Monday, November 30, 2009

Top Chef Las Vegas Finale Part One Previews

Sunday, November 29, 2009

TC News & Information 11.29.09

Here's a great interview with Bryan Voltaggio in which he talks about his restaurant and the DC food scene.

The Daily Blender has an interview with Stephanie Izard.

Kevin Gillespie finds it odd to be a celebrity. And, he likes pigs, dontcha know?

The Miami Herald has a nice piece on Ron Duprat.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Padma on Jimmy Fallon

A very pregnant Padma talks about her pregnancy and the Final Four in this clip.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Poll Results - Top Chef Masters

Last month, we gave you a list of former Top Chef judges and asked who you wanted to see competing on Top Chef Masters. Eric Ripert got a whopping 88% of the vote, followed by Ming Tsai (45%) and Michelle Bernstein (41%). Who else would you like to see compete?

Quiz - Guess the Tats

This season's crop of cheftestants has been tatted up the wazoo (well, actually, we don't have any photographic evidence of that, but I wouldn't be surprised). Here are ten tattoos belonging to chefs on Top Chef: Las Vegas. Can you guess which belongs to whom? (Click image to enlarge.)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Top Chef Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday for most Americans. It's a time to get together with family and enjoy great company and lots and lots of food. We posed two questions to Top Cheftestants from all 6 seasons: What is your favorite Thanksgiving dish? and What is your favorite Thanksgiving memory? Here are the answers we got back....

What is your favorite Thanksgiving Dish?

Michael Voltaggio: When I'm cooking, I break turkeys down whole and cook them sous vide, and you can quote me on this, I serve turkey that's not dry.
Fave Thanksgiving dish to eat: I love stuffing - any kind of stuffing. I don't eat it thorughout the year, only on Thanksgiving.

Bryan Voltaggio: I love pumpkin pie or pumpkin custard. I wait until Thanksgiving. I never eat it any other time of the year.

Season 1's Stephen Asprinio: Caramelized Pumpkin with Guanciale, Pecans, Sage-Brown Butter & Pecorino Romano

Season 4 champ Stephanie Izard: my favorite thanksgiving dish is green bean casserole! can not live without it! and i love to have a tasty suckling pig instead of turkey :)

Season 5 finalist Stefan Richter: Gravy, dark meat and stuffing

Season 4's Nikki Cascone: My favorite dish is the simplist thing my mom made year after year my entire life.. Candied Yams. I alwasy get one whole tray she makes just for me and I feed on it for a week!! I am a pretty healthy eater so I love Thanksgiving becasue it is glutonous and glorious for food memories. My mom made those candoed yams smothered in brown sugar, butter and LOTS of mini MARSHMALLOWS. With all of my cooking experience I have learned to lighten up the dish a little when I prepare it but for the most part I dont change a thing!! and I have one other very crazy thing I love about Thanksgiving besides the time spent with family..jellied cranberry sauce right from the can! I love, love, love it but I only eat it on thanksgiving and very often right along side the FRESH cranberry sauce that I make!

What is your favorite Thanksgiving memory?

Michael: When I first started working in the kitchen when I was 15, I was helping make the big Thanksgiving buffet and they made me dress up like a pilgrm. I don't know if it's my favorite, but it's one that stands out...maybe it's more of a traumatizing experience.

Bryan: The last time in 2001 or 2002, it was the last time Michael, Staci (their sister) and I were with our mother for Thanksgiving. We're normally never in the same state, or kitchen.

Stephen: Cooking with my grandmother for the first time on Thanksgiving Day

Stephanie Izard: my best memory was at my aunt nancy's house. my sister decided to make a baked brie which she poured liquor over before placing in the oven to bake...bad idea. when she opened up the oven to take a peak, a huge flame burst out and singed quite a bit of her curly hair. priceless moment. i could not stop laughing, the nice sister that i am.

Stefan Richter: I got laid for the first time on Thanksgiving.

Nikki Cascone: I have a very large family so the best memories I have are the ones where the most of us make it under one roof!

Bonus Wine Tip from Stephen: When selecting a wine for Thanksgiving, go American with the wine we can call our own, California Zinfandel. If your looking for a killer Zin at a reasonable price point, check out Ravenswood, Seghesio or Renwood.

A Top Chef Thanksgiving: Recipe du Jour

Here's the final dessert recipe - we hope you've found a bit of Top Chef-style inspiration for your Thanksgiving meal.

Top Chef Season 5 finalist Carla Hall's Rustic Apple Pie Tart with Apple Cider Reduction (dessert)


2 cups all purpose flour
2 sticks (8oz) chilled butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar

4 Granny Smith apples, peeled and dices
4 Fiji apples, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons butter
Pinch salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 lemon
2 tablespoons crystallized ginger, chopped
2 tablespoons corn starch
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup water

1 quart apple cider
4 bags ginger peach tea (herbal)
2 inches ginger root, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons brown sugar


Combine water, salt, and sugar in measuring cup. Stir and put cup in fridge for at least 15 min. (to chill water and to dissolve sugar and salt). Chill mixing bowl and paddle if possible.

Combine flour and butter pieces in mixing bowl. On medium speed, cut butter into flour till butter pieces are the size of chickpeas. With the mixer running, pour the water into the butter mixture. Mix till the dough comes together.

Separate dough into 4 discs. Wrap each with film and chill.

In large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Sauté apples for 1 minute. Add in salt, sugars, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Stir in lemon juice and crystallized ginger. Continue to cook on medium heat.

In a small bowl, combine water, cornstarch, and vanilla. Quickly stir mixture into apples. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Adjust seasoning if desired. Let cool.

Roll each pastry disc out to a 6 inch round. Put 1/4 apple mixture in the center and fold 2 inches of dough, making pleats, around the filling leaving the center open. Brush each tart with an egg wash, 1 egg and 2 T water. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, equal parts granulated sugar and brown sugar or cinnamon. Bake at 375 degrees or till the crust is golden brown and the apples are bubbly. Serve warm with apple cider reduction.

Combine all ingredients. Reduce to 3/4 -1 cup. Chill and serve with apple pie and a wedge of cheddar or bleu cheese.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

TC News & Information 11.24.2009

Stefan Richter offers up some...interesting...Thanksgiving tips to Marie Claire magazine.

Time Magazine looks into the Schwan's frozen Top Chef dinners....

I'm Not Here to Make Friends has a podcast with Eli Kirschstein.

Art Smith is getting his own show on TLC. Read about it here.

According to this article, Bryan Voltaggio is on a wine label. If anyone can get a hold of a bottle of International Sommelier Conspiracy vino, I'm sure we'd all be interested to see.... ETA: ATC reader Lauren T points out that an image has been procured. Click here to see.

