Cast Blog: #TOPCHEF

Exhausted.

Get Doug's Masterpiece Brisket Recipe

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

Exhausted.

The Culinary Games were hard, you guys!

I don't even know if I can get through this recap. I'm exhausted from even watching this episode! Going to school in Rochester and Syracuse, I'd like to think I could handle the snow, but Whistler seemed unreal. I've also never skied and am afraid of heights so this week's challenges would probably have been my worst nightmares as a cheftestant. Having the mental fortitude to get through these challenges is something for which all four finalists should be commended.

We start in a parking lot as the final four arrive in British Columbia. If my memory serves, it was about a two-hour drive to Whistler. Thanks for driving, Paul! The chefs are greeted atop the mountain by Tom and Padma, donning just plain fabulous winter wear. The chefs are told that they'll be competing in something of a culinary triathlon. First event? Cooking in gondolas! I don't know why we didn't just have them do it in a chair lift? Gondolas are child's play. I'm kidding, of course. Because this sounds crazy to me. I feel for Paul who is apparently afraid of heights. I am too, Paul. We're obviously soul mates. Anywho, the chefs will have to get out of their gondalas mid-challenge and add an ingredient to their half-completed dish. In the end, Paul was on the bottom and Lindsay pulled out a perfectly-cooked fish. Way to go, Lindsay! This meant that Lindsay was done for the day and moving on to the next episode. My only other note about this challenge is that Beverly made a cold dish, which i thought was an interesting choice. I honestly don't know how I feel about that yet, but I will say that Gail's point about Bev's knifework is exactly what I was wondering about. If you're not going to really cook anything over heat, the technical work on the rest of the dish should be impeccable. Apparently it was!So, Beverly, Sarah, and Paul move on to the next challenge, where they had to cook a dish from ingredients locked away in ice. They had to hack at the ice to get them out. Bev and Sarah had a little bit of trouble, but Paul, the Southern gentleman, helped them out. I basically swooned as Paul ribbed Sarah for being a Chicagoan instead of a Texan. Those two really have a bond. Despite the fact that Paul's wine sauce didn't work out, he got the win and moved on to the next challenge. 

That leaves Beverly and Sarah to duke it out in the most exhausting challenge I've ever seen. First, they had to cross-country ski, then shoot bullseyes for their ingredients (Bev actually seemed to do better on this part despite Sarah's shooting experience), and finally cook their dishes. There were flaws with both dishes, but ultimately Sarah's hearty rabbit stew won. And Beverly went home.

I hope Beverly is proud of herself. She literally did everything she could to come back to the game and win it all. And although it wasn't enough, she should take solace in that fact.

So, we're down to three! Until next week's challenge, Have a Nosh!

Make Melissa's Seared Duck Breast Dish

Get the recipe for Melissa King's winning new culinary creation: seared duck breast with farro, walnut miso, and pickled cherries.

Duck Breast, Walnut Miso, Pickled Cherries, Farro

Ingredients:

Duck breast
Salt
Pepper
1 cup Walnuts
1 Tbsp Red miso paste
1 Tsp Mirin
Rice vinegar
1 Tsp White soy sauce
Cheeries
Butter
Farro
Chicken Stock
Celery
Walnut Oil
Radishes
Yuzu
Chocolate Mint (to preference)

Directions for Duck
1. Season duck breast with salt/pepper
2. Sear on med-low on cast iron skin side down to render fat
3. Remove and let cool until medium rare
Directions for Walnut Miso
1. Blanch 1 cup walnuts in hot boiling water
2. Blend in blender w/ 1 Tbsp red miso paste, 1 Tsp mirin, 1 Tsp rice vinegar, 1 Tsp white soy sauce.
3. Blend until very smooth and then pass through chinois

Directions for Pickled Cherries
Cherries (slice/pit)
2 part Rice vinegar
1 part butter
To taste Sugar
Pinch of Salt

1.Boil and pour over cherries
2. Strain and reserve liquid. Mound pickling liquid with butter on the pick up to make cherry sauce

Directions for Farro
1. Boil farro in chicken stock for 1 hour until soft and bloomed
2. Strain farro
3. Mound farro with butter and chicken stock until it looks creamy
4. Season with salt

Directions for Shave Carrots
1. Shave celery (compress with walnut oil)
2. Shave radishes (compress with yuzu)
3. Chocolate mint (chopped)
4. Toss all with walnut oil, salt

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