Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Top Chef Texas Finale Part 3 Previews

Click here to watch the first video.
Click here to watch the second video.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Recap Roundup - Top Chef Texas Finale Part 2

Minxeats on Beverly: "It's really funny how many times the ghost of Beverly comes up in this episode. While the judges are waiting for their food, Gail cracks wise about a special 'Last Chance Finale Kitchen' that Tom has to rush off to so Beverly could get back into the competition again. Emeril then says he thinks she's there already, hiding under the table."

A Just Recompense on no vegans allowed: "Paul is hoping to make something you think is cold but when you eat it, it’s hot. I don’t know what that means, but it sounds clever. Paul finds 'essential oils' to make snow. Hugh notes in his blog: 'Paul is pulling the claws off live lobsters. This will make the animal rights people really happy.' I love Hugh. You know, when Tiffani Faisson chopped a lobster in half and tossed it into a screaming hot skillet in the Season 1 semi-final, the blogosphere roared with outrage. I’m guessing Paul’s crustacean dispatch will go without comment, the difference being we could actually see Tiffani’s lobster twitching in the hot pan. And we like Paul. We like Tiffani now, post All-Stars, but not then."

Jordan Baker on something I missed completely: "Padma congratulates Paul on moving on to the finale, and on winning a trip to Costa Rica 'where you can experience what it’s like to source some of the world’s best fair trade coffee.' Because that’s what people want to do on a vacation."

Max the Girl on that weird name game: "I’m not saying that the final 3 are a little dull, I’m just saying that they showed them playing a word association game in the car ride to Vancouver. (And did anyone catch the rules to this game? Steven Seagal leads to Sammy Hagar which leads to Q-Tip which leads to Barbara Bush? Was it the “washed up celebrities of the 80s' name game? Or perhaps just the 'blurt out any celebrity’s name you can think of' game?)"

Eater on something completely unrelated to Top Chef but funny as heck: "Our contestants have survived the cold of whistler and and the heat of Texas, so they are throwing a 'Fire and Ice' cocktail party. Is this related to the chain of "Mongolian grills" called Fire and Ice? I only went to one once, in the mall near where I went to college. The concept was you picked out your proteins, vegetables, and sauces from a salad bar, then you handed it to some dude to cook on a griddle for you. I was dining with a bunch of strangers, and while picking out my sauce, I tasted the habanero jerk sauce with my finger. Then I went to use the bathroom and THINGS were touched. I came back to the dinner and my crotch was on fire. I kept going back to the bathroom to try and splash water down my pants. It was a really fun meal, and one I remember fondly."

Entertainment Weekly on the Quickfire: "The chefs met Padma and Emeril in Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie where masters of Asian cuisine Anita Lo, Floyd Cardoz, and Takashi Yagihashi were waiting for them. The chefs were each paired with one of the masters for a tag-team Quickfire Challenge in which the chef and master had to take turns cooking a dish one at a time in 10-minute intervals. The winner stood to win a whopping $20,000. Sarah crossed her fingers for Takashi, who does seem crazy awesome, but Paul drew his name instead. Lindsay drew Anita and Sarah got Floyd. Best name ever for a grown man, not a great name for a baby."

Gail Simmons for PopWatch on Lindsay's final dish: "It’s interesting, when I first [tasted] Lindsay’s dish I actually really liked [it]. Then, when we started taking apart each component — because that’s what you have to do finalize whose [dish] is better — we realized that while each individual component was good [and] she didn’t make any mistakes, there wasn’t a lot of creativity. [Her dish] wasn’t as interesting as the other two, we didn’t feel she pushed herself in terms of the concept as much. There were also a lot of different things in the dish that didn’t necessarily go well together, even if they were individually well done. As a whole we didn’t think it completely came together. I thought [the tomato ice] was a really good idea, but she sort of put it separately and [it] didn’t serve a purpose in that way. So, the ice component of her dish was completely removed from everything else. It just felt like it was a bunch of disparate pieces instead of being a really cohesive plate of food. Her cocktail was certainly the least creative, the most ordinary. It was basically a Bloody Mary, which I can make myself at home. I can think of those flavors, they’re very common, classic flavors, whereas the other two contestants made cocktails that were interesting, especially paired to their dishes, and really creative. Not that her cocktail was what sent her home, but it all plays in. I really liked her celery root salad. I thought it was a little bit fiery. It was hotter than the other two. Unfortunately, in terms of choosing from the three, [Lindsay's dish] was just the least interesting and overall the least compelling."

My Monkey Could Do That on Tom's "bitch hat": "Tom time! Paul is making his soup, which will be poured over 'lemon snow' tableside so it will all melt together. Tom cruelly asks him why he didn’t win the Quickfire, and Paul says it’s just that Lindsay and Sarah just made better dishes. Lindsay has halibut (served hot) over some kind of salad (served cold). And tomato granita. Tom…I think Tom has his bitch hat on today. He reminds Lindsay about Restaurant Wars, and how Beverly overcooked her fish, and then says it seemed like it was overcooked because that’s how Lindsay told her to do it. Ha!"

