Top Chef Boston: To Julia!

Finally, Top Chef Boston is back!  It’s been forever for the viewers, but the chefs are fresh off of Katsuji’s elimination.  The episode starts with a PBR toast to him!

Andy Cohen (Boston University alum) and his college roommate, Dave Ansel, act as guest judges for the Quickfire.  Padma announces that it’s a ramen challenge!  While Top Chef provides the ramen, the rest of the ingredients are provided by my alumni network: Emerson College students!  Five Emerson students bring in bags of whatever food they had in their dorm rooms.  This is the pantry the chefs have to work with.  They pick blindly and hope for the best, because the winner of this Quickfire gets $5k!

It’s truly hilarious watching the cheftestants’ reactions to their ingredients!  I must admit, I probably was worse than some of these kids in college.  You can’t fit a lot in that mini-fridge!  Here’s what they come up with:

IMG_1177 IMG_1176 IMG_1174 IMG_1175 IMG_1178

Andy & Dave don’t care for Mei’s for the lack of broth, and found Doug’s combination of ingredients strange.  Even though most people might find George’s meat-filled concoction off-putting, it worked for Andy and Dave.  They also liked Gregory’s bacon-pizza-broth and Melissa’s Frito crunch!  The winner of the Quickfire: Melissa!

Padma sends the cheftestants back to the stew room where they find a remote and a note to “press play.”  The TV lights up with Julia Child cooking with Jacques Pépin!  Watching the camera pan their faces as they watch Julia, you can see the pure magic her presence brings.  You cannot watch her cook without smiling.

In walks the real Jacques Pépin accompanied by Padma.  “I come with wine,” he says, “and a beautiful woman.

The chefs ask Jacques about Julia, as their elimination challenge will be cooking to honor her!

To make this monumental task a little more nerve-wracking, the chefs serve to the judges– Padma, Tom, Hugh– Jacques, and a table of special guests including Food & Wine’s Dana Cowin, and Boston chef/restauranteur/celebrity Barbara Lynch.

In Julia’s honor, the chefs serve:

Gregory truly cooked in the spirit of Julia, and watching him do so was amazing!  His coq au vin pleased the judges all around.

Gregory truly cooked in the spirit of Julia, and watching him do so was amazing! His coq au vin pleased the judges all around.

Mei's take on duck a l'orange was cooked in Julia fashion, but with five spice to add her own twist.  It was very well received!

Mei’s take on duck a l’orange was cooked in Julia fashion, but with five spice to add her own twist. It was very well received!

George used the pressure cooker, which always makes me nervous.  Even with that, his veal was not braised long enough.

George used the pressure cooker, which always makes me nervous. Even with that, his veal was not braised long enough.

Melissa braised in Julia-fashion, but feared her meat wouldn't be tender enough... so she left it in the over all day resulting in over-cooking it.

Melissa braised in Julia-fashion, but feared her meat wouldn’t be tender enough… so she left it in the over all day resulting in over-cooking it.

Doug's foie gras was undercooked.

Doug’s foie gras was undercooked.

 

Hugh, Tom, Padma, and Jacques sit at the judges’ table and announce that Mei and Gregory have the top dishes!  While they both took different approaches, ultimately Mei’s personal twist on the dish won it for her!  The remaining three in the bottom, and Dougie is asked to pack his knives.

This is another tough elimination.  I really feel like Dougie is one of the strongest chefs left, along with Mei and Gregory.  With the pack so small and everyone so talented, every elimination is rough.

We’re close to the end, sadly!

Leave me some thoughts in the comments, and tweet with me every Wednesday 10 pm East coast time!

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