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Mama Deb
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Mama Deb [userpic]
Top Chef

Okay, it was last week. It was still an interesting episode.

These days, cooking shows feature things I've never eaten because they didn't become of US cuisine until after I started keeping kosher or eliminating sugar. So far as I know, none of the prominent kosher restaurants have started serving foams, for example. I could be wrong, of course.

But some ideas are universal, and I can still taste a lot of foods in my head, so I have a chance of thinking, "Oh, that sounds yummy - could I make it kosher?" or "Oh, that sounds gross, even beyond the treifness."

The first competition was based on colors, and the one that I liked the best was white - poached egg over dover sole over mushrooms. It sounds delicate and elegant, and once the egg was broken, even pretty. And the one that won - orange (salmon with a mandarin orange salsa, and deep fried carrot chips) also worked for me. And the lowest one - was a cacaphony of green that didn't go together either visually or, in my head, taste. Too much going on, you know?

The second was on the Seven Deadly Sins. And this one would give me difficulties - it's hard to translate abstract concepts into food. But.

One chef (Elia, who made the white dish), got pride. And she decided that, upon looking around the supermarket, that organic chickens looked proud. So she made perfectly roasted chickens with vegetables. Absolutely simple, and while it didn't win, it came in a close second. And very few things are as delicious to me as freshly roast chicken hot out of the oven. She even carved at tableside, which means that none of the juices would be left behind. Since it came after some relatively elaborate courses, it would shine even more. Does chicken, even perfect chicken, mean pride to me? No, but she still was rightfully proud of the dish.

The one that one, Envy, was cooked by Michael, who, like House, is better on Vicodin. (That should be an icon. It really should. If I could do an animated icon, alternating pictures of Micheal and House, I would.) He'd also won the first one.

And it was that trout is envious of salmon, which...okay. Whatever. But. Pairing the two in one dish (not making two separate one) and saucing them very simply in a lemon-thyme buerre blanc (basically, a butter sauce) was purely elegant. And not only was that a dish I could taste, it was a dish I could presumably make.

Then it gets to be a game. What would you cook for greed? Cliff chose a thai-curry boullabaise with lots of shellfish. Yeah, that works - I'd eat it made with kosher fish - but...
kobe beef and foie gras. Expensive, luxury foods - that's greed.

Sloth, which was the losing dish (a lumpy trio of roasted veg soups, served in champagne flutes - wrong in so many ways) was harder. I kept thinking soft - mashed potatoes, say. A rich, pureéd potato and leek soup (you know, a classic vichysoise) served cold on a hot day. Comforting and nice.

The others - wrath was spicy seviche with chili popcorn, which worked. Lust was a cherry and chocolate dessert, which worked as a dish, but not as lust, and gluttony was a second dessert with too many things including soggy funnel cakes. If he'd used raspberries with a chocolate mousse - that's lust. :) And too many things is gluttony, but, you know. A giant slice of cake and a huge scoop of ice cream - that's classic gluttony.


I'd argue that sloth should be any dish where you dump a bunch of ingredients in the crockpot, turn it on, and go away for six hours!

Only if you do it with a frozen bag of precut ingredients.

If you go to the trouble of prepping everything the night before, so you can dump it in the next morning - that's not being slothful. That's being efficient. :)

(And if it's Friday afternoon - nothing you do on Friday afternoon is slothful.)

Foams? (I mean, I know what a foam is, and that you can make certain foods sort of frothy by beating or mixing them, but it seems you mean something specific?)

I do mean something specific. It's taking a highly flavored liquid, gelatinizing it and then adding gas - usually just air - to make it into a stable froth. It's used in the Molecular Gastronomy movement as a different way of saucing foods.

Huh. I've never even heard of this.

Just started watching, so skipping most of this for spoilers; will come back to this when I've seen the ep.

However, if you don't already read Kevin and Kell, check out today's strip

It's a lot of fun. I like this and its sister show "Project Runway" because it rewards competence and creativity more than it does backbiting and scheming. In fact, you get to see some charming moments when the contestants help each other in non-team situations.

Doesn't mean you don't get backbiting and scheming, of course, or that they can't be nasty, but there's less of it. (This ep shows some bad moments.)

And. HEE!

I was so glad to see Betty go. She has annoyed me so much the past few episodes.

Oh, yes. She understands service and catering - about how to both provide enough food and how to look like there's enough food, and how to relate to customers. These are valuable things. She also understands casual dining perfectly, which is why she won the TGIF challenge. She'd be the person you'd call on to cater an informal wedding, for example.

But she doesn't have fine dining skills and that's essentially what this contest is about. And she's really the one instigating against Marcel.

I think you are right, though with Marcel, I'm not sure she's instigating any more. I think that he's annoyed enough people all on his own that her instigation isn't required anymore. I *don't* like Marcel. I'm sorta rooting for Cliff or Sam. Solid, good cooks with some flair but without the attitude.

She really is. That whole "He snapped at me" whine? Please. She wouldn't last two minutes in a real kitchen - I'd love to see her at say, Les Halles or Claridge's and pull that on Bourdain or Ramsay. In fact, I'd pay good money to see that.


I love this show. I rarely note what they do that I could do, because I'm lazy: why would I go to efforts for myself? When I cook for others, I pull out stops, but otherwise I view it more abstractly.

Betty has been annoying, yes, and I'm glad Michael is doing better. He's not the best guy, but he does a good job, and really, he got to the show so he can't be a total boob, right?

I'm also thinking of Sam and Clif - they both have the interpersonal manner that helps them in the kitchen, along with the technical skills. I wish Sam had mentioned his original "Green Eggs and Sam" thing for the beach challenge, because how he presented himself made it sound lamer than he was. Ela isn't bad, but I don't think she's the best.