September 10, 2009

Top Chef Las Vegas - Week 4: Singing for the Beatles

The show starts out with Mike the Man still talking about how he shouldn't have been in the bottom and thinks there is only one step to the top. Robin want the girls to step it up and rock it!

The chefs head off to Daniel Boulud's restaurant at a hotel. Eli calls him a "bad motherfucker" and Tom pulls out a snail. Jennifer says "I think that whoever thought that a snail looked good to eat had to be really fucking hungry." I have to agree there!

Quickfire Challenge

Create a dish using escargot as the main protein in 45 minutes.

Daniel Boulud says he expects something he has not had before, and Tom announces it's a high stakes quickfire, and that the loser of this quickfire will be eliminated. Jennifer is nervous, but the good news is that I would guess that many of the chefs don't have much experience cooking with snails, so they will be in the same boat.

The chefs are understandably nervous, cooking French food for one of the best chefs in the industry today. Mike theMan does have experience cooking with snails. Kevin points out that one challenge with snails is they don't tase like much, so you have to figure out how to give them good flavor. Mattin definitely has an advantage with this dish since he's from France. It's also pressure though, if his dish isn't good, he has less of an excuse.

The judges say nothing about Ron's dish, say Jennifer's is good, and call Jesse's "interesting." They like Laurine's dish, Hector's presentation was very pretty, but no feedback, and Robin's seems to pass. Nothing about Mattin's, Ashley's is also called "interesting" and Kevin's seems fairly well received. Bryan's dish looks very pretty with the red wine risotto and Michael V's dish is also "interesting" as is Mike the Man's. It was very hard to tell what they liked!

Tom seemed impressed by the chefs creations, and Daniel announces the favorites - Mike the Man, Kevin, and Jennifer. Kevin wins the challenge with his bacon jam! At this point, Kevin is definitely one of my favorites, and I'm rooting for him. The three weakest were Jesse, Ashley & Robin. Instead of eliminating them right off, they get a second chance by cooking head to head.

Sudden Death Quickfire: Jesse, Ashley & Robin have 20 minutes to make one amuse bouche from anything in the kitchen to save themselves from elimination. One will be eliminated.

Ashley is not feeling confident, Robin doesn't have much experience actually cooking amuse bouche and Jesse seems fairly confident. They present their dishes to the judges, Robin did an avocado soup with crab, Jesse did a tuna tartare and Ashley presents foie gras with pineapple. All three dishes were good, but in the end Jesse's one bite sends her home. I was a little sad to see her go because I feel like she really struggled to show herself and her potential.


Chefs will work in teams of two to create a six course meal using the proteins and sauces they drew on their knives.

The chefs draw knives, except for Kevin. The knives have the names of either a classic French sauce or a traditional French protein. Mike the Man is stressed by the French food. Mattin feels that he has an advantage, which he probably does. They will be serving food to some of the best French chefs in the world. These are very famous chefs, mentors to the judges, and Michael V says this could be the most important dish of his career.

Since Kevin won the quickfire, not only will he not be cooking, he will be joining the amazing chefs for dinner. What an awesome prize! If nothing else, this makes being on the show worth it no matter what happens to Kevin after this.

The chefs talk and pair up, Jennifer & Michael V pair up, and I'm rooting for them. Ashley scores and gets paired with Mattin. Ashley is definitely following his lead. In the grocery store, it was already obvious that Ron and Robin may have some issues working together.

The chefs return to the Top Chef kitchen to prep for 2 hours, they'll have 1 hour the next day to cook their dishes. Ron has lots of experience with frog legs, so he was lucky to draw that. Ron is quiet and Robin is just talking, talking, talking. Ron says she is all over the place, but thinks maybe they make a good pair since he's so quiet.

The chefs are tense, as Kevin says, "You're literally serving your life's work to the people who inspired it from the beginning." They head to the MGM Grand to Joel Robuchon to cook their dishes. This is overwhelming celebrity. Eli is excited to see Chef Robuchon since he "was pretty much under the impression that he didn't actually exist, and that he might be a unicorn."

Ron starts to get freaked out because Robin is making the sauce and putting together a salad at the same time and he's worried she may lose track of the sauce. Michael V says "cooking for these guys is like a singer having to sing for the Beatles."

hector's steak is not heating to the temerature it needs to be, with only 15 minutes to go. The chefs appear and sit around the table and Kevin looks dashing in his light suit. Robin and Ron's greens are wilting under the heat lamps.

Padma looks gorgeous in her light yellow dress as she introduces the diners for the evening: guest judge Daniel Boulud, Hubert Keller chef and owner of Fleur De Lys, Jean Joho chef and proprieter of Everest & Eiffel Tower restaurants, Laurent Tourondel chef and owner of BLT restaurants, Tom, Gail, Kevin, Emmanuel (translator) and Joel Robuchon billed only as chef of the century.

Ron & Robin introduce their Frog Legs Meuniere as the first course. Mike the Man and Bryan are up next with Trout and a deconstructed Bearnaise. Mike is convinced they are going to win, and the chefs like it - simple but sophisticated. Robuchon liked it a lot. Eli and Laurine are next with lobster and sauce americaine. Unfortunately Laurien's fears come to pass when the lobster is a little tough. Mattin and Ashley present their chicken with sauce veloute. Robuchon calls the sauce bland and another chef says they worked really hard for not a good result. The bacon overpowered the flavor, and Tom says that this is the exception to the rule that "everything is better with bacon." Jennifer and Michael are next with their rabbit chasseur. The rabbit is cooked perfectly, and the chefs enjoy it. Hector and Ash are last with their steak. Ash is not confident because there is not enough sauce ont he plates. Their dish is steak with chateaubriand and potatoes. The chefs notice the lack of sauce right away, which is a problem since that is one main element of the dish. The steak is cooked unevenly. Gail's meat is overcooked and the cut job looks like "it's been hacked with an axe."

Overall, Robuchon is impressed by the cooking of these young chefs. Gail points out that these chefs were able to do this dinner before they ever would have been able to at this point in another season.

Judges Table

Kevin enters the "waiting room" and gets questioned. He doesn't want to answer about favorites, but says that the chefs were happy with the end results. Padma appears and calls out Bryan, Mike the Man, Michael & Jennifer. Padma congratulates them for having the top two dishes at the meal. The chefs are full of compliments for each other, and Daniel announces that the winner is Bryan. As the winner, he gets to go to Robuchon's Vegas restaurant and work for a week.

They winners return and send back Mattin, Ashley, Hector & Ash. Poor Mattin. It sucks to be in the bottom, but for him to be in the bottom for this particular challenge must have felt pretty crappy. They thought the sauce was gravy like and that there was too much bacon, Mattin says he didn't shoot down the asparagus sauce, but he really did when they were in the store. Padma asks Hector & Ash were the sauce was. The steak not being done was the main issue for them, it caused the quick cutting and the sauce issue.

In the end, Hector's steak gets him sent home.

Next week: Cookin' in the desert, and Tom spits someone's food out (bad!).


Audrey at Barking Mad! said...

I don't think I could create ANYTHING with escargot. Yuck.

Did you happen to watch the challenge last weekend with the rice krispie treates? They recreated bridges. It was pretty cool.

Audrey at Barking Mad! said...

OK so the wonky thing is still happening with NOT being able to comment on the 2nd and subsequent pages of your blog. But I just wanted to say thank you, from the bottom of my heart for asking for prayers for Meg and I.

It means a lot to me sweetie. You mean a lot to me. And if I can't comment on the rest of the posts, just know that I am here, and reading, and getting really pissed off at Blogger! *lol*