Saturday, March 31, 2012

Dinner Tonight? Eric Ripert's Snapper in Coconut Curry Sauce

Click here for the full recipe on

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Friday, March 30, 2012

Top Chef Texas Contestant, Beverly Kim on ABC7 Chicago

Click here for the recipes!

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Top Chef Texas Contestant, Grayson Schmitz, Starts New Venture in Chicago


Chef Grayson joins many other Top Chef alums in Chicago.

She is teaming up with her sister and father, looking for an event space and planning to host everything from "Dinner parties to kids' birthday parties."

Click here for more information.

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Zac Young Opens "Flex Donuts"

Top Chef: Just Desserts contestant, Zac Young has been very busy since his appearance on the show.

In addition to the new pop-up donut shop, Zac is also filming new episodes of The Cooking Channel show, "Unique Sweets."

Life for Young has been a blur since the debut of Bravo’s reality television show “Top Chef: Just Desserts” in 2010, which brought him unexpected fame. Though already known in the pastry industry for his creative and quirky desserts, Young soon discovered that his new found fame meant getting recognized on the street by strangers, cutting the line at New York City clubs and flying across the country for special appearances for popular food festivals. The fame also means that he’s working harder than ever. While putting in 75 hours weekly as executive pastry chef at Flex Mussels he is also filming new episodes the Cooking Channel’s “Unique Sweets,” a show that explores the creative concoctions of pastry chefs across America. Despite all the publicity, Young says that he works hard to keep his ego in check, making time for his close friends and an occasional night out on the town. His continued popularity hasn’t gone to his head – at least not entirely.

Click here for the full interview from fameology.

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Yigit Pura on Apartment Therapy

Check out Top Chef Just Desserts season 1 winner Yigit Pura's San Francisco condo. It's only a wee 570 square feet, but for Yigit, it's home. I'm loving his chartreuse refrigerator!

Image credit: Bethany Nauert

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Top Chef Master, Rick Bayless, Stars in New Venture


Rick Bayless co-created and stars in a new show described as a "whimsical piece where dining/food is an equal star."

"Cascabel" runs through Aprill 22 at the Lookingglass Theatre Company in Chicago.

Click here for more information.

Chef Jen Carroll Featured in New Bravo Show

Photo: Alejandro A. Alvarez

Bravo cameras have been following Chef Jen for a possible new Bravo show, "Life After Top Chef."

Click here for more information.
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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A New Interview with Kevin Gillespie from

Top Chef Season 6 finalist, Kevin Gillespie talks about Woodfire Grill, TWO new cookbooks and his passion for cooking.

A highlight:

You have a book coming out this fall, "Fire In My Belly."

Yes. It’s my very first cookbook. It’s part cookbook, part memoir. There’s a lot of writing in it. I wanted to make sure that we had a book that appealed to a lot of different people. If you’re the kind of person who likes to look at cookbooks for the pictures and stuff, it’s loaded with really beautiful photography. Or if you’re a person who really likes food writing, then it has a ton of that, and if you really want to cook from this book, we have gone a really long distance to make sure that this book is useable. We cooked every day, myself along with a professional recipe tester. She worked with me, documented what I did, replicated my recipes on her own, and then, if they worked, then she gave them to two home cooks to replicate, and only if all four of us produced the same end result did it make the final cut. So I feel confident that these recipes are really going to work for people in their homes.

Click here for the full interview.

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Cook Like a Top Chef - Sarah Grueneberg's and Floyd Cardoz' Seared Fish with Coconut Curry

The recipes on Top Chef are often so complicated that it's difficult for the home cook to recreate them exactly. I tend to take liberties with just about every recipe I encounter anyway, so it made sense for me to tinker with this recipe, too.

