Cast Blog: #TOPCHEF

The Blame Game

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

The Blame Game

Gail Simmons shares her take on Andrew's departure.

We all struggle to find healthy, tasty food for ourselves and our families on the go. I am constantly at a loss as to what to eat for lunch when at the office or otherwise strapped for time. After all, it is so difficult to make positive meal choices in a sea of vending machines and fast-food restaurants, and so easy to fall into the trap of grabbing whatever is most convenient and least expensive. I try to eat as well as I can during the workday, but I swear my taste buds cannot take many more mediocre grilled chicken salads on wilted greens. If only I had time each night to plan my midday meal and make it at home. Which brings us to this week's Elimination Challenge -- cooking a healthy and satisfying boxed lunch for cadets at Chicago's Police Academy, incorporating a protein, a whole grain, and at least one fresh fruit and vegetable.

I personally loved Dale's idea of the Lemongrass Bison Lettuce Wrap with Brown Rice & Herb Salad. In fact, just last week I had dinner at an Asian restaurant with a family member who has diabetes, and we ate lettuce wraps, noting how perfect they are for her diet. Similar to a sandwich, but without the overdose of carbohydrates, they afford no end to the different flavor combinations you can create. Dale's decision to use bison was also smart. As Tom explained, it is an incredibly lean meat, but that still tastes rich and gratifying, like beef.


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It seemed that the bottom three in this episode knew exactly why they were there, despite Lisa's claim of ignorance. They all were well aware their lunchtime creations were weak, but they appeared to be more angry than usual and completely unable to face the judges' criticism. Having seen three other seasons of chefs get to this stage in the competition, it is easy for me to spot that moment when they become so run-down and frustrated that they give up trying to defend their food and instead begin looking for other people to blame. This episode was that turning point. Lisa was certain the rice in her shrimp stir-fry was sabotaged, regardless of how poor the rest of her dish may have tasted. She continued the blame game, calling out Andrew as if the judges didn't already realize his dish was missing a whole grain.

Spike spent so much time worrying about how to incapacitate the other contestants that he forgot to pay attention to his own food and put out what looked to be the most uninspired dish served so far this season. A lame chicken salad with a limp sliced tomato and lettuce on bread is not exactly what I call Top Chef material.


Andrew, the self-proclaimed nutrition expert of the bunch, had the nerve to blame the judges for not having good enough palates to appreciate the raw salmon sushi he made -- a tactic I guarantee did not win him any votes! He could not put his ego aside long enough to realize that, apart from the lack of a whole grain in his dish, his food simply did not satisfy his customers. At the base of it all, isn't pleasing your diners the sole purpose of being a chef? For this reason and more, it was time for Andrew to pack his wisecracks, along with his knives, and go.

Before I sign off, I want to thank everyone who wrote in to my blog last week with suggestions and wishes for my upcoming wedding. I loved reading all your ideas and will take many of them into consideration as we put the final touches on our menu. I was especially inspired by those who proposed I incorporate favorite family recipes into the meal. Please keep the ideas and questions coming -- about the show and, of course, all the action behind the scenes.

I promise to answer a few in my next blog post.

Make George's Cravable Breakfast Sausage

George decided the best way to satisfy New England Patriot tight end Rob Gronkowski  was with a hearty breakfast. Make it for yourself at home.

Pork and Veal Sausage Patty With Sunny-Side Up Egg and Potato Hash

 

Ingredients
3 lbs pork butt
1 lbs veal
4 garlic cloves
1 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp coriander
2 Tbsp smoked paprika
1 bunch chives
1 bunch parsley
1 Tbsp fennel seed
Pepper (to taste)

 

Directions
1. Grind prok and veal using medium dye, reserve and keep cold

2. Toast cumin, coriander, and fennel seed in a sauté pan until aroma is released. Grind in spice grinder, reserve

3. Chop parsley and chives fine, reserved

4. Chop garlic super fine, reserve

5. Mix meat with spices, smoked paprika, herbs, garlic, salt, and pepper

6. Test a small batch in fryer. Taste and adjust seasoning

7. Form into patties, place on grill, then finish in oven