Hugh Acheson

Hugh Acheson tries to wrap his mind around Chris Jones' mantra.

on Jan 25, 20120

Off we go to prep time. They are at the old Pearl Brewery where the esteemed Culinary Institute of America has a campus. Lindsay is busting balls. Ed is rolling buns. Chris has opened up a franchise of Pret a Manger with sandwiches made in advance, a British accent, and amazing turnaround times. He then gets all ornery when packing up his food, throws some very fine looking white chairs, and has a premonition about bees. Float like a butterfly, Chef, and don’t get stung by a bee.

On-site. The bees bring back memories for me of a catering we did recently in Thomasville, GA. Stunning spot with amazing flower gardens. One request is to set up elaborate cheese displays flanking the flower gardens for guests to arrive at directly following the ceremony. They looked awesome. Ceremony starts and my walkie starts buzzing with a request that I come to the cheese displays. I ask why… “Because there are some bees on the cheese.” OK. Fine. I can deal with some bees. I go over and take a look. There are about 5000 bees on each display. This is the real picture that I took. 

They were everywhere. One of the guests was oddly enough a beekeeper and schooled us. They were Italian honey bees and they would go away at nightfall. They did. 

Chris Jones does not have the luxury of waiting for nightfall. He is also allergic which make this whole situation a little trickier. I got stung about seven times with my bee situation until I realized I needed to be at peace with the bees and not freak them out. Chris Jones, channel your inner wise man and recite the mantra,”Fast is Slow and Slow is Smooth.” This will lull the bees into confused submission. 

65 comments
basta
basta

lindsey and sarah may be able to cook, but they act like a couple of spoiled little 12 yr olds, and that being said, made me want to see bev kick their a$$es. Go Paul!

Kfiac
Kfiac

I like the Harry Potter reference.

Shoelynn
Shoelynn

Marauder's Map - you're more than a food geek, you're a book geek as well! Nice! (At least, I'm hoping you read the books as well - right?)

Viewer217
Viewer217

I am always grateful to read Hugh's thoughts after a show, though I find his "stream of consciousness" way of writing a bit dizzying. He's like a politician in his last term - he doesn't care if he's asked back, he's just going to speak his mind.

mrguy
mrguy

great blog!! love your work. don't like the bees though!! ewwww. givin me the heebeegeebees!

kcviewer
kcviewer

To add to Grayson's position that chicken salad needn't be boring, it should be remembered that the cheftestants came up with their choice before being informed they needed to make it "healthy". Who knows what luscious, decadent richness she may have had in mind before the constraints were added.

sloopie72
sloopie72

I haven't told you in a few weeks how awesome your posts are (I know how annoying it can be to have to constantly field compliments, uh-huh) so - love your posts! Does Padma get mad at you when you snark at her clothes? Though they have been unusually snarkworthy this season. I'm with you on the use of the word "shucking" for what they wanted. I thought the contestants were instructed more thoroughly off-camera about the exact parameters of the challenge, though - so they would've known that meant cutting the kernels too. Then again, you've done QFs and I haven't. Doesn't stop me from talking like I have. Your cheese bees freak me out just looking at the pic. I'm a little phobic, don't have any allergies to blame. Love you. Please blog when the season is over. On anything. Just keep telling truth to power wherever you find it.

baconbits
baconbits

Nice read there (still yet to finish).

I wanted to respond to in regards to the fast is slow, slow is smooth saying that C. Jones made. I was confused at first but what I think he means is that by going to fast when doing something, you tend to overlook certain details and put together a rushed and incomplete effort. Hence, if the end result is lacking, it can be said the effort is similar to someone who is working too slow, producing little when it's all said and done. On the other hand, the person who is slow, or in this case the person who works at a steady, composed rate, typical produces a more thorough result. I think that's what he means anyway. Anyhow, you have a good one. Thanks for your input.

