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Top Chef Fodder

Top Chef: Vivre Las Vegas

This is Vegas, baby. In Vegas the stakes can be high, and this quickfire has the highest stakes yet. Tom meets the cheftestants at Daniel Boloud's restaurant, Brasserie. The quickfire (and the elimination challenge too) is an homage to French cusine. There is one protein that is used a lot in France, that really hasn't taken hold here -- Escargot. That's snails, y'all.

The challenge is to create a dish using escargot. The winner will get immunity, the loser will go home. Ouch. Elimination for a quickfire. Talk about big stakes. The chefs that are in the top are Mike, Kevin (he made a bacon jam), and Jennifer -- the winner was Kevin. Go Kevin. I think he is turning out to be my favorite this time, although the brothers and Jennifer are looking good too. The ones on the bottom were Ashely, Jesse and Robin. But they do get a chance to redeem themselves. The three of them will do an amuse bouche cook-off. 20 minutes -GO!

Robin comes up with an avocado soup, Ashley does foie gras and pineapple, Jesse does a tuna tartare with quail egg. Going home? Jesse. To be fair, she has been in the bottom practically every round so far. Good Luck, Jesse.

For the elimination challenge, the chefs draw knives, except for Kevin. Curiouser and curiouser.....The knives have 6 proteins and 6 classic French sauces. Rabbit, Trout, Chateaubriand (filet), Poussin (young chicken), Lobster, Frog Legs. The sauces were Bernaise, Poivre, Meuniere, Veloute, Sauce Americaine, Chasseur.

They must pair up and make dishes using those proteins and sauces. Kevin does not have to cook. His prize for winning is sitting at the table and eating with the judges. The judges for this round are the most important French chefs in the US, heck possibly in the world! They will be cooking for Hubert Keller, Daniel Boulud, Laurent Tourondel, Jean Joho and wait for it ---- Joel Robuchon THE most celebrated chef ever. WOW! What an opportunity, and what pressure! Amazing. What must be going through their heads -- Don't Screw Up!

They will actually be cooking at Joel Robuchon's restaurant as well. The teams were Ron & Robin -- Frog Legs and Meuniere; Mike & Bryan -- Trout and Bernaise; Jennifer & Michael -- Rabbit and Chassuer; Ashley & Mattin -- Poussin and Veloute; Eli & Laurine -- Lobster and Sauce Americaine; Ash & Hector -- Chateaubriand and Poivre.

For the most part, the judges were pleasantly surprised at the new chefs. The most successful dishes were the Rabbit and the Trout. Bryan did the trout sous-vide, but he also used some molecular gastronomy. He also talked Mike through the deconstructed bernaise that went over really well. In the end, that gave him the win. Not only did he win the challenge, but he also won a week of time at Joel Robuchon's restaurant. Wow! They weren't kidding when they said Vegas was going to have high stakes -- the only problem is, how will they top it next season?

The dishes that did not impress the diners were the poussin and the chateaubriand. Mattin's sauce had too much bacon (apparently, not everything is better with bacon) and the chicken was dry. The judges questioned why they didn't use the asparagus they put on the plate in the veloute -- Mattin lied through his teeth and said no one had thought of it. Ashley had suggested it while they were shopping. To Ashley's great credit, she chose not to throw him under the bus. Ashley, if you will remember, also didn't take a pound of flesh out of Preeti's hide when she used and threw away her water from the previous quickfire. You go girl. Integrity is a good thing. Hector had trouble getting his meat to cook. In the end, it was not really ready to serve. They chose to cook the loin whole, and it did not pay off. Hector left himself 2 minutes to cut 24 pieces of meat, and they looked like it too. His unevenly cooked meat and bad butchering sent Hector home. Although, personally, I would have sent Mattin.

Next week looks promising. Cooking out in the desert, and we see Tom leave the table to go spit something out -- that is never a good sign. It does make for a great tv show.....see you then!

Posted by Wendy on September 11, 2009 8:09 AM
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