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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Top Recipe: Paul Qui's King Crab with Sunchoke Chips, Lobster Broth and Lemon Snow; Cocktail: "The Pan Am" (Kaffir Lime, Thai Chilis and Rum)

King Crab with Sunchoke Chips, Lobster Broth and Lemon Snow 

4 lobsters
2 pounds king crab
2 ounces pernod
1/2 cup fennel, small diced
1/2 cup onion, small diced
1/2 cup celery, small diced
1/2 cup carrot, small diced
1/2 cup tomato, small diced
1 tablespoon ground dried Thai chili
2 ounces Thai red curry paste
1 lemongrass stalk, minced
2 cups clarified butter
1/4 pound butter
1 cup coconut cream
100 grams tapioca maltodextrin
1 grams lemon essential oil
10 grams grape seed oil
1/2 cup sunchokes
Crème fraiche, as needed
2 lemons, zested and juiced
Olive oil, as needed
Salt, to taste
Arugula, garnish

While alive, split the lobsters into heads and tails. Split the heads in half and rip off the knuckles and claws. Steam the claws for 6 minutes and the tails for 5 minutes. Shock in ice water, shell and cut into bite size pieces. Reserve. Clean king crab, cut into bite size pieces and reserve. Once ready to plate, warm king crab and lobster in 1 cup of clarified butter. Rip the crown off the head and scrape the gills of with a spoon. Cut the lobster bodies into 8 pieces and place under running water until the water runs clear. Once the lobster bodies are flushed, strain off excess water and shake dry.

In a rondeau roast lobster bodies on med/high in 1 cup clarified butter until golden brown and caramelized. Remove lobster bodies and strain off excess butter.

Deglaze with pernod and scrape rondeau. Add excess butter back in and saute red curry and dried Thai chilis in clarified butter on medium. Add vegetables and cook until soft. Once all the vegetable are really soft almost mush, add the lobster bodies back in the rondeau and fill with water until the bodies are completely submerged. Simmer for 2.5 hours, add lemongrass in the last 30 minutes. Season to taste. Blend the stock with the lobster shells, mirapoix, whole butter and coconut cream and strain thorough a chinois. Keep hot and reserve.

Cut sunchokes on a mandolin into chip size thickness and fry in oil at 300 degrees Fahrneheit until crispy.

Dilute 1 gram of lemon essential oil into 10 grams of grapeseed oil. Mix in 100 grams of tapioca maltodextrin and season with salt to taste. Freeze in liquid nitrogen to make ‘snow.’

Place a swoop of crème fraiche in a bowl. Place 2 pieces of crab and 2 pieces of lobster in a bowl. Place a few pieces of arugula and a stack of sunchoke chips. Drizzle with olive oil, lemon zest and lemon juice. Place lemon ‘snow’ in the bowl and serve. Pour lobster broth table side.

Pan Am Cocktail
1 quart water
1 quart sugar
2 ounces kaffir lime leaves
1 stalk of lemongrass
1 ounce ginger
2 ounces Thai chilies
(1 part) light rum
(1 part) lime juice
5 grams versawhip

Combine all the ingredients (except versawhip) in a pot and bring to a simmer, until sugar dissolves.

For foam, Take 1 quart of syrup and whip in a kitchen aid with 5 grams of versawhip until shaving foam consistency.

© 2012 PAUL QUI

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Friday, February 24, 2012

All Top Chef Interview with Lindsay Autry

ATC: Congratulations on your very strong showing.

LA: Thank you.

ATC: Which was your favorite challenge?

LA: Charlize Theron. That was the first time that we got to cook our own food without a lot of limitations and also without being on a team.

ATC: Who was your best friend from the cast?

LA: I keep in touch with a lot of the chefs. I talk to Sarah a lot, and Whitney and Chris Jones. I keep in touch with a lot of them.

ATC: You won some money on the show, have you received your check yet?

LA: Not yet, but I did win $20,000 altogether which will pay some bills, and maybe I can take a vacation.

Click here to continue.

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Bravo Exit Interview - Lindsay Autry

Watch the interview here.

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

ATC Love to Chef Lindsay Autry

Chef Lindsay Autry was a fierce competitor through the whole of Top Chef Season 9 and made it all the way to the Final Three. Unfortunately, this year there is yet another finale round and Lindsay didn't make the cut. Her halibut dish, while perfectly cooked, seemed a bit scattered to the judges, who decided that her time on Top Chef needed to end now.

Chef Autry, you should be proud of your accomplishments and we wish you much luck, happiness, and love in your future.

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

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Congratulations, Chef Paul Qui!

Just when it started to look like Chef Paul Qui was going to be eliminated for a piece of arugula, he ends up winning the challenge and a trip for two to Costa Rica! What more can we say but "congratulations yet again!"

And..."good luck next week!"

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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Reactions to Top Chef Texas Finale Part Two

The endless road show that is Top Chef Texas takes its act to Vancouver. After checking into the Fairmont Hotel, the remaining cheftestants headed over to Chinatown and the Bao Bei restaurant. There they were greeted by Padma and Emeril Lagasse, along with Top Chef Masters Anita Lo, Floyd  Cardoz, and Takashi Yagihashi. The cheftestants drew knives to be paired up with a master. Lindsay drew Anita Lo; Sarah drew Floyd Cardoz, and Paul drew Takashi Yagihashi. The Quickfire was to create an Asian-inspired dish in 40 minutes, but the cheftestant had to alternate cooking chores with his Top Chef Master every 10 minutes.

The Masters go first, setting up a dish that they hope their partners can follow. After 40 minutes of back and forth, the chefs present their dishes. The team of Sarah and Floyd Cardoz take the win with a pan-seared cod in a curry sauce. Sarah walked away with $20,000, bringing her total for the competition to $30,000, all of which was won in Canada.

