Friday, December 30, 2011

Top Chef Video Friday with Judge Hugh Acheson

If you’re stuck at work with nothing you feel like doing, or if you have 30+ minutes to while away over New Year’s weekend, check out this video. Continuing on his seemingly endless book tour, Hugh Acheson spoke to the Google folks in CA, revealing that he has a 3-year contract with Top Chef and that he will appear on Andy Cohen’s Watch What Happens late-night Bravo show in January to have his “hughnibrow” plucked for charity Wholesome Wave. Lots more TC dish, and interesting thoughts about American regional cooking as well.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

No New Top Chef Tonight

No new episode this week, but there's a marathon going on all day!

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Recap Roundup - Top Chef Texas Episode 8

Jordan Baker on Heather's offering: "On Heather’s plate, Emeril doesn’t know what the meat used in the dish is. 'It’s Bigfoot,' Patti LaBelle replies, totally deadpan. OMG, Patti LaBelle is HILARIOUS, guys. Emeril likens the dish to something served 'at a banquet at one of those hotels you would drag me to.' 'I don’t even want to know that story,' Padma the killjoy tells him sternly."

Minxeats on timewasting: "Because the 'social media phenomenon' (aka, something with which to avoid doing any actual work) Twitter was unveiled at SXSW in Austin in 2007, this Austin-based Quickfire is going to be dictated by real-time tweets from fans. But not really 'real time' as this was filmed in the summer, so I hope none of you bozos got out your phones during this challenge."

A Just Recompense on clothing-induced trauma: "We start with last week: before the chefs have rehydrated from all that sweating in the Kitchen from Hell, Padma strolls in. I just noticed (actually, I noticed it on the 8pm repeat tonight) Padma’s wearing a tracheostomy tube. Or maybe it’s a rabbit’s foot on a dog collar, or six inches of penis. Or a Bigfoot penis. I don’t know what it is masquerading as jewelry around her neck. But its awful. I’m surprised I didn’t notice it last week. I think I was so traumatized by the yellow jeans in the Quickfire, I blocked out everything else she wore that night."

Max the Girl on gunky white stuff: "Cooking time and I learned a new word: You know that gunky white stuff you sometimes see on overcooked salmon? You no longer have to call it 'that gunky white stuff you sometimes see on overcooked salmon.' It’s called albumen. Malibu Chris had some on his salmon and he tried to shave it off and was hoping that the judges 'wouldn’t notice.' (Good luck with that!)"

David Dust on using hashtags properly:
"Chris J - Steak and Potatoes. Judges likee.
Heather - Beef Stroganoff. Judges HATE. Pattie refers to the cut of meat as 'Bigfoot'. #beverlysmiles
Sarah - Stuffed Cabbage #likee
Paul - 'Quail A Doobie' (or something) #DUDE
Malibu - Salmon #nolikee
Beverly - Short Ribs - judges likee #heatherfrowns
Edward - Korean 'MmmmBop' (or something) #likee
Lindsay - Trout #toomuchbutter
Grayson - Huge Steak #no likee
Ty - Chicken Tenders a la Japanese Nanny #ijustcan't"

Eater on tweets: "Unsurprisingly, the three tweets chosen sound a lot like they are producers that work for the show. 'Everyone always says bacon makes it better. Let's see if it's true.' 'Do a hash for a #hashtag challenge.' 'Hand off a pantry ingredient to another chef.' Whoa, bringing in the common man to the process has really changed things. Bacon, hash, and one switched ingredient? I don't know how the chefs will be able to handle the pressure from all this insanity."

Tom Colicchio for PopWatch on not your mama's short ribs: "I’m sure Beverly’s mother did not present her Korean short ribs the way she did. There’s no way. But that did not stop Beverly from saying, 'This is what my mother made and I’m going to make it my own dish.' Same thing with Sarah; she said her mother made stuffed cabbage and her father made sausage. She could have easily put cabbage and sausage [on a plate], but she didn’t do that. She made a beautiful stuffed cabbage [with sausage], and it was really quite delicious. But you see how she made it her own and that’s always better."

Entertainment Weekly on there's more than one bitch in this house: "But in the end, a bitch named karma reared her gorgeous head and sank her fangs into Heather. Heather's stroganoff at least looked appetizing on screen -- beef with spaetzle is always a delicious combo -- but the meat was horrendously cooked because she couldn't use the pressure cooker properly. Emeril could hardly even tell what animal or creature the meat came from. Patti guessed Bigfoot. I hereby nominate Patti for permanent judge in place of Hugh. Like Dakota last week, Heather made an inexcusably glaring mistake in execution and was sent packing."

Cliffieland has some interesting things to say about Miss LaBelle. Go ahead, go to the blog and read 'em for yourself.

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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

I'm sorry, but I like this image too much not to use it every year. Tell me you wouldn't like to find these elves under your tree....

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Top Recipe - Sarah Grueneberg's Pork Sausage Stuffed Cabbage and Spinach with Browned Butter

Pork Sausage Stuffed Cabbage and Spinach with Browned Butter

1 small head green cabbage
1 bunch Tuscan kale
1 head Napa cabbage
8 ounces pork butt
2 ounces smoked bacon
1 cup grated Parmesan
12 saltine crackers
1 egg
1/2 cup olive oil
2 sticks butter
kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 sprig rosemary
1/2 medium onion, minced
8 year old balsamic, drizzle

1. Heat a large pot of water to a boil. Season with kosher salt.
2. Strip the large leaves from the green cabbage, shred the cabbage.
3. Remove stems from Tuscan kale leaves and cook in boiling water for 5 minutes, then cool in ice water. Repeat step for Napa cabbage, cook for 3 minutes.
4. With a meat grinder attachment for the kitchen aid, grind pork butt and bacon together. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Remove cooked shredded cabbage from the sauté pan, reserve.
6. Add ground meat mixture to the pan and cook. Remove and add to shredded cabbage.
7. In a food processor, pulse the saltine crackers until smooth.
8. Mix the cabbage/meat mixture in a bowl and mix in crackers. Add sautéed onions. Add 1 egg and 1/2 cup grated parmesan. Season with salt and pepper.
9. Lay out blanched kale on a cutting board. Evenly distribute the filling mixture.
10. Roll Tuscan kale up into cigar shape.
11. Then lay out Napa cabbage. Cut the stems out and discard.
12. Roll kale rolls into the Napa cabbage. Lay rolls in a casserole dish and top with butter. Bake for 25 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
13. Heat 1/2 cup olive oil in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add shallots and fry on low until golden brown. Remove from oil
14. Heat 1 stick of butter over medium heat until brown, remove.
15. Remove cabbage from oven, top with parmesan, shallots, rosemary sprigs. Finish with brown butter and drizzle balsamic.


