Top Chef
Food On The Fly

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Nuke it Up A Notch

Harold tells us that he's going to give this challenge his all even if he isn't into the microwave thing, because he still loves food and he still loves to compete. Harold tells the camera in Berkeley Bowl that he's going to do a Southeast Asian soup. He believes soups taste better the second day anyway, so reheating will actually be beneficial. I agree -- soups, sauces, spaghetti, my mother's clam dip -- all better the next day when flavors have been allowed to meld overnight. Dave tells us about his lasagna, "I know it's not fancy, but again, I'm all about the sauces. I'm making a fire-roasted marinara and a slow-cooked alfredo, and I found some orange and purple cauliflower, which adds nice color to the dish." Lisa is doing an herb-coated chicken breast, which she will undercook initially so the reheat won't dry it out. That scares me a little bit. However, Lisa reminds us that she has kids, so she nukes stuff all the time. She's calm and not worried about this task. Miguel says he's doing meatloaf because he thinks the women will want comfort food to serve to their families. "Meatloaf? For women?" Andrea questions. "That you nuke?" Lisa adds. Outside, Lee Anne mutters that she saw Stephen wandering around with nopales (cactus) and yuzu (highly aromatic Japanese citrus fruit).

Stephen tells us, "This market kind of took me back to when I was sixteen years old when I used to just love throwing all these different flavors together not really thinking, 'Okay, is everything going to match? Is something going to mask one of the other flavors?'" Stephen seems to be over on his grocery bill, so he gets rid of some stuff but keeps the yuzu. Harold tells us that Stephen's a mad scientist and has all sort of weird ambitious ingredients, but not it's not stuff he, Harold, wants to eat. "It's almost like a Chem Lab or something -- America doesn't eat food like that," Dave says. Sorry, but El Bulli, WD50, and Alinea beg to differ. Now, I don't eat food like that -- it's just not my cup of dehydrated tea with powdered milk essence -- because it's too far in the realms of "a single plum, floating in perfume, served in a man's hat" for me. However, it's a huge foaming trend right now, and the science behind it is pretty mind-blowing. I think that's what Stephen thinks he's doing in all these challenges. Like he's going to be the next big molecular gastronomer. But no. Just...no. He doesn't have the science to back up his wild and whacked out combos. Wilted basil leaf, sheesh! Ferran Adrià was wilting basil leaves and wrapping them around milk skins about four years ago. Oh, and milk skins, as in the creepy crap that forms when you overscald your cocoa milk? BAAAAAARF!

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Top Chef

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