Carving the Turkey

Bryan Voltaggio shows us how to carve a turkey in this 2006 Washington Post video.

A Top Chef Thanksgiving: Recipe du Jour

Top Chef Season 1 cheftestant Andrea Beaman's Quinoa Pilaf and Curried Sweet Potato Mash (side)


2 large sweet potatoes
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for the pan
1 teaspoon mild curry powder
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste

1 1/3 cups quinoa
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 medium leek, cleaned and diced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 vegetarian sausage links, diced
4 shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons minced fresh sage, plus sage leaves for garnish
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup dried cranberries


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into 1-inch cubes. Put the sweet potato cubes in a large bowl and coat with the oil. Add the curry powder and salt to taste. Place in a greased baking pan, cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 50 minutes, or until softened. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until lightly browned on top.

Remove the sweet potatoes from the oven and transfer to a food processor. Add the butter and lemon juice and process until smooth.

While the sweet potatoes are roasting, rinse the quinoa until the water runs clear. Put the quinoa in a medium pot over medium heat and add 2 cups of boiling water. Add salt to taste, then reduce the heat, cover the pot, and cook for about 18 minutes, or until the water has been absorbed and the spiral germ separates from the grain. Set aside for 5 minutes, and then fluff the quinoa with a fork. Transfer to a large bowl.

In a medium sauté pan or skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, leek, and garlic and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until softened. Add the sausage, mushrooms, sage, and salt and pepper to taste and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the sausage is cooked through and the mushrooms have softened. Add the cooked vegetables and dried cranberries to the quinoa and stir to combine.

Spoon the quinoa onto serving plates, along with the mashed sweet potatoes, and garnish with the sage leaves. Serve immediately.

©Andrea Beaman

Monday, November 23, 2009

Recap Roundup: Top Chef Las Vegas Episode 12

This week on Top Chef: lots of bloggers offer up thanks to Google for help spelling things like "ballotine" and "Bocuse d'Or." Plus, Thomas Keller, another win for Kevin, and a bit of a comeback for Jen. But about those bloggers, what did they think...

Cliffieland on the competition: "I believe it’s called the Beaucoup D’Gorp (translation: Lots of Gorp). We see footage of this event and it seems much like the Olympics™®©, only with taller hats and wider waistbands. (Side note: Also like the sporting events, the Brazilians seem to routinely wave their flag upside down. Check the tape if you think I made that up.)"

Jordan Baker on the final four: "I like the Voltaggio brothers, both in a “they’re talented chefs” way and an “I want to lick them “ way. I heart Kevin because he lives in a tree trunk and makes awesome food which frequently involves bacon. And I adore Jen, because she’s ballsy and talented and she works for my secret baby daddy Eric Ripert."

Minx Eats with backstory: "What he doesn't mention is the Tale of the Dishwasher. One of the side dishes for Wee Gavin's platter involved chicken wings. His hungry (and possibly stupid) dishwasher saw the wings, thought they were reject parts, and ate them. The result: Wee Gavin came in 14th. So the next time you scoff at the dish of butter-and-hot-sauce-soaked yumminess that is Buffalo wings, remember just how crucial they can be in a competitive situation."

Reality TV Magazine on Michael V.'s Kevin slam: "Finally the claws came out when Michael V said that 'Kevin is good but he cooks the kind of food that I cook on my day off.'"

Slashfood on the questions yet unanswered: "With the albatross that was Robin finally gone, and five not-quite-equal cheftestants left, the mysteries left in the season are few. Will Jen get her mojo back? Will the brothers Voltaggio go at each other's throats, like we've been hoping they would all season? Will snarky Toby Young disappear for good, already?"

Reality Check (Baltimore Sun) on the fashion: "The show barely starts before we're faced with two major fashion moments -- Did you see Bryan's sparkly silver rock-star belt? How about Kevin wearing a rosary under his T-shirt?"

Herald-Mail (Frederick, MD) on the Elimination Challenge details: "For the elimination round, the chefs had to compete in a mini-version of the traditional Bocuse d’Or. They had to choose one protein — either lamb or salmon — and two garnishes. They were judged on taste, creativity and execution. And they had to serve their dishes among 12 of the most respected chefs in the world, including the founder of the Bocuse d’Or, Paul Bocuse. "

PB Pulse with mixed feelings: "I have wanted Eli and his whiny, blame-placing self gone for most of the season, and now that’s he’s gone, I gotta say it was a little hard. Everyone was so sad, because they all respect each other and like each other. He was a pretty good chef. Then again, he was still a whiny, blame-placing punk who calls Inigo Montoya 'Indigo Montota.' Stop using 'Princess Bride' references wrong, Sonny."

Diana Takes a Bite on the seriousness: "For the Quickfire, the remaining five chefs have 90 minutes to create their own version of Gavin’s Bocuse d'Or dish – a ballantine which consists of a protein in a protein in a protein. Jenn giggles, 'I’m going to make a turducken.' She’s not, but I appreciate her sense of humor during do or die time. Everyone else is far too serious. C’mon, where did all the smiles go? Are they hiding in Kevin’s beard?"

Poptimal on the Quickfire results: "Kaysen didn’t care for Kevin’s or Michael’s dishes. They both disagree, especially Michael (naturally). Kaysen chooses Jennifer for the win, and some of her confidence returns."

Videogum on the lack of surprises: "Kevin and the Voltaggio brothers have been DOMINATING from the start like a bunch of dominatrixusesii, and although Jennifer has definitely basically gone The Yellow Wallpaper over the past couple of weeks, is still obviously a great chef succumbing to the rigors and pressures of an intensive and invasive reality TV show."

Give Me My Remote on Michael V.'s trash-talking: "Speaking of Michael (UGH, do we HAVE to?) I like how he’s now trash-talking everyone. Well, okay, not everyone. I don’t think he takes Eli seriously enough to trash-talk him, and trash-talking Bryan would reflect badly on him, since they do such similar stuff. But he’s still carrying on about Kevin cooking the way Michael cooks on his day off (eye roll), and he’s started in on Jen and how she started off strong but has nowhere to go now. Which, naturally, made me EXTRA proud when Jen won the Quickfire."

Speakeasy (WSJ) on Michael's weaknesses: "When Michael gambled on technique, he gave up on flavor, he was told. Moreover, there was a bone in a judge’s dish, which the judges make out to be the type of culinary sin that can only be spoken of with a quiet shudder, like donut hamburgers or that weird pizza that comes with things baked into the ends of the crust."

Best Week Ever has a good point: "Kevin overcame not one but TWO classic Top Chef mega-traps to win the Elimination Challenge:
1) 'I don’t know how to do this technique at all, but golly, I’m gonna try it!'
2) 'I know they want us to do this for the challenge, but I’m not going to!'"