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Friday, December 23, 2011

All Top Chef Interview with Heather Terhune

Chef Heather Terhune talks about her experience on the Bravo show.

Click here to learn more about Sable.

Thank you Chef Heather!

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Bravo Exit Interview - Heather Terhune

Click here for the interview.

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Congratulations, Chef Sarah Grueneberg!

You know a chef is good at what she does when she wins for something as seemingly simple and pedestrian as stuffed cabbage leaves. But when you make your own sausage and top it with brown butter, a dish in homage to your family becomes something more than that.

Congrats on your first solo Elimination Challenge win, Chef Grueneberg! How far can you go in this competition?

This post is only for positive comments about Chef Grueneberg. If you have anything negative to say, please do so on our Reactions post.

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ATC Love to Chef Heather Terhune

Chef Terhune sought to pay homage to the person who taught her to cook by making a beef stroganoff. Unfortunately, her choice to use rib eye as the protein did not work to her advantage. The texture was off, confusing Emeril and causing Patti LaBelle to dub it "bigfoot."

She was a strong competitor this season, so we're surprised to see her go so soon. Good luck to Chef Terhune in her future endeavors.

This post is only for positive comments about Chef Terhune. If you have anything negative to say, please do so on our Reactions post.

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Reactions to Top Chef Texas Episode 8

This week's venue was Austin, where the chetestants set up shop at Le Cordon Bleu. Once settled in, Padma and Tom gave them their Quickfire Challenge. Since Austin was the location where Twitter was unveiled in 2007, the chefs would be given instructions based on tweets provided in real time by Top Chef fans. To begin, the chefs were asked to make a dish that incorporated bacon. After several minutes of cooking, Tom and Padma selected another tweet; this time, the chefs were asked to add a hash component (as in hash tag, get it?). Later on, a tweet provided the idea of each chef handing off a random ingredient to a fellow chef. Mercifully, the harried hour of cooking came to an end and the tasting and judgment began.

On the bottom were Grayson, Chris J., and Ed. Grayson simply didn't do enough to make her dish distinctive, Chris J. oversalted his potatoes, and Ed burnt his hash. On the up side, Beverly and Sarah impressed the judges with subtle dishes that were spot on, and Paul was the winner for his unusual combination of ingredients including blueberries and clams. Paul walked away with $10,000, bringing his total winnings in the competition thus far to $30,000.

After the challenge, the chefs retired to their new digs at The Driskill. While having beverages in the lounge, Patti LaBelle came out to perform. Then Padma appeared to drop the Elimination Challenge bomb. In this case, the chefs were asked to create dishes that would honor the person who most inspired them to become a chef. There was 30 minutes of shopping at Whole Foods and 2 hours of cooking the next day.

In addition to Padma, Tom, Patti LaBelle, and her backup musicians, Superstar Chef Emeril Lagasse joined the group for tasting and judgment. In a switch, the bottom three were brought out first. Grayson and Heather used rib eye in their dishes and the lack of quality in the meat seemed to be their undoing. Both were accused of serving chewy meat. Chris C. was called out for his overseared salmon which bled albumen.

On the top were Beverly, who made beautifully prepared Korean-style braised short ribs, Ed, who prepared a vegetarian bibimbap, and Sarah, who executed her pork sausage stuffed cabbage with great technique. In the end, Sarah came out the winner.

Then the losers were trotted out again. In what Beverly saw as an act of karma, Heather was given the boot.

What did you think of last night's episode? Please leave your comments below.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Top Chef Texas Episode 8 Previews

Watch preview one here.
Watch preview two here.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Recap Roundup - Top Chef Texas Episode 7

Minxeats on tequila in the morning: "For the Quickfire Challenge, the cheftestants have to participate in a 'tequila tasting,' choose one, and then scurry off to create a dish to pair with it - all in 30 minutes. Wisely, most of the chefs seem to grab a bottle and go, rather than tasting the gamut. It's still early in the day, and drinking tequila probably isn't the best thing to do after brushing one's teeth."

Jordan Baker on the big game: "Tim Love says they’ll be having a game dinner for him and some friends tomorrow night at the restaurant. Game as in game meats, not 'hey come on over and watch the football game,' which is what I’d initially thought. His friends, naturally, are famous chefs. Each team will be cooking a protein for the chef they’re assigned to. Nyesha and Dakota will cook venison for Brian Caswell of Reef. Sarah and Paul will make squab for Top Chef Masters alumna Anita Lo of Annisa. Grayson and Ponytail Chris will serve elk to Tim Love. Handsome Chris and Lindsay will make boar for Jon Shook of Animal. Heather and Beverly are in charge of duck for Masters alum and City Grocery owner John Currence. Finally, Ed and Ty-lör will serve quail for Animal’s Vinny Dotolo."

A Just Recompense on sartorial choices: "Padma (wearing awful-fitting pale yellow stretch jeans and an overly-busy top that clashes with her necklaces and hair – how can a top clash with deep brown hair? But it does, if you can stop staring at the terrible pants long enough to notice) and Tim Love meet the chefs in the Cordon Bleu/Top Chef kitchen."

Max the Girl on hot kitchen conditions: "The kitchen is positively oozing with body fluid. Everyone is sweating and when they are not sweating they are crying and when they are not crying they are probably farting. It is like a petri dish in there and it is gross (and pretty much the reason why I don’t like to look into the kitchens of my favorite restaurants—frankly, I’d rather not know.)"

My Monkey Could Do That gives a rundown of the Quickfire dishes in progress: '30 minutes to cook. And also to taste tequila and try not to get drunk. Sarah says she always has a shot of tequila at the airport before she flies. Ty-Lor says his style of cooking is “warm Southeast Asian flavors” which seems fairly vague. Chris C. is making a raw oyster, so then what are you doing with your 30 minutes? There is a hilarious shot of Beverly running full tilt across the kitchen, yelling “Coming through!”. She’s moving so fast I’m surprised I understood what she said. Or saw her go by. Dakota has a lamb chop and she thinks it’s pairing well. Lindsay is using the tequila instead of sherry. Ty-Lor thinks MotoChris is overcooking his chicken. MotoChris seems to agree."