The whole reason I decided to try the dish that won Sarah Grueneberg a Quickfire Challenge in the Top Chef Texas finale was because I happened to have fish, coconut milk, and shallots in the house. There was also a lone orange in the fridge. As I started cooking the dish, I decided that the rather mild-seeming coconut sauce could use a little more zip, so I dug through the cupboard for my little baggie of vadouvan, a type of curry seasoning that I first heard about when Jamie Lauren used it to spice a carrot purée way back on Top Chef season five. With the addition of the vadouvan, I could hold back on the excessive amount of turmeric (4 tablespoons!) called for in the recipe, and I also halved the amount of coriander. And since I had to peel the orange that would essentially be a garnish, I tossed a strip of it into the sauce to add extra flavor.

Needless to say, I did not have a Dungeness crab hanging around (this is Maryland! Such alien creatures are not allowed!), nor did I have any other crustaceans on hand, so I skipped the crab salad part. Now that I look back on my recap for that particular episode, I see that the judges felt this dish needed more acid; even if I couldn't make the salad, I should have added a squirt of lime or two. The finished dish was a bit on the mild side, although it was quite tasty. And, surprisingly, easy to prepare.

Seared Fish with Coconut Curry (inspired by this dish from the Top Chef 9 finale part 2)

1 naval orange
Extra virgin olive oil, as needed
1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into coins
2 whole shallots, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons roughly chopped coriander stems
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 tablespoon coriander
1 teaspoon vadouvan or regular curry powder
1 can coconut milk
2 8-oz mahi mahi fillets, halved
4 asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into 1" segments
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons bias-cut green onion
Salt and black pepper, as needed

With a vegetable peeler, cut a 1" x 3" long piece of orange rind, scraping off the pith if necessary, and set aside. Peel the rest of the orange and cut into supremes. Set aside.

In a medium sauce pot, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil, add ginger, shallots, and coriander stems and sweat for 10 minutes. Then stir in turmeric, coriander, and vadouvan. Top with coconut milk, add strip of orange peel, and simmer on low for 10 minutes, strain and set aside. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

In a medium pan, heat 4 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Season mahi with salt and pepper. Cook fish on both sides a total of 8 minutes, finish the pan with butter.

Remove fish and add asparagus pieces, cook for 2 minutes.

Place a pool of coconut sauce on a plate, place fish on top. Scatter asparagus and orange segments around the plate. Garnish with green onion and cilantro.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

News & Information 3.27.2012

Padma Lakshmi lost the custody battle with her babydaddy Adam Dell. He now gets expanded visitation rights and the child, Krishna, will carry his name as well as that of her mother. More here, along with a rather unflattering shot of Padma (first frame of the video).

Top Chef 9 finalist Sarah Grueneberg had the surprise of her life recently when none other than Lady Gaga dined at Grueneberg's Chicago restaurant, Spiaggia. Apparently Gaga wanted to eat Sarah's finale dinner and meet the chef. We always knew Lady Gaga was cool!

Top Chef 9 winner Paul Qui offers his Friday Fives to Immaculate Infatuation.

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Monday, March 26, 2012

Tom Colicchio Owns the Word, "Craft."

Colicchio holds"an incontestable trademark on the word craft as it relates to restaurants."

A Wisconsin bar had to change it's name from "Craft Table & Tap" to "Craftsman Table & Tap" after the Top Chef judge objected.

Click here for the story from Eater.

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A New Interview with James Beard Nominee, Chef Hugh Acheson

Top Chef Masters contestant and Top Chef Texas judge, Hugh Acheson talks about his life as a chef with South Florida Food and Wine.

a highlight:

South Florida Food and Wine: The term “celebrity chef” has taken on a life and definition of its own. When did you realize you were on this rollercoaster ride?
Hugh Acheson: I don’t think I am a celebrity chef. I am just a guy who cooks food and happens to write books and appear on tv. I do get recognized at the airport a lot though.

Click here to read the full interview.
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Video du Jour - Bryan Voltaggio

Bryan Voltaggio makes a manly sandwich at his restaurant, Lunchbox.

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James Beard Award Poll

Both Top Chef Master/Top Chef Texas judge Hugh Acheson and Top Chef Texas cheftestant Edward Lee are finalists in the James Beard 2012 Best Chef Southeast category. Who do you think will win it? Vote here and then tune in after May 7 when the winners will be announced.