For the Elimination Challenge, the three chefs had to prepare a dish and a cocktail for 150 guests at a Fire and Ice Cocktail Party. The dish had to incorporate a fiery element and a cold element. They had 45 minutes to shop with a budget of $1,500 and five hours to cook. The winner of the challenge would win a trip for two to Costa Rica.

Paul's King Crab in Lobster Broth was well received, but Tom felt the arugula was an afterthought. Taking a second chance with halibut, Lindsay was more successful this time, pairing it with celery root remoulade and tomato ice. However, her kale was raw and her cocktail (a spin on a Bloody Mary) seemed flat. Sarah made cannelloni with five greens over which she put a frozen spicy mousse that was supposed to melt and create a sauce. Unfortunately, the anti-griddle made the mousse too hard and it never melted. Despite Sarah's mishap with the mousse, she was allowed to stay on for the finale. Paul won the challenge and Lindsay was sent packing.

So what did you think? Should Lindsay have been the one to go? Was Paul the stand out? Share your thoughts below.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Top Chef Texas Finale Part 2 Preview

Click here to watch preview 1
Click here to watch preview 2

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Congratulations, James Beard Finalists!

Several past Top Cheftestants from both the mothership and Top Chef Masters have been nominated for 2012 James Beard awards. Congratulations and good luck to:

Master Jody Adams, Rialto, Cambridge, MA
Master Tony Mantuano, Spiaggia, Chicago
Season 6 Kevin Gillespie, Woodfire Grill, Atlanta
Season 4 Stephanie Izard, Girl & the Goat, Chicago
Season 6 Bryan Voltaggio, Volt, Frederick, MD
Master Wylie Dufresne, wd~50, New York
Master Anita Lo, Annisa, New York
Master George Mendes, Aldea, New York
Master Jonathan Waxman, Barbuto, New York
Master Naomi Pomeroy, Beast, Portland, OR
Master Michael Chiarello, Bottega, Yountville, CA
Master Michael Cimarusti, Providence, Los Angeles
Master John Rivera Sedlar, Rivera, Los Angeles
Master Hugh Acheson, Five and Ten, Athens, GA
Season 9 Edward Lee, 610 Magnolia, Louisville, KY
Season 5 Jeff Mcinnis, Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, Miami Beach, Fl
Season 9 Paul Qui, Uchi, Austin, TX

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Recap Roundup - Top Chef Texas Finale Part One

Jordan Baker on the chefs' chatter about Bev: "That night, Sarah and Paul have a confab in one of the bedrooms, and talk about how much it would suck to end up in the last competition, and how they can’t underestimate Beverly. 'Beverly has already been eliminated once,' Sarah tells us. 'She has nothing to lose at this point. Now, Beverly is ready, she’s focused, she is that silent horse. She wants to be meek and timid and people don’t see her. And then she likes to attack like a tiger.'

"That is like a festival of mixed metaphors right there."

A Just Recompense took notes: "I have notes about everyone playing Sharon Stone and chopping through ice blocks FOR A HALF HOUR FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE to get at ingredients frozen therein; about Padma teasing Beverly about who she’s envisioning when she rips into that ice; about Paul beating Beverly to the ice block containing the crab legs, but helping the two women by smashing the ice blocks on the ground for them (which did little good, but it was still a nice gesture); about Sarah using frozen cream that separated but was rescued by blending her soup; about Paul winning, thank God, leaving the final match-up the producers were going to get no matter what anyone cooked: Beverly and Sarah."

Minxeats on the "Culinary" Games: "Paul, Sarah, and Bev must then compete in what might be the stupidest and most dangerous event in Top Chef history. All of their raw ingredients are frozen into giant blocks of ice which they must remove with the aid of ice picks. Tom provides the soundbite,"flash-frozen food is the next best thing to fresh," and I'm surprised that he doesn't add a plug for Healthy Choice or Schwann's or maybe his own brand of pre-packaged comestibles. (I'm thinking that a kid-friendly dish of hoop-shaped pasta--ColicchiOs--with either mini meatballs or chunks of hot dog, could be a big hit.) The chefs have one hour to retrieve their food and cook, outdoors, in the cold. Presumably medics are standing nearby with such necessities as frostbite medication and bourbon."

Max the Girl on bad dreams: "They meet Padma at the top of another mountain. 'Oh my God, she has a gun,' Sarah says when she sees Padma. (I had a nightmare like this once—except it was both Heidi Klum and Padma with guns and for some reason I was dressed in bearskins)."

Eater on cooking in gondolas: "All four chefs are nauseous: Paul because of motion sickness, Beverly because of her fear of heights, and Sarah and Lindsay because of their new haircuts. Do these gondola lifts normally have mini-kitchens in them? Is that very popular in Whistler, British Columbia? I will be honest: I have never skied, so maybe people love deglazing chorizo with prune juice on their way back up the slopes. 'What's the salmon belly situation in our gondola lift?' That is a question skiers frequently ask before booking their lift tickets."

Entertainment Weekly on bias: "Beverly didn't find many of the Asian ingredients she needed in the Whistler Conference Center kitchen, while Sarah found plenty of the 'Germanic' and Italian ingredients that suited her style of cooking. After a season full of racial undertones, in which Heather and Sarah repeatedly implied that rustic Western food is more creative and worthy than Asian food, I couldn't help but think that the lack of Asian ingredients available in this crucial challenge created a cultural bias that favored Sarah. Beverly has been forced to cook Western food several times in this competition, which is totally fair as most of the season took place in Texas; but for all her bellyaching, Sarah was never once forced to cook Asian food. Sorry to make it an ethnic issue, but Sarah and Heather are the ones who made it an issue first. I can't get rid of the image of Heather patronizing Beverly by spitting at her, "I said rustic American food, not Asian." I hope this gets addressed at the Reunion."