Cliffieland on teamwork: "Samurai Chris convinces his teammate Grayson that he can make a cool garnish with sweet potatoes. He can't. She's pissed. He seems determined to broadcast his mistake to anyone who'll listen. She's not keen on this, since she'd be going home too. (Message: Grayson has a working brain stem.)"

Eater on the effects of tequila pairings: "After some tasting and some cooking, Chef Love and Padma try everything, both the food and the tequila. Each dish is paired with a shot of one of the four types of tequila, and it does not seem like either Padma or Tim forget to try any. I thought it was nine in the morning there. Padma gets so drunk she starts not slurring her words. Tim's praise gets flowery. 'This tastes like I'm at the beach or something.' Maybe you better lie down, Chef Love."

Hugh Acheson for PopWatch on Team Ed-Ty-Lor: "[Ed and Ty-Lor] did not put out a good product the first time they were paired up with each other. This time, they knew how to work together really well and they were just total and utter pros about it. It was pretty evident that Ed and Ty-Lor had the superlative plate. I think it was easily [one of the top] two plates so far this season. It was just all integrated. It was stylish and modern and interesting. A lot of the other [dishes] just fell into the quadrant of, 'Let’s go to a 1992 game house in Idaho and eat food,' so they just didn’t rise to the forefront as much as [Ed and Ty-Lor's] did."

Entertainment Weekly on bullies: "Heather is a big bully. She looked at Beverly with pure disdain when talking down to her, and she was so concerned that Beverly wouldn't act like a team player that she ended up coming across as the worst team player of all. Before "Bev" could even speak, Heather said, "I just want to make sure, Bev, that the whole dish isn't too Asian cause that's not my style. I'm not going home, Bev." Why was she assuming that Beverly's Asian contributions would be what sends them home?

Later, when Beverly dared to question Heather's judgment, she snapped, "This is my rustic style, Bev, so we're gonna have to compromise." In other words, Beverly would have to compromise. And I don't mean to point out prejudice where it doesn't exist, but why does Heather assume that her rustic American style is categorically superior to Beverly's Asian cooking? I flinched a bit whenever Heather spat the world "Asian" as if it were a bad word. Even if Beverly only cooks Asian dishes, isn't she just asserting her point of view? It seemed like Heather pounced on Beverly because she seems too meek to actually stand up for herself. There's no way Heather would talk down to anyone else like that. Heather found a seemingly weak target, and she became the selfish, inflexible chef she accused Beverly of being."

FoodieBuddha offers definitions for still more schmancy food terms.

And don't forget Top Chef Refire's podcast!

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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Top Recipe - Ty-Lor Boring's Steamed Clams in Thai Style Fish Caramel Sauce

Steamed Clams in Thai Style Fish Caramel Sauce

1 tablespoon oil
12 clams
1 ounce ginger
1 ounce garlic
1/2 ounce chili
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 ounces coconut water
1 tablespoon basil, julienned
1 tablespoons mint, julienned
4 lychee nuts

1. Sauté chili, garlic, ginger in oil till golden brown. Add clams and fish sauce, reduce. Add coconut water and steam until clams open. Garnish with mint, basil, and lychee nuts.

2. Serve with shot of Don Julio 1942 tequila.

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Friday, December 16, 2011

All Top Chef Interview with Dakota Weiss

Top Chef contestant, Dakota Weiss talks about her experience on the Bravo show.

Click here to learn more about Ninethirty at the W Hotel in Westwood, CA.

Click below to listen to the interview.

Thank you Chef Dakota!

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All Top Chef Interview with Nyesha Arrington

Chef Nyesha talks about her experience on the Bravo show.

Click here to learn more about Wilshire Restaurant.

Click below to play the podcast.

Thank you Chef Nyesha!

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Bravo Exit Interview - Dakota Weiss

Watch the interview here.

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Bravo Exit Interview - Nyesha Arrington

Watch the interview here.

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

ATC Love to Chefs Nyesha Arrington and Dakota Weiss

This week's Elimination Challenge involved cooking game, and Chefs Arrington and Weiss were assigned venison. While their plate had good flavors, including a great squash and beet gratin, the venison was severely undercooked. These two chefs had been doing so well in the competition so far, Chef Weiss especially, and we're very sorry to see both of them go so soon. Best of luck in Last Chance Kitchen, and in the future!

This post is only for positive comments about Chefs Arrington and Weiss. If you have anything negative to say, please do so on our Reactions post.

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Congratulations, Chefs Ty-Lor Boring and Edward Lee!

Both Chefs Ty-Lor Boring and Edward Lee were on the bottom of the heap last week, and both chefs have given themselves some pretty bad knife injuries. Perhaps those things in common bound them together in such a way that they were able to make some gorgeously-cooked quail and get the win in this week's game-based Elimination Challenge. Or maybe they're just terrific chefs. In either case, congratulations to them for a job well done!

This post is only for positive comments about Chefs Boring and Lee. If you have anything negative to say, please do so on our Reactions post.

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Reactions to Top Chef Texas Episode 7

A new day in the Top Chef Kitchen and the cheftestants were greeted by Padma and Tim Love, of the Lonesome Dove Western Bistro, standing near a variety of Don Julio Tequilas. The Quickfire Challenge was to come up with a dish that paired well with a tequila of their choice. There was no immunity, but a $5,000 prize for the winner. After 30 minutes of cooking, Padma and Tim tasted the dishes. Heather was called out for a dish that didn't pair well with the tequila, Chris J. was tripped up by dry chicken, and Sarah missed with overcooked risotto. On the top of the heap were Chris C., Lindsay, and Ty-Lor with Ty-Lor taking the prize for his spicy Thai clams.

For the Elimination Challenge, the chefs were put into teams of two based on how they were standing together at the time the challenge was announced. They were tasked with putting together a 6-course menu of game for Tim Love and a group of his famous chef friends. In addition to the regular judges, the cheftestants would judge each other's dishes to pick the worst teams. The teams shook out like this:

Venison - Dakota and Nyesha
Squab - Paul and Sarah
Elk - Chris J. and Grayson
Boar - Lindsay and Chris C.
Duck - Beverly and Heather
Quail - Ed and Ty-Lor

The challenge would end in a double elimination, but the winning team would split $10,000. After the usual frantic shopping trip, the chefs returned to the kitchen for three hours of prep. Then it was off to the cramped kitchen at the Lonesome Dove to finish and serve their dishes. After the tastings by the judges at the table and the chefs in the kitchen, Padma asked Ed and Ty-Lor to come out and accept their win for their exceptional quail.

