Cast Blog: #TOPCHEF

To Judge the Judges!

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

To Judge the Judges!

Hey, Brian Malarkey likes new judge Toby Young! But wants to know what you think.

This episode seemed to be more about the judges then the contestants. Do we not have enough talent in this cuntry to find some of our own judges to dismantle, critique, and pan our contestants? Where is Anthony Bourdain when you need him, off eating lizard gizzards in Timbuktu? Our lovable Ted Allen jumped channels to The Food Network where Tom seems to be moonlighting more and more (i.e. see every Food Network event and you see Tom). This week let's change focus as did and lets "Judge the Judges." Who are your favorites over the seasons and who drove you mad? Who made you laugh and who made you want to throw something at the T.V? Yes this week my friends we are sitting behind the Top Chef Judges' Table and were going to let them have it. Not even our beloved Tom is safe this week and I'm sure Padma is going to get lit up like yesterday's Christmas tree. Don't hold back because this week we are making our own show: Top Judge on Top Chef!

Sit with me at Top Judges Table: I love it when they get real accomplished chefs such as: Jean-Georges, Daniel Boulud, Jose Andres, and Eric (kicked me off) Ripert. As a contestant you can't help but learn and appreciate the feedback from these legends. Of course it's also great to see the big celebrities chefs such as the Martha Stewarts (awful and slightly scary) and the "Dancing Chef" Rocco Dispirito (over-played on the show but mad skills). The ones I can't stand are the local chefs from the location the show is being shot, the ones who get their shot at fame and really put forth their own agenda; these judges usually show up in the early episodes that don't have as much impact on the final results. A few I have in mind are the Maria Frumkins aka the "Queen of Tarts," Michael Schwartz -- "Who" -- and so many more that I cant think of because we don't know who they are. I must say that I really look forward to more of Toby Young's hilarious lingo and movie references.

When one of his compliments to Stefan is "this dish reminds me of being in a wood cabin all alone in the middle of the Alps" you can't help but say, "What the f___ is this guy talking about." Another great one: "This dish reminds me of British Actors in a comic role in an American movie upstaging the lead actors" and the Tom Cruise in his cameo role in Tropic Thunder comment had my hairy knuckles slapping in the air at those apple bottom jeans! Come on I had to give it a shot! I am a Toby Young fan and he wins this week's elimination for me. The one knock is that it obvious he is not the one pulling the trigger here; he wanted to keep Eugene.

Now Jean-Christophe Novelli our French guest judge was overshadowed and really quite dry and boring.

Alright now it's your turn bloggers. Let's here what your thoughts are on the judges who have graced our beloved show Top Chef. Congratulations to most of the bloggers who agreed that it was time that Eugene and Melissa got the "boot." Not wanting to sound too harsh but I really wanted a triple elimination with Carla going home also. She's real sweet but her commentary, her voice, it's starting to drive me mad like Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind ... I Toby Young'd that one ...

Bonus on your commentary this week: When complimenting or crushing your judges use Toby Young style references ... Get creative and have some fun ...

A quick power ranking:

Stefan: "The villain" is taking this game over! "Run circles around Hosea." "Against my taste buds." " I'm French." "Green Vomit"...

Fabio: We still love the Italian Stallion even with undercooked lamb. Roast it and win.

Hosea: Wallflower this week Radhika: Even with a weapon of mass destruction, I really am starting to like her.

Jamie: I can't believe they are not calling her out on this scallop fascination. I think she is a better cook then Hosea and Radhika but I dropped her down because of the constant scallop thing. I hate it when a contestant wins and doesn't get a prize (like me). Maybe they should send her on a Scallop Harvesting Adventure?

Jeff: Come on -- he got the Tom Cruise Cameo Comment ...

Leah: I love balsamic also ... fried food family style not so much. Ariane: I'm still not buying into it.

Carla: So sweet but no sugar

Melissa and Eugene: Same arguments week after week finally send you home. "When the booze is gone it's time to move on."

Cheers!

Also take some shots at "Mama Malarkey Macaroons" I can take it. Until next week with Hung...

Gail Simmons Won't Be Pushed Around

So she's going to take more time shopping at Whole Foods -- and ask for the best of Melissa's basket and Adam's shrimp.

Bravotv.com: Let's dive right in. How did it feel to go shopping?
Gail Simmons: Shopping at Whole Foods was fantastic and hilarious. It made us realize that you need to be strategic, which was the point of the exercise for us. They gave us 30 minutes, but we took a little longer. We didn't let the producers push us around! We’re not contestants and we weren't going to stand for it! So, you realize how little time you have, and how big Whole Foods can be. You spend a lot of time running around.