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Monday, March 19, 2012

Cook Like a Top Chef - Paul Qui's Turkey Kalbi

In the second installment of our series, Cook Like a Top Chef, theminx makes a dish from the recently-ended Season 9.

With Healthy Choice providing the big money prize for this year's Top Chef Texas winner, it was no surprise that there would be a challenge involving healthy food at some point during the season. For this particular Elimination Challenge, the cheftestants had to make a healthy version of a dish suitable to serve at a block party (yeah, I don't know what that would be, either). Chefs Ed Lee and Paul Qui did riffs on the Korean dish, kalbi. While Ed pretty much stuck to beefy tradition, Paul chose to use ground turkey, which is lower in fat. To mimic the fatty mouthfeel of perfectly-cooked beef shortribs, he added diced eggplant, which was nothing short of brilliant. In addition to the meat component of his dish, Paul made hot sauce, white peach kimchi, and a yogurt topping. 

While all well and good, the accompaniments seemed a bit excessive for my simple dinner for two, so I skipped them entirely. I also changed the quantities in the original recipe quite a bit. The gochujang I used was so fiery, if I had used an entire half cup PLUS an additional 1/4 cup of sambal oelek, I might have caused internal bleeding. I also thought a full 1/4 cup of sesame seeds might make the dish seem gritty. It didn't make sense for me to buy a half gallon of apple cider for the mere 1/4 cup called for in the recipe, so that ingredient got skipped altogether. It was replaced with a simple salad of Fuji apple matchsticks dressed in a squeeze of lime juice.

Despite all of my changes, the dish was pretty amazing - sweet, fragrant, and spicy. The little chunks of eggplant did indeed seem like bits of fatty goodness and is a trick I'm inclined to use in other ground-meat-based dishes. Sloppy Joe comes to mind. How about meatballs? 

Here's my version of Paul's recipe. I'm definitely going to make it again. It was pretty simple, and I think it could be a great party dish, served either with slider rolls or lettuce leaves.

Turkey Kalbi (adapted from a recipe by Paul Qui)

1 pound ground turkey
1/2 cup diced onions
2 tablespoons green onion whites
1 1/2 cup diced Chinese eggplant
3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 cloves minced garlic
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
3 tablespoons agave syrup
3 tablespoons gochujang
Salt, to taste
Olive oil, as needed

Heat olive oil on medium heat and sweat onions and green onions until translucent. Add sesame oil, sesame seeds, eggplant, and soy sauce. Cook until tender. Then add garlic and ginger.

Add ground turkey. Mix in agave syrup and gochujang. Cook on medium heat until ground turkey is cooked. Season with salt to taste.

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Friday, March 16, 2012

Top Chef Kitchens

Ever want to know where Top Cheftestants cook when they're at home? The Washington Post has a feature on three local chefs who all happened to compete on Top Chef: Spike Mendelsohn, Mike Isabella, and Bryan Voltaggio.

Mike Isabella on renovating a kitchen: "Get a good oven because it’s the heart and soul of your kitchen. And don’t worry about getting an oven with a bunch of special features. If you know how to cook, all you need is an on-and-off switch. Besides a good oven, a double sink. You don't want dirty dishes sitting out in the open. It looks messy."

Bryan Voltaggio's favorite kitchen toys: "a Vitamix blender (an investment he highly recommends), a Delonghi espresso machine (a gift from his brother), a Breville toaster oven and, the most recent addition, an Acrobaleno pasta extruder (an extremely fancy pasta maker)."

Click on the names in the first paragraph to read more.

Photo credit: Katherine Frey / The Washington Post

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Cook Like a Top Chef - Kate's Quickfire Rampage

Another season of Top Chef has drawn to a close, and it'll be a while before Top Chef Masters starts up again. In the meantime, All Top Chef thought it would be fun to feature you, our readers, doing Top Cheffy stuff - namely, cooking! This week, reader Kate Ralston has prepared a couple of dishes from Top Chef: The Quickfire Cookbook. Take it away, Kate!