Then the chefs were given 15 minutes to fight amongst themselves to determine which teams should be in the bottom three. They finally decided on Teams Venison, Elk, and Duck. An extended period of time was devoted to Grayson chewing out Chris J. for his ill-advised sweet potato component and Heather creating various Beverly/Bus trajectories. Ultimately though, it was Padma, Tom, and guest judge Hugh Acheson who had to make the call on the team to be sent packing. In the end, it was not Chris J.'s bad sweet potatoes or Heather and Beverly's muddled duck dish, but rather Dakota and Nyesha's undercooked venison that got the thumbs down.

Next week, the venue moves to Austin and Emeril returns as a guest judge. So what did you think of last night's episode? Leave your comments below.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Top Chef Texas Episode 7 Previews

See preview one here.
See preview two here.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Top Chef Magazine Debuts, Eric Ripert Loses a Star, Hubert Keller Gains a TV Show, and What Stephanie Izard Cooked for the CMTs

The new Top Chef Magazine is out. Actually it’s an insert in the January edition of Food + Wine. Eater has a review – and a slide show. If you check out the mini-mag yourself, let us know what you think.

New York Magazine reviews the recently revamped Le Bernardin and is sufficiently ill at ease to demote the restaurant's rating from four stars to three, nonetheless proclaiming: “happily nothing much has changed in [frequent Top Chef guest judge Eric] Ripert’s legendary kitchen.”

Variety reports Hubert Keller (frequent guest judge and TC Masters contestant memorable for cooking pasta in a dorm room shower stall) will be part of a yet another new reality competition show premiering January 21 called The Big Time, sponsored by Budweiser.

And the Tennessean has a great behind-the-scenes look at Season 4 winner Stephanie Izard cooking for the CMT Artist of the Year taping, including whipping up a last-minute vegan dessert. Always innovating, that Steph!

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Recap Roundup: Top Chef Texas Episode 6

Minxeats on injury time out: "General Zod, who has two years of steakhouse experience under his belt, has taken charge of the steak course. But while he's prepping some bone marrow for Nyesha's compound butter, he stabs himself quite viciously in the hand with an oyster knife. He's all Mr Responsible and shit, so he gets a medic to bandage him up and promises to finish his prep before he heads to the ER for stitches."

Jordan Baker on theme songs: "The chefs head off to Southfork Ranch and we get a modified version of the Dallas theme song because apparently Bravo couldn’t secure the rights to the real thing. It’s so lame. Instead of ba BAAAAM ba BAAM ba Ba Badi Bum Bum! Bum Bi Bum Badi Bum!!! it’s like ba BAAAM badi bum bum! ba badi bum bum! Ba Baaam! (unrelated: I miss when TV shows had long opening credits sequences with iconic theme songs and pictures of the entire, sprawling cast as well as a lot of establishing shots to set up the feel of the show. Related: RIP, HarryMorgan)"

David Dust on mother sauces: "The cheftestants draw either Béchamel, Hollandaise, Espagnole, Tomate or Velouté – which, coincidentally, are the names of the of contestants for RuPaul’s Drag Race - Paris. The chefs are to make a dish with a new sauce that stems from their chosen mother-effin sauce."

Max the Girl on true, dat: "I think I’ve finally figured out the one flaw with this otherwise kickass season of Top Chef: There’s no villain. There’s no 5-star egomaniac, just a series of 2-star egomaniacs. We need that one jerk, that one contestant we love to hate, who throws others under the bus with impunity, who crows endlessly about his or her own culinary prowess, who is bullying, combative, who acts like every personal failure is somebody else’s fault. (In short, we need Stefan Richter from Season 5.)"

A Just Recompense on the Quickfire winner: "Grayson has hollandaise; she’s feeling saucy (grrrrr… at least a writer wasn’t responsible for that). She’s making seared scallops with corn ravioli, and uses hollandaise to make a charred corn sauce, plus a blueberry balsamic reduction. She has a lot of elements to get on the plate, so she’s stressed, but she does it. Dean asks if she used clarified butter, and she says she did not. He likes it a lot anyway, and is very impressed she managed to make ravioli; she wins. She gets immunity, and declares herself the proverbial Force to be Reckoned With. They should have buttons that say that."

My Monkey Could Do That on Bossypants: "Tom time! Heather tells Tom she has the most pastry experience out of everyone, and it’s the smartest thing because now she and Lindsay can 'execute and expedite'. So in case you were wondering, she purposely put herself on dessert and made dessert early so she could spend today telling everyone what to do."

Eater on balance: "The judges eliminated Chuy on last week's episode, and his ouster leaves the chef count lopsidedly female. This is a change, and a welcome one, from the normal progression each season takes, but it's got the boys nervous. I am not sure what they are nervous about, as there is no part of the competition where having more of your gender left is an asset. I guess the guys assume the ladies are over there scheming, syncing up their cycles, and waiting for the boys to propose. Chris Crary brought ten engagement rings to the house just in case. 'Sometimes when I see a big pack of ladies, I wish God gave me more fingers.' Is he talking about engagement rings? I don't know. It's gross the way he really said that."

Hugh Acheson for PopWatch on high steaks: "Ty-lor is a very mature cook. He would take ownership of the mistake, no matter who touched it or mucked it up. It’s his fault at that point. There are people on the show who would have diverted attention from their mistake at the first opportunity and Ty-lor did not do that at all. And given the fact that he cut himself, he was at the hospital all night and he was working on an hour sleep, I think he did a pretty commendable job. But there was the initial mistake he made, which was that he shouldn’t have done individual steaks and that firing of the last steaks was a pretty big mistake. At our table there was such variance in the cooking, but what are you going to do when you’ve got 8 people cooking steaks?"

Entertainment Weekly on Quickfire top 3: "Handsome Chris' seafood-infused velouté and Paul's espagnole-slathered quail came close, but Grayson, who said sauce-making 'ain't no thang' to her, won with a simple hollandaise ravioli. Yay! Grayson strikes me as the type of person who says things like 'Hey, girlfriennnn' a lot, but on her it doesn't annoy me for some reason."

Cliffieland on mis-steaks: "Earlier, Tom and Mr. Pretentious had made the rounds in the kitchen and observed who was doing what and noted that Ty–Lör had chosen to only mark the steaks on the grill before flashing them in the oven before service, something that was apparently a risky (and ultimately failing) move. Also, Invisible Whitney made an appearance to announce that she would be taking two days to make potatoes au gratin, much to the dismay of (at least) Heather and Edward."

