This is the Monte Verde menu. I keep yodeling whenever I hear the name. It’s a nervous tick.
1st : Spot Prawns and Coconut
2nd : Rye Crusted Steelhead Trout, Pickled Beets, Fennel and Gras Pista
3rd : Braised Veal Cheek with Veal Sweetbread
4th : Hazelnut Cake with Roasted White Chocolate Ganache
About an hour into the meal I realized my fly was wide open, that’s why I was making that face. No joke actually. I don’t think anyone noticed so I announced it to the entire table. Just how I roll: thorough transparency in all my operations.
The cat has got my tongue as well, but if I used words I would have said that Sarah’s first two courses were great. Instead I chose to nod my way through the meal. The more I say, the less I am eating, so it’s a good sign for the chefs if I stay mute.
The pasta kicked ass, breaking all preconceptions about her food. It was a new thing, with the raw spot prawns and coconut The second course trout was great as well, but the beets were astringently undercooked. Bite into a beet and it's like a tannin bomb when raw. I loved the gras pista. For those of you not so food term savvy, step into my Google. The third course was a bit odd. Rich cheeks were good but a bite fills me up. The breakfast with meat on top. It was an oat polenta. And the sweetbreads were hammered (chef speak for overcooked). Dessert was killa. Overall a very strong showing.
Paul’s opener was good but not as strong as the first diners were all starry-eyed about. The mushi was overcooked and they were out of eggs to make a new batch. There were chives cut longer than the grass at Augusta National, a too-firm texture and something weird about our prawns. It just was not the first course the other half had. Second course turned it all around. Mad skillz showing again. The bass was stellar and the dashi was a little muted but gave a clear and clean presentation on the palate. I adored the congee and thought a very brave dish to do.
Sarah needed to take responsibility for what she said.
She should have said yes I told emeril off.
She is so tough then take your lumps as they come along. Big woman act like one and stop crying.
I look forward to your blog more than the show itself! I do wish that they had more blind tastings to even the playing field a bit. I do think it would make a difference if they had no idea who cooked what. Hope to see your blogs next year. You ROCK!!!!
Hugh, you are freakin' hilarious! I really enjoyed your blog all season. It's like Tom has to be serious Prince William and you get to be what-the-hell Prince Harry. I enjoyed your time on TC this season (and in the past, as well as on Masters), and I hope the cheftestants got to experience your humor. You proved that a blogger can be really funny without being really mean (sorry Tony Bourdain).
Thanks for your description of the last dinner; it was a great blow-by-blow retelling of the whole thing.
Come back next year and blog!
By FAR my favorite Blog to follow! I thoroughly enjoyed your participation Chef Hughes can't wait until next season :)
Nyesha got the wrong end of the stick this season being eliminated for being on the wrong team (by Dakota)..and to see the pathetic excuse of a wanna-be-chef in Beverly almost made me quit my own career as a chef!!..alot of favoritism by the judges for keeping her on so long, kinda like Robin from season 6 Vegas!!..Glad Paul won!!..He was one of the few decent chefs this season next to Ed, Linsay, and Grayson. I want the old Top Chef back where you actually had to cook something mindblowing to win..i.e= Richard Blais, Voltaggio Bros. In all, Season 9 Texas was the worse season ever!..Id rather watch seasons 1 & 2, at least the chefs were producing great food..and the truth will set you free!! nuff said!!!!
Hugh,great blogs. I'm sad if you aren't at the 5 & 10 in Athens anymore:-( Going back to visit this spring and looked forward to dining there.Used to live there and loved the food..
You're so snarky, I love that. So glad Paul won. Like Sarah... but Paul >Sarah
Hell yeah, Nyishe is the bomb. We all know Paul won because TC royally screwed her with the switch.
Your blogs have been fantastic. Let's hope they are smart enough to bring you on for next season. I'm gad Paul won, but I do think Nyesha was robbed.
Hugh, I jumped on your bandwagon back when you were on Top Chef Masters. I always applauded when you took no grief from the twit judge in the bow-tie. When I found out you were to be a judge on TC-9, I was glad knowing that you would bring some light=heartedness to the show. Your blog has been a great read right from the start. Funny, entertaining, no-holds-barred. Hope you return.
Gotta say, like many other viewers, I thought some of the challenges were a bit silly. With absolutely no disrespect to Cammie Granato, I found it somewhat strange that the producers had Bev and Sarah cross country ski and target shoot then had a hockey player as a guest judge. Perhaps, instead, they should have had Bev and Sarah lace up and play defense against Ms. Granato. Take her to the boards, get an ingredient. Oops, hope I didn't give someone an idea.