In my household, cooking used to be so easy, but over the past year we've gone through some changes. My son started school - hello highly processed foods, good bye, love for broccoli! I started counting calories - good bye, real cream, hello, mental math! And, finally, my husband entered a nearly vegan phase - so, good bye pretty much anything familiar.

Yet, we all love our Top Chef as well as the Quickfire book. Even though I only cooked from it once, a fish with veggies dish, which was quite tasty, but it has bee a long time. So, for this installment, I figured, we'll go with a nice soup and salad combo and, after getting a small pizza for the little man and a consent to use milk from the big one, I donned my chef's coat and went on cooking.


For the salad I went with Mia's Bean Salad featured in Season 2, Episode 6 (you can find it on page 87, if you have the book). That particular challenge called to make something delicious using three canned foods. I am a big fan of cooking from my pantry, so I dug deep and found a couple of suitable cans and went shopping for the rest. I typically have dry garbanzos, not canned, but I had kidney beans and beats, so I just needed artichokes, green beans and greens.

First, make the dressing:

1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard (I used homemade coarsely ground kind)
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp capers (I love, no, LOVE capers, so i used about 2 TBsp plus a little brine)
1 Tbsp fresh mint
2 tsp ground black pepper, 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup olive oil (I used about 1/4 and wished I used more, although this was still enough)

Combine all ingredients, whisk and set aside (I put mine to chill in fridge).

Now, make the salad:

1/2 cup fresh, blanched green beans*
1/2 cup garbanzo beans*
1/2 cup kidney beans*
1/2 cup cooked beets sliced into thin strips*
1/4 cup artichoke hearts cut into thin slivers*
4 cups of mixed baby greens

 *Drain if canned. For beets - to make sure they don't leak too much color I also rinsed them in cold water after slicing.

Tip: If you have to cook dry beans or wheat berries (like I do), forget the overnight soaking or rapid boiling  cycles. Take a crock pot, put your beans in, add water, about 4-5 cups per a cup of dry beans/wheat berries and turn on high. They will be done within a surprising no-sweat couple hours and you can drain the excess water or use it for soup, too.

I blanched my beans and the three extra minutes it took me truly paid off. Do not use canned beans for this beautiful salad: you want the combination of textures and nothing is better than a fresh, crispy, cold green bean. This is what you do: prep your beans, toss them into boiling water for a couple minutes, and then drain quickly and put them into ice, just like this:

Then, you combine your beans, beets and chokes in a bowl, cover with about half the dressing and set aside to marinade.

I used a container with a lid - makes it easier to make sure all ingredients are evenly coated with the dressing (shake it, baby!). Cool thing about this salad: you can make these steps in advance and leave your beans marinading in the fridge overnight. The mixture develops flavor and gets chilled, which makes this salad taste especially good.

At any rate, you serve this bean goodness on top of a heap of baby greens and drizzle with some additional dressing if needed.

While the salad is marinading and chilling, we are onto the soup.


Jeff's Apple-fennel soup comes from season 5, episode 3 (or page 93 of the book). the challenge was to take a dish from Top Chef: The Cookbook and turn it into a soup. If you have any reservations about having an apple soup, reserve no more, it is a keeper! This is what you need:

3 apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 cup chopped fennel bulb, some fronds reserved for garnish
2 large shallots 
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
Leaves from 3 sprigs of thyme
Leaves from 3 sprigs of sage
3 fresh mint leaves

Changes and confessions: 
1. Since I am counting calories and Chris is trying to be vegetarian where possible (if not vegan), I used vegetable stock (I just went with a cube of Knorr) for him and 1% milk for me instead of cream;
2. We miraculously ran out of wine, so I used dry vermouth instead;
3. I had fresh mint, but used dry mix of rosemary, sage and thyme I had from my summer crop.
4. I used regular yellow onion instead of shallots, yes, lazy pedestrian me and, finally,
5. The original recipe calls for Granny Smith, but I went with what I had on hands, which were

...and it - still - is delicious on all levels, so, go ahead and substitute without fear.