Fork in the Road (Village Voice) with the spoilers: "Yay, Kevin! Nice guys do finish first! And Eli, who wasn't such a nice guy, finished last, a victim of his undercooked fatty lamb and probably some New Age Pilates curse Robin put on him."

Mama Pop on Jen's Quickfire win: "Jennifer doesn't make a turducken. In fact she makes some lovely calamari steak, scallops, salmon, shiitake and shiso with Rice Noodle Salad. It must have been good too, because Padma said 'welcome back.' Jennifer's food looks great, but don't get me started on her grammatical issues for they are many."

Eater LA on the bombshell (that wouldn't be a bombshell for ATC readers!): "The bombshell here is that Eli reveals that his mentor is—wait for it—Richard Blais! Yes, that Richard Blais! The Trail Blais'er himself. This is so huge for me and I'm blown away we are just learning about this now. I am a MEGA Blaishead. No joke, his Twitter is the only Top Chef contestant's I follow. He is the Diddy of molecular gastronomy."

Food and More on Eli's departure: "Through a few tears, he says, 'At least I’m not in a situation where I pooched it. I don’t harbor any negative feelings.' Absolutely true, Eli. So much better to go out when it’s a hard choice among strong competitors than with circus soup."

The Sunbreak on the Quickfire: "So the quickfire challenge is each chef's version of a crazy meat stuffed with meat stuffed with meat abomination that took Kaysen months to figure out how to make well. Since it's a quickfire challenge, they have no such time to carefully consider their protein choices. Are you ready for some garbage food? Apparently, the official name of such a dish is a ballotine, which is a nice way of saying 'meatstravangza.'"

Foobooz on the Iron Chef tie-ins: "A lot of Iron Chef ties in this episode of Top Chef. Gavin Kaysen and Traci Des Jardins were contestants on the first Next Iron Chef. Alex Stratta was Iron Chef Italian on the unwatchable Iron Chef USA on UPN."

Creative Loafing on the episode's trifecta: "This week’s episode of Top Chef Las Vegas had three very important elements: kicking off another schmo so we can get to the finale already, it was the last episode in Vegas, and (drumroll, please) Thomas Keller appeared as a guest adjudicator. It sure took for damn long enough to get him to do the show! What, 6 seasons?!"

Box Office Prophets on the Quickfire: "The chefs finish up and what we see are five dishes of greater complexity than I've almost ever seen on Top Chef. This is a long ways away from going to a vending machine with $5 and making a dish out of what you can buy (which we did in Season 1)."

Las Vegas Weekly on cheftestant cooperation: "With Jennifer proving once more that she's a formidable force who can hold her own against Kevin and the Voltaggio brothers, one might assume tensions would be high. However, the opposite appeared to be true. Affable Kevin winked at Jennifer after Padma complimented her. Later, during preparation for the elimination challenge, Kevin asked the group questions about a technique he'd never used before. Bryan, the nicer of the two V. Bros, gladly shared his knowledge."

Limecrete has a different take on the wink: "Kevin winks at her. I didn't care for that wink; it seemed a little condescending."

Procrastiblog on the case for Kevin: "I’m putting all my chips on Kevin to win. If you need more convincing, with this episode Kevin clinched the record as the all-time winningest Top Chef contestant, with 5 Elimination wins and 4 Quickfire wins (one, the blind-fold relay, as a team member). He’s won nearly half of the Elimination Challenges he’s participated in (recall he was excused from the Joël Robuchon challenge for his Quickfire win). He’s only been in the bottom once, in Restaurant Wars (that great inverter of Top Chef fortune)."

Max the Girl with a reason to ignore the rumors: "I had heard a rumor that there would be a shocking elimination this week (lies!) and this whole Bocuse d’Or thing seemed set up to make Kevin fail.You see, Kevin is neither fussy, nor fancy, nor ironical—all the things that apparently make the Bocuse d’Or fly. (It actually reminds me of those crazy Vegas hair shows where some stylist turns a woman’s hair into a bird’s nest)."

A Top Chef Thanksgiving: Recipe du Jour

Top Chef Season 5 cheftestant Melissa Harrison's Old School Sweet Potatoes with Stewed Fruit, Dried Cranberries, and Apple Cider (side)


25 sweet potatoes (peeled, chop ends off)
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick, micro planed
1 nutmeg, micro planed
4 bags of mini marshmallows
2 sticks of butter cut into little bits

4 bags frozen mixed berries
5 oranges, juiced and zested
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3 1/2 cups of dried cranberries
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 cups of orange juice

4 gallons of hot apple cider
8 cinnamon sticks
Nutmeg, grated
4 oranges, zested
3 oranges, juiced


Slice sweet potatoes an inch thick and toss them in a mixture of brown sugar, butter, grated cinnamon and nutmeg. Place on a greased baking dish or sheet tray. Bake in the oven at 375 degrees until they are fork tender. To serve, sprinkle the marshmallows onto the sweet potatoes and finish baking or broil until they are toasty and melted into gooey goodness.

In a large pot, place the butter on medium heat, then, once it is melted, toss in the berries and sugar. With wooden spoon, coat berries. Add orange juice and zest. Bring to simmer and add cinnamon.

On the side, re-hydrate the dried cranberries in warm orange juice. When plump, drain cranberries and add them to the stewed fruit. Cook fruit for 30 to 45 minutes. Taste and add more sugar if needed.

Heat everything together on the stove until piping hot. Serve in a mug with a cinnamon stick.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Bocuse d'Or Viewing Party

Attendees at a Bocuse d'Or benefit at the Astor Center in NY were treated to a viewing of Top Chef. Also on hand were Tom Colicchio, Padma Lakshmi, and Kevin Gillespie, as well as Daniel Boulud and Jerome Bocuse. Read more about the event here.

Padma is looking incredibly boobaceous these days.

A Top Chef Thanksgiving: Recipe du Jour

We can't forget the yummy sides to go with the main protein!

Top Chef Season 6 cheftestant Kevin Gillespie's Bacon-Braised Yam with Potato Sauce, Asparagus, Mushroom and Cauliflower (side)


1 garnet yam, sliced ½” thick and trimmed round
¼ cup bacon, chopped
1 pint demi-glace
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh tarragon
1 lemon
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 bunch pencil asparagus, tips only
1 head cauliflower, trimmed into tiny florets and scraps reserved
1 cluster hen of the woods mushrooms
1 pint heavy cream
1 Yukon Gold potato, peeled and sliced thin
2 tablespoons duck fat, melted
2 tablespoons butter
Fresh chives, for garnish


1. Render chopped bacon in a small saucepan on low heat until crispy and fat is extracted. Deglaze with demi-glace and add thyme, tarragon, 1 lemon slice, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, and garlic. Add yam slices and season. Braise covered until yams are tender. Remove from heat and hold in liquid until ready to use.

