Cast Blog: #TOPCHEF

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Oh Bee-have!

Gail: Mei's Menu Was Almost Flawless

Make Top Chef Mei Lin's Winning Dessert!

Richard: "Gregory Had the Better Ideas"

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Hugh: Mei's a Chef's Chef

Richard: "Winning Is Overrated"

Make Mei's Sushi Style Guac!

Gail: I Wasn't Surprised Doug Stayed on Top

Get Doug's Masterpiece Brisket Recipe

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

Make Melissa's Seared Duck Breast Dish

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

Oh Bee-have!

Carlos Fernandez on the culinary bee and the frozen food challenge.

I really liked the idea of the culinary "bee" for the Quickfire Challenge. However it fell a bit short in execution. I believe that each of the items presented to the contestants should have been on a more even scale of difficulty. It might also have been a more interesting challenge had the contestants been blindfolded as to test all of their culinary senses. (It would also have made it a lot of fun watching them running to the back of the line, tripping and bumping into tables!) carlos_306_01_320x240.jpg

I ached for Sara N., as I know how vinegar really closes up the throat. And I just keep hoping that Hung will chill out on the juvenile arrogance and simply show us the skills that landed him the job of Executive Sous-Chef at Guy Savoy. I was impressed and happy to see Casey land yet another win, especially after having to stomach the fish paste. Yuck!
carlos_306_02_320x240.jpgLet's start our conversation on the Elimination Challenge with the term being thrown around so loosely by so many: IQF, or Individually Quick Frozen. I assume that they all got the term from the back label of the Bertolli dinners they were told to emulate. The telling word here is "quick". Foods that are individually quick-frozen require specialized freezer equipment that brings foods to the frozen state much more quickly than ordinary freezers. I don't believe the Top Chef kitchen was equipped with this equipment since there was no Padma product placement involved. Ha! CJ and Tre were individually freezing in a more conventional manner--still obviously effective--but not exactly the same. I was as surprised as everyone else that more of the teams didn't follow through on that, although I do understand the temptation to have the finished product ready to go as soon as possible.

I was really happy about this challenge because so many chefs are snotty about frozen foods. There are truly wonderful modern frozen techniques that allow us to offer so many foods that would otherwise be available only if you were lucky enough to reside at the source of the food. This challenge taught them that there is a lot of thought that goes into creating a delicious frozen food product.

carlos_306_03_320x240.jpgToo bad that Rocco bit into a still frozen meatball. Otherwise, I think that Casey and Dale's dish with the wonderful-sounding pesto would have won the day. Although I am sure that CJ and Tre's dish was delicious, it seemed to me that the pesto dish is something that would appeal to a larger audience, and also something that Bertolli would be more likely to sell on the market.
carlos_306_04_320x240.jpgI really liked that this episode showed more of the judge's deliberations and disagreements. Opening this window to the viewers makes the decisions more understandable and also makes for good TV. Let's hope this open vetting will continue. It would have better helped us understand why Joey was chosen to go over the other three. (I still believe if they saw how Howie dripped sweat into his food that he would have gotten the axe. What do you think? Please leave your comments--I am interested in your feedback.) Don't forget to watch this week's Miami Spice webisode here. This week's Picadillo recipe is easy and delicious! Until next time, stay tuned and Break An Egg!