April 2011


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Last night on Top Chef Masters:

I have to say that I love the fact that the chefs had to cook with live insects for the Quickfire Challenge. I mean, when do chefs get the chance to work with these odd proteins? Yeah, they’ve eaten brains and entrails and brains, but when have they ever scarfed down a scorpion? I also enjoyed their grossed out reactions when watching the guest judges sampling their dishes. Hugh ended up taking the win with his tempura fried crickets and sunchoke puree.

For the Elimination, the chefs were charged with creating a ten-course tasting menu for a charity dinner. Sounds easy enough, right? In the middle of cooking their dishes, the water gets turned off in the kitchen. Then Curtis walks in with a double whammy: the chefs have to plate up 30 minutes early and they must be the ones to serve the guests. Panic sets in, tempers flare and mild chaos ensues (definitely nowhere near the level of regular Top Chef, though).

Want to know what happened? Listen to the podcast to find out! (Note: This episode was a bit disjointed — to say the least. Just listen along, laugh and bear with us.)

The Fabio plea video for Katie (as discussed in podcast): A personal plea… from Jeff Houck on Vimeo.

Tune in to Bravo every Wednesday at 10 pm EST/9 pm C, check out our own live Tweets during the show (Jeff: @JeffHouck, Katie: @culinarypirate), and listen to our podcast here every week! (You can even download us on iTunes!)

Check out our fellow Top Chef fanatics’ blogs: All Top Chef gives us their uninhibited reactions and Please Pack Your Knives and Go is just plain hilarious. And check out TalkingTV’s rules for the Top Chef drinking game here.

Listen to this week’s podcast:
Download the podcast here.

top_chef_logoOn tonight’s episode of Top Chef Masters:

For the Quickfire, Chef Hotpants McGee (a.k.a.: Curtis Stone) tells the chefs they’ll be “going back to their roots” and have to create dishes with roots, herbs and some fierce-looking insects. I just want to know if they’ll have to kill the bugs themselves or if they were given live ones for gross-out effect.

As for the Elimination Challenge, Bravo is giving us no clues this week, but it looks like something challenging, stressful and it has to be executed in a short period of time (just going out on a limb here). It looks like, whatever the challenge is, Naomi Pomeroy steps up and takes charge of the kitchen, making sure everyone’s dishes are in line with what’s going on their menu. (Group challenge?). Anyway, some folks aren’t too happy about being “bossed around.”

Preview video highlights:
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tcm_logoOn the latest installment of Top Chef Masters:

We viewers got a nice surprise when we found out that Hugh Acheson was back to to compete in the show, but were sad to find out that it was because John Sedlar had to leave the show for personal reasons. I am happy that Hugh’s wit and talent is back on the show though.

For the Quickfire, the master chef’testants had 30 minutes to grind meat with a hand cranked grinder for the meatballs they were to create for singer Kelis — you know, the “Milkshake” gal? Apparently she has “culinary training,” but it looked like no one gave her training on how to critique dishes by chefs of this caliber, as she was serving up quite a lot of criticism and cojones with not much experience or decent reasons to back it up with. Hugh Acheson called it “pointless criticism,” and I think many of us viewers agreed with him. In the end, she preferred John Currance’s Vietnamese-style chicken meatball over all the others.

As for the Elimination Challenge, the chefs had to take classic (as in “classically awful”) dishes from the 1960s, put a modern spin on them and serve them in bite-sized form at a cocktail party where Mad Men‘s Christina Hendricks and her husband Geoffry Arend would be critiquing them. They also had to make a miniature version of the original dishes to serve alongside the new creations. So, two apps: one fancy, one old school, one hot redhead thrown into the mix. Got it?
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Bread pudding is one of my favorite throw-together, quick and easy recipes. If you have at least these three items on hand, you can make the base pudding: bread (preferably day old and dry), eggs, and milk or heavy cream. It’s also a great go-to because it works for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert. It just depends on the extra ingredients you throw in: sweet for breakfast or dessert, savory for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Plus, prep time is ten minutes or less. How great and versatile is that? (more…)

top_chef_logoOn tonight’s episode of Top Chef Masters:

Kelis is bringing her milkshake to the Top Chef Masters yard tonight, charging the chefs with grinding their own meat and making something delicious from it (these previews don’t give me much to work with), as well as acting as Quickfire judge. Did you know she was a trained chef? News to me.

As for the Elimination Challenge, my girl crush for Mad Men‘s Christina Hendricks is fully realized when she and her husband, actor Geoffrey Arend, give the chefs their challenge of modernizing some popular dishes from the ’60s. I’m hoping to see both a Jell-o mold and some form of meatloaf revamped with a fabulous new makeover — and will sneer at any chef who creates some deconstructed mess. (Extra points for any Firefly references during tonight’s live tweet party.)

Preview video highlights:
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top_chef_logoTonight’s Top Chef doubleheader brings us the “controversial” Top Chef All-Stars reunion episode at 10 p.m. (ET) followed by the premiere of Top Chef Masters season 3 at 11 p.m.

As for the All-Stars reunion, the previews (below) are making it out to be pretty escandalo — but I’m sure it’s a lot of hype (though it will be nice to see all of them one last time). They will, however, be grilling Jamie about her lack of participation and penchant for cutting herself and hiding under tables during the season.
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top_chef_logo_lgUnless you live under a rock, you were fully aware that the Top Chef All-Stars finale was last night — and if you were a loyal fan, you were watching it live.

We were lucky enough to have Joe Yonan from the Washington Post (better known as @WaPoFoodLive) as our special guest for this podcast. He dished up all of the hot, behind-the-scenes Top Chef gossip from the D.C. season and snarky commentary on last night’s finale.

As for the episode: the little amuse bouche challenge with the 15 chopped chef’testants was a great twist to the episode — Blais and Jersey Mike having to blind-taste their offerings to determine who’d be on their teams for the finale’s “Restaurant Wars” challenge. Funny how Mike said he didn’t want Jamie on his team and then he picked her! What did I say about karma a few weeks ago, kids?

The rest of the episode was a definite nail-biter. Bias aside, Jersey Mike was putting out some stellar-looking dishes! I was getting scared. Blais, on the other hand, was showing a lot of restraint. Too much, though? Was he true enough to himself in his dishes? It seemed they were toe-to-toe in their courses — Mike having two great courses and the same for Blais.
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