Gail Simmons for PopWatch on Bev's gondola dish: "I thought it was very smart of Beverly [to do a cold dish]. There was nowhere in the rules where we said they couldn’t. They’re in the middle of winter [and] doing something cold is just one less thing to worry about, but just because it was cold doesn’t mean it was easy. [To make] a really great tartar, you have to take a lot of things into account. There’s a lot of really serious knife work that needs to happen to make a good tartar. Every piece needs to be the perfect little brunoise, and on a moving gondola, that’s not an easy thing to do. You also have to season very differently when things are cold, because things taste differently at different temperatures, and when things are warm, the flavor comes out much more. When they’re cold, you need to season more aggressively and carefully so that you can actually really taste the flavor of the food, and Beverly did that really, really well."

My Monkey Could Do That on ice breakers: "One hour to chip your stuff out. Paul beats Beverly to the crab legs. Then he gets lucky and throws his block on the ground to bust it all open. Beverly is using a frying pan, which I don’t think is going to work. Also I think she broke the pan. Paul eventually tells Beverly to be careful. Then, because Paul is awesome, he starts helping the girls break the other ice blocks open. I guess they’re not strong enough to lift the blocks high enough to dash them on the ground? Paul says it’s about the food, not about how many ice blocks you can chip. ARE YOU LISTENING PRODUCERS?"

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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Top Recipe - Lindsay Autry's Seared Salmon over Red Quinoa “Risotto” with Chorizo

Seared Salmon over Red Quinoa “Risotto” with Chorizo

2 6- ounce salmon filets, skin on
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 sprig rosemary
Salt and pepper, to taste

Quinoa Risotto:
1/2 cup red quinoa
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups vegetable stock
4 ounces chorizo
1 small yellow onion, small dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup tomato puree
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon crème fraiche
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped fine
Salt and pepper, to taste

6 parsley leaves
1 celery stalk, peeled into ribbons
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 teaspoon horseradish
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt, to taste

1. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Season the salmon with salt & pepper.
2. Add the olive oil to the pan. Carefully place the salmon, skin side down in the oil. Allow the salmon to cook only on the skin side, gently spooning some of the oil over the salmon as it cooks. Continue cooking over moderate heat for 5 minutes. Add the butter and rosemary sprig, continually basting the fish.
3. Once the butter begins to brown, turn off the heat and flip the salmon over.
4. Place salmon over the risotto and top with celery salad.

Quinoa Risotto:
1. Heat a small sauce pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil and quinoa, stir constantly to toast for 3 minutes.
2. Carefully add the vegetable stock. Reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes, or until 3/4 of liquid is absorbed. Set aside.
3. Heat a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add the chorizo and render slowly, breaking it apart with a wooden spoon, 3 minutes.
4. Add the garlic and onions to the chorizo and cook for another 3 minutes.
5. Add tomato puree, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes, to bring all of the flavors together into a sauce. Add the red quinoa and any liquid into the pot. Continue cooking for 10 minutes, gradually adding more stock if the quinoa is not tender.
6. Stir in the butter, crème fraiche and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

1. Combine lemon zest, lemon juice and horseradish in a mixing bowl. Gradually whisk in the olive oil and season with salt.
2. Toss the celery ribbons and parsley in the vinaigrette and place on top of salmon.

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Friday, February 17, 2012

All Top Chef Interview with Beverly Kim

Top Chef Texas contestant, Beverly Kim talks about the finale.

A highlight:

ATC: I am sure that you never expected that you would have to shoot a gun and ski and cook in the freezing cold. Did you think that was fair?

BK: I knew that it was going to be hard. I had no idea we would be in the "Culinary Olympics" at Whistler. But whatever they were going to throw at us, I was ready. I signed up for it.

So, I mean, I wish I could have been in the kitchen where I had everything I needed to work with. But you know Top Chef is all about twists and turns and how you overcome them. Basically it is a game and you have to overcome the challenges.

Click here to read the entire interview.

Thank you Chef Beverly!

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Bravo Exit Interview - Beverly Kim

Click here to watch the video.

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

ATC Love to Chef Beverly Kim

This week Chef Beverly Kim showed her stuff; she battled like a tiger for a spot in the finale, and came very close, but lost it to Sarah in the third event of the Culinary Games.

Chef Kim - you are an amazing competitor, fighting your way back from initial elimination, beating three chefs in the Last Chance Kitchen, and giving your all this week. Once again we're very sorry to see you go. May your culinary future be bright.

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

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Reactions to Top Chef Texas Finale Part 1

This week, the four remaining cheftestants - Beverly, Paul, Lindsay, and Sarah - gathered in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada for the first round of the finale. Padma and Tom met them at the top of a mountain at Whistler, a ski resort that was a location for the 2010 Olympic Games, to stage a culinary version in three events.

For the first event, the four chefs each had to cook in a moving gondola. Lindsay took that one, earning a 10K cash prize and a guaranteed spot in the finales. The second event involved removing ingredients frozen in blocks of ice and cooking outdoors. Paul took that one. And for event three, Sarah and Bev had to ski and shoot for their supper. While both dishes were close, Sarah's emerged victorious, and Beverly was sent home yet again.

The previews made it sound like there will be TWO more finale episodes...what do you think of THAT? (Personally, I think one is enough.) Please leave comments!

