Cast Blog: #TOPCHEF

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What About The Herbs?

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

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

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 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

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