OMGTexas
OMGTexas

Miss Bourdain's blog, but yours is great fun. Please keep the Padma fashion commentary coming. Lived on a multi-cultural street with frequent unplanned parties. The Egyptian, Philippine, Indian and Cajun food was fabulous. One white bread woman kept bringing jars of pickles. It was all about what you had on hand and cleverness in the kitchen or on the grill. The chefs didn't do as well as my old hood in Houston. Here's a twist on the challenge we often faced: block party due to no power. Everything in the freezer is thawing and must be eaten. It's a true make it work challenge.

123lisa12
123lisa12

Hugh you rock, stay with the show. I'm with everyone else, cooking for the masses does not compliment the chefs talents. And as for Lindsey and Sarah I hope they read these blogs, they are both angry, mean spirited women. They are an embarrassment to watch, what ever their talents may be.

123lisa12
123lisa12

your awesome Hugh, its great having you on the show. I'm with everyone else in saying that having a menu for the masses is to much, you lose so much of what the individual chef can come up with. And I will vomit if either Lindsey or Sarah go to the top. Its sad to see such mean and spitful people in this competition...just cook and shut up!

Joy Beach
Joy Beach

Great review again! I actually laugh out loud at your witticisms. Can't wait until your next review.

Jill from SR
Jill from SR

Ralpho, Lyndsey most emphatically was NOT correct to be upset with Beverly. Beverly followed her instructions to the letter, the problems was not with the execution but with the recipe--even Grayson said so and Padma did as well in an interview. Lynsey made a stupid decision to play the role of head of the house while giving Beverly a really difficult and complex dish. If you have ever grilled Halibut, you know that you have to man that station every minute. How was Beverly supposed to do that at the same time she was making the other main course? Lyndsey is as incapable as Sarah is at admitting her culpability. That was her mistake, not Beverly's.

Pebbles Fan - does that make me BamBam?
Pebbles Fan - does that make me BamBam?

Hugh, I love your writing and you are consistently hilarious. Keep it up. I do have a serious question for you, though. Why isn't the Last Chance Kitchen judged blind--without Tom knowing who cooked what? Seems like it would be a lot more fair. I can't help but think that the winner of Last Chance will be whoever the show thinks is the most controversial and who will bring in the most viewers. (Hint: B-v-rly.)

hmbfog
hmbfog

"Fast is Slow, Slow is Smooth" is a butchering (pun intended) of the phrase "Slow is Smooth, Smooth is Fast." I know it from the movie Shooter w/Mark Wahlberg, in which he plays a military sniper. I think what it means is that you have to take enough time to do it right, and by doing so, you will actually be faster and more accurate than if you rush and screw things up.

Sorry to ruin the wise-man-on-the-mountain image. The source is actually some badass drill sergent shouting in your ear and threatening to PT you until you die. (yes, that was a Full Metal Jacket reference.)

DetroitViewer
DetroitViewer

LMFAO!! Pebbles, indeed. I hope Bev comes back and wipes the floor with those bitches. Just sayin'.

MomaCat
MomaCat

Fantastic blog as always, best thing about this whole season! I intended to say more, but Tiff & Jill took the words right out of my mouth!

Lynda F
Lynda F

Love your wry commentary, Mr. Acheson. I'm rooting for Edward Lee this season and I hope it all comes down to Edward and Paul in the final. They are the best chefs there. I love the snarky comments from Ed - he says what I am thinking. I totally agree with everyone regarding the nastiness from Sara, Heather and Lindsay. Those women are pathetic and Sara & Lindsay need to go home next. They really bring down the quality of this show. Looking forward to your next blog and hope to see you back at judge's table soon. Go Edward Lee!

Elizabeth in New Orleans
Elizabeth in New Orleans

Love you and your insight. I hope we get to see you more as a judge. BTW, you were awesome on WWHL !!!!

bboysmom21
bboysmom21

Love the observation about Padma's outfit.

kaedwards
kaedwards

Here is a hilarious comment from BEST WEEK EVER's Dan Hopper:

Grayson and Tom verbally spar over whether or not a Chicken Salad Sandwich was a refined enough choice for a Healthy Choice Block Party, and I was on Grayson’s side; is it really that much less ‘refined’ than a meatball, or any other of the standard week-to-week choices on this show? Also, what are the gourmet standards for a bee-filled charity benefit run by a frozen food company?

