Cast Blog: #TOPCHEF

Grayson Under Fire

Gail: Mei's Menu Was Almost Flawless

Make Top Chef Mei Lin's Winning Dessert!

Richard: "Gregory Had the Better Ideas"

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Hugh: Mei's a Chef's Chef

Richard: "Winning Is Overrated"

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Gail: I Wasn't Surprised Doug Stayed on Top

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

Make Melissa's Seared Duck Breast Dish

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

Grayson Under Fire

Paul may have won the challenge, but Grayson really won.

Hello, my little meatballs. Don’t worry -- you’re just as original as chicken salad! Or so we learn in this week’s episode. But we’ll get to that in a couple of paragraphs.

Let’s start with this week’s Quickfire where we team up the remaining contestants in a sort of mise en place relay race and then create a dish using those ingredients with the time they have left over. The ingredients were shrimp, corn, and fettucine. And the chefs actually had to make their own fettucine. Even though it would seem that the team with the most time to cook their food -- Lindsay and Sarah -- would probably win, they didn’t. Grayson and Chris did. Sarah thinks it’s because guest judge, Cat Cora, didn't like tarragon, an ingredient in their dish. My only comeback to that would be that if a dish is successful, the diner will enjoy ingredients he/she never thought she liked. While there are obviously exceptions, I have found this to be true.

The only other thing to say about the Quickfire was that Paul was right -- he is a little bit cursed when it comes to pairing up with Edward. He mentioned that every time he teams with Edward they don’t do well. And sure ehough.... This time, Paul pretty much forgot about the shrimp element. Whoops.On to the Elimination Challenge, where Padma reveals that the partners will become enemies -- you know, or something less ominous. The two chefs will have to select a dish and compete against each other. The dishes are prepped for a block party. Whenever I hear block party, I think of Top Chef: Chicago, even though I’m pretty sure we’ve done other similar challenges like it since. The pairs decided on the dishes they’d be creating. Not only did they have to make delicious block party dishes, they had to make them healthy.

It was fairly clear right away which chef of each pair did a better job. Paul’s turkey kalbi beat out Edward’s. Lindsay out-meatballed Sarah, and Grayson’s chicken salad, even with a little mayo -- albeit olive oil mayo -- was tops over Chris’. Although it was actually a little mean, Paul telling diners that his dish was a healthier version of Edward’s cracked me up. Lindsay and Sarah were pretty supportive of each other’s dishes. Grayson and Chris went two pretty different routes on their chicken salads. Chris had a pretty genius idea of using tofu as his binding agent, but he also chose to pre-make his sammies. Grayson chose to serve her sandwiches on the spot, which proved to be the better decision.



I just want to take a moment to talk about Paul and Sarah’s turkey dishes. Although it may have seemed like a no-brainer to swap the red meat for turkey to make it healther, I actually think it was more of a risk than portrayed. Turkey can dry out really easily, especially if it’s sitting out. Paul’s deicion to use eggplant to keep that sort of unctuous quality of chicken salad was really, really smart. And ultimately led to his win.


In the end, the judges weren’t jonesin’ for any more of Chris’ food. (Har har.) Although I was sad to see Chris go, the look on Richie’s face when he was rejoined by his comrade in Last Chance Kitchen is priceless. And, although Paul’s turkey won, Grayson kinda really won. She challenged Tom at the Judges’ Table after he criticized her seemingly "boring" choice of chicken salad, and kinda shut him down. I don’t think we’ve ever seen Tom concede like that, and if anyone were to ever be the one to cause it, it would be Grayson.


Sooo, we only have five chefs left! And next week, we have Pee-wee Herman, who actually scared me as a child, which I’ll explain next week. Until then, Have a Nosh!