Bravotv.com: So let’s start with the appetizer house, which actually had the winning dish which was Paul’s, and Sarah’s, which was in the top as well.
GS: Yes, Paul’s was the winner because it had so much texture and he used ingredients that the diners didn’t know they liked, but when they tasted it they couldn’t help but fall in love with it. It was the right size for an appetizer. It was appropriate. What Paul said at the beginning I think was so right on: “Listen to the woman of the house.” You are catering an event for a dinner party, and especially a dinner party for a woman like Kim Whitman, who is very particular, entertains a lot, and is considered somewhat of an expert on the subject. Do what she says -- not too little and not too much. The guys will go along with it. And he was right in this instance. He did something that the ladies enjoyed because it had great vegetables, it was light, but it had some depth. The grilled prosciutto was delicious. It was the right size. It was easy to eat. It was absolutely delicious.
I loved Sarah’s artichokes too, and I really liked Lindsay’s salad, but we thought Paul’s just embodied what we asked them to do the most and was done with the most… finesse.
So then we went to the main course house. And the main courses were mostly disappointing. Beverly’s was pretty good. Nyesha wasn’t bad either, but a lot of them were just way too big, way too bulky and clumsy. If there was just one main course or two that would have been one thing, but no one scaled his/her dish to be appropriate for the venue and the challenge. Not a single one of them scaled back the size of their portion or the scope of what they were doing to accommodate for the fact that we were eating four or five main courses. Of course you want it to feel like a main course, but, especially Ty-Lor’s and Chuy’s, were mammoth. I mean they were bigger than massive. Bigger than Texas-sized portions even. And because they were so big, they felt sloppy and disproportionate to everything else. That was our first issue.
Um . . . we had an annual progressive dinner party with a bunch of friends for several years, and we never felt the need to hire chefs to get it done. We had a lot of lasagnas warming in the ovens while we were at appetizers, but nevertheless we had a great time.
Regarding Chris J's "cuban cigar": I would have been less disappointed had his cigar concept been invented on-the-fly, in reaction to seeing the cigar cabinet in the host's home. But in fact, Chris's restaurant Moto (Chicago) has been serving this exact dish since 2008!
Clearly the chef's decision to serve this dish represented not only a lack of judgment, but also a lack of imagination as well. When people fail to tune into the unique inspiration of the present moment, clinging instead to some preconceived concept, bad things (and bad food!) happen.
Gail, it must be acknowledged that your sweetness and positive energy illuminate every episode that you appear in - even an episode as otherwise dreary as this one! Top Chef audiences around the world thank you.
Gail is a force! Your smile and playful attitude has made Padma disappear to me and she is pretty cute too! Love what you do and who you are!
SId is right. As someone who grew up in the 60's, I know progressive dinners as very middle class, suburban occasions, not an upscale, foodie affairs. Certainly no need for a chef. The person cooking the main dish might leave a bit early for the next phase, but mostly it was casseroles and other food for which you could easily plan flexibly. Pot lucks and progressive dinners are meant to be less, not more, stress on the hosts and the focus was on friends and neighbors, not impressing anyone.
Seriously- you'd never heard of a progressive dinner party? We did them in the early 80's and 90's. None of us had 'staff' and the entree house always had something that could bake while at the appetizer home, or was a quick saute dish, which was done while everyone was arriving and pouring the wine. And Youngstown, Ohio is NOT known for being 'ahead' of any sort of curve, especially culinary!
Hi Ms.Gail i really like watching you on BRAVO on channel 47. I hope that you have a really good marrige with your husband. I really like how you say nice things to the people that really makes them feel happy. I hope that you keep it up Sea Ya
The last progressive dinner party that I attended was in The Pines on Fire Island,duh! The main course consisted of various amuse bouche that were plentiful and allowed one to roam about. The desserts were also amuse bouche and my and my friends bouches were very amused! I do appreciate the efforts of the chefs. Some of the hosts of the progressive dining appeared to be a tad lacking in the idea of progressing. I thought they were thinking Impressing.
This was an interesting episode, but somewhat lost in the season. I think the cheftestants could have used a "refresher" course in the Quickfire and had their own version of a progressive dinner. In trying to win the challenge, they lost the theme. I'm glad your hosts were good to you, although it seemed odd that the wives weren't from TX so really couldn't present an authentic Texas home. But the atmosphere seemed open and friendly, something the chefs needed to feel.
At the end of the season, I hope you go back and reflect each of your own personal favorites of each episode. The judges table seems so calm!