Allan Cruz
Allan Cruz

This season's Top Chef is one 200-people or more catering party after another. And yet you guys critique them for making chicken salad sandwich and meatballs? Seriously, they have no help, limited budget and time. I'd like to see Tom or Emeril take on that same challenge under the same circumstances. I lost count how many times these chefs did bbq meat/grill steak. This season is the worst ever. The episode with Charlize Theron was the only saving grace.

annejsf
annejsf

You are so hilarious :)- the best part of watching is reading your follow-up!

pkrobertson1
pkrobertson1

This was one of the best blogs I have ever read! A reference to using a Marauder's map and Beverly hiding, honey bees on cheese and the Grayson/Tom stand off were funny!

pkrobertson1
pkrobertson1

This was one of the best blogs I have ever read! A reference to using a Marauder's map and Beverly hiding, honey bees on cheese and the Grayson/Tom stand off were funny!

Annie o
Annie o

You are the best blogger for Top Chef ever! Bourdain was very good but you are much funnier with your sarcasm and observations. I love to read your blog before I watch the show (past my bedtime) --it makes the show that more enjoyable. Thanks for writing!

MamaDre
MamaDre

Chef Hugh....I find myself thinking, as I am watching the show, I can't wait to see what Hugh has to say about this or that. Your comments are always hilarious and spot-on. Thanks! :-)

jenniferedit
jenniferedit

I am STILL laughing at the thought of Tom's face after Grayson's meatball comment...that was great.

As are all your blogs. Keep writing away, Hugh! You obviously have a lot of fans -- well deserved, well deserved.

Ohio Viewer
Ohio Viewer

When the season started I was totally missing Bourdain. But I am now a Hugh fan forever. Love the snarky and always on-point comments. I will be glad to see Sarah and Lindsay leave (hope Bev beats them both). Team Paul for the win!!!

Crystal V.
Crystal V.

Has anyone else ever noticed that Sarah ALWAYS cooks round, circular food? Meatballs, Risotto, she even did a round dessert on Restaurant wars. I think it's pretty hilarious.

Ralpho
Ralpho

Bev will never be able to win integrity or credibility, or learn how to be sincerely supportive, no matter how well she cooks or tasty her dishes. Lindsay was correct to be upset. And suspicious. WAIT until the finalists discover that Bev has not been eliminated. What a BETRAYAL that will be!!! Bev will win because the other finalist cheftestants will be so shocked that they will forget how to use tongs and ladels! That FAT will hit the FIRE! Tom Colicchio and Monica A. Reyhani are BRILLIANT for creating Last Chance Kitchen! Well done!

Shiverr Posturre
Shiverr Posturre

"Fast is slow and slow is smooth." - Chris Jones

IOW, To hurry is to risk time-wasting mistakes. Be deliberate in your actions so that you may retain cognizance of each and every detail, while you continuously re-calibrate your critical path game plan timeline, and thereby achieve the superior result.

And go, go, go, Little Gnome!

ViewerNY
ViewerNY

Always a good laugh reading your blog Chef Hugh.

I just want to see the "uptight sanctimonious mean sprited prom queen" or her "lap dog" get voted off next and watch one of them get SCHOOLED by Bev in LCK.

Christyl
Christyl

Loved this show only because it showcased Paul and Ed's friendship. They were funny!! I am proud of Grayson for standing up for herself. IMO, there are no hard feelings between Grayson and Tom. They understand eachother--she's funny and he understands her (but she did have a point). Sad to see Chris go because I was hoping one of the mean girls (Sarah or Lindsay) to go first.

Carrie70
Carrie70

Padma and Larry the Cable Guy....classic! You rock Hugh!

KrisHarris
KrisHarris

LOL Pebbles! Cracked me up! I'm still laughing while writing this.