Bullying aside, did anyone else find it ironic that Bev was originally sent packing because her sauce was "sticky" while Sarah got a pass when her sauce was frozen?
Congrats to Chef Paul!
"Paul was in his comfort zone, and had a master chef helping him. Sarah took risks"
er, cooking Italian restaurant fare (pasta, polenta, veal cheeks, hazelnut) is what she does for a living. how is that taking risks?
this season was awful. too many gimmicks, too much drama. Bravo should rename this program to REAL TOP CHEF HOUSEWIVES. boo.
okay you are so my favorite judge now...your blogs are so funny and they seem honest and tuned in to what we are feeling...I feel like tom is missing the point that this isn't about bev as much as it's about bullies...we're tired of them..this season was long and I wish it would have been more about food and how chefs can get creative . anyway...you are great..I just wonder what happened to the brow being waxed? You are obviously good looking but the eye brow cleaning would put you on the top of a lot of girls dreams... Hope to see you next season...
OMG - I not only chuckled but literally laughed out loud reading this. Hugh - you rock with a combination of humor (should I spell that in Canadian: humour) and insight! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE come back next season!
Better yet, next season they should combine Survivor with Top Chef. After you finish your dish you have 2 minutes to run across the dining room and grab a bag of puzzle pieces!
Hugh, Get thee a brand and start a blog full time. You would have a huge following. Well, I got my wish! Chef Paul! Eyahoooooooooo! Look forward to next season. Meanwhile write a cookbook, I will put it on the shelf next to my signed copy of Julia's. Hug the wife, kiss the babies, and go have some fun at the beach. Try Puget Sound, we offer everything from flying fish to acerbic humor. You would fit right in. P.S. Let Bravo know we all want a Top Chef Seattle. Now that would be dope.
Hugh your blogs have been the best all season. The last page is exactly what I needed to hear, I love TC but not this season. I am glad that people in the mix heard our frustration. I can't wait for the reunion...YOU MUST blog about that. Best to you!
Marco makes the best toast and it's totally platonic? Next, you're gonna dream that Grayson's chicken salad is like sex in the mouth. LOL. Kidding aside, I wished you assessed more of what the sous chefs cooked. Heather's dish close up honestly looks like she put a piece of poop on top. Ick, not surprised Sarah chose her. I'm so glad cringe worthy Tyler made Sarah lose focus by asking her 20 questions on how to prepare this and that.
Great blog - I'll miss it. Wish I could say the same about the show. You may have witnessed great food, but for some reason, Bravo and the producers (cough - tom - cough) decided that bad behavior and ludicrous stunts were what we silly viewers wanted. I take it you'll not be making a repeat performance, and good for you. If it was me, and I was an accomplished chef, I'd be wanting to put some distance between me and whatever the hell TC turned into this season. Sadly, once shows go bad, they rarely swing back the other way. So, no more TC for me, but if you blog anything, I'll read it! I'd also love to experience your cooking, too -
I agree that this blog was the highlight of the season. You have a well-paced, funny writing style, mixed with a great eye for detail (and I'm not just talking about your descriptions of the food). In my opinion, you saved the season. And Paul was awesome, too. :-)
Next season, one competition should involve just melons and balls. Melon balls. Bread balls. Melon bread. Honeydew balls. Watermelon balls. Etc. Something like that. And Real Housewives.
Love your sense of humor. I wish the producers would allow it to come through more on the show itself.
I must say that I'm disappointed you didn't comment on the best line of the finale. Grayson: "we're going to jam out with our clams out!"
Love your sense of humor. I wish it would come through more on the show as well. I must say that I'm disappointed at your lack of attention to the best line uttered during the finale (by Grayson) "we're going to jam out with our clams out!"
Hugh you are definitely first string in my book! Thanks for the great blogs all season...excuse me now while I begin to suffer the symptoms of serious withdrawal!
OK Hugh, you've won me over! Your blog is hallarious! (sp) Hope to see you next season. Hate the haters. Love the winner. Kudo's to Paul.
Hugh you and your blogs were an awesome part of this season. They need to keep you on the show!!! Thank you =)
Many many congratulations to Paul an all around deserved win. So happy for you.
Hugh: Thanks for the blog! I'm wondering about the TC rules: Could Sarah have "fired' Tyler if she wanted? Could she kick him (or anyone) off her team since she really is functioning as the head chef?