2. In a separate saucepan, combine cream, Yukon Gold potatoes, and cauliflower scraps. Simmer until potatoes are tender. Puree in blender until smooth and season. With motor running, slowly stream in duck fat to emulsify. Pass through chinois and keep warm.

3. Blanch, shock, and drain asparagus tips.

4. In a separate pan, roast cauliflower florets until deep brown and crispy. Add asparagus tips, mushrooms, butter, and just enough water to glaze the vegetables. Season and add lemon juice to taste.

To Serve
1. Spoon sauce onto plate.
2. Place yam slices on top of sauce.
3. Arrange glazed vegetables on top of yams.
4. Garnish with finely chopped chives.


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Top Recipe, Top Chef Las Vegas Episode 12

See a printable version here.

Watch Bryan Malarkey prepare a healthy version of the dish here.

A Top Chef Thanksgiving: Recipe du Jour

Let's not forget the vegetarians among us!

Top Chef Season 6 cheftestant Kevin Gillespie's Duo of Mushrooms, Smoked Kale, Candied Garlic and Turnip Purée (vegetarian main)


For Braised Morels
2 cups morel mushrooms
¼ lb butter, unsalted
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon cream
Lemon juice

For Garlic Syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup cider vinegar
10 cloves garlic, peeled

For Turnip Puree
2 cups turnips, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons heavy cream
¼ lb butter, unsalted
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup water
3 turnips, quartered (for garnish)

For Pistou
½ cup tarragon leaves
¼ cup pistachios, toasted
2 cups parsley
½-1 cup extra virgin olive oil

For Greens
2 bunches kale
1 onion, brunoised
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon chili flakes
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
½ lb butter
1 quart water

For Sautéed Hen of the Woods
3 cups hen of the woods mushrooms
1 teaspoon butter, unsalted
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 celery stalk, fine brunoised
1 lemon, zested and juiced


For Garlic Syrup
1. Caramelize sugar in a little water until a deep amber color.
2. Add vinegar and boil until the mixture redissolves into liquid.
3. Add garlic and reduce ¾ to a syrup consistency (about 1 hour). Reserve.

For Braised Morels
1. In a small saucepan, emulsify butter into water and cream. Season with salt.
2. Braise mushrooms until tender. Season with lemon juice.

For Turnip Puree
1. Melt cream, butter, and sugar together until dissolved.
2. Add turnips and cook covered until tender.
3. Pour into vita prep and puree until smooth. If too thick, thin with a little water. Adjust seasoning.
4. Roast the remaining turnips in butter until golden. Season with salt. Reserve.

For Pistou
1. Combine all ingredients in vita prep.
2. Puree and drizzle in olive oil to emulsify to desired consistency. Season.

For Kale
1. Smoke kale in cold smoker for 5 minutes.
2. De-stem and wash until cold running water until not slimy.
3. Trim away any brown or discolored parts. Cut into ¼” chiffonade.
4. Emulsify butter into water and add remaining ingredients. Add kale and cook to desired tenderness (5-20 minutes). Adjust seasoning with sugar and salt.

For Sautéed Hen of the Woods
1. Melt butter with oil. When golden color, add mushrooms, celery, lemon juice and zest.
2. Let sit on heat until golden brown and tender, trying not to stir too much.
3. Take off the heat and season.

To Serve
1. Spoon pistou onto plate.
2. Set kale next to pistou.
3. Spoon turnip puree on the other side of the pistou. Place quartered turnips on top of puree as garnish.
4. Top kale with mushrooms.
5. Drizzle garlic syrup over pistou.


Friday, November 20, 2009

TC News & Information 11.20.2009

Top Chef News & InformationHere's a look at some of the folks who showed up for auditions for the upcoming series, Top Chef: Just Desserts and Top Chef 7.

Tom Colicchio has been traveling the country in a Porsche and is writing about food for Food & Wine Magazine's "Mouthing Off" blog. You can find the blog here.

Listen to a "Where Foodies Go" Webcast with Laurine Wickett here.

Rick Bayless has started a new Web site in partnership with Bohemia beer, The site is devoted entirely to entertaining with the incredibly appealing flavors of the Mexican kitchen, without having to spend hours and hours in the kitchen.

Exit Interview - Eli Kirschstein

A Top Chef Thanksgiving: Recipe du Jour

Top Chef Season 2 cheftestant Elia Aboumrad's Roasted Chicken with Vegetables (main)

One 7-pound organic roasting chicken, rinsed and patted dry
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 medium carrots, cut into chunks on the diagonal
2 zucchini, thickly sliced
8 ounces button mushrooms, stemmed and halved
1 pound fingerling potatoes, halved
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock
4 fresh rosemary sprigs, plus more for garnish
8 fresh thyme sprigs, plus more for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Brush the chicken with the softened butter. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Tie the legs loosely together.

In a large bowl, combine the carrots, zucchini, mushrooms, and potatoes. Add the melted butter and toss to coat. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Put the chicken in a roasting pan and scatter the vegetables around the chicken. Pour in the stock and top with the herb sprigs. Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, turning the vegetables a few times to evenly brown, until the chicken is golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 180 degrees.

Remove the chicken from the roasting pan and cut it into serving pieces. Place on plates and, using a slotted spoon, remove the vegetables from the pan and place them alongside the chicken. Garnish with fresh thyme and rosemary sprigs. Serve immediately.

© Elia Aboumrad

Thursday, November 19, 2009

ATC Interview with Eli Kirshtein

Chef Kirshtein is part of a vibrant restaurant scene in Atlanta. Currently serving as the Executive Chef at ENO, Eli stays in close contact with both Richard Blais and Kevin Gillespie...and yes, he is still living with his parents...

Click here for the podcast.

Thank you Chef Kirshtein!

Poll Results - Who Got PPYKAG'd?

A whopping 63% of you thought that Eli would be unceremoniously tossed out on his ear this week. And you were right! So the final four that we all expected - pretty much from episode 1 - are going to the finale in Napa Valley. It will be difficult to decide who won't make it to part two.

Stay tuned for the next exciting poll!