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Top Chef Texas Finale Part 1 Preview

Apparently it was a wee bit windy at Whistler.
Click here to watch the first video.
Click here to watch the second video.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Recap Roundup - Top Chef Texas Episode 14

Jordan Baker on Ed: "Ed being gone is ridiculous. Ree goddamn diculous. He’s been a standout since the very beginning – and I mean literally the beginning – he’s the only one of the remaining contestants I even remember as an individual from the play-in rounds. And his performance has been fairly solid throughout – I have to qualify that, because I checked online and he’s actually been in the bottom more times than I’d thought. But still. His food has been memorable, he's been a good team player and a solid workhorse, and (and it's pathetic that this makes him an exception in this season), he's never tried to fob his problems off as someone else's fault. I declare him Top Ed."

Minxeats on Quickfire prizes: " The winner of the challenge gets a choice between a brand new Prius V or a guaranteed spot in the final Final Four. You know, I've seen so many commercials for those damn Priuses (Prii?) that it is now officially on my list of 'Wouldn't Buy if It Were the Last Automobile on Earth,' along with anything the hosts of Top Gear call a 'Supah-Cah.'"

Max the Girl on mentors: "For reasons not quite made clear, this turns into an enormous blubberfest. Paul in particular really needs to get a hold of himself. Both he and his mentor—Tyson Cole—are doing some serious Stage 5 ugly crying. Also, did anyone else get the sense that Bev’s mentor:
a. Barely knows her? b. Doesn’t really like her that much?

Here’s the challenge: Make a dish that will make your mentor proud. (Except for you, Sarah.)

Sarah’s mentor—Tony Mantuano (I also hear he’s a helluva disco dancer)—is there, too, but just for show. They end up going to the Golden Corral for dinner."

A Just Recompense on being blindfolded: "It’s kind of funny watching them stumble all over each other in the pantry. Sarah keeps demanding to know who is touching her; she must know it’s Beverly. Edward tells her it doesn’t matter, it’s another person, that’s all she needs to know, but we all know it does matter. People get lost. People walk into things. Something brown and gross is dripping from Beverly’s basket. Paul is trying to find a lemon. Edward is trying to figure out what a package of cryovac’d meat is. Sarah says she’s making a stew so she can only spend five minutes getting ingredients: “No way I’m losing to Beverly.” Girl, your bitterness is showing. What, were you beaten by a tiny Asian woman when you were a child or something? Sarah finishes shopping first, then Lindsay; Edward is last."

Eater on guess who's back? "Ed, Sarah, Paul, and Lindsay arrive at the kitchen to find five cloches. Ed realizes there are four chefs and five cloches, and I realize how much I hate having to hear the word 'cloches.' I say 'buenos cloches, mi amor.' Everybody's got bets on who's coming back, and Tom reveals that Beverly defeated Grayson (and a few others) to return to the Top Chef kitchen. She is extremely excited (spastic), but she does not receive a warm welcome. Sarah is mad both because she doesn't like Beverly and because she lost a bet to Ed about who would come back. Beverly now has to give Ed a pack a cigarettes and a banana. Cool bet! Sarah says that 'sounds like a fun night.' What do you mean, Sarah? If I get your drift, and I think I do, the idea of you having sex with a banana and chain-smoking cigarettes all night is one of the least fun things I can imagine."

Entertainment Weekly on Beverly's dish: "It was nice to see the chefs take some big risks to do their mentors proud. Beverly cooked her dish on a wok, which was a bold move because woks force you to cook to order, and very quickly. She ended up having to flash her gulf shrimp with barbecue pork and Singapore noodles at the last minute. She didn't think the presentation would impress the judges, but she cooked 'straight from the heart,' which her mentor Sarah Stegner would appreciate. Sarah Stegner loved the heat and the flavors and pointed out that the shrimp was cooked perfectly. Tom noted that cooking in a wok for so many people is quite difficult and risky because you can't go back and re-season the food."

Gail Simmons for PopWatch on Ed's dish: "Ed’s dish was a different story. Everything in his dish was cooked well—the meat, that beautiful crispy pig skin. The pickles were outstanding. But his addition of that creamy smoked oyster sauce changed the entire dish and in fact, made a piece of that dish, for me, inedible. All of us found it really unappealing. He had an idea for a dish and he went to the store with that idea in his brain and couldn’t get off of it even when he discovered that he couldn’t use fresh products. He compromised the integrity of his dish by using smoked canned oysters. Smoked oysters have a purpose. My uncle smokes his own oysters and cans them and they’re delicious when they’re used properly. But here they take on a very synthetic smokey flavor and that smoke flavor overpowers everything. It was just completely unnecessary and detrimental, which is really unfortunate. That doesn’t mean we don’t think Ed is fantastic and an amazing chef. We know that he is outstanding [but] this wasn’t his day. He went down a road that he couldn’t turn back from and unfortunately it cost him elimination."

My Monkey Could Do That on reactions: "They let Beverly move back into the house and she unpacks for some reason. Why? Even if you make it, you’ll be moving after this challenge. Beverly insists on making everyone tell her if they were excited to see her, and I can see why they don’t like her. I mean, she doesn’t deserve to be bullied or to have Sarah talk to her like she’s five years old, but maybe some consideration of other people. They probably were not happy to see you. I mean, Ed tells her they were all excited because they thought they were in the final four, and they cut to Beverly with her fork halfway to her mouth, looking shocked like she can’t believe it. Duh, another person to compete against is not going to be welcome no matter what."

