They work in Daniel’s gorgeous kitchen. I just want to take a look around.
Mattin is thrilled. Robin is worried. She is so going home. Three at a time, the chefs place their dishes in front of Tom and Daniel.
Escargot Provençal With Caramelized Shallots, Pernod & Fresh Herbs
Escargot With Grilled Ramps, Brussels Sprouts, Chanterelle Mushrooms & Yuzu
They liked the yuzu with its acidity.
Escargot, Mache & Fried Tomato
Interesting, says Daniel.
Sautéed Escargot, Lemon Risotto, Spinach, Parsley Pesto & Garlic Butter
Very nice, says Daniel.
“Bagels & Lox” – Poached Escargot, Marmalade, Goose berries &
Mm-hmm, says Daniel
Fava Bean Crostini With Escargot Sautéed In A Piment D’Espelette & Anise
Escargot Mirepoix Soup & Salad
Escargot Fricassée With Mushrooms, Brussels Sprouts & Candied Bacon Jam
Daniel asks if his bacon jam is his mom’s recipe. He says he made it up at his restaurant
Escargot With Red Wine Risotto, Spinach Emulsion & Marcona Almond Froth
Goodness, so complicated.
Escargot & Chanterelle Mushroom Bolognese Lasagna
Mike I (The one that isn’t the brother.)
Sautéed Escargot Over Potato Garlic Puree, Spring Onion & Ouzo Broth
Mike blabs a little about his inspiration from
Interesting, Daniel says.
Tom says they put together some really great dishes, and they had 3 favorites. One was Mike Isabella’s. He’s the one that people don’t like. Daniel says that from his trip to
Daniel’s favorite of all of those three was Kevin’s and he gets immunity, plus another bonus to be announced later. He says (to us) that his competitor’s food may be prettier than his, but what he does has just as much validity. It just goes to show, put bacon in anything and you should be okay. It really is the new pomegranate.
There were 3 dishes they didn’t like – Jesse, Ashley’s and Robin’s. Robin is going home, I’m sure of it now. Wait, this is different. They’re going to give them a second chance. They have to go into the kitchen and make an amuse bouche in 20 minutes. Tom says one bite will save them…or their chance at winning Top Chef anyway.
Avocado Soup With Yuzu, Green Apple Mustard Relish & Crab
Tuna Tartare With Sorrel, Gooseberries, Fried Quail Egg & Fried Bread
Foie Gras With Caramelized Pineapple, Tarragon & Ramps
It’ll be Robin going home, but they DID like the soup. They didn’t like Jesse's so much, and there were problems with Ashley’s dish.
Kevin says putting bacon jam on any plate makes you golden.
And the chef going home is…Jesse. I am sooo wrong…all the time. She says she’s been on the bottom the entire time she’s been there and Jesse wants people to know she doesn’t suck as much as it looks.
They draw knives for the Elimination Challenge. 6 have the names of French sauces, 6 have French proteins.
French Pairing – Protein & Sauce
They have to pair up and produce a 6 course meal. (Oh, one course for each pair…I was worried there for a second.)
Mattin is so obnoxious. Because ee ees Frennnsccchh, he feels like the challenge is just for him. He says that “all eyes are on” him. The only thing they’re looking at is his really stupid red scarf. How great would it be if he went home?
They will be serving other great French chefs, including Joël Robuchon (THAT is hardcore greatness!!!) And they’ll be cooking at Robuchon’s Michelin 3 star restaurant. THAT is awesome.* Tom says he’s actually nervous just to eat with the man.
Mike, the brother one, says very dramatically that Robuchon is THE chef of his generation. Not just yours, Mike. Daniel reminds us that he was named the Chef of the CENTURY (by the guide Gault Millau in 1989).
They are so upping their game this season.
Kevin not only will NOT be cooking, but he’ll be joining them for dinner.
The chefs group themselves together in pairs and go shopping. They have 200 dollars to shop.
