Here we meet again for a nifty culinary showdown. While I don’t care for our host, I think this is a decent show. It looks as if we are going to have a vending machine challenge. Let us see if this week’s chefs will be as calm as last week’s.
Our chefs this week are… Graham Elliot Bowles, Elizabeth Falkner (former judge), Suzanne Tracht, and Wylie Dufresne (former judge). I know who Elizabeth and Wylie are from Top Chef and from various Food Network shows. The other 2 are mysteries to me. Graham is the youngest competitor. I always love Wylie because he really is a science dork!
They get to create an amuse bouche using vending machine ingredients! This is classic Top Chef. The 3 judges for the quickfire are Elan, Betty and Michael from the season that received this challenge (and that Wylie judged). They got 30 minutes. Wylie was not happy at all with what he did. He kept cussing as it went out and while they were eating it. So Wylie got 3 stars, Elizabeth got 3 1/2 stars, Graham got 4 1/2 stars, and Suzanne got 5 stars.
This week’s challenge is that they have to cook dinner for creators and writers of LOST. They have to cook ingredients that would be on the island, no Top Chef pantry. They can only use canned and preserved things on a list. They did get a budget of $200 so that ain’t half bad.
This group does seem pretty friendly with each other at least. Wylie and Graham are good friends so they have a rapport as Suzanne termed it, “a kind of Mutt and Jeff thing”. Wylie was running around like a crazy man. Suzanne’s menu seems to be the most interesting because it has a little more protein variety. I have to say that I am dissapointed in Wylie’s menu. Roast chicken? That just seems a bit pedestrian given all you have to work with. Yes, he is using an immersion circulator but really? That seems cutting edge now a days? To me it just means you have more money for toys so you don’t have to work hard to regulate your water temp.
Graham Elliot Bowles: Maki Roll with Tuna and Dehydrated Pineapple, Tuna Nicoise, Tuna a la Plancha
Wylie Dufresne: Roasted Chicken with Poached Egg, Beets with Dried Corn, Plantain Puree
Elizabeth Falkner: Ancho-Beer Braised Boar Loin, Coffee Scented Poached Boar Loin, Yam Papaya Pudding
Suzanne Tracht: Rissoto with Uni, Clams and Prawns, Wild Boar Strip with Oyster Beer Sauce, Mango Corn Salad
Elizabeth’s puree wasn’t a big hit. Graham’s food seemed to go over very well. Wylie’s plate didn’t look all that yummy. One of the judges didn’t get chicken on his plate (and another got 2). Wylie’s poached egg went over fairly well and his chicken was good. Suzanne sold her plate as a holiday meal and it was a big hit!
They all liked the poached egg from Wylie and his chicken. They loved Graham’s tunas. They liked Elizabeth’s braised boar but it needed the braising liquid as a sauce. They thought her puree was really sweet and like baby food. They thought Suzanne’s boar was good and has a nice crust. They had thought Suzanne’s plate was going to be to much but it all worked well together. The judges are so much nicer here than on Top Chef. While they were waiting in the stew room all the chefs walked over to the kitchen and made chocolate chip cookies. How fun!
Elizabeth: 16 1/2 stars
Wylie: 20 stars
Graham: 20 1/2 stars
Suzanne: 22 1/2 stars
Suzanne wins! But how would her and Hubert Keller match up? We shall see….
It looks like next week we are have Rick Bayliss and someone else who looks familiar but I can’t place. I have to say that the quality of chef does make up for our lack luster host. Next week should continue that quality! See you next week.