A Top Chef Thanksgiving: Recipe du Jour

Top Chef Masters champ Rick Bayless' Quail with Parsnip and Prosciutto Stuffing over Wild Greens (main)


1 cup pomegranate juice
1 cup red wine
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup balsamic

2 quart water
1/2 cup salt
3 chipotle chilis, toasted
12 quail (bone-in)
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery, chopped
2 ribs of celery, chopped
1 cup red wine
1 sprig thyme
1 sprig marjoram
1 quart chicken stock

2 red potatoes, peeled and chopped
4 large parsnips, diced
4 ounce prosciutto, diced
2 large red onions

6 ounce peppered pancetta, diced
2 quarts mustard greens, cut in 1 inch pieces
1 quart baby wild arugula
1/1/2 cup chicken stock

4 ounce butter
2 large Asian pears
2 tablespoons chiffonade of sage leaves
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 cups kumquats, quartered
2/3 cup salt


Simmer pomegranate, red wine, sugar and balsamic until syrupy.

Blend water, salt and chipotle in vitamix.

Trim necks and wings from quail, reserve. Pour the brine over the quail and soak for 45 minutes. Rinse and dry.

Combine quail trimmings, carrots, leaks, celery on baking sheet. Drizzle with a little oil, toss and roast at 450 degrees until richly brown. Pour in the wine. Return to oven for five minutes. Scrape into large pot.

Add the thyme and marjoram and chicken stock. Simmer 1-1/2 hours. Strain and season with salt.

Grill quail, turning regularly until well browned. Transfer to sheet pan. Brush pomegranate glaze and roast at 325 degrees until leg meat is tender.

In salted water, cook potatoes until tender. Remove and coarsely mash.

In same water, blanch diced parsnips until just tender. Drain. Stir into potatoes.

Simmer proscuitto in water until tender and liquid has reduced. Stir in potatoes.

Slice onions, coat with oil and grill until soft and well browned. Dice. Stir half with potatoes, use to stuff quail.

Cook pancetta in a little oil until brown. Add mustard greens and stock and cook until dry. Add arugula, toss to coat and season.

Melt butter on sheet pan in 425 oven, leaving until browned. Add Asia pears and stir to coat. Roast until soft.

Mix together sage, zest and lemon juice. Drizzle over the pears, stir and roast five more minutes.

Mix kumquats and salt and cryovac, let stand two hours. Open pouch, rinse and finely chop.

Plate quail over a spoon of pancetta and greens around. Ladle jus from the grilled quail around greens and drizzle quail with a little more pomegranate glaze add potatoes, Asian pears/kumquats over and around the quail. If desired, crisp fry thin slices of proscuitto and crumble over dish

© 2009 Rick Bayless

Congratulations, Chef Gillespie!

This week, Chef Kevin Gillespie racked up his fifth win, for his sous vide lamb, sherry-glazed golden beet with pickled Swiss chard stems, and asparagus with sunchoke cream and peppered toast. Kevin reached a little outside his comfort zone with the sous vide preparation, but it was his flavors that most impressed the chefs.

In addition to winning the glory of his fifth challenge, Kevin has the opportunity to possibly compete at the Bocuse d'Or competition next summer in Lyons. Plus, he won $30,000 from the M Resort, which he promptly called his "favorite place on earth."

This post is only for positive words for Chef Gillespie. If you have anything negative to say about him or another chef, please click here.

ATC Love to Chef Kirshtein

This week on Top Chef, after what was obviously a difficult Elimination Challenge for the judges, we said goodbye to Chef Eli Kirshtein. The judges agreed that his lamb sausage was a concept worthy of the Bocuse d'Or competition, and Gail loved his sauces in particular.

Unfortunately, all of the judges found his lamb undercooked and studded with overly chewy fat, and for this, Chef was asked to pack his knives and go.

This post is only for positive words for Chef Kirshtein. If you have anything negative to say about him or another chef, please click here.

Reactions to Top Chef Las Vegas Episode 12

This week on Top Chef: it's our intrepid cheftestants' last challenge in Vegas...and it's a big one. Two words for the food-lovers out there: Thomas. Keller.

Not just Thomas Keller, either, but a bunch of culinary greats, all on hand to judge a modified version of the Bocuse d'Or, the culinary world's very own version of the Olympics. But first, a Quickfire that finds the chefs making Padma and guest judge Gavin Casin (James Beard Best New Chef Award winner and US Bocuse d'Or representative) with a ballotine, or a protein wrapped in a protein wrapped in a protein. Like a turducken, as Jen said.

Jen, who won, and who seems to have her groove back. About time.

On to the Elimination Challenge. The rules of the Bocuse d'Or are strict, and replicated here though the chefs only have 12 hours to even mentally prepare - and four to actually prepare - unlike actual Bocuse d'Or competitors, who have months to get into gear. Each chef will prepare either salmon or lamb, accompanied by two garnishes. But not just any garnishes. This competition is all about stuff needs to be fancy.

And fancy it is. The chefs deliver some amazing food. The judges, which include not just Keller, but also Jerome Bocuse (son of the famed Paul Bocuse) and apparent Top Chef enthusiast Daniel Boulud, seem to be truly impressed by the quality of the flavor and technique they see in front of them.

Ultimately, Kevin takes home the win (which comes with an opportunity to compete for next year's US spot at the Bocuse d'Or - and 30 grand, which he is certainly not unhappy to take). The judges expressed concern that his presentation wasn't as technique-intense as other chefs, but as happens so often, the quality of his flavors trumped everyone else. His sous-vide lamb (which he made with some advice from Bryan) seriously impressed Thomas Keller, as did his sherry-glazed beet and asparagus with sunchoke puree.

Kevin's Atlanta buddy, Eli, wasn't so lucky. He was PPYKAG'ed, mostly thanks to the big chunks of uncooked fat in his lamb sausage. He wasn't too upset about it (though he was crying), saying that he was proud of what he'd accomplished and that it didn't hurt too much to lose to the group left. I'm guessing that's a backhanded dig at Robin.

Just a couple of quick observations:
  • Bryan's restaurant is slow? Apparently not that slow, since nearly everyone in the Baltimore area has been there since the show started. In fact, theminx and I just made reservations...for next September. Good for him.
  • Finally, we get to hear about the Eli-Blais connection from the horse's mouth. That, if nothing else, should've been the sign that Eli was about to get the boot.
  • Once again, Kevin's the one who gets to do the guest judge intro. Is he the only chef left who's able to say something nice about a famous chef?
  • Did anybody else think Padma's "welcome back" to Jen was cute? I don't remember the judges or chefs in past seasons being so open about the effects of the show.
  • Michael Voltaggio - what a jerk, amiright?
  • Do the cheftestants have to clean up the kitchen every week, or was that a special event? I've always assumed they have a little team of elves to clean up after them.
Next week: Napa! Also, Padma has bangs!

