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Top Chef, Season 4: Film Food AND Giveaway Winner

Let me start off by saying that this was my favorite episode of the season so far. First of all, the Guest Judge was none other than the legendary Chef Daniel Boulud. I loved it when Padma brought him in to meet the Cheftestants and told them that if they didn’t already know who he was, they should just leave the kitchen! Hehehe! Like anyone would’ve admitted that!

The Quickfire challenge was all about technique. The chefs were each given a basket of fresh vegetables and instructed to prepare a dish using them which demonstrated at least three classic culinary techniques. They were also allowed to use items from the pantry. Chef Boulud then went around and critiqued each one. Finally, a Quickfire challenge that made sense! I mean, if you call yourself a chef, you should at least have a basic working knowledge of Slicing and Dicing 101! Not that anyone is asking my opinion, but if they did, I would make all of the Quickfires about the core foundation of technique.

There were some pretty laughable offerings in this challenge. Chef Boulud was too kind to say it, but some of those submissions were just awful! And what’s with this practice of smearing little dabs of sauces on the plates? Is it supposed to be art? To me, it looks like someone served their dish on a dirty plate. Anyway, the winner of this Quickfire was Dale, and I think he deserved it.

The elimination challenge theme was “Film Food”. In this challenge, the Cheftestants were paired in teams of two. Each team had to prepare one course of a six-course meal inspired by each team’s favorite movie. They had to choose a film and create a dish that somehow related to their film along with a narrative explaining what they did and why. The food was to be served at a dinner party for a group that included film critic Richard Roeper and actress Aisha Tyler. Brilliant! I thought that this was such a great theme that really gave the chefs a chance to be creative with their food. The movies selected were Willy Wonka, Good Morning, Vietnam, Talk to Her, Il Postino, and Top Secret. Of course, since I maybe get to the movies about twice a year, I’ve never actually seen any of them, except for Good Morning, Vietnam.

All of the teams really seemed to get into this challenge. As you would expect, some were more successful than others. In the end, the Willy Wonka team of Richard, Andrew, and Dale created a very unique dish that reflected their cinematic inspiration and was the judges favorite. They made a Smoked Salmon with Faux Caviar & White Chocolate Wasabi Sauce for which Richard
scored the win. The Top Secret team of Stephanie and Lisa also recieved high praise for their excellent New York Strip Steak, Braised Short Rib and Apple Potsticker with Caramel Sauce. Spike and Manuel’s Summer Roll with Black Vermicelli, Green Apple, Chilean Sea Bass & Swiss Chard, inspired by Good Morning, Vietnam, didn’t make the cut, and poor boring, but sweet, Manuel packed his knives and went.

So, what did you all think of this episode? The Cheftestants? All relevant comments, opinions and observations are welcome and encouraged. One lucky commenter on this post will be the recipient of another great giveaway! This week I will be sending someone this nifty cap.

So, Let’s Dish!

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for. The winner of this weeks giveaway: is………that adorable White on Rice Couple!!!!!
Congrats, White on Rice Couple! If you’ll email me at stickygooeycreamychewyATgmailDOTcom with your mailing address, I’ll send your prize out to you pronto!
Thanks to all participated this week. Keep those comments coming. I’ve still got lots to give away!
That’s a wrap!