This is worrying. Ashley says that a velouté sauce is the French equivalent of gravy. Mattin says to add bacon. Ron says Robin has weird ideas that have nothing to do with French cooking. Mike and Bryan have so much sibling rivalry, it's ridiculous. It’s kinda funny in a really immature way.
Hector used to do banquet type food for a living. He says that’s all people want.
Jen says this is probably going to be the toughest challenge of all.
Mattin gets Ashley to say that French cooking is the best. Duh.
Ron’s made frogs legs hundreds of time, so that shouldn’t be a problem. He says Robin is really hyper. I still stick with Robin going. She talks, talks, talks.
Ash, the guy, says they have an hour tomorrow to make the greatest dish of their life.
The judges and other guest chefs enter the dining room in Robuchon's Las Vegas restaurant as if it were a chapel... heck, a cathedral. Everyone but Kevin is dressed in dark colors. Well, Padma is in yellow, but she has to wow everyone every minute of the day. Robuchon comes in dressed rather simply and monk-like (which you just know cost thousands). Kevin is sweet. He’s slightly cowed (who wouldn’t be?), but he holds his own when invited to speak.
Ron And Robin
Frog Legs Meunière With Lemon Confit, Mache & Arugula Salad With Fried Capers
Jean is very opinionated, but not in a bad way.He says it’s very heavy on flour. Daniel says the frog legs are overcooked. Hubert, in his sweet way, says there was some originality in the dish.
And Robuchon? The translation: “They put a lot of thought into this dish. It’s a good dish but the flavors are a little masked. You can’t taste the frog anymore.” Love him. Everyone nods.
Bryan and Mike I.
Warm Cured Trout With Deconstructed Béarnaise
Daniel: ”It was a perfect translation of what they had to do. Jean: ”Simple, but really sophisticated.”
Robuchon: “To me, a successful dish is taking something simple and making it exceptional. A sautéed potato, a béarnaise sauce…there is nothing more simple. They deconstructed it, they put a lot of thought into it. J’aime beaucoup.”
Gail smiles widely. How could she not? She’s sitting at the table with Robuchon.
I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, but tears are coming to my eyes every time Robuchon speaks. Where is this coming from? It’s probably like a Roman Catholic seeing the Pope. His French is soooooo French. And there is absolutely nothing like Frenchmen talking seriously about food.
Oh, who am I kidding, I cry at everything. When we took the kids to Disneyworld and I was introduced to Mickey Mouse, I almost wept. They make it this big deal. You stand on a long line to go “backstage” to have some face time in small groups with the grand mouse. It really was like meeting a movie star or hero or something. Robuchon is legitimately great, so I’m giving myself a pass for getting misty eyed.
Eli and Laurine
Lobster, Sauce Américaine With Cauliflower Purée
Jean says the lobster is tough and the sauce is bitter. That can’t be good.
JR: “I think it’s good work. They succeeded in their dish. But if you go into the details, I’m a little caught off-guard.” MAIS NON!!! Chef must never be caught off-guard. He continues, ”Because there’s not a genuine flavor that it should have for lobster Americaine.” Précisément! Zee young chefs must learn zat zeez classic Frennnnsssccchhh dishes must be learned parfaitment.
Ashley and Mattin
Seared Poussin & Ravioli with Sauce Velouté & Green Asparagus
While they’re cooking, Mattin gets Ashley to say that French cooking is the best. Duh.
Mattin introduces the dish in French, which is perfectly appropriate. But after he finishes, HE CURTSIES. I kid you not, he actually really and truly curtsies. Ashley, as sullenly as possible, describes the dish in English. She so clearly doesn’t want to be there. She should go no matter how the dish turns out.
Tom is appalled by how much bacon is in the sauce and says here’s one case where everything is not better with bacon.
Oh, His Majesty is, how you say, malheureux: "The poussin is bland. I don’t know if it’s a velouté or if they wanted to make it more complex?"