So, what did you think? Did you think Eli deserved to be PPYKAG'ed? And did Kevin deserve the win? Please leave a comment with your thoughts.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Chicago-area Top Chef Viewing Party

In the Chicago area? Terlato Wines is inviting you to a viewing party!

Vegetarian Holiday Fare from Ariane Duarte

In addition to the turkey recipe that was posted earlier today, season 5's Ariane Duarte offers up three dishes that should please vegetarian diners on Thanksgiving.
“Vegetarians have come so far from just being served steamed broccoli,” Ms. Duarte said. “The abundance of seasonal vegetables and grains from our local farms is incredible. Vegetables now are really the star of the show.”
Find the recipes for Butternut Squash Raviolo with Gorgonzola and Walnut Cream, Cauliflower Purée, and Apple Chutney with Cranberries here.

A Top Chef Thanksgiving: Recipe du Jour

And now for the main course!

Top Chef Season 5 cheftestant Ariane Duarte's Orange Braised Turkey Breast with Mushroom and Caramelized Shallot (main)


1 Butterball turkey breast on bone

1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup salt
1 tablespoon sugar
8 sprigs of thyme
2 tablespoons orange zest
1 tablespoon whole peppercorns

Breast bone
2 carrots wash and chop 1 inch pieces
3 celery stalks, wash and chop 1 inch pieces
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon white peppercorn
2 quarts Swanson low sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup Wondra flour

1 pound baby portobellos, sliced
3 shallots, cleaned and sliced
3 tablespoons butter


Remove breast meat from bone. Save bones.

Heat water, orange juice, salt, and sugar and let salt dissolve in a pot. Add thyme, orange zest, and peppercorns. Let steep and cool. Pour over turkey breast, let sit for 1-4 hours.

Chop up breast bone, preferably with a cleaver. Put in stock pot and add all ingredients. Let simmer for one hour. Strain into pot, let boil, and whisk in flour. Let cook for 15-30 minutes more on medium heat.

Melt butter almost brown. Add shallots and mushrooms, raise heat and let brown. Season with salt and pepper. Add to thicken gravy.

For boneless turkey breast about 5 pounds sear the breast in a hot pan both sides then roast in 375 oven for about 45 minutes. Internal temperature should be about 160 then let rest for 15 minutes before slicing.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Top Chef Las Vegas Episode 12 Previews

With just FIVE chefs remaining and the LAST elimination challenge ahead of them before the finale, the stakes are higher than ever for our Vegas Cheftestants. With no immunity left, the chefs must make a classically difficult dish involving many different proteins in one, and must make it taste delicious. Will they be able to pull together a cohesive dish? And when the chefs must cook for notable chef Thomas Keller in the elimination round, Tom throws them a curve ball. Who will make it to the finale and who will be forced to pack their knives?

A Top Chef Thanksgiving: Recipe du Jour

Top Chef Season 6 cheftestant Bryan Voltaggio's Sunchoke and Yukon Gold Vichyssoise with Applewood Smoked Salmon Caviar (appetizer)


6 cups fish fumet
4 cups Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
½ cup parsnips, diced
½ cup sunchokes, diced
¼ cup leeks, diced
2 tablespoons butter
¼ cup cucumbers, brunoised
1 oz salmon roe, rinsed in salt water
12 plucks fresh dill
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Fennel pollen


1. Sweat parsnips, sunchokes, and leeks with olive oil in a pot for 15 minutes. Add potatoes and fish fumet. Simmer soup for 30 minutes. Puree in blender and pass through a fine sieve. Season and cool.
2. Smoke salmon roe using a smoking gun with applewood smoking dust.
3. Season brunoised cucumbers with olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste. Finish with fennel pollen.

To Serve:
1. Place a spoonful of cucumbers in a bowl.
2. Top cucumbers with caviar.
3. Carefully pour soup into the bowl without disturbing the roe.
4. Garnish with dill.


Top Chef Quickfire Challenge Game

Several Top Chef fans gathered at our local Starbucks last night to play the brand new "Top Chef Quickfire Challenge Game." It's a trivia game with questions related to the show as well as general kitchen knowledge questions.

We decided to split our group of six into two teams. Here is an example of one of the questions:

In Season 4's Restaurant Wars challenge, what dish of Lisa's did Anthony Bourdain call, "baby vomit with wood chips?"
Honestly we were stumped by that one!

There are five categories of questions: "The Chefs," "The Challenges," "The Food," "Culinary 101," and "Tools and Techniques."

Here is a question from "The Chefs:" Who was the youngest competitor in Season 3 - Casey, Lia or Sara N.?

From "The Food:" In the Season 4 challenge at Rick Tramonto's Steak and Seafood, which frozen protein did Spike choose to use that ends up getting him sent home?

Here's something interesting - you don't have to be an avid Top Chef fan to play the game. There are enough general knowledge questions to keep things interesting for everyone. Here is a "Culinary 101" question: True or false: Adding sugar to water raises its freezing point.

Here is a "Tools and Techniques" question: What are the two integral ingredients in ganache?

We din't play the game through to the end, but we could have - it was really fun. Our only complaint is that these little knives were kind of annoying!

Please stay tuned to ATC to news about the availability of this game. It will make a great gift for any Top Chef fan!

The first person to answer correctly all five of the italicized questions in this post will win the game. Please give it a try!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Recap Roundup: Top Chef Las Vegas Episode 11

And now we are five. A five that does not include Robin, self-proclaimed "mom" and apparent fan un-favorite. A straightforward episode, full of breakfast in bed and casino-themed food. But what do the bloggers think?

Cliffieland on likely motivation: "On speaker phone, Padma tells the chefs that she’s in bed with another woman. Yeah, we thought that would wake up the straight guys."

Jordan Baker on what went on after the episode was over: "I am tickled by the idea of her and Mike I having to hang out in the sequester apartment, though. It’s going to be a long last couple days before the final three or four for the both of them."

Reality Check (Baltimore Sun) on Bryan's family time: "We open with Bryan missing his son – his 22-month-old Thatcher (how'd he come up with that name?) called him by his first name. Justine thought kids didn't start doing that till they were teenagers."

Minx Eats on Robin's inspiration: "Robin is at the Bellagio, one of the rare classy joints on the strip. She is awed by the Chihuly sculpture in the lobby and vows to make something with gelatin. Sure, I see the connection too."

Eating LA on Nigella: "For the Quickfire Challenge, the chefs have to deliver breakfast in bed to saucy British chef/author Nigella Lawson. When they reveal that Gordon Ramsay named a turkey after her, my daughter falls off the couch laughing. She's legit!"

Reality TV Magazine with predictions: "Jen C is next if she can’t pull herself together but it definitely is shaping up as a brothers and Kevin final three unless one fails miserably in the next challenge."

