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Top Chef Fodder

Top Chef Masters -- Finale

Wow! What a spectacular ride it has been with the masters. The final challenge is to take the critics on a journey through their careers with food. They have to create 4 dishes. The first should be reminiscent of their first food memory. The second is the experience that made them decide to be a chef. The third is the opening of their first restaurant. And finally, the fourth is where they are heading in the future. Basically a food auto-biography.

They were given $1300 to make their meals. The regular critics are going to be joined by the regular Top Chef judges, Tom, Padma and Gail -- as well as the past winners of Top Chef.

The heart, love and soul that each an every one of these chefs put in their dishes is just incredible. Of course, since this IS Top Chef, they were thrown a curve ball on day two. This caused a few moments of panic to say the least. They played a video -- and were surprised. Each of the sous-chefs from back home had videotaped greetings and words of encouragement for them. Finally, a NICE surprise. It gets even better! A few seconds later, the sous-chefs walked in the kitchen to help them! Awesome. They fell right into step to help.

Breakdown of the courses was this: FIRST COURSE

Rick -- Barbecued quail with hickory house sauce, sour slaw and spicy watermelon salad. Hubert -- Baeckeoffe; a lamb, beef, pork and potato stew from Alsace. Michael -- Crispy Potatoe Gnocchi with fonduta and ricotta gnocchi with tomato sauce.


Rick -- Ahi Tuna with Oaxacan black mole, plantain tamale and grilled nopales. Hubert -- Salmon souffle, royal ostera caviar and riesling sauce, choucroute flan. Michael -- Polenta with rabbit, asparagus, wild mushrooms and grilled duck and rabbit liver.


Rick -- Achiote marinated Cochinita pibil with sunchoke puree and crispy pig's feet. Hubert -- Lamb Chop with vegetable mouselline and blanched garlic with a vanilla merlot sauce. Michael -- Ginger stuffed rouget, mango salad, fresh wasabi and bottarga.


Rick -- Arroz a la tumbada, tomatoe-jalepeno broth and chorizo air. Hubert --Sweetbreads with perigord truffles on scrambled eggs and spinach and wagyu beef cheeks and celery puree with pinot noir, lemongrass and ginger sauce. MIchael -- Brined short ribs with 5 onion cavalo nero and essence of smoldering vines.

Practically everything was well received. The winner won by half a star. But -- there can be only one!!!!!

And the winner is: Rick Bayless!!!! Go Rick! Viva Mexico! Go Chicago!

Ok, now I have to tell you that my husband and I were AT Frontera Grill Wednesday night (Rick's restaurant) and it was packed with people. There was a private viewing party in the bar to see the finale. No, I was not part of that, we just went there for dinner. My husband acutally ate the black mole sauce with duck for dinner -- and it defies description. Umami is the only word. Seriously, when you are in Chicago, you must visit his restaurant. You have no idea what you are missing.

Congratulations Rick, and to the Frontera Foundation.

Posted by Wendy on August 20, 2009 8:46 PM
Permalink | Check out the viewing party

-- Posted by: Matt at August 21, 2009 6:52 PM

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