Hail to the Chef

Hooray for three reasons! (1) New season of Top Chef. (2) It takes place in DC! (3) Eric dreamboat Ripert is a regular guest judge — that means we get to see him every week on the “Culinary Supreme Court,” as Padma Laskshmi referred to judges’ table. Padma also said Washington, DC, is a city full of “idealists, visionaries and ruthless powerseekers.” What do you all make of that description?

Top Chef returns for a seventh season and they are on location
in Washington, DC!

The first episode started off on the roof of the Newseum and showcased great views of our fine city. Filmed during the Cherry Blossom Festival, the episode finished off at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium with a reception for young, successful Washingtonians. (Um, Ms. S&C assumes her invitation was lost in the mail?)

In case you’re in need of a recap, here are a few highlights from the first episode:

  • The Quickfire Challenge was a mise en place relay. The cheftestants had to peel potatoes, brunoise onions (my new culinary term for the day), break-down chickens, and then — for those that made it that far — cook a dish with said ingredients. Kenny showed off his mad knife skills, but it was arrogant Angelo who came away with the win.
  • For the Elimination Challenge, the chefs created a dish that reflected where they are from: dishes included everything from Chesapeake rockfish to Pennsylvania lamb to deconstructed borscht.
  • Angelo came away with another win with his arctic char and bacon froth. Hippie John was sent home for his store-bought puff pastry and his maple-focused dessert that lacked actual maple flavor.

Angelo’s winning dish: Arctic Char with Pickled Shallots,
Chillied Tapioca & Smoked Bacon Froth

For the Top Chef Drink Pairing: I’m going with this Pacific Rim Dry Riesling. This is actually the first Riesling I’ve ever tried (over 10 years ago mind you). And I remember it because it used to be part of the Bonny Doon Vineyard (that funky, eclectic winery out in California, with cool, artsy labels), which I like quite a lot, mostly because of their funky, eclectic way. The Pacific Rim Dry Riesling is crisp, dry and mineraly, and has flavors of citrus. A very versatile wine, it complements both seafood and smokey bacon flavors nicely. And you can usually find it for less than $10 bucks.

The Top Chef Drink Pairing is a reccurring feature on the S&C blog where we recap each episode and pair the winning dish with a cocktail, or other suitable beverage.

posted by Ms. S&C

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