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Top Chef Boston, a New Top Chef Spinoff, and More Voltaggio TV?

We previously shared reports that Seattle is in the running as the location for Top Chef Season 10. Now we hear Boston is courting the Top Chef producers. Since the show has turned into a pay-to-play venture, Eater Philly bemoans that its city is too broke to be a contender. But they have some wry ideas for Top Chef Philadelphia challenges.

Michelle Obama took her “Let’s Move” campaign to Dallas last week, where she was joined by Tom Colicchio and TC alums Richard Blais, Fabio Viviani, Jenn Carroll, Spike Mendelsohn, Grayson Schmitz, and Paul Qui. Turns out the event was included in filming for a new Top Chef spinoff dubbed “Life After Chef,” reports Pegasus News.

Maryland Public TV recently aired a half-hour program with Bryan Voltaggio called “Obsessed With Everything Food.” Now Baltimore Fishbowl reports the program is a pilot for a new series by Voltaggio is pitching. You can find the trailer here.

If you're still hungry for reality TV, check out this casting call from Top Chef producers the Magical Elves, who are looking for "a select group of drivers – teams of two with an open-mind, strong personality and a hunger for adventure – to take the wheel of the first all-electric vehicle from Ford." Unsurprisingly, the winning team will receive said all-electric vehicle, a Ford Focus Electric.

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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Top Recipe: Paul Qui's Chilled Sunchoke Dashi Soup with Vegetables

Chilled Sunchoke Dashi Soup with Vegetables

1 pound peeled sunchokes, sliced thin
1/4 cup green onion whites; reserve greens
1/8 cup leek whites
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 quart dashi stock
1/8 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon butter
Salt, to taste

1 cup bonito flakes
1 quart water
1 small piece of kombu

1 baguette

Prosciutto Tuile:
2 slices prosciutto

Vegetable Garnish:
Squash, ribbons
Cucumber, cubed seeds
Zucchini, ribbons
Carrot greens
Carrots, ribbons

Crème Fraiche:
1 cup crème fraiche
1 lemon, zest
1 garlic clove, grated

Sweat green onions (whites) and leeks on medium heat in butter and add sunchokes, season with salt to taste. Add cream and simmer sunchokes until tender. Add dashi and simmer. Finish with buttermilk and take off heat, chill and puree blanched green onion greens.

1. Bring water and kombu to a simmer and remove kombu, turn off heat add bonito and steep for 2 minutes and strain.

1. Pull apart a baguette and dry in an oven

Prosciutto Tuile:

1. Press slices of prosciutto between 2 sheet pans and bake in an oven at 280 degrees Fahrenheit until cripsy.

Crème Fraiche:
1. Combine all ingredients and mix well.

1. Place ‘vegetable garnish’ in a bowl. Pour sunchoke dashi and garnish with prosciutto and croutons.

© 2012 PAUL QUI
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Friday, February 10, 2012

All Top Chef Interview with Edward Lee

Chef Ed Lee talks about his experience on the Bravo Show.

Click here
to learn more about his restaurant, 610 Magnolia.

Click below to listen to the podcast.

Thank you Chef Lee!

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Bravo Exit Interview - Edward Lee

Click here to watch the interview.

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

ATC Love to Chef Edward Lee

After making it to the Final Four....then the Final Five....Chef Edward Lee ends up not making it into the Final Final Four because he chose to use canned smoked oysters in his dish. Without that element to his Mentor Dinner dish, he may well have won this contest. But now we'll never know.

Chef Lee - you have been an amazing competitor all season long, and we've been cheering for you. May you have continued success with 610 Magnolia and any and all future endeavors.

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

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Congratulations, Chef Paul Qui!

And again, Chef Paul Qui is the winner of an Elimination Challenge! Though he made a simple soup (actually, nothing is simple with Paul), the judges loved it and he definitely made his mentor proud.

Paul, I think the world will be disappointed if you don't win this thing now. Good luck in the finale!

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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Reactions to Top Chef Texas Episode 14

Well, the season-long hype about Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen built to its big conclusion. The chef who fought her way back into the competition was...Beverly! Okay, now that we can all start breathing again, let's get on with the Quickfire Challenge.

The cheftestants had 30 minutes to raid the Top Chef pantry and whip up a dish with the ingredients they purloined. The twist was that they had to search the pantry blindfolded and use whatever random things they put in their baskets. The winner of the Quickfire could chose between receiving a new Prius V or a guaranteed spot in the final four. Being somewhat familiar with the shapes of the various containers, the chefs made their best guesses and started cooking. Tom seemed to have a problem with everyone's dishes except Sarah's corn soup, which he deemed delicious. Sarah got the win and chose to take the guaranteed spot in the final four rather than the Prius V. Ed felt that that was a cop out and that she should earn her way in.

On to the Elimination Challenge where the chefs were reunited with their cooking mentors. They were as follows:

Sarah - Tony Mantuano
Ed - Frank Crispo
Paul - Tyson Cole
Lindsay - Michelle Bernstein
Beverly - Sarah Stegner

The Challenge was to cook a meal that would impress their mentors. They had 30 minutes to shop and a budget of $500. Then they would have 2 1/2 hours to prep and another hour to cook the next day at the Hotel Valencia where the Mentors Dinner would be held. Since Sarah was already in the final four, she was able to trade tequila shots with her mentor Tony Mantuano while the others huffed and puffed at Whole Foods.