Anyway, this is what you do: chop your veggies (apples included) and sweat them in a medium-large pan. If you've never sweated  veggies before, heat up the pan on low-medium heat, add about 1 tsp oil to coat the bottom, add the veggies and saute them under cover until they turn soft and nearly translucent. Keep checking: your vegge should not caramelize or turn golden.

Add wine and cook to reduce liquid by about half. Then - add stock, reduce heat and cook to reduce liquid by about half again. Add cream and herbs and simmer until bubbles form on the surface. Then - transfer into a blender and puree until smooth. I swear by my immersion blender, and it didn't fail me:

Since I did my blending straight in the pan, I left it on the stove to simmer on an extremely low heat for a little longer. Meanwhile, here is your finishing touch that you absolutely must do:

French baguette cut into rounds and dabbed with olive oil
Bleu cheese, crumbles or small chunks
Chopped figs (I had dates, so I cut them into pretty, thin slivers)

While your soup is cooking, preheat the oven to 350 or even 400F, put the bread in for about 10 minutes (or until turns golden).

Arrange cheese and figs/dates on top of the toasts and float the toast on top of the soup when serving.  And, yes, you'll need [much] more than one toast: the combination of the light and floral soup, tart and earthy cheese and sweet fig/date is irresistible.

Now, time to arrange the fare and serve it to the fam. Check this out:


Quantity:  Each recipe makes about 4 generous servings, so it is perfect for an adult lunch or dinner. On the pic, to my embarrassment, I am guzzling up about two servings worth. I would have had it all, have there been no witness.

Suitability: The combination is very filling and, despite having no meat, there is nothing emasculating about it. So, go ahead and invite girls or guys, although, more likely not toddlers or teens.

Quality: All flavors are very well defined and there is a variety of textures to make your palate happy. As you can see, it looks great, too!

Ease of making: A total no-brainer, especially if you are familiar with sweating and friendly with your blender. If not for taking pictures, the whole thing would have taken me under an hour (not counting the garbanzo prep that I did the night before).

If you are wondering what that meal would run your thighs [per serving, approximately]:

Salad dressing: about 70 cals
Salad itself: 94 cals

Soup: 150 cals

Now, the toast will get you, because you will ingest more than just one:
Bread: 40 cals per slice
Dates: 24 cal per date
Cheese: 94 cals per oz (an inch by inch cube)

Finally, if you are jealous of my soup-salad plates, you can hook 'em here.


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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Recap Roundup - Top Chef Texas Reunion

A Just Recompense offers her thoughts on the season as a whole: "In summary: more cooking, less crap. I want to know more about the process they go through to choose what they’ll make, and how they overcome culinary obstacles (a forced ingredient, time limitations, etc) not who hates whom and who best rides a bicycle. But a lot of us have been saying this since Episode One, and it seems someone thinks drama is the road to success. The editing has improved – we can tell the arugula was not going to eliminate Paul; Tom just looked like an idiot harping on it – but there’s still too much focus on suspense and not enough on what happened. Since we don’t taste the food, we need to hear what the judges say, good and bad, and if there isn’t anything bad, say that. And stop it with the Trophy Kids approach: 'Everyone did a super job so we’re splitting hairs.' Arugula is splitting hairs. Overcooked custard and lumpy polenta is not. Leave that for the truly slight differences, things people disagree on: was the chicken undercooked? Was the fish on the edge of over? Tell the truth, that’s all. Tell the whole truth."

My Monkey Could Do That on Would You Rather: "Really, Andy? 'Would You Rather?' you couldn’t find a better use of your last five minutes? Heather, make out with Beverly or cook Asian food forever? Make out with Bev. Sarah, Texas or Italy? Padma is like, uh…not that hard. Italy. Malibu, would you rather be a porn star or an action hero? OK, that one is funny. Action hero? What? Apparently we were short on quotes this season, because the T-shirt has no quotes, it just is black with white dotted lines outlining a torso. A weird looking torso. It kind of looks like boobs, and an hourglass figure, but there are some weird lines that do not correspond to anything. And then a giant knife in the middle. This T-shirt sucks. Oh, that was the Commercial Interlude. Just like the T-shirt: nonsensical and stupid."

