Cast Blog: #TOPCHEF

That Was Sexy

Make Melissa's Seared Duck Breast Dish

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

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

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

That Was Sexy

The Season 1 winner talks snails, sexy technique, and whom he thought deserved the boot.

First, the Quickfire challenge. I personally like to do snails with curry. You need to have a good amount of fat and this is one of the times instead of using a lot of butter to cook them, I like to use coconut. I love snails. I think they’re meaty and not fishy at all. They can be a little chewy.

Kevin’s was pretty cool. Bacon with snails - that looked pretty top notch. The food is looking pretty tight.

The worst out of the 14 got another chance to redeem themselves with an amuse-bouche, but it didn’t look like they knocked it out of the park. I’m not happy to see anyone go home, but Jesse seemed kind of just hanging on by a string. Nothing has been terribly impressive. She had no reasoning behind her dish.

Let’s talk elimination. The one issue I had with this pairing thing was that historically, throughout the competition, you are assigned partners. With this choosing partners thing it’s kind of lame. It allows people to work together who have similar styles. This isn’t let’s see who we’re compatible with and then cook with this person. It’s just an issue I have with the challenge, specifically. Obviously you have some stronger cooks working together and they don’t want to be put under the knife. For the weaker folks, I just want to see some people with different styles bring it together.

I would have liked to cook a rabbit course for Joel. I love cooking rabbit. That would have been my number one. I’m pretty bored with lobster and beef tenderloin. It’s not very exciting to me. You make lobster with Sauce Americaine and it’s like lobster with lobster sauce. It’s not something I really care about cooking. I also would have really loved to do the trout with the béarnaise. Just because you’re in a French restaurant doesn’t mean you need to make the sauces classically. The deconstructed béarnaise was a little different, but everyone else cooked the sauces very classically.

I’m surprised Mattin did what he did. Making a straight-up veloute to me is pretty much the most boring thing you can do. I’m not really into starch thickeners. So, you make a chicken stock and you make a roux and you put them together and you cook it down. I don’t really want to eat that and I don’t think the chefs want to either. That is one of the most boring things in the world. Maybe I didn’t pick it up, but I could have sworn Ashley said to put asparagus in it. She did something. He said he didn’t remember. But, it was terribly boring. I respect the fact that she didn’t throw him under. I like her. She’s my dark horse. I was really impressed with her.

Everybody except for the two top teams went very classical. What I loved, which nobody commented on, with Bryan and Michael’s trout dish was soufflé at the end. If you were watching the plates go out you see what they did. You take the potato and you cut it in little rings, you take it out, you let it cool down, raise the oil, and then blanch it again. It creates this soufflé and you could see the little potato discs puffed up. That was sexy. None of the judges commented on that. It was tight.

Also, the way they prepared the fish I liked. If you’re going to serve skin on a fish you have to keep it crispy. There’s no point in keeping skin on fish if it’s not going to have texture. What he did was wrap it inside some plastic wrap, cured it or gave it a quick poach, and then portioned it so the exterior was on both sides. At my restaurant, I take chives and I tie it and wrap it so it’s edible. Then, I give it a little roast.

I thought Mattin should have gone instead of Hector. Maybe he saved himself because he came out speaking French. I think if Ashley would have thrown him down then Tom would have drove the bus right over him. But Hector had 4½ hours, so seriously? It was cut poorly and cooked poorly. That’s what happens when you don’t let meat rest. All the juice comes rushing out.

That's it for this week!

Harold

http://www.perillanyc.com/