Foodie Buddha offers us terms of the week.

...and this week's saucy Top Chef Refire podcast!

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Monday, December 12, 2011

Top Chef Judge Tom Colicchio Jumps Ship, Talks Family, and Contributes to Alex’s Lemonade Stand

Calm down.Tom isn’t leaving Top Chef anytime soon, as far as we know. But this report says he has changed talent management agencies “hoping to build an empire along the lines of Rachel [sic] Ray’s” (and there is hidden access to Tom's Century City restaurant). Hmmm.

Meanwhile, TC Masters’ Jonathan Waxman hosted a recent NYC fundraiser for Alex’s Lemonade Stand, a charity dedicated to fighting childhood cancer, which brought out a slew of folks who’ve appeared on Top Chef, including Colicchio, Marcus Samuelsson, Susan Feniger, Tim Love, and Tony Mantuano, and other chefly luminaries. Check out this great video for more about why chefs don’t say no to Waxman.

In conjunction with the Alex’s Lemonade Stand event, the frequently stern TC judge opens up about Colicchio family life and his three sons in this interview.

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Top Chef Video Sunday - Edward Lee Dishes on Season 9 and a Bourdain DVR Alert

Current contestant Edward Lee of Louisville's 610 Magnolia talks to local station WHAS about what it's like to compete and says he hasn't cried yet. With his unique Asian/Southern twist, Ed also demos Cornmeal and Coconut Macaroons (gotta love a Top Chef who's comfortable making desserts, and who knows the difference between a macaroon and a macaron). Ed also offers some holiday variations you can try in your own kitchen.

Meanwhile 'tis the season, and the always twisted holiday special on Travel Channel's No Reservation with frequent Top Chef guest judge Anthony Bourdain airs Monday night at 9:00 Eastern. Tony's blog post about it here.

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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Top Recipe - Grayson Schmitz' Hollandaise- Scallop, Charred Corn Sauce with Paprika, Corn Ravioli, Blueberry Balsamic Reduction

Scallop, Charred Corn Sauce with Paprika, Corn Ravioli, Blueberry Balsamic Reduction

1 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 egg yolks

Ravioli Filling:
4 ears of corn, grilled
1 shallot
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons rosemary, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste

Blueberry Gastrique:
1 cup blueberries
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup water

Seared Scallops:
1 pound scallops
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper, to taste

Smokey Corn Hollandaise:
4 ears corn
6 egg yolks
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 large shallot, roughly chopped
4 slices bacon
1 1/2 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Mix wet ingredients.
2. Mix flour and salt. Mix milk, 3 egg yolks, and olive oil. Form a well with the flour and pour wet mix in the center. Using a fork incorporate dry into wet. Knead for about 3 to 5 minutes or until dough bounces back when you poke it. Reserve.
3. After letting the dough rest, using a pasta machine, roll out the dough to the last setting.
4. Use a circle cutter to cut out round then using 1 egg yolk and a little bit of water as an egg wash, paint half of the rounds, pipe the filling in the center of the pasta round and take the un-washed pasta round and place on top, to make ravioli.
5. Try to push out any bubbles then us the same circle cutter to clean up the edges.

Ravioli Filling:
1. Grill corn and cut off the cob. Reserve about 1/4 cup for garnish.
2. In a large sauté pan over high heat melt the butter then add shallots and garlic. Cook until translucent then add the corn, cayenne pepper, heavy cream and season with salt and pepper.
3. Reduce until just before the cream starts to break, make sure to keep it loose enough so you’re able to puree it.
4. Puree on chop, chunks are good, you don’t want it smooth.
5. Cool then add the chopped rosemary.

Blueberry Gastrique:
1. Place the blueberries in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Mash the blueberries with the back of a spoon, then add the rest of the ingredients and simmer until it becomes a syrupy texture.
2. Strain through a chinois and reserve.

Seared Scallops:
1. In a large sauté pan over high heat, heat the oil.
2. Season the scallops with salt and pepper then place the scallops in the hot pan. Don’t move around, you want to create a nice caramelized sear.
3. Flip when the scallop is nice and brown color and baste with butter for a minute. Reserve.

Smokey Corn Hollandaise:
1. First render the bacon over medium low heat, save the fat and discard the bacon bits.
2. Grill the corn, take it off the cob and juice it. Let is hang through the cheese cloth in a chinois with something weighing it down, like a can.
3. Take the corn water and place it in a pan with the apple cider vinegar, 1/8 teaspoon salt, peppercorns and shallot.
4. Reduce until there is about 1 tablespoon of liquid left. Strain that mixture through and chinois into a medium sized bowl.
5. Add the egg yolks and whisk over a double boiler, whisk until you form ribbons.
6. Slowly whisk the bacon fat and butter, season with salt and pepper, lemon juice and smoked paprika.

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Friday, December 9, 2011

New Gigs from Top Chefs Bryan Voltaggio, Stephen Asprinio, and Hosea Rosenberg and Marcel Vigneron Goes Japanese

Season 1 wine guy and aspiring restaurateur Stephen Asprinio has his sights set on world domination with his "smart casual" Pizza Vinoteca, featuring iPad ordering, root beer made by his father, and, of course, wine - a concept he hopes to expand nationwide after launching in NYC in the spring.

Season 5 winner Hosea Rosenberg is eyeing Denver locations for his next project, Blackbelly, according to Eater Denver.

On the heels of his brand spanking new eatery, Lunchbox, which we reported about on Tuesday, Bryan Voltaggio reveals details of his next new Frederick, MD restaurant to the Washingtonian, an affordable diner-style concept offering healthy fare and housed in a remodeled car dealership.

Voltaggio brother Michael also gets some serious ink from LA Times restaurant reviewer S. Irene Virbila in her LA Times review of his first solo gig.

And Marcel Vigneron keeps doing his Marcel thing, this time merging his "molecular gastronomy" proclivities for a sushi bar pop-up. Check out possible menu items from Grub Street LA here.

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All Top Chef Interview with Whitney Otawka

Chef Whitney Otawka is the executive chef at Farm 255 in Athens Georgia.

Click below to listen our interview.

Thank you Chef Whitney!

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Bravo Exit Interview - Whitney Otawka

Click here to watch the video.

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

ATC Love to Chef Whitney Otawka

Other than knowing that she was a protege of judge Hugh Acheson, we didn't really find out anything about Whitney Otawka this season. And it looks like we will continue to be left in the dark, as Whitney was dismissed this week for undercooked potato gratin.