PopWatch on fun things: "But honestly, after a whole season in which the food took a backseat to all the undercooked drama in the kitchen, I was glad that most of the reunion focused on other topics — like Ty-lör and his furry bottom. Oh my God. Seriously, why were we subjected to that? He’s a good-looking guy, but in that photo he looks like an unholy union between Bluto and the Coppertone girl. That wasn’t the most disturbing moment of the night, though: We also learned that Sarah has 'teary orgasms.' Thanks, Bravo. I can’t un-know that. I need a nice sorbet to cleanse that from my brain-palate."

Minxeats is all photos this time, to make up for the lack thereof for the past several episodes.

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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Top Chef at SXSW

Top Chef judge Tom Colicchio and Bravo exec Andy Cohen are attending South by Southwest, the annual music, film, and interactive media show in Austin, TX. Here are reports from the Austin Chronicle, Time Magazine and Culture Map Austin about what Tom and Andy had to say during a panel discussion about Bravo's use of "transmedia" and whether Top Chef's "Last Chance Kitchen" webisode series will return. Spoiler alert: No decision has yet been made about where Top Chef 10 will be filmed, so it's clearly a ways off.

Richard Blais is also scheduled to be at SXSW March 16, with Snacky Tunes: Food, Music, and Internet Radio.

If you're at SXSW, or even if you're not, AllTopChef is welcoming first-hand accounts of Top Chef news, cooking TC chefs' dishes, and diners' experiences at TC contestants' restaurants. If you are lucky enough to score a seat at Top Chef Season 9 winner Paul Qui's Uchiko in Austin, we'd love to hear from you and have you guest post.

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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Top Chefs in the News

The Chicago Tribune has a nice article on the Chicago chefs who participated in Top Chef Texas (Heather Terhune, Sarah Grueneberg, Richie Farina, Chris Jones, Chuy Valencia, and Beverly Kim.)

Photo credit: Chris Walker/Chicago Tribune

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Friday, March 9, 2012

Congratulations, Fan Favorite Chris Crary!

Chris Crary racked up 63,504,625 points in this season's Fan Favorite competition. While there's some grumbling about his social media campaigning for votes, Fan Favorite is, after all, just a popularity contest.

Who was your favorite chef this season?

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Reactions to the Top Chef Texas Reunion

NOW season 9 is officially over.

What did you think about this year's reunion? Any surprises? Anything you think was particularly interesting? Please tell us in the comments!

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Top Chef Texas Reunion Previews

Don't forget - the reunion special airs one hour earlier than usual, 9pm ET!

Watch the first video here.
Watch the second video here.

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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Recap Roundup - Top Chef Texas Finale

Minxeats on an annoying sous chef: "The next day, the chefs finalize their work. StoneTylerStone - who, I just realized, is dressed like an evil dentist - has been a huge pain the whole time. Grayson in particular seems annoyed. She tells us that the girls will 'jam out with their clams out,' (and this is why we should be thankful that chefs wear pants and aprons, for both safety and hygienic reasons) while StoneTylerStone does his own thang. Which just so happens to be chopping celery, the only thing Sarah trusts him to do."

Jordan Baker on truth: "(seriously, it’s like the different departments at Bravo are in cahoots to drive me away from this show. The production end makes a lackluster program, designed to destroy my interest. The casting folks pick a punch of bland chefs with midrange talent. And the web interns just go on fucking strike and refuse to do their job, making putting aesthetically pleasant recaps together an impossible dream)"

