Cast Blog: #TOPCHEF

Drinking Game Alert!

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

Drinking Game Alert!

Word of the day is "Blazer"!

 

To honor the episode, we must have a word of the day. The word of the day is: Blazer. You can do anything you want when it’s mentioned throughout this post, but I recommend drinking. Drinking makes my writing a bit easier to understand, and I recommend something culled from the Girl Drink Drunk skits on Kids in the Hall. Get those blenders set up. 

Since last I wrote, Jonesy has gone but is not forgotten. He gave us so much to talk about that I am, well, a little saddened by his departure. He went out with a chicken salad sandwich rivaled by your local convenience store so c’est la vie. It would be a healthy convenience store though, probably in Berkeley. Grayson is also saddened by Chris’ sudden disapparition and will smoke an edible cigar for her homey. This one is for Pebbles. Meanwhile, Edward is “all business from the waist up, as his fancy pyjamas consist of basketball shorts, a dress shirt, untucked, and a blazer. The classic blue blazer is the uniform of the fall and winter in the South for men of a certain pedigree. I am not of this pedigree and I think Edward has just been kicked out of the club. First rule of Blazer Club: Do not sleep in the blazer. 

Lindsay is talking about her family and that they were a little concerned about the career choice she took, at least initially, but now are very supportive. It’s an industry filled with a lot of addiction, low salaries, and exploitation… what’s the worry? My Pops was awesome with my chosen field. He was very supportive and still helps me a lot with guidance. Lindsay is one of the few who could do anything but chose to cook great food for a living, because it’s what she loves. Glad her family was supportive of her. She has a rocking mentor in Michelle Bernstein who is a stellar chef/restaurateur in Miami. When you have to prep an opulent set for a pancake challenge, obviously you think to make a gazillion pancake skyscrapers. Obviously. The culinary team of Top Chef probably dropped a thousand, “Are you f--king kidding me?”s, when asked to make the Dallas skyline in pancakes. I would have outsourced that to IHOP so fast. “I need 4200 orders of CINN-A-STACKS, to go. Thanks, dude.” The judge of the moment bikes in on his trademark Schwinn and it’s Pee-wee Herman, Paul Reubens. They are one in the same. I need a stage name. Any idea? Slappy McDimwit may work. 

Let’s talk about pancakes in general and what I like about them. I don’t want them too sweet. I make them pretty much every Saturday for my kids. They like them. I like the classic Joy of Cooking recipe. Like Ed, I want that critical crisp ring around them, and I want them fluffy, but not like a cupcake. I would have probably enjoyed Ed’s and Grayson’s versions the best. Paul’s looked pretty good as well, but the champagne dipping dots were a red herring. Who wants frozen champagne dots on pancakes? Unless they were frozen sausage pellets. That’d be good. Paging Chris Jones, please re-pack your knives and return to San Antonio. Your skill set is now in demand. 

The pancakes are made. Many. Most of the chefs go in the cavity-causing vein and pack in the sweets. Pee-wee will love this, as I think he has the same food whims as a four-year-old. I would have gone against the grain with a savory pancake, but I am not cooking for the strange man with the bowtie. Paul is bringing back memories of Pebbles with his Dipping Dots. Champagne-style. I wonder whether this could be a rap music trend forthcoming. Pee-wee yells “time’s up” like it’s “hands up.” Padma backs him up in more sultry style. Pee-wee seems a little addled before the sugar. Uh-oh. 

The dishes:

Grayson: Getting all Minnie with it, but this is the most Pat-looking Minnie ever. Ricotta buttermilk pancakes with peach, blackberry, basil, and lemon zest and a carafe of syrup…. I hope maple, cause it ain’t pancakes without true maple syrup. Don’t get me started. Pee-wee says they are the best pancakes he’s ever had. 

Sarah: Confetti pancakes with blackberry sauce, cocoa nibs, and whipped cream. I am reaching for the Paula Deen branded-insulin. Why does Pee-wee not bring the food to his mouth, rather he brings his mouth to the food? Weird. Pee-wee says they are the best pancakes he’s ever had. Neither Padma nor Pee-wee call out the overwhipped cream on the plate. Looked pretty broken up. 

Paul Q: They do not make many pancakes at Uchiko. Rolled pancake with berries, black pepper and champagne Dipping Dots. Paul, that’s a crepe. But I like the savory aspect of things. Pee-wee says they are the best pancakes he’s ever had. 

Lindsay: Ricotta pancake with lemon, cardamom, brown butter syrup, crème fraiche, and anise cookies. Look good, but I just don’t get the cookies part. Pee-wee says they are the best pancakes he’s ever had. 

Ed: Pancake bits with berries, bacon, bruleed marshmallows, and chocolate shavings. The sugar is killing me. But I like the pancake bits idea cause that’s one of my fav parts too. Pee-wee says they are the best pancakes he’s ever had. Pee-wee is playing a little game… always. Living with Pee-wee would probably be very frustrating. Ed wins. First QF win for him! He says: “Hopefully I am going to start streaking late.” I know what he means, but all I can think of is him streaking commando style, with just the blazer on. Ed is capable of such things. May the big blue blazer always cover his Louisville slugger. 