Holy cow, you aren't kidding. Tyler Stone is a wack-a-doodle. Dude needs to take a lesson in humility from Paul. Knife skills my ass. I'm a home cook and I can do better than him.
Here's hoping you make second-string next year, Hugh. The show could use a little more of your weirdness and a little less biathlon.
Thanks for the blogging Hugh, you were a fantastic addition to the show -absolutely hilarious. Very proud to have 2 great Canadians represent us so well! Hope my hometown of Vancouver treated you well. Keep up the awesome sense of humour and hope to see you next season!
Hugh! Just love saying (typing) your name. Breathy. Please consider become the correspondent blogger for all the RHs and various and sundry Bravo shows in the absence of any of the Top Chef incarnations. You say what you mean, in such a clever way. It is so very appreciated. Since you are from Canada, and referred here to the rainmakers, may I give you the name, Chef with Seagull? it's not referring to the ingredients but to that distinctive element on your handsome physiognomy. Loved Paul and Ed, both decent guys. Found myself following along with the editing and loathing the bad girls club.
The best blogging in Top Chef History (will miss your humorous blogs Hugh Acheson) and the perfect ending (Paul winning & Sarah crying) to not that amazing season overall makes me impatient for Top Chef Season 10.
P.S: Ease up on the gimmicks producers. You were so dangerously close to loose a large amount of viewers of Top Chef. Hope Season 10 rocks !! And congrats to Paul :)
I have always loved Top Chef and never missed an episode. I never though there could be anything to make the whole experience any better. Hugh, you have proved me wrong. Your presence on this show is a must and you are blogs are a work of art (hilarious). Thanks for making Top Chef even greater
thank you for being the first to acknowledge how over the top some of the gimmicks have been this season. the peewee episode was the worst. stop torturing the chefs with stupid gimmicks. we want to see the real talent shine through.
please convey these sentiments to the producers if you can!!!
Oh, Hugh. Thank you for making me laugh out loud and for not taking yourself too seriously and for recognizing Paul's total and utter awesomeness.
Hugh, If I could vote for you as Fan Favorite, I would. Love love love your blogs! I moved from Atlanta before making it to Empire State South ... the next time I'm in town, I'll have to check it out! Hope you'll be on the reunion show next week. Cheers!
Again, you are "Hugh"ccurate, spot on, with your judging of the dishes. I like the way you stood up to Emeril and I love Emeril, but he was clearly favoring Sarah. I am glad that Paul won the day, he was consistent, humble and admirable. Thanks so much for the blog i couldn't wait to read.
Thank you for always having highly entertaining blogs! I so look forward to reading what you have to say week after week. Hope you're back next season!
Hugh, You give good blog, and I don't mean that in a creepy way. You are the one thing I look forward to reading on Thursday mornings, after my horoscope and Dear Abby....thanks for the good times!
The two best things about Top Chef this season: 1) PAUL's WIN!!! 2) Your Blog.
Thanks from a TC fan who hasn't watched the last 3 episodes and won't.
On to next season! Hope to see you there, Hugh.
The fact that Paul's first choice for sous chef was Barbara Lynch (is that ehr name? Can't recall) -- and Sarah followed with whom? Tyler? Shows right there who is the better chef, don't you think?
Paul was the best chef and best leader, and easiest going personality. Loved Hugh's blog. The gimmicks were out of control, cooking on a gondola and shooting targets for food was plain silly. Pee-Wee's episode was fun, but having the chefs ride Pee-Wee's bicycle around had little to do with cooking good food. Top Chef is great show; I watch Top Chef Masters and Top Chef Desserts and enjoy them all. We really don't need Last Chance Chef episodes airing on the internet, never watched a single one, and when Bev came back and got eliminated shortly thereafter, what was the point? Hopefully Bravo and the producers get that this is about the chefs and cooking great food, ease up on the gimmicks please.
I'd like to see a final judges panel with more women than men and then see what happens. Paul was in his comfort zone, and had a master chef helping him. Sarah took risks, and had a liability in the kitchen. It's the 21st century, but not in this business. 9 seasons plus All-Stars has shown us that. It's not about the food. It's stunt casting and the same-old, same-old. Hard to keep explaining this to my daughters.
As soon as Sarah picked Tyler I knew she was doomed. He finished his 15 minutes of inane fame and took her down. Actually we're moving this weekend from the Rockies to a town near Chicago so may check out Sarah. My husband's a Texan so if we can get away from BBQ we'll check out Paul as well. Thanks, Hugh. Great writing, knowledge, sense of humor/.