A Just Recompense on choosing sous:
"Paul picks Barbara Lynch; he’s thrilled, but worried about being able to treat her like a sous chef.
Sarah picks halibut with green lentils and pomegranate, and gets Nyesha. Sarah’s happy, because she can do sauces. We don’t hear much from Nyesha.
Paul picks buckwheat noodles, and gets Ty-lör. Also good.
Sarah really wants Heather, and she sees dumplings and knows that’s Heather’s dish but she also sees scallops with raisins and citrus, and thinks she recognizes it as something on Heather’s menu so picks that… except it isn’t Heather, it’s Tyler Stone. Thank you God. Someone mutters, 'That’s unfortunate.' Actually, I think Sarah can handle him (meaning squash his ass); he’d undo Paul. Sarah says, 'I’m not letting you butcher.' Me, I’d send him out for pizza. No, no, that isn’t fair, give him a chance.
Paul likes the lamb with blueberry mustard and crispy parsnips and gets Malibu Chris, who intentionally used Asian flavors to lure Paul. Sarah had said she wasn’t sure she could work with him because he’s so hot, so this works for both of them.
Sarah takes chicken with black pepper and dumplings, and that’s Heather like she knew it was in the first place. Sarah’s glad because she’s a pastry chef and she can run a kitchen. Wait – isn’t that supposed to be Sarah’s job?
Paul picks dungeness crab and gets Keith. I guess having him go to Sarah, who he butted heads with in his only episode, would’ve been too much to hope for. Just don’t send him out to buy shrimp.
Sarah chooses pasta carbonara with fried brussels sprouts and it’s Grayson. Grayson takes the high road and has very nice things to say about her."

Max the Girl on Stone, Tyler Stone: "First, Tyler shows up in the kitchen in dress pants and shoes. (Hey, you never know if a Hollywood casting agent is watching the show, people! You can all have your bandanas and drawstring pants and comfortable shoes. Stone, Tyler Stone, is a sharp-dressed man.)Then, his mise en place skills are mise en whack. Seriously, I can chop celery faster than he does. And I have the knife skills of a particularly adroit monkey. Later, he assures Sarah that he knows how to whip up a white-chocolate ganache better than she does. 'It’s going to be super smooth like me this,' he says. 'You’re going to have the perfect texture.'"

Eater on issues at the grocery store: "Everyone heads to the Farmer's Market and to Whole Foods to shop. Tyler's the worst and seems bent on Sarah doing things she's not comfortable with, so she tries to corral him by giving her simple tasks. 'Tyler, can you count how many aisles there are in the store, then can you find a man with a red hat and ask him what his favorite ice cream is? If you can count backwards from a thousand real slow it'll really help my dish.' Paul says his parents were disappointed when he failed out of college. Did we know he failed out? To hammer the point home that he did not finish college, they show him counting money at the register and looking a little confused. He must have trouble keeping track of figures."

Entertainment Weekly on a class act: "The first group of judges got a taste of Paul's 'nice and jiggly' chawanmushi (egg custard) with edamame, pea shoots, and spot prawns — and they loved it. But when it came time to serve the second group of judges, Keith overcooked the batch. Paul didn't bite Keith's head off, as Sarah undoubtedly would have. He said he couldn't get mad at Keith because he trained him in cooking the chawanmushi. (Hear that, Lindsay??!!)"

Gail Simmons for PopWatch on picking the Top Chef: "[We started deliberation] at 9 p.m. or 10 p.m. [and] I think we were there until 5:30 a.m. or 6 a.m. There was a breakfast taco truck waiting for us when we finished. It’s never cut and dry. We all saw great sparks of talent in both menus [and] none of us could deny that both were great. It’s always a back and forth. What’s interesting about this judges table is that it was the first time ever in nine seasons that we had five judges. We were basically squishing in at judges table. It changed the balance of things a little bit and I thought it was really productive actually to have an odd number because it really does create a different dialogue, a different conversation.

"How do we [decide who's Top Chef]? We talk, we talk, we talk. We go through every element and we go through them again. There’s so many things to be said about every course and there’s so much that I may think when I eat something but then when I talk to people who ate it and experienced it differently they bring up things I hadn’t thought about. I learn from them, they learn from me. We discuss elements and often someone will have a really convincing argument that you understand and that makes sense. So it’s just a process from beginning to end. That’s why it takes so long. We talk it out, we really do. Sometimes to the point of exhaustion, where we turn to our producers and say, 'Please come on, help us out here.'"

