It’s back, baby! Top Chef premiered last night, this time, as we all know, from Texas. I’m sure there will be tons of Lone Star State jokes coming our way. Back in the saddle as our fellow commentator is chef Ed Hardy.
Hey, Ed! Long time no see. So, what have you been up to since our diners last spoke with you? Where have you been cheffing and have you been on any additional TC auditions? In other words, do I need to write a strongly worded letter to Bravo on your behalf?
I can’t believe I let you drag me back here. What did I do to deserve this? Fine. Just one more season, Mrs. Potter. It’s been awhile since I’ve been here, and I’m happy to tell you that I’ve been working for Chef Marcus Samuelsson as a sous chef at Red Rooster Harlem. No strongly worded letters necessary, thank you. I’ve reached a point in my culinary career where the risks of being on Top Chef far outweigh the benefits. So, I’ve given up on auditions.
First up, there are too many chefs here. This is ridiculous. Five minutes in and I’m already tired of the Texas/bigger nonsense. I am glad to see The Alamo, if only to find out if Pee Wee’s bike is or was ever there. What do you think of the massive scope? And, would you be peeved if you had arrived only to have to immediately fight for your right to compete?
Apparently I gave up on auditions just in time. It looks like they took everyone who applied. There ARE too many chefs. It’s like Occupy San Antonio out there, except with knife bags. Can you forgive me if I’m not good with names for awhile? And, to answer your question, I suppose it would be encouraging because if you just play it safe for the first round, you can count on folks spilling soup all over their plates while you slide by.
Do you know/know of any of the competitors, personally or even as far as dining at their restaurants?
Not really, although my wife worked at Spiaggia in Chicago (but not for Sarah Grueneberg.) It’s an excellent restaurant. Moto (also in Chi-town) is a fun technology-savvy place where they put out some very interesting plates.
Tyler Stone seems Awful with a capital A, but I think I am learning to love almost everything else, excepting Padma’s dress, which is redonkulous.
Have you seen his website? It’s hilarious! The pictures say it all. “I’m in a tux!” “I stuck a sword through a pineapple!” “I’m holding knives!” He’s terrible and, even worse, has no idea that he’s terrible.
In terms of pig, what cut are you fighting for that will impress the judges, and what might you do with it in under an hour?
I’d take the ear or skin. In both cases if you julienne and pressure cook with some interesting spices then dry out and fry you have good old-fashioned pork cracklings.
What up with trusting the butchering to another cheftestant?
Evidently, she didn’t look at his website. What’s-her-name (again, too many chefs spoil the recap soup) should have been a little more involved with her primary ingredient.
Not to be a jerk about being vegan, but how hard is it to compete here if you are a vegan chef (and, to prove I’m not mocking, full disclosure – I will probably be meat-free/pescetarian in my old age)?
It won’t be easy. All the best culinary minds concentrate on using the best ingredients available. So, if you limit yourself to just cooking one type of food, whether it’s sushi or BBQ or vegan, then you’re not going to go far in the culinary world or a culinary competition.
What’s your strategy with rabbit — which cut and how would you execute in one hour?
I wouldn’t. I would have pitched a temper tantrum when they didn’t pick the sea urchin roe. Delicious. Paired with noodles and a mussel broth? Absolute heaven. Rabbit is a pretty boring meat. That being said, there was a rapid-fire succession of ambitious plates. I would have braised the rabbit leg with juniper, clove and allspice
For whom are you rooting? I’ve developed a soft spot for Dakota and Keith. Ty-Lor is on my last nerve with that umlaut! Which Bubblers are you predicting will be successful?
Ty-Lör Boring? Best name EVER. Keith Rhodes seems to have a great story and is a great cook. What’s not to like? Dakota appears to have something going on beneath those tats. Although I was skeptical of her chocolate use she pulled it off and the judges liked it. Good for her. Bubblers? I have to pull for Edward Lee right? Us “Eds” have to stick together.
Finally, early winner predictions?
Chris Jones of Moto, Sarah Grueneberg of Spiaggia, Chaz Brown of Fatty Crab, and of course, the fan favorite, Keith Rhodes of Catch Restaurant. Some would say Nyesha Arrington with her fabulous resume, but look closer. It’s filled with Las Vegas outposts of famous chefs. You just watch. She’ll fall into the trap of thinking she’s better than she actually is and then it’s knife packin’ time.
Thanks, Ed. We’ll see you next week when we meet up with the Bubble Bunch to see who makes it into the competition.