something besides Spanish food. I really wanted him to branch out. His food looks great. He's fantastic with the Spanish cuisine. But I want to know more about him. I wasn't terribly blown away by Elia's dishes. I really wasn't. That's pretty much all I can say about that. It's a tough episode to talk about if you weren't there. It all looked absolutely beautiful. It's hard to sit here and criticize something without tasting it. I think some were more appropriate for the challenge than others. But they all look good to me. People have strong opinions about this particular thing. That, How is a cooking show accessible or fun if you can't taste the food? But cooking shows have survived for decades.

And the best part is, if you really have strong opinions, there are recipes available here at BravoTV.com. Make them at home. In fact, I wonder how many readers have tried any of the dishes and ...I'm pretty curious about how they turned out. And hey, if it sucks, if it's delicious, anyone who creates a recipe on a cooking show would love to know how it goes. You know, here's the thing. I'm one of the few bloggers that doesn't know what's to come. I can only assume that it's going to be another tasting menu, possibly, I don't know, I wasn't there. But last year, the Quickfire going into the finale was regionally based. It was all based around Vegas. This year, the Hawaiian cuisine theme. I'm thinking, or at least, I'm hoping it'll be a tasting menu.

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And Sam was the guy who I really thought had the experience to carry it out. I know I've been saying that Sam has really grown over the course of the show. I think he's got the chops, I really do. And it's sad to see him go. That said, this is a competition.

One of my biggest confusions on this show, and it has been all season, is the absence of using any kind of fresh herbs. I was looking at that spread at the luau and I was really surprised that the herbs, looking so fresh and gorgeous, were virtually ignored.

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Elia and Sam leaving, you know, it's sad. I thought Elia got a little catty at the judges table though. Marcel moved her pan? Come on. If you're going to put stuff on your range, and it's not hot, you can't be hogging the space. I thought it showed poor character that they all tried to gang up on Marcel. Stop your whining, it's a competition.

The only other thing I have to say is that I'm looking forward to seeing Marcel and Ilan cook off against each other. I do think it's going to be awesome to watch -- and not only because they don't like each other very much. And no matter how much drama there was this season, it is nice to enjoy the cook-off part of the show. You know, there is drama in any competition. It's inevitable. One final note: I heard this story about Marcel getting hit over the head with a bottle by some crazy fan, and I wish the guy nothing but a speedy recovery and all my best wishes. That whole thing is nuts. And ridiculous. And there's no good thing to say about it. You know...don't hit people. Even if you've seen them on TV.

Make Melissa's Seared Duck Breast Dish

Get the recipe for Melissa King's winning new culinary creation: seared duck breast with farro, walnut miso, and pickled cherries.

Duck Breast, Walnut Miso, Pickled Cherries, Farro

Ingredients:

Duck breast
Salt
Pepper
1 cup Walnuts
1 Tbsp Red miso paste
1 Tsp Mirin
Rice vinegar
1 Tsp White soy sauce
Cheeries
Butter
Farro
Chicken Stock
Celery
Walnut Oil
Radishes
Yuzu
Chocolate Mint (to preference)

Directions for Duck
1. Season duck breast with salt/pepper
2. Sear on med-low on cast iron skin side down to render fat
3. Remove and let cool until medium rare
Directions for Walnut Miso
1. Blanch 1 cup walnuts in hot boiling water
2. Blend in blender w/ 1 Tbsp red miso paste, 1 Tsp mirin, 1 Tsp rice vinegar, 1 Tsp white soy sauce.
3. Blend until very smooth and then pass through chinois

Directions for Pickled Cherries
Cherries (slice/pit)
2 part Rice vinegar
1 part butter
To taste Sugar
Pinch of Salt

1.Boil and pour over cherries
2. Strain and reserve liquid. Mound pickling liquid with butter on the pick up to make cherry sauce

Directions for Farro
1. Boil farro in chicken stock for 1 hour until soft and bloomed
2. Strain farro
3. Mound farro with butter and chicken stock until it looks creamy
4. Season with salt

Directions for Shave Carrots
1. Shave celery (compress with walnut oil)
2. Shave radishes (compress with yuzu)
3. Chocolate mint (chopped)
4. Toss all with walnut oil, salt

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