After the meal, the judges felt that the best dishes were Paul's chilled sunchoke dashi soup with vegetables and Beverly's Gulf shrimp and barbecued pork with curried Singapore noodles. This left Ed and Lindsay. In the end, Ed's questionable oyster sauce on his braised pork belly cost him a spot in the Final Four.

So what did you think? Should Ed have been sent packing? Does Sarah deserve to be in the Final Four? Should Beverly be back in the competition? Leave your comments below.

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Top Chef Texas Episode 14 Previews

Click here to watch the first preview.
Click here to watch the second preview.

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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Recap Roundup - Top Chef Texas Episode 13

Minxeats on the big adventure: "For the Elimination Challenge, we get to share Pee Wee's bad memories of the Alamo. In the 1985 movie, Pee Wee's Big Adventure, his precious bike gets stolen; Pee Wee is told that it can be found in the basement of the Alamo. So he travels across the country only to find that...the Alamo has no basement! Twenty-seven years later (!), he's still quite bitter about the whole deal and intends to take out his anger on someone...anyone. Ed, Paul, Grayson, Sarah, and Lindsay will have to do."

David Dust on the Quickfire Challenge: "This week, the chefs enter the Top Chef kitchen and are greeted by a table full of Padmas and a pancake (or vice versa, my notes are sketchy). Pancake Padma explains that they’ll be making the favorite food of today’s guest judge. Grayson immediately thinks they might be cooking for Miley Cyrus, but if that were the case there would be Funyons and cigarettes on that table instead of pancakes. Duh."

My Monkey Could Do That on the problems with the bottom three: "Sarah’s cooking was perfect, but it is too late in the competition to not have seasoning. Poaching chicken in beef fat was a strange way for Ed to cook chicken, and the texture turned out strange. Grayson had huge chicken breasts (I guess that’s a thing with her) and mixing butternut squash and tomatoes is like mixing a summer dish with a fall dish? Yeah, I can see that."

Max the Girl on Ed: "Finally, when he gets to Edward, who has made this nifty dish with the pancake crispy bits and ends, Edward jokingly recites the line along with him. (And is it just me, or has Edward gotten looser—and I don’t just mean his jaw—over these past few episodes? He’s smiling more, he’s sleeping in funny suits, he’s bending himself around chairs. If he keeps this up he might actually become—gasp!—likable!) Aaaand . . . Edward wins! (Hey, that’s 5 grand toward jaw-anchoring surgery. Don’t knock it.)"

A Just Recompense on sadistic producers: "So it’s pretty much a matter of, let’s kill the chefs.

"Seriously, think about it. First they plan all these outdoor challenges for summer in Texas. What, no one thought it might be hot? Add in bees. Now riding bicycles in traffic. Was a requirement of this season that the chefs be able to ride bikes? What if someone never rode a bike? What if someone has hemorrhoids? Beverly can’t even walk through a supermarket without crashing into shelves, can you imagine her on a bike? Maybe that’s why she was eliminated, come to think of it. And at one point Grayson is riding a bike through traffic with a foil container of hot chicken in one hand."

Eater on bicycle racing: "Each chefs gets a bike, and they've got three hours to bike around and scrounge for ingredients and a restaurant kitchen in which to work. They only have a hundred dollars to spend, and no more than one chef can be in a restaurant at a time. After that, they've got to make a family-style lunch for Pee-Wee at the Alamo. Bikes? Random restaurant kitchens? What IS this challenge? We are about three episodes from the finale. Don't some of these people have James Beard Awards? Grayson says it's tough, that 'we could fall, we could not find a restaurant to cook in.' Falling off a bike and not getting permission to borrow a burner are certainly two of the realest challenges, testing their real-world cooking abilities, a real chef could face. As Jacques Pepin once said, 'Cooking is about technique, and technique is about repetition, and also make sure your helmet fits good and that your bike horn is trés loud beep-beep coming through!'"

Entertainment Weekly on the ghost of Beverly: "My first unwarranted Beverly mention of the night: How much do you want to bet that Beverly would have made a Korean scallion pancake (pajeon) for this challenge? I would literally bet my left pinky toenail that she would and that they'd be delicious."

Gail Simmons for PopWatch on the real Pee Wee: "The most amazing part about meeting Pee-Wee Herman was also meeting Paul Reubens. We get so used to this persona, this stage personality that he’s created, that we forget that that’s not Paul Reubens at all. He turns off [the persona] and opens a beer and sits down and wants to talk about music and food. [He] told us some really amazing stories about his life over the years and [about] how the character Pee-Wee Herman came about. We had so much fun with him. We were with him for two days and it was really exciting. He was really one of my favorite guest judges ever. He just brought so much joy and nostalgia and fun to the set."

Jordan Baker on getting ready for adventure: "The next day at the chef house, they’re all getting ready for their 3 hour bike ride. They get their red Schwinns with personalized plates on them. Lindsay puts her helmet on backward. 'We’re like a biker gang,' Ed says. They’re starting off as a group at the Farmer’s Market, and then it’s every man for herself. Paul tells us about how he rides his bike to work every day, but was in an accident a few years ago."

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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Top Recipe - Lindsay Autry's Stuffed Zucchini with Braised Beef Cheeks, Rice and Goat Cheese

Stuffed Zucchini with Braised Beef Cheeks, Rice and Goat Cheese

Beef Cheeks:
2 pounds beef cheeks, silver skin removed
2 tablespoons Spanish paprika
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, smashed
3 whole ripe tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup carrots, peeled and diced
1/4 cup celery, diced
2 fresh bay leaves
1 quart chicken stock
1 quart beef stock
4 sprigs thyme, whole
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
Pepper, to taste

2 cups chicken stock
1 cup long grain rice
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup canned tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

4 zucchini, washed, cut in half, split
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon chopped oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 celery stalk, peeled and diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt

4 ounces mixed greens
1/2 cup pickles, strained (recipe above)
2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil

Beef Cheeks:
Combine paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Season beef cheeks and set aside.

