Hello my friends. Welcome to the blog for Season 3 of
Top Chef! I am your host and owner of my own big fat belly thanks to years of loving too much food! People have already asked me why I think I'm qualified to write this blog, and that's my answer. I love food. I absolutely
love it. Heck, I don't know what half the words these chefs use mean, but I'm surely interested in finding out because I want to ask for these dishes in restaurants as if I have some kind of knowledge.
Way back when, before I got my empty communications degree, I wanted to be a chef. To this day I still regret not going to culinary school. But that's a story for another day and time. Right now, we're focusing on
Top Chef, Season 3.
Each week I'll talk about things that stood out, my favorites and my least favorites. While there are still so many contestants, there's just too much to touch on every contestant, but feel free to comment on someone even if I don't. And if you're like me and need a dictionary to understand what half these dishes are, then you're in luck. As I type out something I don't know, I'm going to look it up and link you to a picture or a definition. Something to clarify what an item is. Now you may say, "C'mon Dave, don't patronize me like I don't know what I'm watching," but I mean no disrespect to those in the know. But I like to think I'm an intelligent guy and if I don't know, I'm sure some of you don't either, so ignore the links or click on them, it's totally up to you. That said, let's chat about food, friends!
There are 15 chefs to start the season, and as they were being introduced I wrote down some quick little blurbs about each one, so let me share my notes that stand out:
Joey: Fat like me. Must love food, too. Immediate favorite.
Tre: Seems like he'll be the showman of the crew.
Hung: "Certified Professional A--hole." Dude, that's
me, too. Another favorite.
Micah: Uh-oh. The artsy one. Will try too hard to be fancy but will still go far.
CJ: Did he just say he had a false nad? If so, all right. I mean, who doesn't want to know that about their chef?
Then there's Sara N., Lia, Brian and Camille, who I've written nothing about. That can't be a good sign. Brian got a good bit of screen time, but it's because his dish sucked. The other three I wouldn't be able to pick out of a lineup. Even at this early stage, very little screen time usually means an uneventful (aka short) stay in the kitchen.
So right away the chefs meet Tom and Padma and get thrown into a quickfire challenge. And the first one involves one of my favorite things in the world:
amuse-bouche! Now, of course, I love a little starter myself, but really it's the words "amuse-bouche" that are my favorite. They must use that term 10,000 times a season, and by the end of Season 2, my wife and I were running through supermarkets yelling down the aisle at each other, "that would be great for an amooosss boooooooosh." And I mean yelling it. Whether I'm an idiot or a nerd doesn't really matter. What does is that amuse-bouches are wonderful. And the words translate into "mouth amuser." I mean, how great is that? Who doesn't want to amuse their mouth? Anyway, the contestants get to use only the food that they didn't eat, put out for their introduction. And they only get to use plastic wear to create these tasty morsels. To me, Howie's shrimp in
capicola sounded the best of all of them. Capicola is so flavorful, so wrap it around a shrimp and leave me be for a bit! Hung and Tre both did
hamachi, which is on a rung a slight bit higher than the deviled egg (oh, but let's not slag on the egg now either). Clay seemed to think he was the dark horse of the competition, but clearly he was like me at the beginning of Season 1, asking myself, "what the heck is an amuse-bouche?" A full apple is not a
bite of anything. Mistake no. 1 for Clay. Micah wins the first challenge with her ham with figs dish. Never been a fig fan myself, but it did look appetizing. It has to be a good feeling to get thrust into the fire almost immediately upon arrival and come out of the gate with a winner.
The elimination challenge is surf and turf using some very strange ingredients like ostrich, black chicken (not to be confused with the Johnny Cash song
"Chicken in Black") and
geoduck (which is surprisingly pronounced "gooey" and is not duck at all).
Brian takes my favorite ingredient of them all, eel. Have you ever had an eel avocado roll? Magnificent. Next time out for sushi, try some. Very light fish taste, extremely tender if cooked well. Damn, I'm drooling now.
Dale goes with alligator tail and monkfish liver, which sounds remarkably gross. Did any of you see what that
monkfish liver looked like, too? It was like two monkfish got drunk in a bar and slashed each other to pieces in a back-alley knife fight. It looks incredibly inedible right from the start.
I think chefs like Joey, who took rib eye, made a good choice early on. The goal is longevity. Take something you know how to cook, make a good dish and stay alive. No need to really throw it all out there this early unless you think you need to prove yourself.
And that's especially important with
Anthony Bourdain as a judge, who's really perfect for this one. If you've ever watched his
show, the guy travels everywhere and eats everything. So he's seen the exotic and can appreciate it. So if you choose something crazy and don't pull it off, it's worse because Anthony might actually know what it is supposed to taste like.
Four bad dishes get called out this time. Dale cooked his alligator tail incorrectly even though he claimed he tasted it and it was good. Bourdain said that Clay's dish was like eating in the "economy class of Air Cambodia." Then there's Howie, who constantly looked at the clock to see how much time was left and then plated his sea urchin but not his frog legs. And Brian, who got in over his head and didn't plate all his ingredients as well. Personally, the fact that two of the chefs didn't plate their full courses is what bothers me the most. And I think that should have sent one of them home - probably Howie. But Clay has a bad quickfire and a bad elimination, so it makes sense that 0-2 goes home. Howie might have saved himself from the ax, too, with his clever exchange with Anthony. Bourdain chastises him for not plating the dish, asking him "what's your major malfunction?" and Howie comes right back at him with passages from his own books talking about serving quality. A.B. seemed shocked that his word wasn't the last, but also seemed impressed with the answer.
Of the 15 chefs, only Tre and Hung get singled out for being excellent. Hung says black chicken is usually so tough that people only use the skin, but he pulls off a good dish with it. And Tre cooked some perfect ostrich. I didn't even realize it, but the judges pointed out that the winner of the first elimination challenge in both Season 1 and 2 went on to win the whole shebang. So it looks like Tre is the leader after round 1.
Way too early to predict a winner, obviously, but Tre, Hung and Micah look like they might be the strong ones, and like I said earlier, I'm rooting for the guy with a gut like me: Joey. Man, though, every [beep] other [beep] word out of his [beep] mouth is [beep]. Chill brother.
So, chat it up. Tell me what you thought and who you like or dislike so far. Oh, and sign off and get some eel. Now.
Until next time, friends.
Check out some clips of
Top Chef in our
Online Video Guide.
Hello my friends. Welcome to the blog for Season 3 of Top Chef! I am your host and owner of my own big fat belly thanks to years of loving too much food! People have already asked me why I think I'm qualified to write this blog, and that's my answer. I love food. I absolutely love it. Heck, I dont know what half the words these chefs use mean, but I'm surely interested in finding out because I want to ask for these dishes in restaurants as if I have some kind of knowledge. Way back when, before I got my empty communications degree, I wanted to be a chef. To this day I still regret not going to culinary school. But that's a story for another day and time. Right now, we're focusing on Top Chef, Season 3. Each week I'll talk about things that stood out, my favorites and my least favorites. While there are still so many contestants, there's just too much to touch on every contestant, but feel free to comment on someone even if I don't. And if you're like me and need a dictionary t...