Cast Blog: #TOPCHEF

No One Makes Marmalade

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"

Make Mei's Sushi Style Guac!

Gail: I Wasn't Surprised Doug Stayed on Top

Get Doug's Masterpiece Brisket Recipe

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

No One Makes Marmalade

Hugh Acheson echoes Beverly Kim's comments about karma.

 

The chefs have eaten through the sweet potato fence of the last episode and here we are still in Dallas. 

Beverly is bringing in the karma police to do battle with her arch nemesis Heather. A life-sized voodoo doll is in the works. While furiously making egg rolls in the future “Asian” battle, Heather will suddenly get stabbing pains in her side. Beverly will laugh in a maniacal way. 

Onward to Austin. Paul will be at home but is “sweatin’ balls” right now. These are his words, not mine. We learn, and this is unexpected to me, that Paul was a pot dealer with a messy apartment full of dog turds. Now he is the chef of Uchiko, one of the leading Japanese restaurants in the nation. Youth of today, take note: there is life beyond the dog-pooped apartment you live in. 

Toyota Sienna wagon train time. Hopefully they don’t go via the Donner Pass… these chefs would eat each other faster than any other expedition in history. Heather is looking for a man, a tall man with wavy hair, and would gladly make etouffee with John Besh, as long as he left the Asian fusion out of it. This in lieu of $5000. I love Besh, but I’d take the greenbacks. Matchmaking is the chatter in both vans. Malibu is exposed. It’s been a while since Crary has been to the YMCA to sport his spandex chef jacket. 

I think they have no idea what’s about to occur. Hell, I have no idea what to expect. Tom and Padma are the Quickfire tweet judges. I still have no idea what to expect here. Bacon it is. I would love this. I am thinking Edward is going to excel in this. But no, they aren’t happy just with the simplicity of the bacon, here come the tweet twists: 1. Now its got to have hash. Paul is good for this one from his weed-dealing days. 2. Everyone has to hand off an ingredient to another chef to use. Sriracha for Slingblade. Maple for Malibu. Crary ain’t got no manners. And refuses to open the hot condiment for Lindsay. I love writing Crary and hot and condiment together. 

• Beverly is up first with her belly and hash.

• Moto Chris makes a salty dish with scallops. I am having déjà vu. 

• Heather makes General Tso’s quail. Just kidding. I wish someone had given her soy though. Her dish looks pretty yummy though, for white people food. 

• Ed makes crab with sriracha and potato and cocoa nib and something hash. He will not be pitted in this Asian food thing! 

• Sarah cooks a crisp squash blossom with burrata. Looks great.

• Malibu Chris makes a beauty monkfish dish. His plate looks great but his hair looks fantastic.

• Grayson, German/ Wisconsinite, has made a light and fluffy puff. 

• TyLor has made glazed belly with bacon and kale hash. 

• Paul made clams. With bacon. Landscape of sea and earth. Boy is killing it. 

Bottom tier is Grayson, Moto Chris, and Ed. 

Top tier is Beverly, Sarah, and Paul. 

Winner is Paul. Killing it. He wins in Austin! $30,000 in his wallet. Drinks on Tom at the hotel bar. And in walks in Patti LaBelle.The soul goddess belts out some tunes. Gitchi Gitchi Gitchi . Yeah yeah yeah. Spoiler alert, no one makes marmalade for Lady Marmalade. 

Sarah is crying a lot this episode. Get it together girl. You can do this! 

Whole Foods. Food stories. Moto Chris is going to cook his steaks, but the steaks will look like his grandmother. Modern. 

Beverly has been away from home too long. She tapes a cosmic note of hope to the mirror. It reads “KILL KILL KILL.” Edward looks exactly like his grandmother and doesn’t cook vegetarians. I only cook vegans. They taste good. Like earthy grass. I do think he’s on to something here though, in the fact that the dishes are usually very meat-centric and a veggie dish could easily stand out. We’ll see if it's good. I see an homage to Korea coming soon to a plate near Edward. 

Paul is cooking a Filipino adobo influenced by the Texas Hill Country. I think of Whataburger in another language. Heather is cooking Beef Stroganoff and having some issues with tenderness. She has a lot of issues with emotional tenderness as is fully evidenced in previous episodes. Karma police are in full effect.

