Cast Blog: #TOPCHEF

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.

Richard: "Winning Is Overrated"

Richard Blais congratulates Doug Adams on his admirable run and knows (from experience) this is just the beginning for this talented chef.

Doug Adams is not Top Chef.

Doug Adams is, however, the poster chef for what this competition is all about. A jumping off point for unrecognized or yet truly discovered talent.

Mr. Adams, yes I'm saying Mister because it pays respect to the man, and also because that's how The New York Times goes about things, came on to this season touting his resume of being a working class sous chef from Portland.

Doug Adams is not Top Chef. Doug Adams is, however, the poster chef for what this competition is all about.

Richard Blais

Sous chefs are on the line everyday (sous chefs from Portland I imagine are also butchering whole animals and foraging for botanicals, buts that's for a different blog). They are hands-on, blue collar grinders and early on Doug uses this statement to separate himself from the contestants who maybe are clipboard surfing, or worse, not even really in a restaurant at this stage of their careers. And although this is a part of his strategy or drive, and a very honest personal understanding and awareness of self, I have news for you...

Doug Adams is no longer a sous chef.

Sure, he may actually, technically still carry the title tonight, I'm not certain to be honest, but by his performance this season on Top Chef, he is now ready for the next stage in his career, and this is what can happen and should happen after Top Chef.

I can't imagine someone not taking a chance with giving Doug the opportunity to run a small restaurant. I can't imagine that someone out there tonight, hearing about Doug's goal of operating a Montana restaurant, connected in some way to hunting and fishing won't contact him. I can't imagine it; because it happened to me... My restaurant Juniper & Ivy in San Diego is a direct connection from my performance on Top Chef, and my gut tells me it had very little to do with "winning."

The fact is, winning is overrated.

Winning is fun. It may get you some cash or secure your ego, yes, but really, six months after this thing runs out on television, we are all just "that guy or girl from Top Chef.

Throughout this season, Doug has demonstrated everything one looks for in a great business partner. He cooks delicious, relatable, soulful food. He does it with a smile on his face. He cooks with a sense of authorship and knowledge of place and time. And perhaps most importantly (no, not his epic beard), most importantly, he communicates with his colleagues professionally and with integrity. I'd guess every cheftestant likes him. I know every judge likes him. He takes risks, like roasting a whole lobe of Foie gras, or say, blending up an aioli of ant eggs. Which, by the way, are you kidding me? Maybe he takes these chances because it's part of the game, but I think more so because Doug is a curious cook, which is a sure tell sign of a chef ready to do their own thing.

Doug, it may seem like I never had anything positive to say about your food, and maybe indeed that's how it played out on television, but it's not the case, Chef.

Congrats on an amazing run, one for all future contestants to take note of. And when rooms become available at your resort in Montana, I'm booking...

Blais
@RichardBlais (Instagram & Twitter)

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