GuyG
GuyG

THis for Hugh whom i admire and i sincerely reads this. Fast is Slow is Smooth is a term used in gunfighting to take it slow at first , to develop a technique , to smoothly use the technique to move faster with out errors as shown when paul had to re check his corn however Chris did not . Like slowly at first chopping for precision learn where to place your fingers on the knife and the object i.e. an onion then repeat slowly then faster and then faster to make precise chops but with ever increasing speed . So Slow is Smooth is Fast tohugh he decline the other i don't think he had the time at that junction to explain the other end of it. To Hugh please stay with Top Chef i like your insight and views from Top Chef Master to being a judge it a fresh breath of air i hope one day i may be lucky enough to sample your food.

Jill from SR
Jill from SR

As always, a beautifully written blog Hugh, seamless as your eyebrows. I realize this is not a popularity contest, but if that uptight, sanctimonious, mean spirited former prom queen, or her adoring lap dog for that matter, win this thing, I shall be forced to something drastic....like go scream in my pillow or something. I'm just sayin...

ACBT
ACBT

What's up with the clique of Sarah and Lindsey?

Lindsey is just mean. Just plain mean. And what is with her fake (Australian)?) accent? I am a Southern gal, through and through, and I am not picking up what she is putting down. She don't talk like she is from around these woods.

And then there is Sarah. Meatball and sausage Sarah. How has she made it so far without showing a more diverse palette? Fried rice balls, meatballs, sausage this, sausage that. Show some more dimension!

They were just plain cruel to Beverly, who, despite being eliminated, seemed to be able to whoop up on them in the kitchen and produce a superior plate of food.

Poor goofball Grayson seems to be very talented. Hopefully her Bullfrog song will not haunt her for life. What WAS that?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

Paul is who I am pulling for. Or Edward. They seem to be the most talented chefs there. And Grayson.

Jenniferz
Jenniferz

Sad to see Chris go. Paul is really the one to beat. i'm tired of seeing Sarah's face. It annoys me. I don't think Beverly will make LCK back into the final. She's simply not Top Chef material.

Viewer918
Viewer918

You and your blogs are the only good thing about this season of TC.

lkbrose
lkbrose

Paul lead the team BBQ challenge with Lindsay and Grayson. So he doesn't just when money for himself. I think they got $15,000 dollars as a team. Also it had "Asian Flavors" and no one on the team complained -- they let Paul lead...

christina in tucson
christina in tucson

"That’s how I roll. I am a walking pain in the ass, albeit a nice one. People say I smirk a lot. I do. "

I think we are siblings Hugh.

christina in tucson
christina in tucson

A meatball is a wondrous thing. I love them. However, if the meat is pre-ground they are eaaaaasy to make. Easy to make, and in fact I like my homemade meatballs more than the ones I've eaten anywhere. I am not impressed by something I can do.

(Speaking of anyone notice that - once again - Sarah makes a fried ball! News at eleven).

To make a good chicken salad from scratch takes a bit more work and harder to pull off in a banquet setting (c'mon we've all eaten the meatballs at a banquet there is NOTHING trendy about that no matter what BLAIS says on his twitter account).

All that being said, its a block party for goodness sakes I'd rather have a good chicken sandwich full of yummy stuff and a watermelon salad than a meatball and a some greens for a meal.

synapse
synapse

Padma wearing her Larry the Cable Guy boyfriend shirt. Snort!

new fan of Hugh
new fan of Hugh

What a howl!! I didn't like him on TC Masters and didn't pay much attention to him from the beginning of TC Texas. But now I understand his dead pan humor and thought this blog was so funny. Keep it up Hugh.

Subhadeep
Subhadeep

This season is already pre recorded.

BUT for crying out aloud can we please have no more cooking for masses from next season, especially after 10 contestants remain? Restaurant wars is great BUT beyond it lose these cooking for masses.

You are asking me to get inspired to go eat these special chefs' dishes dishing out my hard earned money for someone who cooked a great dish for the picnic, block party, etc. If that is kind of the food I want I would look up the restaurants covered in Diners Drive Ins and Drives not the restaurants owned by chefs from Top Chef!