Want more? Read Top Chef Texas judge Hugh Acheson’s take on last night’s episode!
Tag: Top Chef (31-40 of 107)
As told to Nuzhat Naoreen.
It’s really difficult [to cook a perfect medium-rare steak]. There were 200 people at that ball. Cooking steaks for that many people can be a disaster, and they decided to cook individual steaks for the whole thing, which was a big mistake. It would be so much easier if you just took a rib-eye and sliced it down the center and then you’d have one really long cylinder. Then you could cook that to medium-rare and slice it and turn it over. I don’t think there was any mandate on the show that it had to be individual steaks, so we were surprised to see that.
[The gazpacho] was a little on the hyper-acidic side but to start out, it was good. For all the endless yelling that Beverly took during the prep time, she did a good job getting her shrimp done. But there was a lot of time and maybe she could have worked a little bit faster. I’m not sure if the encouraging words from Heather were debilitating or not. Beverly is a really interesting character. She’s great, but she’s a little bit out there. [She's] very wispy and Heather is not. She’s bossy. They don’t mix well. They’re very oil and vinegar. I think Heather is about to have a pretty rough road. She’s not making friends very easily. Nobody seems to really want to assist her in any way and as much as it’s about individual competition you’ve got to have people who will help you out. If nobody wants to help you out you’re going to be at a severe disadvantage.
[There was a] pretty powerhouse team on the [second] course with Chris, Paul and Edward. Those guys were all doing really good work. They get along, they’re very structured. I think they had a good dish, it had a couple little flaws, but overall it was a really strong dish. It was smart, too. You have to think about how you’re going to cook for 200 people and you need to bring novelty and interest and great flavor, but setting yourself up for something really hard to deliver is not what you want to do and they thought through that.
[Edward] may have just taken a little bit of a simple road. You gotta put yourself out there. Somebody always has to land at the bottom. I think I may have voted a different way, but it falls where it may.
I thought the main course was way too flawed all around. There was way too much stuff on the plate. I mean, Nyesha did a good job with sauces but it was just a train wreck of a plate.
Ty-lor is a very mature cook. He would take ownership of the mistake, no matter who touched it or mucked it up. It’s his fault at that point. There are people on the show who would have diverted attention from their mistake at the first opportunity and Ty-lor did not do that at all. And given the fact that he cut himself, he was at the hospital all night and he was working on an hour sleep, I think he did a pretty commendable job. But there was the initial mistake he made, which was that he shouldn’t have done individual steaks and that firing of the last steaks was a pretty big mistake. At our table there was such variance in the cooking, but what are you going to do when you’ve got 8 people cooking steaks?
[The dessert course was] pretty straightforward but for a group that size it was pretty smart. I think [Heather] was lucky to be in the top. I think she designed a good dessert that was stable and got out effectively. It was really consistent and it worked. Favorite dessert ever? No.[If I knew Heather used the same recipe as the quinceanera cake] it probably would have changed the outcome of [the challenge]. It could have been a more complex dessert relatively easily. [But] that’s all in hindsight; I didn’t know it was the same recipe.
Whitney had a lot of people advising her on [the potato gratin] but at the end of day it was her decision to make that dish and the way she went forward with it was her decision. That whole plate wasn’t designed well. They didn’t think about how big the steak was, they didn’t think about the greens. Nothing really unified the plate. She just had to step up a little bit more and bring something really exciting to it and she just kind of failed in that regard.
As told to Nuzhat Naoreen.
I haven’t been [to a progressive dinner party before]. I don’t know how often they’re done, truthfully. It seems to me like progressive dinner parties would require you to have a lot of staff because if you are in charge of [cooking] dinner, it would be hard to be eating the appetizer at someone else’s house and then going to your house for dinner. I mean it would take a lot of organization, advanced planning or, a staff of chefs like the Top Chefs to pull it off. READ FULL STORY
As told to Nuzhat Naoreen
I thought the [contestants] did a great job [at the chili cook-off]. It was really fun. I love chili. Texas chili is very specific. I’d never been to a rodeo before, so it was great to be at an event like that.
Chili is very, very regional. It’s sort of like a bolognese in Italy. Everyone has their own very specific recipe. Every region within Texas and also across the Southwest makes their own type of chili and every chili is made differently, so sometimes it takes six hours, sometimes it takes 16. But to make a great chili you definitely need to give it time. You can’t rush the meat. You want to make it as tender as possible. You want to cook it on a low heat for a long period of time. The flavor of the meat [should be] in the actual stewing liquid itself. READ FULL STORY
As told to Nuzhat Naoreen
I flew in right at the end of [the rattlesnake quickfire]. I thought it was pretty cool that they gave them such an indigenous ingredient. A lot of things are going to be very Texas. So in that way I thought it was very interesting. I bet it took a lot of people by surprise. I’ve never even had rattlesnake. I would have been a little bit flummoxed by the challenge. All [the contestants] seemed to be pretty good at getting it done in time. Nobody seemed flabbergasted. I think the only thing that took them for a loop was the possible fact that the rattlesnake was still alive.
[During a challenge], you want to look at who your judge is and what his take on things would possibly be and meet those expectations. I think a lot of the time the contestants kind of overlook that. In this case it’s Johnny Hernandez. Johnny’s a restaurateur whose cooking is very Hispanic influenced and very nuanced. He kept saying he wanted the focus to be on the rattlesnake and that’s what Dakota, the winner, did in the end. READ FULL STORY
As told to Nuzhat Naoreen
[As a contender on Top Chef Masters], I was on the other side for awhile, but you know judging is definitely a lot easier. It doesn’t have the stress of actually cooking. Time constraints aren’t my problem anymore. Before this, I guest judged on Top Chef: Just Desserts, so I was familiar with the format. There’s not much hazing on Top Chef. Tom runs you around naked through Hollywood, but that’s about it.
There are a lot of people, so figuring out who’s who and what’s about to come up has been a challenge. Also, sometimes there are pretty good dishes out there that you want to get through, but there are only 16 coats to give out. READ FULL STORY
Texas was hot. This season was shot over the summer and it was the hottest summer on record in Texas in several years, so that was interesting timing, but it was also amazing. We were in three different cities in Texas and we had a lot of fun in all of them. We found a lot of local culture and we were able to play to that on the show. It just has a look and feel that is totally different than anything we have ever done before which lends itself to a lot of new creative pieces we were able to put into the show.
This is our ninth season, which we’re really proud of. After eight seasons in a format, I think we all felt that we wanted to up the stakes. We wanted to make it bigger and better because that’s what we strive for every year. We do that in a number of different ways this season, and you’ll see that as the season moves along, but specifically we thought it would be great to bring the viewer into the casting process and make that a really big piece of the show. It could be a little bit confusing because we’re trying something totally new but I think it really pays off in a great way. You get a different cast than you would have if it had been 100 percent just chosen by the producers. READ FULL STORY