Chef Otawka, sorry to see you go so soon, without leaving some sort of TC legacy behind. Good luck in your future endeavors!

This post is only for positive comments about Chef Otawka. If you have anything negative to say, please do so on our Reactions post.

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Congratulations, Chef Heather Terhune

Congratulations to Chef Heather Terhune for turning out a delicious dessert that impressed Tom, Padma, and the gang. It's her first solo win, and she's obviously very determined to go all the way - but will she? Stay tuned!

This post is only for positive comments about Chef Terhune. If you have anything negative to say, please do so on our Reactions post.

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Reactions to Top Chef Texas Episode 6

This week, the cheftestants were still in Dallas, using Le Cordon Bleu as their home kitchen. For the Quickfire Challenge, renowned Chef Dean Fearing and Padma tasked them to put a spin on five famous mother sauces: Velouté, Hollandaise, Espagnole, Tomate, and Bechamel. With 90 minutes to cook and the promise of immunity in the next challenge, the chefs were up to the task, with the best performance coming from Grayson, who made a beautiful hollandaise.

The Elimination Challenge involved steak, and lots of it. The cheftestants were to act as one team and serve 200 guests at the Cattle Baron's Ball, held at the Southfork Ranch. Two of four courses had to include steak in some form, and Ty-lor, who had worked in a steakhouse for two years, took the reins for the entrée course. Unfortunately, while prepping some bone marrow, he poked a hole in his paw with an oyster knife and ended up spending the night in the ER.

The next day, on an hour sleep, he seared steaks on the grill and put them aside for other team members to fire. Unfortunately, Ed put them in to cook a bit too early, so some steaks ended up on the well side of medium, while others didn't get cooked enough. But that wasn't the worst problem of the evening - Whitney, from whom we've heard nary a peep so far, managed to coax out nothing but raw potatoes in 6 hours of cooking, which earned her the boot. And Heather gets the win for successfully making a cake that she had also made for the Quinceanara challenge. From Ed's recipe. Hmm.

What did you think of this episode? Please leave a comment!

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Top Chef Texas Episode 6 Previews

Click here for preview one.
Click here for preview two.

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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

First Look at Bryan Voltaggio’s New Lunchbox, New Top Chef Texas Judge Revealed, and Richie Farina Does Molecular Chicken Noodle Soup

Here's an opening day report, with great photos, from blogger Ryan at GrubGrade about Bryan Voltaggio's new Lunchbox, where the sandwiches are an affordable $5, the apples are free, and to-go orders come in a disposable lunchbox.

Curious about what brother Michael Voltaggio is doing at his West Coast lunch spot, LA Weekly and The Amateur Gourmet weigh in with more great pics, happy with what they taste but both noting that the affordably priced ($4-$6) sandwiches are so small you should probably order two.

In other affordable, lunch-type news, Chicagoist reports that Top Chef: Texas contestant Sarah Grueneberg is the latest "Guest Chef for Charity" (Stephanie Izard was an earlier participant) at Chicago's Falafill, where proceeds go to Greater Chicago Food Depository. Sarah's spin on falafel includes basil pesto, green beans, crispy potatoes, celery, and pickled red onion.

Craving some soup to go with your lunch? Check out Richie Farina's recipe for a molecularly inspired Chicken Noodle Soup, er, Chicken Soup Noodle, from Endless Simmer, who, instead of doing interviews with each week's auf'd Top Chef: Texas contestant promises to ask them for a recipe.

And here's news about another judge for Top Chef: Texas, scheduled to appear on the Jan. 4 episode. I'm excited! For you spoiler-averse purists, click through the link above at your own risk.

And in case you missed it on the ATC facebook page, part-time TC Texas judge and former TC Masters contender Hugh Acheson is pledging to to groom his "Hughnibrow" for a great cause, Wholesome Wave.

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Recap Roundup: Top Chef Texas Episode 5

Jordan Baker on new digs: "Padma tells them to check into their hotel and then go to the clients’ house to plan. The chefs arrive at a product placement boutique hotel, which Edward approves of 'it feels like Dallas. It’s big, it’s opulent, great views.' After spinning him in some sort of giant basket chair that’s been mounted on a Lazy Susan, they head off to Highland Park."

Minxeats on a change in venues: "This episode begins with scenes from last week's post-chili-cookoff aftermath, while Squinty Chris is still wiping tears from his face with Richie's molé-stained bandanna. Padma tells the tired cheftestants to go home and get a good night sleep because tomorrow they will be packing all of their shit into three ugly Toyota minivans and driving five hours to Dallas!"

My Monkey Could Do That on getting to know you: "Are they driving themselves? Guess so. The car ride involves getting to know each other. Ed talks about his wife, and Ty-Lor talks about his boyfriend. He has a 70’s mustache and matching sunglasses. Beverly has a ton of ink all up her arm. Weird. I would not have thought she would have tattoos. Chris has lost 70 pounds. I don’t think he looked that bad before, but apparently everyone gave him shit when he was in a magazine, so he was shamed into losing the weight."

Cliffieland offers up a gut-wrenching side-note: "Side note #2: It has been established that your gentle blogger is likely world's worst cook, having once hospitalized himself for a week with food poisoning for not knowing certain basic basics about food preparation. But did you know that in grade school his specialty was the culinary creation of a peanut butter and jelly, ketchup, raisin and Vienna sausage sandwich on white bread? (The raisins made the peanut butter taste 'crunchy,' but the Vienna sausages kept rolling around between the bread slices.) Who knew I could actually win a food competition for something like that?"

David Dust on the Elimination Challenge: "After the Quickfire, Padma announced the Elimination Challenge. The cheftestants will be going to a fancy Dallas neighborhood to cater a 'progressive party'. No, not a party of Keith Olbermann viewers, but a party that takes place in three different houses: Appetizer House, Entrée House and Dessert House."

Max the Girl on the Housewives wannabe: "First thing you have to know about Mrs. Whitman: She is a lifestyle and entertaining expert. She has written books on the subject. Cut to a series of coffee table books spread out on the kitchen island—as one does—that give the vaguest whiff of 'Self-published coffee table books of the rich and famous' (Amiright?)."