Show Tracker (LA Times) on Eli: "Then we come to Eli, who made a caramel, apple, peanut soup with pulverized popcorn on top and raspberry. The judges look puzzled, and I see visions of sad velvet paintings dancing in their heads. Nigella is frightened and makes everyone go first. "I don't like it at all," Padma said. Toby admires Eli's gamble, but says he lost."

TV Squad on Jen's crumple: "As Tom pointed out, Jen has really come off the rails during the last three challenges, and it doesn't look like she's going to get back into the swing of things any time soon."

Speakeasy with more on Jen: "Our girl Jen Carroll, who by all means needs to take her Final Four place alongside Kevin and the Voltaggios, seems to have given up on herself. It’s apparent to Speakeasy, Andy Cohen and Tom Colicchio, who in a Tim Gunn-ish moment last night, suggested that she’d hit a wall. (Cue Jen telling Kevin, 'I’m ready to go.')"

The Kitchn on "the buck": "For us, the standout comment of the night was Eli's double mixed metaphor in reference to Robin: 'She’s oftentimes been lucky enough to be the lesser of two equals. Hopefully the buck's about to run out on that one.' We played that one back several times."

Eater NY on the young Volt: "His son's face in the picture is buried in his hands in grim seriousness as if he just remembered that the deadline passed to contact Vanguard and adjust his 401k plan back to Low Risk for this quarter. Like father like son. Why so Voltaggio? "

Meal Ticket (Philly City Paper) on Eli's Quickfire winner: "Eli does a reuben-inspired eggs benedict with 1000 Island hollandaise, which sounds like it would kill you in the tastiest way possible."

Entertainment Weekly on Robin's Quickfire mess: "I liked the idea of Robin's blintz (the goat cheese was a nice touch), but it looked like a smorgasbord on the plate. Nigella must've called it 'one-note' because it was all mixed up together. Plating was obviously a problem for time-crunched Robin, but there's no room for missteps this far into the game."

Scottsdale TV Examiner on Jennifer's weak delivery: "Jennifer presents an uninspired chunk of meat with a tiny, plastic toy sword in it to represent her inspiration of the Sword in the Stone."

Food and More (Atlanta Journal Constitution) summarizes: "Kevin: Curing salmon, thinking dolphin, all cool. Robin: A typical mess, with drooping sugar glass everywhere. Bryan: Sustainability. Eli: Blenders full of clown vomit. Mike: Lots of boneless chicken wings. Gotta get ‘em crispy. Gotta get ‘em crispy. Gotta… Jen: Uh, oh. Wild hair alert! She is freak. Ing. Out. She cannot get her boring medieval steak dish together. It has, like, toothpicks sticking in it, so it’s the Sword in the Stone, get it?"

Videogum on the Quickfire: "Who orders room service and then just tucks themselves deep into bed and waits for the food to be served to them? I love Padma (I mean, I am IN love with her) but the only person who can get away with this is Prince Akeem and whoever he takes as his bride. "

Fork in the Road (Village Voice) on the winner: "Toby praised Michael's "delicate and effeminate" cooking, and the judges awarded him a manly jug of Terlato wine and a trip to the Napa winery."

Gawker on who's left: "Inside, six chefs remained, a bunch of culinary Koreshians: Kevin the Redeemer, Eli the Pissant Devil, Jennifer the Dirty Angel, Mike the Mephistopheles, Bryan the CFO of The Afterlife and Robin The Insidious Echo."

Best Week Ever on the bleeping: "Michael yells “BLEEP! BLEEP!” within the first one second of the Quickfire, before he could have possibly done anything / seen anything / processed information and reacted to it in the form of swearing. This was by far the BLEEPest episode of the season."

Creative Loafing with more on Nigella: "Eli gave us a great background on Nigella, saying, 'She’s like a less French version of Julia Child; she’s kinda legit.' Right, Eli, because Julia Child was definitely from France and Nigella Lawson is from England (very close to France, though- close, but no cigar). I’m even confused on the logic there."

Wifely Steps on the Quickfire: "Robin’s scrambling all over the place again. She’s like Hung without focus. Michael Volt looks like he’s serving breakfast with a side dish of cussing."

Las Vegas Weekly on panna cotta: "'Child’s play.' That’s what guest judge Nigella Lawson called panna cotta on Wednesday night’s episode of Top Chef: Las Vegas right before sending Robin home for flubbing her version of the Italian dessert."

Poptimal on saying goodbye to mom: "It’s time to say good-bye to Robin. She cries during her exit interview, sad to leave but looking forward to the future. I’m sure she’s a very nice lady, but I’m just not sorry to see her go. And now I feel a little bad about it. But not so bad that I want her to stick around."

Procrastiblog on Eli's situation: "It’s pretty incredible to think Eli did not get eliminated when he served a dish that got the following reviews:
Tom: 'The dish was a failure. Texturally, it completely failed.'
Padma: 'I really didn’t like the flavors in that dish. I personally would never want to eat that again.'
Nigella: 'I’d rather eat sawdust… I had to bring every ounce of my upbringing to bear to not spitting the bit I had back into the cup.'"

Max the Girl on the power of Nigella+Padma+bed: "The funny part was watching the male cheftestants attempt to be suave in front of these be-robed Glamazons (as they rolled their tongues back in their mouths).

Limecrete on Michael vs. Robin in the Quickfire: "Michael curtly boots her out of the work area, and for all the times that I've looked down on the Robin-bashing, and all the times I've groused about Michael's attitude, he's completely in the right here. He is still being timed, and she is really in the way. She complains about how Michael's treating her, but not wanting someone wandering around in your workspace in the middle of a challenge is not rude, and she should have known better."

Thanksgiving Recipes from Rich Sweeney

Season 5's Rich Sweeney is grateful for a lot of things, and he's showing his thanks by sharing a couple of Thanksgiving recipes:

Sweet and Salty Stuffing

Spicy Sweet Ginger Sweet Potatoes I love his tip "1 – 2 bags mini-marshmallows (allow more for snacking."

A Top Chef Thanksgiving: Recipe du Jour

Top Chef Season 6 cheftestant Jesse Sandlin's Sweet Potato Soup with Ginger, Brown Sugar, and Cayenne Pepper (appetizer)

5 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 quart heavy cream
1 quart water
Dash of ground cayenne
Salt and pepper

1. Combine all ingredients in a stock pot and cook until potatoes are tender.

2. Transfer contents to blender and liquefy until soup consistency.

3. Strain through chinois and adjust seasoning.

To Serve:

1. Pour soup into a bowl.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Top Recipe, Top Chef Las Vegas Episode 11

Find a written version of the recipe here.

Find Brian Malarkey's healthy twist on the recipe here.

