Last week’s episode of Top Chef featured chef Eric Ripert as guest judge. And now, I am totally crushing on him. He was super friendly and sweet and encouraging, and he seemed to be without pretense. He has definitely skyrocketed into my Top 5 celebrity chef picks. And, as good timing would have it, Ms. S&C was able to visit Chef Ripert’s Washington, DC, restaurant, Westend Bistro, over the weekend. Like the acclaimed Le Bernardin, seafood is the star at Westend. The Salmon Rillettes and Fish Burger may sound like average dishes, but they were excellent. Ms. S&C had a great cocktail too – the Memorial Bridge Sunset was made with Campari and Champagne, garnished with a dollop of pink grapefruit sorbet. I’ve never mixed Campari with Champagne before, but I definitely will again.
On to the Top Chef recap. The Quickfire Challenge had the cheftestants competing in a three-round fish filleting tournament with sardines, Artic char and fresh water eels. Stefan easily beat Hosea in the final round, after hammering the eel to his cutting board and peeling back the skin. It was a little disconcerting, to be honest. Stefan did not get immunity but got a huge advantage in the Elimination Challenge. After dining with Chef Ripert at Le Bernardin for lunch, the cheftestants had to draw knives to see which of his dishes they had to recreate for the Elimination. Stefan’s Quickfire win meant he could choose his dish outright. Naturally, Stefan chose the easiest dish and tops Fabio and Carla to get another win. Hosea, Leah and Jamie were on the bottom. I would have paid money to see Leah go, but it was Jamie who was sent home, presumably for not liking braised celery and not knowing how to use serrano ham in a sauce.
For the drink pairing, I would personally have a glass of champagne or a crisp sauvignon blanc with this dish, as to not overpower the lobster. So, in honor of a killer deal I found on champagne over at Pearson’s Wine & Spirits, I’ll pair it with the Fat Bastard Blanc de Blancs. They are practically giving it away over there — $5.99 a bottle! I so regret not buying a case.
posted by Ms. S&C