A Just Recompense on Edward's dessert: "Edward, speaking of bad backs, was doing fine until ChrisC asked him how his back was feeling, at which point it started to bother him again. Yeah, I know how that is. Edward’s making panna cotta. Oh no! Panna Cotta is right up there with risotto in the Bad News category. He figures, in spite of what the idiot clients told him about cupcakes and gummi bears, what if everyone’s expecting an elegant dessert and he goes out with a bowl of fudge? First, if your fudge is in a bowl, you’ve made it wrong. He serves cardamom scented panna cotta with cantaloupe consomme. One of the ship of fools says it looks jiggly. I guess she doesn’t know it should quiver like the inner thigh of a seventeenth century courtesan (™ Nigella Lawson). Seriously, where did they get these people? Was the object to make fun of the Dallas rich? Because they’re doing a great job of that. Better watch out, Bravo, you’re going to find yourselves running out of gas on a lonely highway somewhere."

Eater sums up the party hosts' preferences: "Each couple lays out their food preferences. Let me summarize. 'I don't like spice, cilantro, colors besides pink, adventure, surprises, using my hands, messes, Catholics, new flavors, brown and/or disabled people, the middle class, gun control, bell peppers or social responsibility. I love gummy bears, bananas and beef.' The Entree Husband (I refuse to learn their names) says his favorite type of beef is "filet." I bet it is. These people reek of ass."

Entertainment Weekly on progressive dinners: "The chefs had to split off into three groups, although it wasn't another team challenge, thank goodness. They had to cook for three couples who were having a progressive dinner party in the wealthy Dallas neighborhood Highland Park. What's a progressive dinner party? No, it's not where they serve a lot of chicken noodle soup, or have over that new foreign family from across the street. It's where they have each course -- appetizer, entree, and dessert -- at a different home. What a delightfully bourgeois custom!"

Gail Simmons for PopWatch on Chris Jones' dish: "Yes, it was a nice inspiration and a clever idea on paper but in practice it didn’t look appetizing. I don’t want to eat a cigar, that’s not something that I think is beautiful to look at. He made this ash out of cumin and herbs and spices, which again, nice idea but it ended up looking black and brown on the plate. And I don’t want to eat ash. It wasn’t delicious and it was difficult to eat at the dinner party. It was kind of stringy. The greens that he wrapped around the cigar were hard to eat because they were fibrous. It was a big portion. It wasn’t slender and easy so it felt sort of clumsy and then it was also sort of dry with that ash, on it. It needed a sauce or something. It wasn’t inedible, it just wasn’t better than what the inspiration was. So all of those things add up to him getting into his own head and not into the head of his client. Which is what we asked them to do."

CultureMob on the couples: "Team Appetizer consists of Ugly Chris, Whitney, Paul, Lindsay and Sarah. Their hosts are the kind of people that shouldn’t be allowed on TV, ie the kind of people that Bravo trades in. They don’t like bell peppers. They were thinking of having all the food pink. They think it should be easy to eat. They are not adventurous. Basically, they’re auditioning for the Real Housewives of Dallas. Team Entree consists of He-Cat, Chuy, Heather, Beverly and Nyesha, and their hosts are slightly better than the first team in that at least the husband displays a marginally likable personality. The wife should be punched in the neck. Team Dessert is Beautiful Chris, Ed, Grayson and Dakota and they definitely got the hosts with the most personality. Unfortunately, that personality is being displayed with statements like 'I’m obsessed with bananas' and 'My wedding cake was a giant gummi bear.' I can’t waste time hating on the chefs when these people are around. They’re awful. I’m having acid flashbacks to Lisa Vanderpump’s episode of Just Desserts last season."

And finally...Top Chef Refire's podcast!

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Monday, December 5, 2011

All Top Chef Mail Box Monday

Here's a great interview with the Moto boys, who cooked at the James Beard House last week.

Curious about Top Chef Masters Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger's new sitcom? Read more here.

Looking for a Christmas gift for yourself or another Top Chef friend? Check out this piece about judge Hugh Acheson's new cookbook, about how to start out Canadian and end up in the South.

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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Top Recipe - Dakota Weiss' Banana Bread Pudding, Banana Mousse and Banana Date Milkshake

For some reason, Paul Qui's brussels sprouts dish is not posted on the Bravo site, so I've substituted the dish I think came in second - Dakota's Bread Pudding.

Banana Bread Pudding, Banana Mousse and Banana Date Milkshake

Banana Mousse:
4 bananas
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 pint heavy cream
1 package gelatin, bloomed in warm water
1 cup powder sugar

Banana-Date Shake:
10 dates
3 bananas
1 can coconut milk
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup ice
1/2 cup milk

Banana Bread Pudding:
6 bananas, sliced
2 loafs French bread, torn
2 pints heavy cream
2 cups brown sugar
6 eggs
4 egg yolks
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
6 peanut butter cups, chopped
1 cup peanut butter chips

Caramel Sauce:
2 cups sugar
4 tablespoons water
1 cup heavy cream

Candied Salted Peanuts:
2 cups peanuts, roasted and salted
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon water

Banana Mousse:
1. Sauté bananas in butter, brown sugar and vanilla until soft and caramelized. Puree until smooth. Whip heavy cream to soft peaks and add powder sugar. Add gelatin and banana’s and with to medium peak. Chill until set.

Banana-Date Shake:
1. Add all ingredients into blender. Puree well.

Banana Bread Pudding:
1. Whip cream, eggs, vanilla and sugar together. Add bananas, yolks, peanut butter cups, and peanut butter chips and soak for bread in mixture 1 hour. Put entire mixture into cupcake papers and until golden brown.

Caramel Sauce:
1. Caramelize sugar with water, once it’s a deep amber color. Slowly whisk in cream.

Candied Salted Peanuts:
1. Caramelize sugar with water. Once it’s a deep amber color add peanuts. Once all peanuts are coated, cool on tray.


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Friday, December 2, 2011

All Top Chef Interview with Chuy Valencia

Top Chef Texas contestant, Chuy Valencia talks about his experience on the Bravo show.

Click here for Chuy's website and to learn more about his Chicago restaurant, Chilam Balam.

Thank you Chef Chuy!

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Bravo Exit Interview - Chuy Valencia

Check out the interview on the Bravo site.

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Congratulations, Chef Paul Qui!

Chef Qui was assigned to a group of cheftestants tasked with making appetizers for a progressive party. He chose to focus his dish on Brussels sprouts, and lucky for him, most of the party goers adored the little green orbs. The dish was a big hit with the judges as well, who awarded him the first solo win of the season.

Congrats, Chef Qui! I have a feeling you will be one to watch this season!

This post is only for positive comments about Chef Qui. If you have anything negative to say, please do so on our Reactions post.