They now have to cook a family-style meal for Pee-wee and the judges, but they have to bike around town finding product and borrowing kitchens for prep space. This is going to be interesting. The key is that only one chef can cook in one kitchen at the same time. Just soothsaying. Oh yeah, and they are riding bikes. Edward is tiring himself before they leave by running around the house. Lindsay puts her helmet on backwards. Her parents are supportive of this too… cause i'ts funny!

They buy chicken. Some buy beef. Okra and squash are seen. I don’t think the drought made for great farmer’s markets this year in the Lone Star state. We learn that Grayson comes from a competitive family and her Uncle John lost his left eye in a contentious day of Monopoly down by the river in ’78. Everyone glides around on their bikes looking for products and a place to ply their trade. It’s a beautiful day in San Antonio and Lindsay should be happier. I suggest a soothing cup of iced tea and a Xanax. 

Now, this challenge would irk me. It’s hard to ask something of a stranger, let alone wander in off the street from your Pee-wee bike ride and ask a busy kitchen to make room for you. Paul has found his home away from home in some obscure Belgian-Thai bistro with a chef he enjoys the company of, a place where he can pursue his excellence. Nothing fazes the Qui. Lindsay is being hurdled by many obstacles. Ed has found himself in a bed and breakfast and is re-enacting an episode of Fawlty Towers, the one where John Cleese tries really hard not to offend the Germans. Grayson is in a Mexican restaurant when Lindsay comes in to poach some more ingredients. Upon her return to Mad Hatters she sees that Sarah has encroached on her space. A battle is avoided, but Lindsay is not having a good day. Back on the bike she climbs. Helmet is in correct direction.Lindsay finds a small kitchen called the Hog Stand and gets cheeky with it. Flash to Sarah who is telling folks that she can hang with boys, while making little crackers of love. Ed is making some Red-Eye gravy, but yearns to be lounging in his blazer at the homestead. He is making chicken carpaccio, which is dangerously delicious. Grayson is improving American-Mexican relations with her friendly Wisconsin demeanor. 

The bike ride laden with foods looks fun. Mostly Grayson who is a circus act of smooth, riding one handed with her hot food resting on her bare hand. 

This family-style meal is on the table. Let the judging begin. 

Lindsay Autry - Stuffed Zucchini with Braised Beef Cheeks, Rice and Goat Cheese - The zucchini boats are a little heavy and Pee-wee thinks i'ts pork. Silly Pee-wee. 


Sarah Grueneberg - Summer Vegetable Egg Salad with Chicken Skin Vinaigrette - Needed salt but looks great otherwise. Love the idea of the vinaigrette. 

Edward Lee - Chicken and Grits, Raw Corn, Kale Salad with Red-Eye Gravy - They are freaked by the pink. I understand. They like the rest of the dish.

Paul Qui - Roasted Chicken, Red Curry Gastrique, Summer Salad w/ Basil Blossom Oil - Sweet and acidic. Seems to have gone over well.Grayson Schmitz - Egg, Spinach & Gorgonzola Stuffed Chicken & Butternut Squash - Smart but overly salady. Some bad jokes go around the table which I don’t get. I want to take off my pants, put on my blazer and relax; this episode is exhausting.

The Stew Room shenanigans continue. 

Pee-wee has calmed down and is actually a good food judge. He has solid things to say. My notes on the Judges' Table are short cause you should watch on your own. It was a good honest, smart table. 

Lindsay wins after her stressful day, but I think that Lindsay is harder on herself than she needs to be. She pulled out the win despite all the craziness she encountered.   

Grayson goes home. The Wisconsinite brought it this season. She has a great personality and she can cook with the best of them. She goes out like a total champ too, only being proud of herself and what she’s done. Bullfrog songs will be sung in her memory.  

The chefs are finally told about the alternate universe of Last Chance Kitchen. Crazy world. 

Yo, make sure you follow me on Twitter. I promise to make jokes about myself. @hughacheson

 

Make George's Cravable Breakfast Sausage

George decided the best way to satisfy New England Patriot tight end Rob Gronkowski  was with a hearty breakfast. Make it for yourself at home.

Pork and Veal Sausage Patty With Sunny-Side Up Egg and Potato Hash

 

Ingredients
3 lbs pork butt
1 lbs veal
4 garlic cloves
1 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp coriander
2 Tbsp smoked paprika
1 bunch chives
1 bunch parsley
1 Tbsp fennel seed
Pepper (to taste)

 

Directions
1. Grind prok and veal using medium dye, reserve and keep cold

2. Toast cumin, coriander, and fennel seed in a sauté pan until aroma is released. Grind in spice grinder, reserve

3. Chop parsley and chives fine, reserved

4. Chop garlic super fine, reserve

5. Mix meat with spices, smoked paprika, herbs, garlic, salt, and pepper

6. Test a small batch in fryer. Taste and adjust seasoning

7. Form into patties, place on grill, then finish in oven