 

My strategy with my pantry was to get a lot of fresh, delicious food that you can cook in lots of different ways. A good balance of proteins, fish, fruits, vegetables, spices, fresh herbs, grains. But I didn't want to get too much. Everyone has different strategies; Padma got a ton of different ingredients. Tom's pantry was very pared down. Richard and I were somewhere in the middle.

 

Bravotv.com: Let's start by talking about the two dishes that came from your pantry?
GS: Katsuji and Melissa. They used the same protein, but their dishes were very different. They both used shrimp which one of the proteins that I bought. I bought something else too, something that I know has given people trouble in the past (which is why I specifically chose it) -- chicken wings. And I really wanted people to use them. Instead, they chose the easy way out because shrimps cook quickly.

Melissa's used a lot of fresh vegetables, which I was hoping she would: dill, mint, artichoke. I was so excited about all of it. I think it was beautifully done, a lovely salad with that little shrimp on top with spiced yogurt. But it was just a salad with a quick-cooking seafood. It was so similar to what she had done in Restaurant Wars when she made a scallop with grapefruit salad. I believe she could have done so much more. Melissa keeps saying she wanted to focus on her knife skills, and, of course, your knife skills have to be precise. But I need to see more than just knife skills. I want to see cooking skills, I want to see roasting skills, braising skills. I want to see her hands get a little dirtier and her dishes not be as superficial. It was a light, lovely dish. I was happy to eat it for lunch. But when you're competing against six other really talented chefs, we all want to see a little more depth. Katsuji on the other hand went big. He used his ingredients in a really powerful way. The potato salad, the poached shrimp had bold seasoning and I loved how they went together. It was a great dish. It may not have been the best of the day, but I was actually really happy with what he chose to make.

 

Bravotv.com: So for the rest, let's talk about who was on top and who was on bottom.

GS: At the top there was Gregory who really was going for Padma's heart there. He did great with his coconut milk curry. A really balanced, powerful dish. But it's something we’ve seen from Gregory many times in the past. In fact, in the first challenge he made a similar spicy curry dish with chicken. As much as we thought it was a delicious bowl of food, it was so typical of what we expect from Gregory. George's food was really exciting for us. This was my first time tasting his food and meeting him on Top Chef. He did a great job. The kebab was moist, seasoned really well, and the lentils were beautiful too. My only small issue with the dish is I couldn't understand why he separated the lentils from the kebab in two separate dishes. Why not put lentils on the plate and the kebab right on top, with a dollop of the yogurt? It seemed a little bit disconnected to me. But all-in-all, a really strong dish. Doug had the winning dish of the night. He used Richard's crazy pantry in a way that I thought was smart, clear-cut, and creative. The chorizo and mussels and peppers, just how Tom said, go together well, as do the cauliflower and the garlic. There was sweetness, there was spice, it was light and fresh but had a soulful, rustic flavor we all loved. You could see use of technique. On the bottom were dishes that tried to stretch and didn’t come through. Mei did a great job overall, except her lamb was undercooked. You want lamb medium, medium rare, but the center of that meat was raw to the point where the texture was chewy and almost cold. It would have been better if she had been able to cook it five minutes longer. We talked about Melissa's mistakes already, which also landed her on the bottom. I totally applaud Adam for trying to make a quick-flash marinade. He's been in the middle for so long and he thought "I gotta go big or I gotta go home." He tried to go big and unfortunately, he went home because of that technique. I get the idea of what he was doing, I don't doubt that it could've been successful if it were perhaps done in a different setting, with a little more control. But the flash marinade of his shrimp did not cook it as needed. It was still grey, it was still raw, and the texture of raw shrimp is not appealing. It's squeaky, it's squishy, and it becomes sort of mushy. We wanted it firm and cooked through. It's not like fish that you can eat sashimi-style Unfortunately Adam's hard work, his big risk sent him home.

I will miss him. I think he's an incredibly articulate, clever chef. I think he has an extraordinary career ahead of him. I'm excited to see him back in New York City. I can't wait to eat his food again. Also I want to say of this entire episode that was it was thrilling to see our superfans in the kitchen. We've never let people come into the kitchen in that way before, even though people ask us all the time. It brought so much good energy to have basically a live audience with us for the day. Everyone was so psyched. It was amazing to be around people who really love the show, to let them eat food from our talented chefs. SO much fun!