The second episode of Top Chef had the chef’testants making hot dogs and serving lunch at Tom Colicchio’s NYC restaurant Craft.
The writing was on the wall for Baltimorean Jill who lost the hot dog Quickfire Challenge. She was the only one who didn’t make her own hot dog. She prepared a store bought thing in a spring roll, and it.did.not.look.good. The cute Indian girl, who wants people to think she can cook stuff other than Indian cuisine, won with an Indian-style dog, nonetheless.
The Elimination Challenge separated the chefs into three groups (appetizer, entrée, dessert), and had them prepare a “New American” lunch menu. I don’t really know what constitutes “New American cuisine,” and apparently the chef’testants don’t either. The judge were underwhelmed, including the woman-with-an-amazing-resume, Donatella Arpaia, who was guest judge.
Jill used an ostrich egg for quiche, and Gail said it tasted like glue. The ever emotional Ariane made some kind-of super sweet cherry dessert that Padma spat it in her napkin. Gross on both accounts.
Looks like desserts are our hometown girl Carla’s specialty. Her apple turnover with a slice of cheddar isn’t particularly “new,” but Padma loved the crust. Jamie of “Team Rainbow” impressed with her chilled corn soup with chili oil and mint. But it was, Fabio of “Team Europe,” (or “Euro Duo” as I’ve also heard them cleverly referred to), who won with his beef carpaccio and gastronomical olives.
Red wine is the inevitable choice for the beef carpaccio pairing. For delicate beef dishes such as carpaccio and steak tartare, a young Bordeaux is the best match. A Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc blend will compliment, not overpower. Bon Appétit!
In case you too were wondering “What is New American cuisine?” Tom Colicchio admits it is a bit esoteric, but offers a detailed explanation on his blog: http://www.bravotv.com/Top_Chef/season/5/blogs/index.php?blog=tom_colicchio&article=2008/11/time_warp
Here’s a snipit: “What exactly is New American cuisine? Originally, the cuisine was based more on regional American cooking than it is now. As you know, there can be no such thing as “American food” per se, because each region of this vast country has placed its own cultural stamp on its own food. If you look at America as a melting pot, there’s too much in that pot to create one homogenous cuisine, so New American cuisine began as chefs doing their plays on regional cuisines using fresh, seasonal, regional ingredients. While it may have been influenced by fusion, please don’t confuse the two – fusion is specifically the melding of foods from different traditions, while New American cuisine began as finely trained American chefs, steeped in traditional technique yet working with a lack of pretension, taking American regional idioms and striving to do something original and different. …”
One example he gave was a clambake. No, the chefs shouldn’t serve a traditional clambake, but they could have served an unique dish representative of a clambake.
Furthermore, as Tom puts it, New American is not “quiche, meatloaf, or other homey, regional, comfort food.”
I meant to add that I may still be confused :-)