Top Chef
Snacks On A Plane

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YOU GRADE IT
Chopping Broccolini

Proven├žal Lentil Salad

1 lb steamed lentils (Trader Joe's sells some that are pre-steamed and cryo-vac'd, which are perfect for this recipe, because they hold their shape and absorb all the flavors deliciously well)
Juice from 1 lemon
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3-4 tablespoons good olive oil
3 pinches dried herbes de Provence
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon minced flat-leaf parsley

1. Put the cooled, cooked lentils in a large bowl, and in a smaller bowl whisk the lemon juice, mustard, salt, pepper, and olive oil together. Pour over the lentils, add the herbes de Provence and mix well with a rubber spatula. Add the garlic, celery, olives, and parsley and chill in an airtight container until ready to serve.

2. Allow the lentils to come to room temperature before serving. This will bring out all the flavors that were deadened by the cold. The time between putting them in your carry-on and actually being allowed to get them out in-flight is a perfect amount of time. If you're not flying, set the bowl out at least an hour before serving.

Padma continues with the terms. Hung, the QF winner, gets to choose his protein first and once he does choose it, he's the only one who gets to use that protein. Padma then turns the cheftestants over to Gerry McLoughlin, Executive Chef of Continental Airlines, who gives them a tour and further instructions. Chef Gerry shows them a spread of food "as [the] passengers see it on board the aircraft." That's crap! None of those dishes are squeezed into those little divided trays and then wrapped in tinfoil! Are you telling me first class doesn't even have to contend with drippy tinfoil showering your lap with cooking condensation? Bollocks. Bitter, bitter bollocks. I think I was served those once on Northwest. Chef Gerry then pulls out the segmented trays and explains that the food is placed in the trays in way that makes it easy for the flight attendants to reassemble and serve. Hung explains to us that their protein, starch, and veg all have to go into the same tray and be heated at the same temp for the same amount of time. Chef Gerry shows them the height restrictions they have with the food sliding into the elbow-murdering carts. They have about two inches of clearance. The ovens on the airplane will be preheated; right before serving, the cheftestants will have to reheat their pre-cooked meals for at least ten minutes. Chef Gerry wishes them luck and leaves them to it.

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