“We’ve got the best of the best cooking against each other.”
Sang is back! Gosh, we send Sang packing last week and bring him back to judge this week. There’s never a dull moment in the Top Chef Masters competition. Quite honestly, I think he enjoyed coming over to the "dark side" to judge. Whenever we bring chefs back to judge, they’re usually so empathetic to the other chefs because they know exactly what it’s like to sweat it out in the challenges. They’re usually super sweet and complimentary with one another, but Sang was a bit of a hard-nosed judge. He was quite critical of his fellow contenders’ work. Jennifer’s burger was awesome but I was a bit surprised it was Sang’s favorite simply because of the side of ketchup -- we all know how Sang feels about ketchup.
However, Sang was really the best judge for the burger challenge. He has this incredible restaurant, Father’s Office, in L.A. that serves a bloody great burger. It was an opportune time for him to leave the competition last week, just in time to come back and judge the final Quickfire Challenge.
I thought it was great that the chefs served up a variety of burgers with both traditional beef and fish fillings. I don’t eat a lot of burgers, but when I do, I indulge all the way. I love a good beef burger so I probably would have created a beef burger with "the lot" for this challenge. As an Aussie, I’m pretty proud of our burgers, even though we are not well-known for them internationally. I love burgers that have a bit of bacon, a fried egg, and a slice of beetroot on top, along with all your other standard fillings like tomato, lettuce, and cheese. In Oz, I think the burgers that come out of fish and chips shops are top-notch.
How special was the Elimination Challenge? I think as a new dad, you consider even further the impact that teachers have on the next generation. It was really good fun to meet some of these amazing teachers. It definitely got me reflecting on the teachers that I had as a kid and how they helped shape my thoughts and worldview. They have such a big influence on your childhood and help influence what you end up doing for a career. Teaching is often a trade that doesn’t get a whole lot of credit so it was really rad that we were able to shine a spotlight on them for the night, and give our thanks.
Moving on to the dishes that were served to these amazing teachers by the chefs. I described Doug’s salmon dish as "rich on rich on rich." I think Doug is a really interesting cook; he creates dishes that are so versatile. Heck, he did an eggplant jelly a couple of weeks ago, it was super creative and out of the box yet other times I feel he relies on ingredients to do the trick for him. I think this was the case with this dish. I actually really enjoyed it, but he’s made better dishes throughout the competition, which have highlighted his skills a little bit more.