Judges like Chris’ idea, but worry about the sauce. I think great food sometimes, but the reality can be a bitch. He is looking a little less styled and manscaped, and the stress may be getting to him. Heather is getting some bad reviews on her Bigfoot meat. You have to really braise Sasquatch for a long time to be tender. She should call in a member of BFRO, Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization. It exists, I s--t you not. Paul’s quail with ginger rice and salsa is pleasing all soul singers. Emeril is coming over to Patti’s house. “With bells on.” My grandmother, Freda, rest in peace, used to use that line all the time. Sarah is cooking sausage again, but this time it's singin’. Looks great. 

Beverly has cooked short rib with edamame and mushrooms. Her short rib is treasured. Top 10 on the R&B charts. Crary has a salmon with a carrot puree and confit potato. The dish is a little convoluted and brings the ire of Tom. 

Edward is cooking Bibimbap. Crazy veggie move!I like it. Lindsay is cooking for two grandmothers, Greek and Southern. It’s a trout spanakopita with trout roe. Emeril and Patti have eaten caviar together before, but Emeril thinks the dish is too butter-rich and blasts out the other flavors. Ed’s egg dish is loved. Nice play, Mr. Lee.

Grayson has meat 'n' potatoes. Ribeye with veggies and potato salad. Wisconsin style may be a little big for even Texas. Ty-Lor has chicken fingers with peaches. They love it. They all want crayons and a word find game though. 

Good golly, Padma is looking hot. Crary is speechless. Low tier is called first: Heather, Crary, and Grayson. I have a certain Radiohead song in my head. Tom takes a swing at Heather with Beverly’s successful pressure cookery. Tops: Ed, Beverly, and Sarah. Ed is so genuine and fun. Beverly is relieved. Sarah needs to drink some water as she has cried a lot in the last few days. All of them rocked this episode. Sarah wins. Well=deserved. She is a smart cook, who shines through with a perfect happy personality to run a happy kitchen. You want a great chef? She’s right there. 

Heather goes home to work on her tenderness. Karma Police. This is what you get when you mess with Bigfoot. 

 

Richard: "Winning Is Overrated"

Richard Blais congratulates Doug Adams on his admirable run and knows (from experience) this is just the beginning for this talented chef.

Doug Adams is not Top Chef.

Doug Adams is, however, the poster chef for what this competition is all about. A jumping off point for unrecognized or yet truly discovered talent.

Mr. Adams, yes I'm saying Mister because it pays respect to the man, and also because that's how The New York Times goes about things, came on to this season touting his resume of being a working class sous chef from Portland.

Doug Adams is not Top Chef. Doug Adams is, however, the poster chef for what this competition is all about.

Richard Blais

Sous chefs are on the line everyday (sous chefs from Portland I imagine are also butchering whole animals and foraging for botanicals, buts that's for a different blog). They are hands-on, blue collar grinders and early on Doug uses this statement to separate himself from the contestants who maybe are clipboard surfing, or worse, not even really in a restaurant at this stage of their careers. And although this is a part of his strategy or drive, and a very honest personal understanding and awareness of self, I have news for you...

Doug Adams is no longer a sous chef.

Sure, he may actually, technically still carry the title tonight, I'm not certain to be honest, but by his performance this season on Top Chef, he is now ready for the next stage in his career, and this is what can happen and should happen after Top Chef.

I can't imagine someone not taking a chance with giving Doug the opportunity to run a small restaurant. I can't imagine that someone out there tonight, hearing about Doug's goal of operating a Montana restaurant, connected in some way to hunting and fishing won't contact him. I can't imagine it; because it happened to me... My restaurant Juniper & Ivy in San Diego is a direct connection from my performance on Top Chef, and my gut tells me it had very little to do with "winning."

The fact is, winning is overrated.

Winning is fun. It may get you some cash or secure your ego, yes, but really, six months after this thing runs out on television, we are all just "that guy or girl from Top Chef.

Throughout this season, Doug has demonstrated everything one looks for in a great business partner. He cooks delicious, relatable, soulful food. He does it with a smile on his face. He cooks with a sense of authorship and knowledge of place and time. And perhaps most importantly (no, not his epic beard), most importantly, he communicates with his colleagues professionally and with integrity. I'd guess every cheftestant likes him. I know every judge likes him. He takes risks, like roasting a whole lobe of Foie gras, or say, blending up an aioli of ant eggs. Which, by the way, are you kidding me? Maybe he takes these chances because it's part of the game, but I think more so because Doug is a curious cook, which is a sure tell sign of a chef ready to do their own thing.

Doug, it may seem like I never had anything positive to say about your food, and maybe indeed that's how it played out on television, but it's not the case, Chef.

Congrats on an amazing run, one for all future contestants to take note of. And when rooms become available at your resort in Montana, I'm booking...

Blais
@RichardBlais (Instagram & Twitter)

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