Hello, everyone. First off I would like to apologize for my failure to blog last week. I was in Hawaii with Elia cooking various events at the Hilton Waikoloa Village for their 13th Annual Dolphin Days.
Fortunately for me, I was able to bring my own sous chefs with me, and we were sure to pack the Kona Kampachi this time. Ha! Everything went very well, and I have been invited back to do it all again next year.
That having been said, I should let you know that, due to travel, I will be unavailable to blog for a short period again in the near future. I am going fishing in Alaska for three straight weeks and will be unable to write about the show during that time. Finally, before I get to the episode, I would like to make a disclaimer that I was not an English major -- I am a cook. So, for all of those people who want to tear me apart when I conjugate a verb incorrectly, just remember that if we were in a kitchen, I might be able to correct you on thing or two.
Considering I didn't get the chance to write about last week's episode, I would like to briefly recap what I thought about it. In regards to the Quickfire: I understand that the Season Three contestants had just arrived and were getting their introductions out of the way, but come on -- how surprised could they have been when they were confronted with the amuse bouche challenge? I mean after all, this is "Top Chef" and not "Top Social Butterfly."
Furthermore, the conditions of working with plated appetizers in the Versace mansion seemed slightly better than having to use a vending machine in a warehouse.
Now without further ado, I would like to discuss the food with you - which, for me, is obviously the most important topic at hand.
I was intrigued by the way several of the new contestants interpreted the challenge and what they were able to create with their time restraints. Micah's Tuscan-Style Sushi was the most impressive amuse to me, and it wasn't just because I had just previously and coincidentally made a roulade of prosciutto and figs for dinner before the show. It was because I liked the way she demonstrated her wit as a chef by creating a tasty tantalizer with a classic flavor profile from her Italian roots and wasn't afraid to utilize Japanese technique to create an "amusing bite".
As for the elimination challenge, Hung and Tre really seemed to excel ahead of the rest of the pack right off the bat. I mean, did you see Hung's knife skills fabricating that geoduck? Not to mention the fact that he cooked his Black bird sous-vide. That just goes to show my boy's got skills!
Tre's dish looked deeelish...and he surely redeemed himself from being on the bottom after the Quickfire. Clay, I don't know what to say other than, "Don't let this get you down. Keep on cooking, and stay happy in the kitchen." But don't let the first challenge fool you -- I'm sure a lot of the other chefs have more in store for all of us.
Now on to Episode Two. Citrus and Norman Van Aken? that's no big surprise. If you didn't see that one coming in Miami you might be as dull as a plastic knife.
Once again, Hung seemed to rise above the rest of the competition. Before I go any further, something needs to be made clear. I am not biased and I am not just saying that because he is a friend of mine. As I have said before, "It doesn't matter if you are my best friend or my worst enemy -- it's all about the food." Furthermore, gastronomy is something I take very seriously and I would never do anything that would jeopardize its integrity.
That having been said, I would also like to say that I liked his mentality throughout the show, whether it was his philosophy in saying, "Immunity doesn't mean anything to me," "I am going to push hard like I didn't have it," or the way he brushed his shoulders off when he was accused of "culinary plagiarism."
I can empathize with him in the latter situation for I too was recently accused of such a crime. The food world has always had inventions, recreations, and different interpretations of dishes, so it just strikes me as egotistical when chefs accuse others for stealing there ideas.
Joey tried to take credit for something as fundamental and basic as a watermelon drink. Wait -- didn't I make one of those during our raw food challenge in the second season? He also upset me when he said that Micah could go *%$# herself for trying to help Clay in the first episode. He also wanted to send Howie home, even though he had never tasted his food. Joey just strikes me as somebody who I may not grow to like as his character progresses throughout the show, but you never know. I wonder how he reacted to being dubbed the drama queen of the show.
Lastly, the best and the worst: I was sad to see Sandee go this episode because she seemed like a talented chef and a very nice person who, if given the chance, would have continued to contribute.
The elimination challenge winner, Brian, seemed to redeem himself after the duo of Serpent's Electric Koolaid bar food. Now, coming from someone who likes to experiment with flavors and can relate to the rollercoaster ride of hits and misses, I was glad to see him knock one out of the park.
Well, I am flying to Seattle tomorrow and I have to start packing, so that's all for now, but I look forward to writing again next week, and thank you for your time and interest. I love getting feedback, so if you have any questions, leave them here, and I'll do my best to answer them when I get back.