Jean: “They worked really hard for not a very good result.”
Michael V. & Jennifer
Rabbit Chasseur with Mustard Noodle & Shiso
Michael introduces the dish with the French word for rabbit, lapin. Good. He’s a bit livelier than his brother and not quite as serious.
Daniel, smiling: “This is a very good piece of rabbit.
God: “The rabbit is always a very difficult dish to make, because it’s often dry in texture. Here you could say the rabbit was cooked perfectly. It’s a successful dish.“
The other chefs agree. Tom says that, though Jen and Michael are young, their "work is mature.” Ahem, who has been rooting for Jen since the very beginning? Oh? Did I already say that once or twice?
Hector and Ash
Chateaubriand, Sauce Au Poivre With Confit De Pommes & Spinach
They have problems because the meat took too long to cook and it had to be cut before it rested long enough, so it starts bleeding all over the plate.
The chefs notice the problems immediately. They can’t find the sauce.
Chef R: “It’s too bad because it’s lacking refinement. There’s no juice, there’s nothing. The big problem with this dish is it’s not ‘au poivre’.”
I have GOT to remember that. The next time H criticizes something I make, I’m going to say, “Do you mean to say it’s lacking in refinement?” THAT does sound a whole lot better than “This stinks”.
At the end of the meal, Padma asks Chef Robuchon if the chefs pleased him. “I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the work of these young candidates. We saw some very successful dishes.” Gail says they couldn’t have had THIS dinner at this point in any other season…basically admitting the crappiness of past cheftestents. (Take THAT Hosea!) Tom agrees.
“Any of the candidates that are looking for a job are more than welcome to come work for me here.” Kevin looks like he wants to bolt from his side of the table and hand him his resume.
Back in the stew room, Kevin refuses to give up anything that was said.
All Ashley does is hold her head in her hands. WHY are they keeping her?
They call in Jen, Michael, Mike and Bryan. The judges loved their dishes. Daniel says his French colleagues thought they were very professional. Jen and Michael give each other tons of credit (anything happening behind the scenes?). Michael says the most important part was “breaking down that animal.” Eww.
After giving particularly high praise to Jen and Michael, they pick
They call in the losers - Hector, Ash, Ashley and Mattin.
Daniel says their velouté was closer to a gravy than a velouté. Mattin should have run screaming from the room when he heard that and gone back to his Mama’s apron strings until he learned his sauces better. I’m surprised that Daniel didn’t demand he give up his French citizenship.
Ashley just nods as if she knew everything was bad. Tom says the bacon was way too strong. Mattin says he hadn’t made a velouté in a long, long time. HUH? You’re French and so proud of it. It should be in your blood. You stink and that was a terrible answer.
OMG, when Daniel says he didn’t like the asparagus, Mattin says EET wasn’t his idea to use the asparagus. What a total pill. I like him even less than Ashley. Ashley basically refuses to argue about it. Mattin comes off like a spoiled child.
Ash (the guy) was honest about the problems with their dish. Hector too. They acknowledge that they had problems and were completely upfront about the difficulties. I think they shouldn’t go home. I think Ashley or Mattin should…actually both.
More head-holding by Ashley (the girl). Ashley (the boy) says having a losing dish at Judges Table is really awful, because they’re so spot on about what is wrong with it.
Ashley is kind of cool and perfectly able to take responsiblity for a bad element in a dish. He probably learned what NOT to do again. Mattin on the other hand is a complete jackass. (Now that he’s clearly not the best French chef, TAKE THAT SCARF OFF NOW!)
Okay it is…oh, I didn’t see this coming…It’s Hector. That’s pointless. It seems like the judges thought that the chateaubriand is so basic that there was no excuse for it.
And Ashley is STILL holding her head in her hands. I liked Hector this episode and now he's gone.
* H and I had lunch at Robuchon’s shrine in