Amuse the mouth

We are running a bit behind on the Top Chef recap/drink pairing, so we’re gonna keep things short and sweet.  Episode four brings us Rocco, the chef famous for being famous, and the NBC cross-promotion machine.

The Quickfire Challenge has the cheftestants making a breakfast amuse bouche.  Boy, do I love an amuse bouche.  Mostly because I love saying amuse bouche, but also because I love that small little bite that a chef sends out to get you excited for your meal.  Amuse bouche is a one-bite hors d’oeuvre, and Leah went to great lengths to make sure we, and the judges, understood that she, and not many of her cheftestants, knew that.  It worked; she won the Quickfire by cooking bread and an egg, and was granted immunity during the Elimination Challenge.

The Elimination Challenge involved showcasing the cheftestants’ demonstration and presentation skills.  Yeah, I thought it was lame at first. I overheard a few of my friends mention that the challenge doesn’t really relate to being an actual chef.  While there’s no question that the level of difficulty and complexity of the food prepared was pretty low, my man Tom Colicchio had this to say on his blog:

“It’s amusing to me how so many of our cheftestants said, in response to this week’s Elimination Challenge, that they did not want to “do TV” in their careers as chefs … while they’re doing TV to advance their careers as chefs. As I recall, they were saying those words directly into the lens of a television camera. Let’s face it: The media has long been a critical factor in shaping high-level careers of all kinds, and today’s Top Chefs must be able not only to cook, but to generate heat about their cooking. On TV.”

You never know – maybe some of the cheftestants aspire to be Rocco – a chef that seems to only do presentations and hardly any real cooking.  Anyhoo, Alex was sent home, and your top three contestants, Jeff aka The Hair, Fabio, and Ariane, headed to the Today Show so NBC’s morning talking heads could choose the winning dish.  I honestly don’t remember off-hand what Jeff and Fabio prepared.  I know that Ariane won with an easy as poo lame watermelon, tomato, feta salad with basil oil.


Because time is short, I think I would serve up S&C’s very own watermelon lemonade cocktail with Ariane’s salad.  It is light, refreshing, and the basil garnish would compliment nicely.  Clearly this episode was filmed in the summer, and that being the case, you can also pour me a glass of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.

PS – I heart Fabio.

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