My Monkey Could Do That on wine tasting: "Tom and Emeril meet Sarah and Paul to pair wines with their dishes. This is also stupid. There are like, maybe 8 wines there. And they’re all the same winery. You can probably pair them, but a real restaurant wouldn’t restrict the options like that. Emeril tells them to take a snapshot of Restaurant Wars. Yeah, seriously. Paul regrets that, because he should have been team leader and expedited, but he was afraid to step on people‘s toes. Sarah says nothing about regretting Restaurant Wars."

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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Interview with Top Chef Texas Champion, Paul Qui

Chef Qui talks about his experience on the show.

A highlight:

ATC: How much money did you win total in all of the challenges and the finale?

PQ: $185,000, the Prius and two trips!

ATC: That must be a record! Have you received your check yet?

PQ: Not yet.

ATC: The car?

PQ: Not yet.

Click here for the full interview.

Thank you Chef Paul!

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Saturday, March 3, 2012

Top Recipe - Paul Qui's Chawanmushi

Chawanmushi, Steamed Egg Custard, Prawns and Pea Shoots

3 cups dashi stock
1 cup eggs, scrambled
1/4 cup edamame
8 spotted prawns
1/4 pound clarified butter
Salt, to taste
1 lemon, zested
Pea shoots, garnish

1. Combine dashi and eggs and place in tea cups. Place 4 ounces in each container and cover in plastic wrap, you should have 8 portions.
2. Place cups in a pan and pour water covering a quarter of each cup.
3. Put in oven at 300 degrees Celsius until chawanmushi sets, approximately 1 hour.
4. Poach spotted prawns in clarified butter.
5. Warm edamame in clarified butter and place in chawanmushi cup.
6. Garnish with pea shoots and finish with lemon zest, and juice. Season to taste.

© 2012 PAUL QUI

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Friday, March 2, 2012

All Top Chef Interview with Top Chef Texas Finalist, Sarah Grueneberg

Top Chef Texas finalist, Sarah Grueneberg talks about her experience on the show.

A highlight:

ATC: What did you do to prepare for the finale?

SG: Well, I "staged" at many different restaurants, I went to every Asian market that I could find with my mentor. I worked on the dishes that I wanted to create. I took some pastry classes. I just wanted to be completely confident going in to the finale.

Click here to continue.

Thank you Chef Sarah!

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Bravo Exit Interview - Paul Qui

Click here to watch the video.

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Bravo Exit Interview - Sarah Grueneberg

Click here to watch the video.

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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Chef Paul Qui is Top Chef!

In this final battle, Chefs Paul and Sarah cooked their hearts out, each making a 4-course meal that dazzled the judges, who went so far as to proclaim it the best finale dinner ever. You know the decision had to be difficult! But in the end, Chef Qui's chawanmushi, loup de mer, congee, and sweet/savory dessert won out.

Congratulations to Chef Paul Qui, the newest Top Chef!

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 3

In this final episode, we were first treated to a mini competition between former cheftestants and renowned chefs Marco Canora and Barbara Lynch as they fought for eight coveted sous chef positions. Paul ended up with Barbara Lynch, Ty-Lor, Chris Crary, and Keith, while Sarah got Nyesha, Heather, Grayson, and Stone, Tyler Stone. (Remember him? Nope, me either.)

After Paul and Sarah made their choices, the teams planned menus and did a ton of shopping because the goal was to dazzle 100 guests and judges with four carefully-crafted, amazing, stupendous dishes.

Paul stayed in his comfort zone, creating a Japanese-influenced Asian menu. Sarah mostly stuck with her Italian style, but added in some German touches. The judges were blown away by each course - despite small issues here and there - and had a difficult decision to make.

In the end, Paul's menu won out, and he was awarded the title of Top Chef, with all of the accompanying goodies.

88% of voting Bravo viewers thought Paul should win. What did you think? Please leave a comment!

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