Now I don’t want to get all Fatal Attraction or Misery here, I just want to profess my deep adoration (professionally, of course) for Chef Rick Bayless and his amazing culinary prowess. He’s like the king of Mexican food in the U.S. (no relation to Taco Bell whatsoever) with magical powers bestowed upon him – and his soul patch- by the ancient Aztec gods.
In culinary school, when we were studying current famous chefs, I petitioned that Rick Bayless be added to the syllabus (I got my way, of course). I haven’t had the pleasure of eating at his restaurants - just watching him on TV – but his Frontera salsa they sell at Target is damn tasty!
I also want to let all of you know that he’s totally going to kick ass and win this season of Top Chef Masters. ‘Nuff said. Check out his Top Chef Masters blog: Root4Rick and be sure to listen to the latest Top Chef Masters Podcasts every week at CL Tampa!
So good luck this week, Rick! This one’s for you:
In this first episode of the Championships Round, we welcomed back Hubert “The Other French Guy” Keller, Suzanne “Cold Fish” Tracht, Anita “Cowardly Lion” Lo, Michael “Brown Noser” Chiarello, Art “Honey Bear” Smith, and the delicious Rick “Hot Mexican Chili” Bayless (I’m not partial, I swear).
For the quickfire challenge, the chefs got into two teams and had a Mise en Place Relay Race (a.k.a: chopping and prepping food items) to see whose team was faster, the winner then getting an extra point toward the Elimination Challenge. Let me tell you, that Rick Bayless sure knows how to use a whisk for some hot whisking action – those egg whites sure were at stiff peaks…among other things. Anyhow, back on track, the Bayless/Lo/Keller team took the win.
The chefs were then asked to cook their signature dishes for each other to enjoy. I swear Michael Chiarello put roadkill on a plate and called it dinner, the balsamic glaze looking very much like blood on top of the quail which was sprawled out on the plate. Not cute. Hubert Keller made an interesting lobster and truffle “cappuccino” which was an interesting take on soup (I think it was soup) and Rick made an amazing-looking roasted rack of lamb with pasilla chiles and mission figs (Did I mention I’m not partial to Bayless?).
For the Elimination Challenge, the chefs had to cook another chef’s signature dish but put their own spin on it. What did we get? Cold grouper (Tracht), undercooked ground lamb in a “Scotch egg” (Smith), creamed sea urchin (Keller), lobster on a biscuit (Lo), rack of lamb with figs shoved in it (Chiarello), and some delightful looking quail and parsnips (Bayless).
Highlights: Kelly Choi seeming to be withering away, Art’s “egg issues” and name dropping, the Gael Greene and Elvis affair, the possibility of Anita Lo sabotaging her own food in future episodes just to get kicked off the show, and Rick Bayless’ magical powers of Mexican cuisine.
Hear the hi-larious podcast after the jump: (more…)