Heat a heavy bottom Dutch oven over medium heat. Add canola oil and sear cheeks until golden on both sides, remove from pot.

Add onions and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the carrots and celery and sauté for additional 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, whole thyme and bay leaves, continue cooking until all liquid evaporates from tomatoes.

Return cheeks to pot, add chicken and beef stock. Bring to a simmer, turn flame to low. Cover pot with lid and simmer for 1 hour or until cheeks are tender.

Carefully remove cheeks from liquid and set aside to cool. Strain liquid, discard solids and place liquid in a clean pot. Chop cheeks small to resemble ground beef, add to piqued and season with chopped thyme and oregano. Keep warm.

Heat a small pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil and toast the garlic until golden. Carefully add the canned tomatoes and simmer for 3 minutes.

Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add the rice, reduce flame to low. Cover pot and simmer for 12 minutes. Remove from heat. Season with salt.

Add the chopped, braised cheek and sauce to rice. Keep warm.

Scoop out seeds from zucchini so it resembles a small boat and set aside.

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss all other ingredients together and line on a baking sheet. Roast in oven for 10 minutes. Remove and fill zucchini boats with rice/beef cheek mixture and return to oven for 5 minutes to warm.

Combine vinegar, sugar and salt in a small pot. Bring to a boil and pour over vegetables. Allow to pickle for 1 hour.

Toss all ingredients together.

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Friday, February 3, 2012

All Top Chef Interview with Grayson Schmitz

Top Chef Texas Contestant, Grayson Schmitz talks about her experience on the show.

Click here for Grayson's website.

Click below to listen to the podcast.

All Top Chef Interview with Grayson Schmitz

Thank you Chef Grayson!

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Bravo Exit Interview - Grayson Schmitz

Click here to view the video.

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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Congratulations, Chef Lindsay Autry

Chef Lindsay Autry seemed to be having lots of problems with the Elimination Challenge this week. She lost her spot in one restaurant and had to find another in which to cook with very little time left on the clock. Luckily, with her culinary skills and quick thinking, she created a dish that pleased all of the judges. Pee Wee Herman thought it was the most fun, and gave her the win.

Final four, Chef! Keep up the good work!

This post is only for positive comments about Chef Autry. If you have anything negative to say, please do so here.

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ATC Love to Chef Grayson Schmitz

This week's challenge was one of those contests where everybody cooked really good food. Choosing someone to pack knives and leave the competition came down to the details. This week, Grayson decided to mix tomatoes with winter squash, something that Tom says is a no-no. And apparently the other judges agreed with him.

Grayson, you did so well in this competition. Congrats on making it to the final five, and we wish you much success in your future. Oh - and we shouldn't forget Last Chance Kitchen!

This post is only for positive comments about Chef Schmitz. If you have anything negative to say, please do so here.

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Reactions to Top Chef Texas Episode 13

When the cheftestants arrived at the kitchen, they were greeted by a table full of pancakes and guest judge Pee Wee Herman. As everyone knows from Pee Wee's Big Adventure, the man-child in the gray suit and red bow tie loves pancakes. The chefs were tasked with making a creative pancake dish in 20 minutes. After some furious cooking, Padma and Pee Wee tasted each creation. Although Pee Wee said that every pancake was "the pancake I ever ate," Ed took the win with his randomly shaped pancake bits covered in bruleed marshmallows and fruit. Ed received $5,000.

Continuing to draw from Pee Wee's Big Adventure, the chefs were asked to make a family style dish for Pee Wee's lunch at the Alamo. All the chefs were given $100, their own Pee Wee style bike, and three hours to source food and a restaurant to cook in. Pedaling around in the blazing Texas heat, all the chefs scrambled over to the farmers' market for ingredients, and then split up to find a cooking space. Ed found a bed and breakfast where he had to cook eggs over easy for a guest while prepping his dish for the competition. Lindsay found a space at The Madhatter, only to have it taken away from her by Sarah when Lindsay left to scrounge up more food. After the three hours were up, however, everyone had cooked their dishes and headed to the Alamo to prepare the meal.

Pee Wee, Padma, Gail, and  Tom consumed a lot of chicken dishes, but found all quite good. For her creativity  making stuffed zucchini, Lindsay took the win. Paul also got high marks for his roasted chicken salad and curry gastrique. That left Ed, Grayson, and Sarah on the hot seat. In the end, Grayson's giant stuffed chicken breast just didn't measure up and she was asked to leave.

What did you think of last night's episode? Should Grayson have been the one to go? Leave your comments below.

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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Top Chef Casting Call + Season 10 Filming Location?

Eater shares the Magical Elves' email seeking nominations for TC Season 10 contestants.

And the President of the Seattle Convention and Visitors Bureau claims Seattle and environs are in the running as the filming location for Season 10, which will film this spring and air in the fall. He also says that while the producers love Seattle's "cuisine and culinary talent, it ultimately comes down to which city is willing to pay producers enough to cover a significant amount of their production costs."

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Top Chef Texas Episode 13 Previews

Click here to watch preview one.
Click here to watch preview two.

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