Who Will Be PPYKAG'd This Week?

In our Final Four poll, you thought Bryan, Kevin, Jen, and Michael will end up in the finale. But Jen has been faltering for the past several weeks. Do you still feel the same way? Do you think Eli will be out this week, or someone else?

Poll Results - The Final Four

The results of our poll reveal that you think that the top four will be Bryan, Michael, Kevin, and Jen. Will you be right? Find out this week....

A Top Chef Thanksgiving: Recipe du Jour

Top Chef Masters competitor Michael Schlow's Soup of Cabbage, Smoked Bacon, Fennel and White Beans (appetizer)


1 pound bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 onion, finely diced
12 carrots, brunoise
3 celery stalks, diced
1/2 head of cabbage, cut into small pieces
1 head of fennel, cut into small pieces
3/4 of a gallon of chicken stock
1 teaspoon of rosemary, chopped
1 teaspoon of thyme, chopped
2 cans of white beans, drained
Salt and pepper to taste


In a large soup pot, over high heat, render the bacon. Once rendered, add carrots, onion, celery – cook for three minutes. Add cabbage and fennel. Sauté for 7-8 minutes, add seasoning and herbs and cook for 3 min, add stock, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Adjust seasoning. Add white beans. Serve.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Fan Favorite Voting

I received a message from Mattin Noblia that says if he wins the $10,000 Fan Favorite prize, he will donate it to Feeding America, the nation's leading domestic hunger-relief charity.

You may vote for your favorite Top Chef Las Vegas cheftestant online at, or via mobile phone at 27286. To vote for Mattin, text MATTIN to 27286. To vote via text message for any other cheftestant, text their first name to 27286.

Voting closes at 12 pm ET on Thursday, December 10.

You will be charged $.99 for every text message you send to vote. In addition, standard text messaging rates and terms and conditions apply to each text message sent.

Top Chefs at the Green Living Expo

(Brentwood, NY) The Green Living Expo is returning to Suffolk Community College next month with some very special guests. Stars of Bravo’s hit TV series TOP CHEF will be amongst this Fall’s featured lecturers.

This collection of “Cheftestants” are coming together to speak about the importance of cooking naturally and to share their views on Organic, farm to table cooking and “green” culinary trends with you. CS4 Entertainment and Nikki Cascone, Season 4 Contestant, executive chef and owner of NYC’s 24 Prince restaurant will moderate this all-star panel which will include: Season 1 Finalist Lee Anne Wong as well as cast mate Andrea Beaman, Season 3 fan favorite Josie Smith-Malave, Season 4 Winner Stephanie Izard and Season 5’s Ariane Duarte and Leah Cohen. This collaboration of chefs each bring a strong individual view of how going green relates to the Food industry with their unique experiences.

"Myself, along with these other incredible chefs, are looking so forward to sharing the message of local, organic kitchens and the positive effect these choices have had on both our restaurants and personal lives,” said Chef Nikki Cascone.

The Panel of Top Chefs will be appearing at the Expo on Sunday November 22nd at 1PM in the Expo Hall. There will be a meet and greet with the chefs immediately following the lecture.

The Green Living Expo will take place on Saturday November 21st and Sunday November 22nd 2009 at Suffolk Community College’s Brentwood Campus. The Campus is located at 1001 Crooked Hill Road in Brentwood, NY.

This Fall’s Green Living Expo theme is a “Holiday Harvest.” Their will be a special concentration on Green Holiday gifts, an expanded children’s pavilion including special appearances by the Long Island Rough Riders and the Kids Kloset, a travelling consigment shop where you can buy and sell children’s clothing and items. There will also be continuous cooking demos, informative lectures, free raffles and over 100 vendors.

A Top Chef Thanksgiving: Recipe du Jour

As a first course for your meal, how about trying one of the soup recipes we'll be posting over the next few days?

Top Chef Season 5 cheftestant Jeff McInnis's Apple and Fennel Soup with Blue Cheese Fig Custard (appetizer)


2 large shallots
2 handfuls fennel
Few sprigs thyme, sage
2 cloves garlic
3 Granny Smith apples
3 fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup cream
Salt and pepper

3 egg yolks
1 cup cream
5 figs
1 1/2 ounces blue cheese
Pinch salt and pepper


Slowly sweat shallot, fennel, apple, and garlic. Add wine and reduce by 1/2. Add chicken stock. Simmer on low and reduce by 1/2. Add cream and simmer with herbs. Puree till very smooth.

Whisk yolks and cream. Crumble blue cheese. Cut the figs and season with salt and pepper. Mix all.

Place in rubber flex molds, sprayed with Pam. Bake in water bath at 300 degrees till custard sets, about 25 min.

Garnish with fennel fronds and slices of fig. Add brunoise green apple to soup for texture.


Friday, November 13, 2009

Poll Results - Who Got PPYKAG'd?

According to our poll results, 70% of you thought Robin would be going home this week.

Ok, that was too easy. I'm sure next week's poll will be more difficult....

Exit Interviews - Robin Leventhal TCLV

The codes to embed Bravo videos are a little wonky this week, so if you'd like to watch Robin Leventhal's Bravo exit interview, please click here.

A Top Chef Thanksgiving: Recipe du Jour

All Top Chef has gathered recipes developed by seven seasons of Top Chef and Top Chef Masters contestants in order to inspire you to try something new for your Thanksgiving feast. We'll be featuring one recipe a day up until Thanksgiving Eve. More recipes are available at

Let's start with a little amuse bouche, shall we?

Top Chef Masters Finalist Hubert Keller's Fondant of Carrot Infused with Cardamom, Light Cream of Ginger (amuse)


2 cups fresh carrot juice
3 teaspoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon cracked cardamom
Sugar to taste
3 tablespoons gelatin in powder
1/4 cup whipped cream
2 ounces Osetra caviar
8 sprigs chervil
Salt and freshly ground pepper


Transfer the carrot juice into a small non-reactive saucepot, stir in the gelatin, and add the rice vinegar, the cardamom, salt and freshly ground pepper and a pinch of sugar if necessary.

Bring to a boil by stirring, reduce the heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Cover and let the cardamoms infuse for another 10 minutes. Check the seasoning and the level of sweetness, add another pinch of sugar if necessary ( to work out a perfect balance between the sweetness and acidity coming from the vinegar).

Strain the carrot juice. Let cool slightly until cold but not set, I called that mixture "gelee".

Divide the carrot gelee among 8 shooter glasses. Let set in the refrigerator.

Before serving season the whipped cream with a pinch of salt and pepper. Drop a dollop of cream in each shooter glass. Top the cream with the Caviar and garnish with a sprig of chervil. Serve chilled