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ATC Love to Chef Chuy Valencia

The cheftestants got to battle man-to-man-to-woman in this week's non-team Elimination Challenge. Chef Valencia was assigned to a group that was to prepare entrees for a progressive party between three neighbors in a posh Dallas neighborhood. Though the dish he chose to make - salmon and goat cheese in a corn husk - was one he had prepared before in his restaurant, it didn't work out for him this time. It must be especially hard to go when a dish is tried and true.

Sorry to see you leave so soon, Chef Chuy - your stories were entertaining and we had hoped to hear more of them in the weeks to come.

This post is only for positive comments about Chef Valencia. If you have anything negative to say, please do so on our Reactions post.

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Reactions to Top Chef Texas Episode 5

No sooner do the cheftestants finish their grueling chili cook-off than they are told to pack up and move to Dallas. The next morning, they pile into their Toyota SUVs and hit the road. Along the way, they are stopped by the highway patrol and asked to pull over in a corn field. Of course, this is all a set up and the chefs are greeted by Padma and New Orleans chef John Besh.

The Quickfire Challenge was to create the best possible dish from survival kits stored in the back of their SUVs. With no tools and only portable burners, the chefs set about crafting top quality dishes with dried and canned items. While none of the food looked particularly good, Whitney, Dakota, and Chris J. were singled out as producing especially bad dishes. On the positive side, Edward's Thai peanut soup was well received, Chuy was commended for his clever use of canned chiles, and Lindsey was complimented for her Vienna sausage soup. Ultimately, the $5,000 and immunity went to Lindsey.

For the Elimination Challenge, the chefs were asked to put on a progressive dinner party in the exclusive Dallas neighborhood of Hyland Park. Five chefs would create appetizers at one resident's home, another five chefs would make entrees at a different home, and the remaining four chefs would produce desserts at yet another home. After meeting with the home owners and getting a sense of their likes and dislikes, the chefs dashed off to Whole Foods for 30 minutes of shopping. Then it was back to their respective houses for two hours of cooking.

In keeping with the progressive dinner party concept, the guests and judges moved from house to house sampling all the dishes. Then the judges had to deliberate. Appetizers and desserts were the stars of the challenge since the top four included appetizers by Sara and Paul, and desserts by Grayson and Dakota. In the end, Paul's roasted, crispy brussel sprouts won the day.

Entrees were the big losers with Ty-Lor and Chuy landing in the bottom. The one underperforming dessert came from Chris C. who made a bad cupcake with too many add-ons, and one ill-conceived appetizer from Chris J. The chef who was sent packing was Chuy for his overcooked salmon.

What did you think of last night's episode? Leave your comments below.

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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Top Chef Texas Episode 5 Previews

Click here for Preview 1
Click here for Preview 2.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Recap Roundup - Top Chef Texas Episode 4

Minxeats on the Quickfire: "This week we had both Battle Chile-with-an-E and Battle Chili-with-an-I. For the Quickfire, the cheftestants had to chose a variety of chile pepper and create a dish around it. For their convenience, there was a tote board listing the heat factor of each variety available, presented in Scoville units, along with the potential monetary value--if the chef used that particular chile in a winning dish--presented in dollars. Sensibly, the hotter the chile, the more money a chef could win."

Jordan Baker on 24: "Back. 10:48 p.m. The chefs are getting tired. Edward knocks a wine bottle against the wall to get out the cork. Some people jump into the pool. Chuy dances. Chuy tells stories. Chuy gets pantsed. 1:16 a.m. 3:08 a.m. The black team is finished with their chili. Nyesha thinks they’ve made something special. The white team is determined to stay up. Ty-Lor is sleeping with his eyes open. At 5;12, Sarah jumps in the shower."

A Just Recompense on the Quickfire winner: "Paul is the only one to take the ghost chili; he wants to impress the judges (or kill them, depending on how it works out). He serves chilled coconut soup with kaffir lime and ghost pepper relish. Padma asks if he chose the ghost pepper for the money; he says yes, but also to show his skill. The judges give him no feedback, so he’s worried. But he wins. The dish was delicious, and they love that he went for the ghost pepper. He wins $20,000 and immunity."

Max the Girl on tears: "Then Beverly cries again. (Obviously, Beverly crying at random intervals will be a recurring theme this entire season.) She cried at the Quinceañera because her father wasn’t there. Now she is crying at the rodeo, because. . . her husband isn’t there. 'There’s no crying in cooking,' Nyesha says. (Which also might explain how Tom C. kept such a poker face after being completely emasculated by Padma.)"

Cliffieland on quotation marks: Well, here's where it gets 'interesting.' And by 'interesting' I mean 'sadistic.' After having stayed up all night cooking chili and stressing out for hours over serving it and being judged ... and having to endure a show of animal testicle shocking (known in local parlance as 'a rodeo'), the three bottom chefs are charged with taking their 'losing' chili and repurposing it as something else."

Entertainment Weekly on Chris C.'s comparison: "Padma took to the center of the pit on a horse, prompting Chris Crary to deliver the quote of the night. He said, 'Seeing Padma on a horse is like seeing Fabio on the cover of one of his romance novels with his hair blowing in the wind. It's just pure beauty.' WHAT??!!"

Gail Simmons for PopWatch on the sudden-death cookoff: "I think [the elimination round] went as well as it could have. The reason we did it was very specific. It wasn’t just to be a–holes. It really was because when you cook chili, it is such a complex, cohesive one-pot meal that it’s very hard to then differentiate what everyone’s jobs were. So, instead of going through and listening to them describe what they did, we decided, in order to keep the playing field fair, we’d give them one more chance. They cooked all together as a team for the chili, but in order to figure out who the right person was to go home, we had them cook individually."

CultureMob on all-night-cooking: "The chefs are, for the most part, deciding to stay up all night and cook their chili. Chuy gets drunk and boasts about how muscular he was when he graduated high school. He looks like he’s about 15, so I can’t imagine that was all that long ago."

My Monkey Could Do That hates team challenges: "For the Elimination challenge, we are having a chili cook-off. Interesting. Everyone gets a pot, because of course there are teams. WHY?!?! I don’t want to have team challenges all the damn time. I mean, none would be boring, and I won’t pretend I don’t like the drama, but if you’re going to have a team challenge every week then it’s obvious you’re only doing it in hopes of a fight. And it does get really boring."

Foodie Buddha offers this weeks culinary definitions, for your reading pleasure.

Don't forget to check Top Chef Refire's podcast!

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